The Gillmor Gang —Facebook CTO Bret Taylor, Danny Sullivan, Robert Scoble, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, August 6, 2010.
Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’
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The Gillmor Gang — Paul Carr, Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, and Brian Dear — discuss next week’s PLATO@50 conference and this week’s Facebook apology. Recorded live Friday, May 28, 2010
The Gillmor Gang — Danny Sullivan, Robert Scoble, Andrew Keen, and Steve Gillmor — talk with Facebook’s Bret Taylor about the F8 announcements. Recorded live Thursday, April 22, 2010.
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The Gillmor Gang — Steve Gillmor, Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, and Facebook’s Bret Taylor — on the 6 month developer roadmap. Recorded live Thursday, October 29, 2009.
Full transcript below the video, courtesy of Simulscribe.
Mr. STEVE GILLMOR: Hi. This is Steve Gillmor and this is The Gillmor Gang, welcome. Today, we’re going to be – yesterday actually we have an interesting time down at the new Facebook headquarters and there was some interesting announcements as Facebook slowly trudges toward overhauling their environment. And one of the first things that was announced was our guests elevation to an actual title and responsibilities. Welcome, Bret Taylor.
Mr. BRET TAYLOR (Director of Products, Facebook): Thanks for having me.
Mr. GILLMOR: So, what your job and…
Mr. TAYLOR: I’m the director of products for the Facebook platform. So, I work in product management here and currently managed the platform product specifically so that’s Facebook connect and the platform on Facebook.com, the canvass pages and other negotiating points of Facebook.com.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. Also, we’ll get back to that in a second. Also joining us is the infamous Robert Scoble.
Mr. ROBERT SCOBLE: Hey, what’s up?
Mr. TAYLOR: Hello there.
Mr. SCOBLE: Hey. How you doing, Bret? Congrats.
Mr. TAYLOR: Thank you.
Mr. GILLMOR: And someone who is also at the event yesterday, Kevin Marks.
Mr. KEVIN MARKS (British Telecom): Hey, there.
Mr. TAYLOR: Hey, Kevin.
Mr. MARKS: Good to see you again, Bret.
Mr. GILLMOR: All right. So, getting back to what – what was announced yesterday. Can you sort of summarize it?
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. So we basically published a six month road map for our plans for the Facebook platform. Obviously, one of the complaints we have gotten from developers in the past that lots of businesses are filling their business on top of their platform. And they want to, you know, plan, you know, for the next six and 12 months for their businesses but they’re – they weren’t aware what changes we were going to make to our platform and that’s very difficult for them to do that plan in. So, we sort of heard of (unintelligible) internally to try to write out specifically what our plans are for the next six months so quite the most significant thing. The main – the central parts of the things we are changing were changing some of the communication channels available to developers on Facebook.com and we’re doing some UI revisions to Facebook.com that will talk(ph) Facebook apps. And then we announced a couple of new products in addition to stuff that we’re doing for developers like the open graph API.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, the open graph API, I think is the most interesting part of this I think for not only developers but users. But before we go there, how much of the decisions or the process of starting to collapse a number of different channels as was put into one or three events, email or the inbox, the stream and I forgot what the third one was. How much of that were you involved with since you coming over from FriendFeed?
Mr. TAYLOR: I was fairly involved obviously. There were – are a lot of it was sort of a note(ph) when I got here and some of it, you know, I was involved with. I think the prospective that I brought was largely of an external developer. I was a developer on the platform until very recently. And the main prospective I brought was that I thought one of the things that the platform could most use it for me then is simplicity. A lot of competing platforms like FriendFeed and like Twitters were didn’t provide all the functionality of Facebook platform but also where a little easier for new developers to understands. And so, simple plan of details is something I’m very supportive of because I really do think as a new developer, the channels that are available, you mention the stream, the Facebook inbox and now we’re providing access to our email addresses as well. They’re really easy for new developers to understand so I think it’s going to lead to a much easier developer experience and a much better user experience in the end.
Mr. SCOBLE: But Brett does that new functionality give access to my friend’s email addresses?
Mr. TAYLOR: No, it got…
Mr. SCOBLE: So, could I – OK, because it let….
Mr. TAYLOR: Because it’s a much, much concrete and unlimited scope feature.
Mr. GILLMOR: Now, Robert you have to…
Mr. TAYLOR: Facebook connect site and you click connect and that dialog that says, you know, do you want to connect with this site? They’re well, if the developer asked, there will be a check box there that says do you want to also provide this connect site with your email address. And they only provide your email address, so that’s very clear at the time that you’re doing it, that this action is being taken. So, it’s not something that you’ll – you’ll be aware of it when it happens and it’s only your email address provides you one specific application.
Mr. SCOBLE. OK. So, you still can’t go to nap that would, you know, bring my email addresses of my friends into Outlook or into Gmail or something like that.
Mr. TAYLOR: Right now, that’s currently not possible. I think it’s something we’re really interested in. I think it’s possibly the most complex and most interesting part of our platform and other platforms like it. It’s – it turns out that I was talking a little bit to Kevin about this yesterday.
Mr. SCOBLE: Yeah, I see.
