Facebook held its 2014 f8 developer conference at The Concourse in San Francisco on April 30, 2014. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO gave keynote address at the event along with other management team members of the company. We produce here the full transcript of the event…
Mark Zuckerberg – Founder & CEO, Facebook
Welcome. Welcome. Thanks for coming to F8.
This is going to be a different kind of F8. In the past, we’ve had F8 when we had some kind of big new product announcement or new direction that we were going in. And this always meant a lot of different changes for your apps.
Now we’re focused on building a stable mobile platform. You’re trying to build great mobile apps and businesses and we want to bring this community together once a year to talk about all of the different things that we’re doing to help support you.
Stable Mobile Platform
So we’ve heard from you that you want to use Facebook platform for three main things: to help you build, grow and monetize your apps. You want things like identity and sharing, push notifications, app installs, ad networks, and the best way that we can help you improve people’s lives and help connect the world is by providing you with a stable mobile platform to build, grow and monetize your apps.
So we’re going to help you build with tools like Login which are now used by more than 80% of the top iOS and Android apps. We’re going to help you grow with stable distribution, like the more than one billion app installs that we’ve driven to your apps. And we’re going to help you monetize and build stable businesses, like the more than $3 billion in payments that we’ve helped process for you in the last year alone.
So most of you are building mobile apps. And over the past few years, we’ve made this transition to being a primarily mobile company ourselves. Just a few years back, most of our business and most of our usage was on desktop. But now more than a billion people use all of our mobile apps and more than 20% of all time spent in apps on phones is spent in Facebook apps and the majority of our business is on mobile.
But the thing is it can be annoying to build for mobile because the mobile ecosystem is so siloed. Apple has a vertical platform; Google has a vertical platform. Microsoft has a vertical platform. Then there’s the mobile web and there are others too. And these are all important platforms and they’re each growing.
But the thing is all of these companies are just trying to compete and make their own platforms better and more different from the others. No one has an incentive to help bridge the gaps between these platforms and make it easier to build on any of their competitors’ platforms.
But as a person using a phone, this is terrible. I just want to be able to buy a phone and have all of the apps that I want worked on it. And as developers, of course, we want tools that work across all these different platforms. It’s really annoying when we have to build the same thing three, four, five times just because of these different stacks.
So our goal with Facebook is to build the cross-platform platform and provide all the tools that you need to bridge these different worlds. So we all want identity across platforms and sharing across platforms and push notifications across platforms and app installs and even monetization. And this is what Facebook platform is all about – building the cross-platform tools that you need to build, grow, and monetize your apps everywhere.
Now it’s natural for us to focus on these things because a lot of these tools are the very same things that we’ve needed to build for ourselves in order to help more than a billion people connect across all these different systems.
Now as I said, we’re really focused on building a stable mobile platform. And one thing you may not know is that all of our own mobile apps are built on top of the very same platform and APIs that you guys use when you’re running for Facebook. And all of our engineers use the same tools and read all the same documentation that you do.
So because of this, over the past few years as our apps have grown, the number of requests that our platform handles has grown by 20x. We know handle almost half a trillion requests a day, which is a pretty ridiculous number when you think about it. And the thing is when we’ve scaled, we’ve actually improved performance by more than 40% on average response time and we’ve reduced the already small amount of downtime by more than 70% over the past few years. So it’s really important for you and for all of our teams internally that we build stable and efficient infrastructure that you can rely on for the long term. This has been a really big focus for us.
We used to have this famous mantra: move fast and break things. And the idea here was that as developers, moving quickly is so important that we were even willing to tolerate a few bugs to do it. But what we realized over time was that this actually wasn’t helping us move faster because having to slow down and fix these bugs was slowing us down more than we were actually improving our speed.
So in the recent years, we’ve actually changed our strategy for moving faster. And now what we do is focus on building the best tools and infrastructure in the industry to build on top of it. So move fast with stable infra – it may not have quite the same ring to it, it may not be quite as catchy as move fast and break things. But this is – it helps us build better experiences for all the people that we serve and it’s how we operate now.
So with this theme in mind, I want to start today by going through a few things that we’re doing to make our platform even more stable and reliable for you to build on top to build, grow, and monetize our apps.
Now one problem that we all have is we write apps and we want them to run on lots of different phones, including older platforms. So you want to be able to build something you just know that it’s going to be able to work for a while.
So today for the first time, we’re introducing a two-year stability guarantee for all of our core APIs and platforms, including Login and Sharing. So this means that even if we change this core APIs in the future, we’re guaranteeing that we’re going to keep supporting them as is for at least two years and maybe longer from the time that we make that change.
Now we’re still going to experiment with new features and different things but we’re going to clearly mark those as beta so you know what’s going to be part of this core stable platform.
We’re also introducing API Versioning. So this is something that you know we want to make sure that all the apps that we all wrote two years ago keep working and this is something that we wanted internally as we built on top of this platform. So now every API that we launch is going to be versioned and you’re going to get to decide what version of the API you build against.
We’re also introducing an SLA that we’re committed to fixing all major bugs within 48 hours. And this is something that we’ve always tried to move fast on and the reality is we’re usually even faster than this. But now for the first time we want to put in place a firm commitment that we’re going to be able to fix all these bugs or major bugs within 48 hours.
So with all these things, we think that we can produce an even more stable mobile platform; all these things that we’re doing – hardening our platform for own apps, improving performance, introducing a stability guarantee, adding API versioning and adding a bug’s SLA, we think we can help you ship even more great apps. So stability is the first theme that we’re going to talk about today at F8.
