Open Source Cloud Authors: Kevin Benedict, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Article

Exclusive Q&A with Mike Vernal of Facebook

Web 2.0 Journal Q&A Special: 1,000+ Websites Now Using Facebook Connect

More than a thousand sites are using Facebook Connect, says Mike Vernal, a member of the Facebook Platform engineering team, in this Exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON's Web 2.0 Journal. Some prominent examples Vernal mentions include Citysearch for local reviews, Joost and Vimeo for video sharing, and a number of blogs, including TechCrunch and Gawker.

Web 2.0 Journal: You’ve been closely involved with developing and launching Facebook Connect. How would you summarize the chief strategic benefit of this service for Facebook’s 150M or so users?

Mike Vernal: I think the answer is twofold. First, Facebook Connect allows users to take their Facebook profile and friends with them to any site on the Web. This is pretty powerful, in that it saves users the hassle of creating another username and password, filling out their profile information, and running a contact importer on every site. Instead, the user can simply register and log in using their Facebook identity and immediately bring their profile and friends with them to that site.

Second, Facebook Connect allows users to share what they’re doing across the Web with their friends back on Facebook. So if I blog about something interesting, comment on someone else’s blog, or share photos or videos somewhere on the Web, I can now share that with my friends through Facebook. We’ve found that sharing this information back to friends helps to create a virtuous cycle of sharing, where friends start to comment on your activities and also start to share their own, which we think is quite powerful and valuable to users.

Web 2.0 Journal: Does this mark the much-discussed transition of Facebook to “platform” status, do you think?

Vernal: Facebook Connect is an evolution of the existing Facebook Platform. Since the very beginning, our goal with Platform has been to allow applications anywhere to become more social by leveraging the power of Facebook. Since 2006 we’ve had an API that allows Web, desktop, and mobile applications to integrate Facebook information. The initial version of Facebook Platform added the ability to integrate directly into Facebook. Facebook Connect represents an evolution of the experience for Web applications. We’re looking to evolve the mobile and desktop experiences, too, including a version of Facebook Connect specifically designed for mobile phones called Facebook Connect for Mobile.

Web 2.0 Journal: How many sites are currently live with Facebook Connect?

Vernal: Currently more than a thousand sites are using Facebook Connect. Some prominent examples include Citysearch for local reviews, Joost and Vimeo for video sharing, and a number of blogs, including TechCrunch and Gawker.

Web 2.0 Journal: What is the approval process like for a site that wants to leverage the platform?

Vernal: Anyone can integrate their site with Facebook Connect or build an application that uses Facebook Platform -- there is no approval process to get started. There are a handful of features like friend linking and automatically publishing Feed stories that require a lightweight approval process before being enabled.

Developers can also optionally participate in the Application Verification program, which involves an exhaustive review of an application or site in exchange for badging on Facebook.

Web 2.0 Journal: Tell us about FriendLink, the service that I believe allows a site using Facebook Connect to pass e-mail addresses to Facebook and get friend recommendations back. I can see that this must allow sites to make connections between users that they may not know about yet (but that Facebook already knows about). Is it proving popular?

Vernal: The friend linking feature was designed to allow sites with a large number of users to quickly fill in the social connections between those users. It works by allowing sites to pass us a cryptographic hash of their users’ email addresses and then using that hash to match up their users with our users. This allows us to then ask the user if they’d like to connect their account on that site with Facebook. This feature has strong network effects – it is more valuable to sites with larger user bases, so we’re seeing it gain momentum as larger sites start to launch.

Web 2.0 Journal: What other tips and recommendations can you provide developers on how they can increase social distribution and integrate their Web sites and applications to Facebook Connect?

Vernal: First, I think making the registration process as simple as possible is critical. As most site owners know, the number of people who complete the registration process is inversely proportional to its complexity. As you add steps (fields to fill out, emails to confirm, etc.), you lose users. By leveraging the user’s profile on Facebook, you can make the registration process much simpler and get more users into your site.

Second, once the user has connected to your site, you can save them the hassle of logging in each time they come back. If the user is already logged into Facebook and has connected to your site, then it’s easy to securely detect that and automatically log the user into your site.