Mr. TAYLOR: Because a lot of users and…
Mr. SCOBLE: That’s an understatement.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah, as a – well, assumption is when I was – when thinking about infrastructure problems at Facebook and Google, problems that are – are insignificant for smaller companies are significant here. So, when you’re comparing, it’s only going to takes ten nanoseconds versus five nanoseconds. For most start ups, it’s like well, you’re measuring the nanoseconds so who cares, just choose whichever is most convenient. Well, you know, Facebook and Google, you multiply that by ten trillion because of the number of request per second you get and all of a sudden that becomes a significant technical decision. Well, I think with interface problems, the number and widely varying technical awareness of Facebook users, makes user interface problems that are similarly complex. So, you know, as much as I think it’s a worthwhile that you know if it would be nice if you could, you know, import your Facebook friend’s phone numbers into your phone provided that functionality also means that.
Mr. SCOBLE: Yeah.
Mr. TAYLOR: One of your friends who might not be so technically aware, might accidentally give up your phone number to a malicious application. And so, you know, we’re struggling with this like sort of somewhat conflicted desires to provide that functionality to developer will also protect our users from applications that, you know, are as and of or like are as well meaning as say, Gmail. And so, it’s something that I think we’re committed to in spirit but I don’t want to like understate the complexity of actually doing it. And I don’t think we really have like solutions for all those problems in our head and so right now I do think we’re making the correct decision, a sort of early on the side of protecting our user’s privacy. But it doesn’t – you were not committed to providing that in the future, we can figure out a way that like protects our user’s privacy in addition to providing the functionality to developers.
Mr. MARKS: So, I mean. The – I think there’s a bunch of interesting stuff there about understand that there are different classes of application and we had a little chat about it. Just say, it would be great to talk about it here. And you sort of hinted towards like yesterday but separating out the games from the rest of the apps but they still have the same privileges. But already, there are different kinds of applications that can ask for different kind of things. So, you’re using a client like seismic to log in to Facebook that can read my entire feed and posting, do a lot more. At the moment, I get four or five different old books because I have to go through to say yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. You can do that.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. MARKS: Whereas, conversely there are things about the ACL you quiz out that shows that even a simple quiz out can read that the – I and still can read all my friend’s political affiliations and things like that. So, there’s a sort of Facebook is basically up to now had this one size fixed old privacy modeled broadly. And I think…
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. MARKS: I think, you probably now have enough applications to sort of do some interesting stats across that and say what all the different kinds of apps, what are the different classes of these and can we actually segment into something – some interest. Is that something you’re looking at?
Mr. TAYLOR: Absolutely. One of the things we’re actively working on internally is providing more granule or access control at the time that you connect with an application on the web or install an application on Facebook .com. And what – I think – that so we are actively working on that so that you can not authorize access to your friends’ data if you just wanted, you know, essentially log into a website but you’re committed to that particular aspect of the application or furthermore provide more access for applications you trust deeply. I think we’re working through right now. The user interface that use to associate with that, you know, the wrong way to do it is a dialog box with 28 check boxes of all the things you wanted private access too and there is a right way and we’re figuring out what that balance is. There are sort of pockets(ph) these tapes of privacy settings into something that I think can users, can understand well. But we’re actively working on it and as side effect to that project, we hope that we can reduce the number of dialog boxes to, you know, one or two or something very reasonable. I have experience the sequence of dialog boxes that you’re referring to and it’s a really bad user experience. So, we’re definitely working on fixing that.
Mr. MARKS: Right. We have something – well, there’s two aspects of this, something that we’ve found when we were doing the open idea about hybrid stuff which Facebook now calls and I think plateau(ph) and…
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. MARKS: And whichever provides (unintelligible) writing on that. And they found that every option you added increase a number here and canceled out the whole thing because if you try to make a choice, they give up.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. MARKS: But conversely at the – you know the other effect I’ve seen with this and other situations is if you make people click two boxes on their way to something, they just click them anyway because with problem without even reading them because there’s a task they want to achieve and therefore work through that. So, I think there’s – we’re going to have to come up with some interesting, you know, it needs to be a one click thing to start with. One of the nice things about Owl(ph), and you know this is the way I push it to influence Owl thing, you say maybe. But is that you – because you’re giving away a token that knows what the act is and what the context you’ve asked for it in. And you can actually change its permissions over time.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yes.
Mr. MARKS: So that you’re given this half of token, you can later say actually now I don’t want that to have my email address or OK, I trust it now, it can have my email address, it can have my friend’s phone number or whatever and leave the permission because it’s not bound to a username and password log in. You haven’t given away the whole thing. I think that’s going to give us some more possibilities in the future. So, it may let us – and there’s a thing that Twitter apps do, a lot of them where you go to the Owl thing and they say we want the ability to tweet on your behalf and then if they send a tweet saying I just signed up with Twitter, I bet, so when you think you busted, I didn’t ask you to do that.
Mr. TAYLOR: So.
Mr. MARKS: And it would be nice if you could spot, you know, catch those before they go out. And you know, Facebook has that prominent space. There’s all kinds of, you know, battles that you’ve been having with some of the app developer as you – if behave that way.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. Well, so first of all Facebook authorization is also revocable after the fact. So, there’s – either you click on your applications link on Facebook.com, you know, you can’t revoke any application that you know on there. I think supporting up is a good idea and I can only speak to like when or if we’ll do that but I think that like for factual purposes, Facebook’s authorization scheme and a lot, not pretty well to each other. And so, it’s not, you know, it wouldn’t be as huge technical fit to do so and it’s something that we’ve talked about that is, you know, the complexity of just moving from one system to another is very large. So, you know, I’m not sure whether we’ll do it but it’s something we’ve talked about. I think that I agree that I think that offer some possibilities and I do think basically you want to make it really easy to start using the application but you also want to make it clear to users, the consequences of their actions. I think there’s liking to hear it.