Putting People First
Now I am going to change gears for a moment. Another big theme for today is going to be putting people first. We serve a lot of different communities here: developers, advertisers, employees. But one community is by far the most important out of everyone that we serve – and that’s the people who use our products. And if you think about it – the reason that we’re all here is really because of that. So it’s really important in every single thing we do, we always put people first.
And over the years one of the things we’ve heard just over and over again is that people want more control over how they share their information, especially with the apps. And they want more say in control over how apps their data. And we take this really seriously because if people don’t have the tools they need to feel comfortable using your apps, then that’s bad for them and it’s bad for you. But it will prevent people from having good personalized experiences and trying out new things but it also might hurt you and prevent you from getting some new potential customers. So we need to do everything we can to put people first and give people the tools they need to build a sign in and trust your apps.
Now we know that some people are scared of pressing this blue button. You probably – a lot of you have maybe even had personal experiences where you felt this. It’s some of the most common feedback that we get on our platform. And the reality is if you’re using an app that you don’t completely trust or that you’re worried might spam your friends, then you’re not going to want to give it a lot of permissions.
So last year we took the step of separating out read and publish permissions to make it so that apps can no longer require you to give them the right to publish to other friends, all your friends in order to sign into an app. And I think this was a really important step and it helped people trust the blue button and trust signing in to apps. And today we want to do even more to put control and power back in people’s hands.
So now whenever you sign into a new app with Facebook, you’re going to see this dialogue. And if you want, you’re going to be able to easily change line by line what you share with this app. So in this case, I want to sign in but you know I might not be comfortable yet sharing my email address or revealing exactly how much I love Lana Del Rey or maybe I just don’t want to listen to Summertime Sadness on repeat right now. You know whatever the reason is – I don’t talk about it right now; it’s fine. I can just uncheck these boxers and I am done. With the new Login I can sign in on my own terms.
And if I don’t want to edit anything here, then I can sign in with exactly the same number of taps that took before. There’s no extra friction. So as a developer, this is going to help more people be comfortable signing into your apps and engaging with them.
Now we’ve heard really clearly that you want more control over how you’re sharing with apps. And this new Login is all about giving you that control but we’ve also heard that sometimes you can be surprised when one of your friends shares some Azure data with an app. And the thing is we don’t ever want anyone to be surprised about how they’re sharing on Facebook and that’s not good for anyone. So we’re going to change how this works.
And in the past, when one of your friend blogged into an app, in this case Ilya, the app could ask him not only to share his data but also data that his friends had shared with him – like photos and friend list here. So now we’re going to change this and we’re going to make it so that now everyone has to choose to share their own data with an app themselves. So we think that this is a really important step for giving people power and control over how they share their data with the apps. And as developers, this is going to allow you to keep building apps with all the same great social features while also giving people power and control first. So I am really happy that we are doing this.
Okay. There’s one more Login product that I want to talk to you guys about today. How many times have you installed an app and wanted to try it out but you haven’t wanted to create a brand new account or you’re not yet ready to sign in with your real identity?
Today we’re going to solve this with a new service that we’re introducing called Anonymous Login. And the idea here is that even if you don’t want an app to know who you are yet, you still want a streamlined experience for signing in that removes the hassle of filling out all these different fields. So here’s how it works, you can kind of see. This is what you’re going to see the first time that you tap on the Anonymous Login button and of course after subsequent times it’s just a one tap experience to get in. So you want hassle-free way to log in and try apps.
You probably also want an experience that can be synced across devices which is possible because we will provide an anonymous identifier even for not telling the app who you are. So you’re going to be able to have an experience that sync without the app actually even knowing who you are for the first time. So this is going to let you try apps without fear and then if you want, you can always sign in with your real identity to personalize the app a bit later on once you’re more comfortable using that app. So that’s Anonymous Login. We’re really excited about this one too.
So the new Login and Anonymous Login are examples of putting people first in the way that we designed this platform. By giving people more power and control they’re going to trust all the apps that we build more and over time use them all more and that’s positive for everyone.
These login tools are also examples of the kinds of cross-platform services that make up Facebook platform. Our place in the world is to build the stable mobile bridge across all these different worlds and these are just a couple of the examples of the type of things that we’re building to do that. So now we’d like to walk you through all the other things that we’ve been working on to help you build, grow, and monetize your apps. And to do that, I’d like to hand it off to Ilya Sukhar to take us through the Build pillar of platform. Thank you.
Ilya Sukhar – Founder and CEO, Parse
Thank you, Mark. As I’m sure many of you know building things is hard. Building a product is hard. Building a customer base is hard. Building a scalable business is very hard. And every time the world of computing gets a little bit more exciting, a little bit more magical, new technology, new devices, the challenges for developers increase, there’s new programming languages, new platforms, new devices, new versions, new things to think about.
And so the Build pillar of the Facebook platform is all about helping developers meet these challenges by leveraging Facebook’s infrastructure, resources and footprint on every major platform. One of the things we’re really excited about offering is Parse.
My cofounders and I started Parse about three years ago. And we found the process of building apps to be painful and tedious. We’re reinventing the wheel over and over again with things that every app needs, infrastructure, functionality that doesn’t differentiate one app from another. No consumer actually notices the stuff, it either works or it doesn’t and you certainly notice it doesn’t and that’s no good.