Third, I think there’s a huge amount of potential around using Facebook Connect to increase user engagement on your site. By using the social graph as a content filter, you can help present the user with more relevant information. A classic example of this is a review site like Citysearch – people tend to trust and value reviews from their friends more than they trust reviews from the general population. By highlighting reviews from friends and other trusted contacts, the site becomes more valuable and engaging to the user.

Lastly, there are social communication features like Feed that allow users to share what their doing back with their friends on Facebook and, in the process, drive traffic and engagement on your site.

Web 2.0 Journal: How about those who are worried that Facebook Connect gives Facebook access to a great deal of information about how users interact with other social sites. What do you say to them?

Vernal: Our goal with Facebook Connect has been to help users take their information with them to sites across the Web and to help those sites build better, more engaging user experiences with that information. If more people are logging in and engaging with content on another Web site because of Facebook Connect, we see that as helping the site overcome core challenges of attracting and retaining users. We also believe the increased engagement will open doors to new revenue opportunities.

We also give sites and users the power to share information back through Facebook. First, sites can choose which actions they think users will want to share back through Facebook. Users are then in control of the actual stories that are published back to Facebook through the Feed publishing dialogs. We believe we’re offering a valuable service to users and Web sites while giving the site and the user control over what information is shared back through Facebook.

Web 2.0 Journal: What’s the mobile piece of the Facebook Connect story?

Vernal: Facebook Connect for Mobile is a mobile-specific version of Facebook Connect that will launch in early 2009. It will first be available to developers working on the iPhone platform. Like Facebook Connect for the Web, it will be focused on letting users bring their Facebook profile and friends with them to applications on their mobile phones. There are already some exciting applications in the queue, so stay tuned.

Web 2.0 Journal: FB was launched February 4th, 2004, so it’s soon reaching its 5th birthday. Are there any special birthday plans that you’re aware of – as a welcome counterpoint to the gloom and doom of ’09, perhaps?

Vernal: Being an engineer, they thankfully don’t trust me to plan the parties. We’re all getting pretty excited by the continued growth we’re seeing across the world, including over 150 million people actively using the site, and we’re excited to see what the next year will bring.

Cloud Computing Is Swelling Into an Estimated $36BN Market
The Cloud Computing conference theme this March is “The Delivery of IT Resources as Services” - with 100+ breakout sessions by leading industry CEOs and CTOs whose companies already recognize that what today's companies need above all is to be able to build infrastructures that can scale up or down at a moment's notice.

Over the next five years, IDC expects spending on IT cloud services to grow almost threefold, reaching $42 billion by 2012 and accounting for some 9% of total software sales. More importantly, spending on cloud computing will accelerate throughout the forecast period, capturing 25% of IT spending growth in 2012 and nearly a third of growth the following year.

Cloud computing helps IT cut infrastructure costs while adding new features and services to grow core businesses. Clouds can help grow margins as costs are cut back but service offerings are expanded.

Top Keynotes, Top Technical & Business Sessions, Top Delegates
2nd International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo will feature 100+ technical sessions from the leading industry players from the main layers of the Cloud ecosystem - the infrastructure players, the platform providers, and those offering applications and services. Our two-day Expo is your chance to get in front of senior technologists including CIOs, CTOs, directors of infrastructure, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, and communications and networking specialists.

Attend Full-Day Cloud Bootcamp FREE With Your “Expo Plus Bootcamp” Registration!
Cloud computing is an opportunity for business to implement low cost, low power and high efficiency systems to deliver scalable infrastructure. But what's actually involved in moving to a cloud infrastructure? In this compelling one-day, hands-on training program, you'll learn just what it takes to take full advantage of the Cloud. Join fellow delegates as Alan Williamson, Editor-in-Chief of Cloud Computing Journal, uses his expertise to lead you through Cloud Computing Bootcamp on Tuesday March 31, 2009 with configuration samples, live demos and working setups.

Seats are limited to the first 500 attendees so Register Today for Cloud Computing Bootcamp to secure your spot!

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
OnProcess Technology has announced it will be a featured speaker at @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1 - 3, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Dan Gettens, OnProcess’ Chief Analytics Officer, will discuss how Internet of Things (IoT) data can be leveraged to predict product failures, improve uptime and slash costly inventory stock. @ThingsExpo is an annual gathering of IoT and cloud developers, practitioners and thought-leaders who exchange ideas and insights on topics ranging from Big Data in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.