Mr. MARKS: Yeah.
Mr. TAYLOR: Between those things and set up – I think we’re as actively just going to iterate on this and I think that the dialog box where we – a user can provide their email address and application which I referred to earlier, that’s one place where we’ve done a few experiments already. And I think we reached a place so we can pretty reach sort of that happy middle grounds that we – initiate views on awareness. But you know, I think we’re iterating all these things. It’s only – only related to it.
Mr. GILLMOR: Jumping up to stack a little bit, you know, this is certainly of interest to developers but there are also implications of these changes for users and for entrepreneurs who are trying to volt on to the platform, not necessarily at the technical level but at the implications for competing with Twitter and so on and so can – if we characterized Facebook’s environment as a series of phases maybe starting with Beacon(ph) and then moving to connect and its early iterations will forget the first abort to attempt to have it. And then, you know perhaps so was the third phase in between then and now. But what do you see these phases representing this sort of a new pro level?
Mr. TAYLOR: So, one thing is that we are focusing a great deal more on Facebook connect. We want – I mean at a high level the Facebook platform is a platform for identity. It’s – I think especially with some of the changes we’re making with yesterday’s announcement, by far the best authentication and authorization system for website to use. Just a simple identity system and then on top of that identity system we want to provide services for distribution and share it and also for personalization. And so I think, you know, the first iteration of the Facebook platform was largely applications that run within Facebook.com and really interactively a Facebook profile as sort of a user interface level. I think in the future, our hope is that you sort of bring your Facebook identity with you around the web so that when you’re using sites like Yelp or Digg, you know, you’re – you can have it personalized based on your social network and you can also share your activity on that those sites back into Facebook so that your friends, you know, can sort of share that and make those sites like more social than they are today. As I think, that’s really one sort of a directional stage (unintelligible) is that we really are excited how – some echo back there.
Mr. GILLMOR: Yes. I think it’s just a bandwidth channel, just a second.
Mr. TAYLOR: Anyway, so I think we are really excited of about that in particular and overtime, appropriate that user – when they think that basically because of platform. They really think of it all over the web rather than something that exist within a canvas page on Facebook.com primarily. And so, that probably one of the more significant sort of strategic shows we were making. I’m not saying we are really – still focus on outrunning within Facebook.com, obviously, I think our big games got dash board(ph) which you reference earlier is like one – one clear way that we are trying to really promote the most popular names on Facebook.com. But I think that over the next year, one of my main metric for success is how many sites adopt connected. How many sites does adopting connect really fundamentally change our business and make their business work better.
Mr. GILLMOR: All right. So, that leads into the open graph API fairly directly.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: Wouldn’t you say that this is going to be the – much in the same way that when Google opened the rest of the web to Googlist technologies with that sense that it really fundamentally change the platform. Don’t you think this is going to have the same effect?
Mr. TAYLOR: I hope so. I think that, as I said it is because this was a part of our six-month road map. I do think that it is not entirely, you know, concretely defined yet. So, you know, I think that there is a lot of the devils(ph) in the details in a lot of these things but I’m really excited about it. At a high level for the listeners, you haven’t heard much about it. The open graph API basically means that any page on the web can be a note in Facebook’s graph. And what that mean as you can go to any page on the web that’s enabled it and you can send that page and it will show up on your profile, just like a Facebook page does. It can published updates to your stream and it can sharpen search results if you’re searching for, you know, something name like that page and enough of your friends are connected to it, just like Facebook pages today. I’m really excited about it because I think that, you know, as we talk about Facebook and Facebook can act as really a platform for identify, having the things that you’re connect to even around the web rather than limit just on Facebook.com is completely in that spirit. And I think, its like offers are really exciting opportunity for developers to integrate with Facebook in a very lightweight way and still control your brand and your user experience.
Mr. GILLMOR: Robert. You were going to jump out.
Mr. SCOBLE: No. I’m excited that’s the future though.
Mr. GILLMOR: You know, that’s why I’m asking you too.
Mr. SCOBLE: Huffingtonpost is using Facebook connect in getting a lot of traffic and building a unique experience for their users.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah, it’s really – I think that’s really been also one of our focuses. I think we want to make it easier to adopt connect and also easier and it’s like author a clear path for connect, you know, really improving your business. I think they’re like, right now, you just put in the connect button on your site, isn’t going to like change your business overnight. So, one of the things we’re going to focus on is like providing a better templates for having a (unintelligible). So you get all the benefits of the distribution of virility and increase the, you know, sign operates and you know, decrease drop off as Kevin was referring to earlier. So, we have a lot of work to do there but I’m really excited about it because those partners who have implemented it and put some thought into that really seen a huge benefit from doing so.
Mr. MARKS: So, is the open graph API effect really going to let you read feeds from the rest of the web in Facebook? That seems to be what you are implying by saying, I can post off from the web into my feed.
Mr. TAYLOR: So, I can’t really say what it will or will not do because, I mean, we have some sketches…
Mr. MARKS: Is this (unintelligible) is?
Mr. TAYLOR: I don’t really want to, you know, it’s a little early to say what, you know, the specifics of what it will do. I will say though it’s less focus on feeds necessarily than identity. You know, I think that really, you know, the Facebook stream is about sharing and it’s a little more transient, you know. It’s like what’s going on right now and your profile is really about who you are and who you’re connected to. And I think that the one goal of the graph API is to really extend the identity component. We do provide tools for sites to share into the stream already and the graph API is sort of a parallel to that in the profile. It’s a way for you to like add, you know, stuff your profile and add connections that exists all around the web. So, for example, you know, you might be connected to a cause on causes, not sort of a more permanent connection that goes at your profile versus say, sharing a blog post from Scobleizer which is, you know, something that goes into the stream and is more transient.
Mr. MARKS: Right now, what was going on is that your existing connect lets me on your site, share your story into my feed. It doesn’t let your site share a story into my feed directly which easy to imply, I could subscribe to, you know, Scobleizer.com or whatever, and have his post show up in my feed in the same way they’re doing FriendFeed, that can be something if we’re going to hear that.
Mr. TAYLOR: I think, you know, again, the implementation deals on details are still being, you know, work out, but I think that that’s like definitely one of the goals that – that relationship that you have on Scobleizer.com can be really transparently taken interchange between Facebook and Scobleizer.
Mr. GILLMOR: Right. But, you know…
Mr. SCOBLE: I think I’m proud…
Mr. GILLMOR: Hang on a second.
Mr. SCOBLE: OK
Mr. GILLMOR: I’m just going to nail this done. You know, much in the same way that when you did made the decision of FriendFeed to move to a more real time and then completely real time architecture. You may not have had any idea about what the details of the implementation were going to be three months, six months out. But you sure did know that it was going to be a big deal.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: So, don’t you have the same sense here?
Mr. TAYLOR: I do. I really think that to me, I really like the idea that Facebook is sort of the social infrastructure on which a lot of these sites can get distribution and personalization, because it’s so difficult to build out that infrastructure. And so to me this is just a way of making it, so when I’m browsing around the web, you know, I’m sort of like taking my Facebook identity with me. So I do think this is going to be a really huge deal as we do it right and so really what I’m focusing on right now is just the product manager and me just trying to help work with the engineering team and try to speck out exactly what that looks like and make it really easier for developers to adopt.
Mr. GILLMOR: Is it going to have a real-time component?
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. I – you know, again – I, again, I don’t really think – I, we’ll still working on the details. So, it’s probably little early to talk about that.
Mr. GILLMOR: What about the IM functionality? That wasn’t really mentioned and they roll up into the inbox. It seems like much at the event yesterday, the wall characteristics seemed to be so being left alone sort of as a legacy and IM wasn’t even mentioned, but it seems like there’s going to be a collision between those forms and that’s why I ask you about the real time aspect of it. I mean, this is going to – so much of our identity these days is map to real time. It seems like it’s a fundamental thing and it seem odd to me that IM wasn’t even discussed.
Mr. TAYLOR: So, initially, the IM functionality won’t change and it will still exist. If there is relatively limited scope to which developers can interact with IM, there is a real-time invitation, APIs or games in particular, but right now, you know, as you mentioned as also, separate experience is on Facebook.com. I think it’s safe to say that we are iterating a lot of our user interface for the next few months. Some of the mocks for those new UIs were included in the presentation on the road map yesterday. But it’s probably – there’s a lot of people think, you know, about these problems and probably not. Not my place to say where it will end up but I, you know, obviously, I’m really excited about real time as you know. So, I think we’ll end up in a pretty good spot but I can’t really say what that will be.
Mr. GILLMOR: Robert.
Mr. SCOBLE: Bret, there seems to be a difference between meta data that you put into the system like I would put on my profile page, you know, I tell people I’m a Liberal Democrat, that’s 44 years old, that’s male, etc., versus what’s going on right now is the Twitter lesser turning on for everybody and everybody is building this. That’s metadata that’s being built by other people about you, sort of like Flicker tagging is happening. Do you see in the API an ability for us to build new kinds of metadata that are not just controlled about you? Controlled by you? You know, the user.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. I know, I think that’s a really interesting thing and actually Facebook I think has probably the most prominence form of this on the web with photo tagging. The photo tags on Facebook are probably my favorite part of the site. I do know, they’re the favorite part of a lot of people. It’s clicking on photos of Robert on Facebook is one of the coolest thing. Just because like from every all of these people who have never actually met, but you know, I’m looking at, you know, just photos of that person. So, I think it is okay specifically with our graph that we’re really interested in, is helping you build out your identity and having people in your social network help build out your network. Your identity whether it’s tagging you in post or tagging you in photos. So I think that’s a really, really great thing and I hope that the work we’re doing on Facebook.com and also with open graph API will hopefully, will definitely enable that functionality.
Mr. SCOBLE: Where do you see – where do you see us in this world? Are we 10 percent down with the social graph? Are we 50 percent down? Are we getting close to having it built out? You know, what other kinds of metadata do you think people are going to need about us?
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I think for me it just comes down to user experience. The reason I love the photo tagging functionality of Facebook is because I’m sort of – I get to sort of really get a lens into my friend’s life from a – sort of my extended social network, people I don’t necessarily know personally but who also are connected through my friend. And I think in that sense, we’re not really there yet because that only really works well for photos today but there is a whole bunch of other aspects of what I do online, whether it’s interacting with the source code projects I interact with on getup.com, or you know, if I meant to skateboard in, you know, there’s like a whole wealth of things and that we’re a little bit – is not captured by Facebook true or if I’m in the movies, you know. And there’s a bunch of Facebook applications today that fallen to all these verticals, you know, whether it’s a movie, or entertainment, or technical things. And I really hope that with things like the open graph API, a lot of those verticals and I’m personally passion about that comes to make sense for Facebook to do can really be build out so that when I go to Facebook.com, and when I look at someone’s profile, I can see what truly represents them, even if that content or those objects in the graph are hosted elsewhere.
Mr. GILLMOR: Is it possible that …
Mr. MARKS: Didn’t you have that profile boxes?
Mr. GILLMOR: Why don’t you try to …Sorry go ahead.
Mr. MARKS: Didn’t you have that with profile boxes and then took it away again? I mean, the original – the first iteration of apps on Facebook was about putting box on the profile from a third parties and that then was already banished often to a sort of hidden tab that nobody finds anymore.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. I think those are probably generally regarded as like not the most elegant way to do what I’m talking about. Yeah, it tended to be more about bling than actual connections so that make any sense.
Mr. GILLMOR: You know, that was the kind of MySpace, you know, hangover.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah, that’s sort of. I think it’s more important to know like what, you know, what say, like causes on connected to, than it is to like provide, you know, a canvass on which, you know, lot of different developers can put relatively garish things on people profiles that made it a little difficult to navigate the site. And so, I think we wanted to provide that functionality, but in a way that provides value to our users and developers. The only thing is that like, I think there’s a lot of details we work out with the open graph API. But one problem with profile box is that they were silos, meaning, if there are, you know, whoever provide the profile box knew what was in it but no other developers in Facebook itself didn’t actually know what was represented in that box and hopefully with something like open graph API, that data can flow more freely between applications which I think is really important so, you know, applications can build on each other as oppose to just sort of existing in this double silos.
Mr. GILLMOR: That’s a good opening for, you know, one of the things that currently doesn’t work very well isn’t represented by the Facebook space is FriendFeed. So, can you see FriendFeed being integrated using the open graph API?
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah, I mean, I actually do think that that’s like an interesting idea. I think that – one thing is -FriendFeed was particularly focused on sort of the communication channels in that particular style of communication on the site and my hope is that as we’re working on the platform, the reason I was really excited about working on it is expanding this to a point that applications like FriendFeed that really work well within it and into the platform that we’re working on right now. The areas are probably working on right now existed when FriendFeed started. FriendFeed would have been much more successful and much more widespread than it was and so really to me like that’s one of the things I always keep in my head is, you know, as a recent entrepreneur, what is the platform that would have really driven, you know, my business to a next level. And so, I do think that ‘we’re going in that right direction.
Mr. MARKS: So that’s, I mean, what I would bring the activity streams up there because Facebook is already generating those, which is great and have taken part in that, you know, standardization group. But we’re also, you know, the photograph one is a great example where exporting the feed of taggings in photographs is useful, but if you can actually draw the ones in from Flicker that don’t set(ph)last week and from iPhoto and from the other side in MySpace even …
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah, the aggregation model.
Mr. MARKS: Actually tagging, drawing that back in there saying, all right, here’s, you know, here’s the photos that Kevin posted at Flicker that are tagged with Robert Scoble or whatever. That would sort of be interesting and it gets this – yeah, there’s some complications there because you would have mapped the identities from one space to another. But the fact that we’ve commandeered to move that around is very hopeful. I mean…
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. MARKS: Having seen (unintelligible) for that.
Mr. TAYLOR: I think that’s a very promising thing and the direction we’re really interested in moving. They said, we really want to be the social infrastructure of UL and I think that – in particular, you know, I’m an avid user of Picasa Web Albums and we have a lot of avid Flickr users here and I think we’re really committed to making those products work really well and kind of bringing in what I think is a really, really positive social experience on Facebook.com and integrating it with the really positive photos experience on those sites and something we’re really committed to. And we’re that, as I said, worked some of the details that we’re really trying to work through right now.
Mr. GILLMOR: I don’t want to go too far down the rat hole of talking about, you know, Flickr and these kinds of, you know, media issues when we’ve got some very low hanging truth here that I’d like to get to, such as – right now, you can’t really have a conversation on Facebook. You know, these orphan comments that – you know, I was at the restaurant with Cliff Garrisher(ph) a little while ago and he got some sort of a comment on Facebook and he was trying to find it on his iPhone and he literally couldn’t get to it. I mean, you know – and then you got this product that you use to have something to deal with that right now, it’s the only real technology that works on the network. So, you know, where are we going to go with this and how long is it going to take?
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, obviously I love FriendFeed’s experience as well, but I also think that Facebook as a product, provides a lot of different value to a lot of different users, you know. The community that’s formed on FriendFeed and all the countries that it’s become popular, particularly the U.S., Turkey and to some degree, certain countries in Asia are really using it as sort of primarily, as a discussions tool and I think that, you know, one thing I’m very realistic about at Facebook is it’s a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You know, it is like the functionality of profile navigation and photo browsing and photo sharing and there’s lots of other features of Facebook that make up the Facebook experience for…
Mr. GILLMOR: Sure. But…
Mr. TAYLOR: Blogger Facebook user based, so I’m not sure it have like a great answer about where all these things ends up, but…
Mr. GILLMOR: I’m not looking for an answer. I’m looking for just your take on what is the value proposition of real-time conversation, because basically, you have the only tool that works and yet it’s not represented in Facebook.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. Well, I think there’s a couple of things. I mean, I think it’s interesting that a lot of people are finally working on communication tools after I think a long period of relatively little innovation in the space. So there’s sites like FriendFeed and sites like Twitter, there’s Google Wave and they’re all experimenting with what I would say are quite distinct variations on this problem. But I’m hoping that – you know, I’m not sure where all these things will end up because I think there are very experiences, but I think that like, we will end up with a new set of user phase standards for real-time communication by the end of this and there’s a lot of complexity that goes along with that like all the new protocols that kind of introduced as a side effect of these interfaces. But I think that like we’re in this period of rapid iteration and innovation, and as a consequence, you’re seeing things like PubSubHubbub and RSS Cloud and sort of more technical, you know, infrastructure related to this and you’re seeing a lot of different start-ups, introduced lots of interesting user interfaces on top of these protocols and so, I think it’s a period where it’s worthwhile to just have a lot of people trying a lot of different things and my hope is by the end of it, that this type of experience will be incorporated to all of our favorite products. Just like I think that there was this period in the Web 2.0 days, we’re adding, you know, profiles and like social features to the site. It was like a noble idea. And now, you wouldn’t ever go to a site that didn’t incorporate some sort of profile and social features. My hope is that a lot of these real-time communication things just become ubiquitous and sort of the standard on which, you know, lots of products feel – and again, I don’t really know where it’ll end up, but I think we’re in that period of just iteration.
Mr. SCOBLE: Bret, Bret, the things that Steve’s asking for really aren’t real time. They’re like permalinks to the objects that we’re talking about, the threads or the items and also, we need search. We need to be able to – you know, what we take it for grand on FriendFeed is I can search for, you know, every item that has the word Obama in the title that has 15 likes and I can find things really fast doing that and I can’t do that on Facebook.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah, I would say like I – you know, I understand that there’s some, you know, flaws with the Facebook stream product, but I do think that you’ve identified a couple of things I think that are important. You know, permalinks, notifications, you know, and other aspects just keep you involved with the conversation are really important and so those are the types of things that I think we’re trying to figure out because, you know, permalinks are important and notifications are important, but one thing that people who installed the FriendFeed IM bot noticed is if you get the notifications wrong, you could, you know, die and like drown in the sea of instant messages, you know.
Mr. SCOBLE: Yeah.
Mr. TAYLOR: But I just don’t think that I agree with all of the criticisms of the Facebook stream and I agree with the criticisms of FriendFeed that I’ve heard and that’s sort of what I mean. I don’t think this is a solved, you know, problem yet and I do think that we will see some best practices coming out of it. And when we do, I think a lot of platforms including Facebook will probably adapt to all those best practices, but I think we’re in a healthy period of experimentation at the moment.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, you mentioned – go ahead, Robert.
Mr. SCOBLE: One thing that people kept complaining about FriendFeed is that you didn’t have control of who appeared on your screen and that seems to be a fundamental difference between Facebook and Twitter. Twitter, I have complete control of who appears on my screen. If I don’t want to see Steve Gillmor, I block him and he does not show up on my news feed anymore. But – and I can do that on FriendFeed, but I can’t quite do it on Facebook. Facebook, if somebody – if I’m a friend with Steve Gillmor and then he – and then you comment on Steve Gillmor’s items, you show up on my news feed, right? And I didn’t invite you there. I didn’t ask to see you. You appeared for some reason and that causes people to distrust or dislike or causes them to see noise that they didn’t…
Mr. GILLMOR: No. I think that’s actually an asset of the technology. But what’s…
Mr. TAYLOR: It is in some places.
Mr. GILLMOR: What is Bret – what’s your answer, Bret?
Mr. TAYLOR: Oh, I was just going to say that I’m a little bit with Steve on this. I don’t think it’s implemented perfectly today. Obviously, ideally, your stream would only show you those things that you actually wanted to see. I’m predicting that is imperfect and something that I think the team is really iterating on here, but one thing that I – it is, I think, are people’s Facebook networks genuinely represent the real social networks. It’s something that I think is fairly unique to Facebook in the grand – the whole world of social networks. And as a consequence, seeing people that are, you know, you are connected to through one level of interaction is probably disproportionately value on – valuable on Facebook than compared to other networks because it’s probably someone you actually know or heard of given that your social network is represented more accurately here. And so I think if implemented correctly, it can be really valuable because that kind of serendipity is something that is very common in real life. You know, if you’re having a conversation with your friend and they start talking about, you know, some article that their other friend told them about, that’s like a completely normal behavior and capturing that natural social behavior within, you know, a network like Facebook I think has a lot of value. And that said, I agree with you like it has to be implemented well and it has to feel natural and – but I think that will come with a few design iterations.
Mr. SCOBLE: So this will continue to be a fundamental difference between Facebook and Twitter going forward?
Mr. TAYLOR: Hey, you know, I’m just one person here and I’m working on the platform and you’re talking about an area of the product that I use regularly, but I’m only peripherally involved in. So I can’t say what – you know, I (unintelligible) in the news team. Anything you can think of, the news feed team would be willing to try and I don’t which direction they’re going to take.
Mr. SCOBLE: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: It’d be interesting if we could just cut out the disclaimer and just go right to the answer.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. TAYLOR: I’m not working on it actively, so you’re asking me what…
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah. I was going to ask to you about what you – I was going to ask you what you thought about Google Wave. Now, you don’t need to have a disclaimer there.
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I’m even more by bias there because Lars and Yens are two of my best friends.
Mr. GILLMOR: Uh huh.
Mr. TAYLOR: We work on Google Maps together and so…
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, all right. So instead of talking about FriendFeed – God knows why not.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: Let’s talk about Wave. They’ve got some problems in terms of UI.
Mr. SCOBLE: Some problems they put into a stupid email interface.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well.
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I’ve got…
Mr. GILLMOR: We know what Robert thinks about this and…
Mr. SCOBLE: I mean, I was talking about – to somebody yesterday at the Twitter conference and we both said, why didn’t they just put it into an infinite loop or something? You know, some sort of super Wiki because there’s a lot of power there that I want to get to, but I don’t want to steal with the stupid UI of the email, you know?
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I think one thing that Wave (unintelligible) is it’s truly new. They really tried to do something that had never been done before and they did it all at once. It wasn’t, you know, like an iterative change from some previous thing. And as a consequence, people go in there with certain expectations and some people go thinking this is the next generation of email and they’re comparing it to email. And some people here, it’s kind of like Twitter for whatever reason. They go in and compare it to Twitter. And I think, you know, if you talked to Lars and Yens, they’re thinking of it as just, you know, an entirely new sort of collaboration tool and I think that’s like a – I really respect the fact that they tried to do something completely differently and in particular, one…
Mr. SCOBLE: I guess my argument is I wish they had just freed their mind and gone completely differently and…
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. SCOBLE: Not tried to pull it in the email interface because I want to use it for the Gillmor Gang. I want to have a Wave for the Gillmor Gang. It’s magical to get, you know, a thousand people all editing different parts of this continuous stream and putting in videos and putting in, you know, integration with live data sources and stuff. It’s really cool technology and if they had just simplified the UI so I could have one URL with one stream with permalinks for each item or each object on the graph there, it would be really cool.
Mr. MARKS: But that’s the thing, Robert. They’re not individual items. There are edits to a document. So structurally, underneath is much more like a Wiki than it is like a Twitter or an actively feed. So…
Mr. SCOBLE: Yeah. But see, this is the modern world. You know, each piece on this new super Wiki should have a URL so I can point to it. Because already, I have Waves that are like 16-feet long, right?
Mr. MARKS: What are your…
Mr. GILLMOR: I find it ironic, Robert, that you want a super Wiki when, you know, that – how are you going to control that page?
Mr. SCOBLE: There’s no controlling on it.
Mr. GILLMOR: Oh.
Mr. SCOBLE: Except on Twitter. You get to control Twitter.
Mr. GILLMOR: So we’re back to two weeks ago, Robert, than last week.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. GILLMOR: We’ve been having this wrong dialog, friend.
Mr SCOBLE: You get to control Twitter, man. That’s where your control feeds are going to reside.
Mr. GILLMOR: About how to control your page and…
Mr. MARKS: I’m just running on Robert’s Facebook page with Sidewiki.
Mr. GILLMOR: Exactly.
Mr. SCOBLE: I know you know how to control Twitter. You can put side Wiki on my Twitter account and then it’s all there.
Mr. GILLMOR: So you know, basically, Bret, this gives you some time in which to be able to figure this stuff out because everybody else sucks even more, right?
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I have to say one thing that is – you know, it’s one thing that I have used way before that I found to be a really nice experience is just collaborating on a product doc like a product spec. You know, I sent out Wave with like the initial version and then we spent some time editing it together and it was a smaller group of people not a thousand, and I think that that type of used cases perhaps, one of the things they had in mind when they designed the system and I thought…
Mr. GILLMOR: Right, and that…
Mr. TAYLOR: It’s a really unique and valuable experience.
Mr. GILLMOR: That kind of Ogres for, you know, a reasonable integration with Google Apps as opposed to necessarily the mail part.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. Again, I hope they do something like that. I think a lot of enterprises could gain a lot of value from it.
Mr. GILLMOR: All right. So what about FriendFeed? When are we going to start hearing about FriendFeedish stuff in Facebook? Forget the road map now. Now we’re talking Turkey.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah, that’s fair. To me, one of the things I’m really excited with is open enough the Facebook Apps more widely and more openly. Reason I’m excited about connect and open graphic API’s, to me, it represents – there’s obviously the discussions part of FriendFeed but also, I think one of the things when we started FriendFeed we’re really excited about was kind of like this social layer on top of the web that makes any sense, you know, making all the sites you use a little more social. And to me, the combination of connect and some of the products that we’re working on is really realizing that vision out of a much larger scale because of Facebooks, you know. And so for me, that’s one of the most FriendFeedy thing that I’m working on and even though it’s obviously a little bit unrelated to some of the discussions components of it. So I’m really personally really passionate about that, which is why I chose to work on the (unintelligible).
Mr. GILLMOR: As I was suggesting before and I think you agree with me – at least, there was some interesting idea. If you look at the discussions part of FriendFeed as an interface that can be expressed through, you know, a window on, you know, a page, must we get rid of the fan page thing?
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: Which I understand that the word fan is going to go away…
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: Real soon now. So at that point, you’ve got sort of an iGoogle. Only it’s an iFacebook that you’re beginning to develop and so couldn’t that, you know, that aspect of the real-time chat be sort of integrated by itself and then migrated into the four API overtime?
Mr. TAYLOR: I absolutely hope that’s technically possible. I think that’s something we’ve thought about.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. So what other pieces of FriendFeed are there? There’s the aggregation?
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that a lot of what were doing is not going to be translated directly, but I think like…
Mr. GILLMOR: The capability of being able to – I mean, the API allows us to be able to significantly model the routing of individual elements off the network.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: The things that Kevin is working on with the activity stream group in terms of finding, you know, agreed upon standards for that FriendFeed and very little else allows you to do that today.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: So you know, how do we move that – you know, I mean, obviously, you’re committing to at least for an unknown period maintaining that ability inside of the FriendFeed shell.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. So I mean, all these people are completely candid here. The aggregation – I think that the FriendFeed API was genuinely a positive thing. The aggregation components of FriendFeed have been a bit of a blast in the (unintelligible) and the press because the level of intentionality of things that we aggregated varied widely. So some people would import, you know, their Netflix, you know, rental stream and then someone else would import, you know, their Facebook status updates, and obviously, the Facebook status updates were much more intentional, much higher quality, much more likely to be commented on or liked. And,you know, if you went and decided to queue 10 movies in your Netflix queue all at once and it’s, you know, viewed into your FriendFeed stream, that would be like – you know, most of our users would just complain about that. And so one thing that I – you know, we’re thinking like – I don’t think I want to like translate certain things on FriendFeed directly because I think that they were done in a way that like get rid – you know, we have, you know, a chance to do them again. We probably would do differently. And I think that one thing that we’re thinking about is really focusing on the APIs and focusing on things like making sure that your Facebook experience represents really authentic user actions and really intentional things that they’ve shared. And so as a consequence like I think that a lot of stuff around connects on the stream APIs, the open graphic, yeah, that we’re working on, hopefully, the sum of those really captures a lot the value that you’re talking about even if the APIs themselves look a little different just because I do think that – you know, I’m really concerned that we don’t end up with sort of the same user interface problems that I thought we ended up with on Friendfeed.com.
Mr. GILLMOR: Right. On the other hand, you know, I hide a lot of things. Once you…
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. Well, unfortunately, with – you know, that was probably reasonable for FriendFeed. But you know, as I’ve said, Facebook has a lot of users with wide…
Mr. GILLMOR: I understand. I understand the dynamic of moving from basically in the early adapter sort of leading edge kind of environment to one that is global and where you’ve got a lot of moms and pops that just – and grandmas that just don’t care.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: But being able to translate those tools at the API level so that they can, you know, so the people can – I mean, we’re building on top of FriendFeed.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: And I’m certainly somewhat confident, less so from the last thing you just said that we’re going to be able to exploit those things because I think that we were at a very early stage in terms of, you know, the people inside FriendFeed and at the developer level of being able to harness tools, you know, the discovery process of finding out what the value of what you had created along with some of the workarounds that I can certainly understand you want to not perpetuate things that don’t work well.
Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah. So I certainly think that our goals are in line and maybe it just comes down to doing – getting the details right so that APIs will be at the same level of express activity that you, you know, you’re using today.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. I think that we’ve been censored by the Facebook police and your image is now frozen.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, maybe this is good – I actually have to go in a couple of minutes, anyway. Do you want to just wrap up them?
Mr. GILLMOR: Unfortunately, yes. No. I think we’ve gotten further than I actually thought we would in terms of getting you to talk about FriendFeed. So bottom line, do you think that there is going to be a continued use of FriendFeed that is going to be viable to keep the lights on in terms of aspects like what I’ve called stream splicing that were talked about, being introduced and seemed to have been sort of lost in the cut of the acquisition? Do you think that we’re going to see stream splicing?
Mr. TAYLOR: It is something that actually Paul and I have been talking a little bit about. And I think it just comes down to how difficult they will be technically to introduce. Because it is something I think that has a lot of potential value, but is also, you know, not applicable to a very large percentage of users. So Paul and I have been actively discussing it and I think it’s very possible or even probable that we do it soon. But if it turns out to be a real technical headache, we may have to reconsider it. So we’ll keep you posted on that.
Mr. GILLMOR: All right. Great. Robert?
Mr. SCOBLE: With the stream splicing, it’s about pages. The Facebook pages are still – you know, I can’t mix Oprah with Shaq’s page in an interesting way and that’s what I think we’re hoping you guys solved.
Mr. TAYOR: Oh, so I assume that Steve was talking about this particular feature of the FriendFeed API that he’s been asking for. Regarding the Facebook API, I think it is really an interesting concept, but it’s obviously a much larger in scope and so something that I’m interested in, but I can’t really say whether we will or won’t do right now.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. And Kevin?
Mr. MARKS: Yup.
Mr. GILLMOR: Any last questions?
Mr. MARKS: Um, no. Nothing else comes to mind. I think we covered a lot of good stuff. I’m encouraged to hear that you reached the activity stream stuff and these flow-based things that we’re working on. Because I think bridging it between these different places is going to be increasingly important and it’s great to see you bringing that experience from FriendFeed into Facebook.
Mr. GILLMOR: All right. Well…
Mr. TAYLOR: Thank you for having me, Steve.
Mr. GILLMOR: As always, it’s been a pleasure and we’d like to keep, you know, keep your – holding your feet to the fire here as we move forward. I think it’s important. I think when Paul finally went on FriendFeed in the wake of MGs and Robert’s articles about the death of FriendFeed, I think it soothed a lot of fever browse and I think it’s important. It’s a testimony to what you created and also frankly, as far as I’m concerned, a testimony to the fact that there’s nobody else is doing anything like it and we certainly hope that that’s going to be continued as far as possible at Facebook. This is Steve Gillmor. This has been the Gillmor Gang. I want to thank everybody who showed up and I want to thank – this Tricast was produced in association with our sponsors, Rackspace and the Tricaster, which makes this possible, is a product of New Tech, and we appreciate their support as well. We’ll see you again next time. Bye-bye.