Facebook Rolling Out Insights for Posts

For those of you with a Page on Facebook, you’d probably like to know how many people interacted with the stories you’ve posted. Luckily, Facebook is gradually rolling a new feature called Post Insights. This feature will allow  you to see the number of impressions and feedback for each post.

While were not yet seeting Insights on our pages, it is a very simple feature that will provide additional information besides the number of impressions. Feedback in the form of a percentage, will also show you how many visitors actually interacted with a particular post – such as ‘liked it’ or commented.

While this is definitely a step in the right direction, I think there is definitely a lot more data and insights to be pulled out of our page’s visitors.

Facebook Phasing Out Microsoft Ads for More ‘Social’ Ads

Microsoft and Facebook Partnership

When Microsoft invested $240 million to take a small stake in Facebook, the deal almost more about securing an ad deal as it was an equity investment. Now, almost two years later, Microsoft is starting to see some of its advertising pulled as Facebook continues to create its own ad options and revenue models.

According to BusinessWeek, Facebook has dropped Microsoft’s banner advertising in several international markets, and is now considering the same in the U.S. markets. Microsoft serves fairly generic banner advertising on Facebook. As the display advertising market continues to innovate, Facebook is also pushing more engaging formats, like brands promoting their Pages and encouraging Facebook users and their friends to become fans as well.

It seems that Facebook’s social ads are performing well and it is likely we’ll hear more news about advertising innovations and advertising options in the coming months. It will be interesting to see if these changes begin impacting Bing powering web search results on Facebook – which was included in the deal.

Facebook Apps Can Now Ask For Your Email Address

According the the Facebook Developers blog, Facebook is now granting developers on Platform the ability to request (or require) users to hand over their email addresses. By doing so, developers can begin sending periodic messages directly to users.

This actually doesn’t come as a surprise: Facebook initially talked about e-mail requirements last October and has kept developers updated on the timing in its Developer Roadmap. All of that said, this is a big deal!

Up until now, Facebook applications have used the notifications window (that slide up panel in the bottom right hand side of the screen) to engage users on an ongoing basis. Facebook is removing that functionality in the next thirty days. Moving forward, Facebook will no longer be the gatekeeper for communications between developers and users.

In order to collect Email addresses, Facebook developers will prompt users through an extended permission box. For those concerned with potential spam, they can elect to only share a proxied Email address – similar to the ones you can get when posting items on Craigslist.

Facebook Begins Building Its Own Data Center in Oregon

Facebook, now with over 350 million users, is showing no signs of slowing growth. While Facebook is technically still a startup company, its overall size and traffic volume puts Facebook in the same league as some of the biggest sites on the web. When you consider that fact, it’s pretty incredible that they have continued to get away without having their own data center. That’s about to change.

According to the Facebook blog, Prineville, Oregon, will be the location of Facebook’s first custom data center. Below is an image of the artists rendering of what the building will look like when completed.

Facebook Data Center

So why Oregon? Besides the fact other large companies have chosen Oregon as the location for their data centers (like Amazon and Google), the state also offers cheap power, a cooler climate and tax incentives for companies to build these centers there.

Here are a few of the energy saving techniques Facebook plans to implement in the new facility:

  • Evaporative cooling system: This system evaporates water to cool the incoming air. This process is highly energy efficient and minimizes water consumption by using outside air.
  • Airside economizer: The facility will be cooled by simply bringing in colder air from the outside. This feature will operate for between 60 percent and 70 percent of the year. The remainder of the year requires the use of the evaporative cooling system to meet temperature and humidity requirements.
  • Re-use of server heat: A portion of the excess heat created by the computer servers will be captured and used to heat office space in the facility during the colder months.
  • Proprietary Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) technology: All data centers must have an uninterruptible power supply to continuously provide power to servers. The Prineville data center will use a new, patent-pending UPS system that reduces electricity usage by as much as 12 percent.

When a large percentage of the world is using your product, you want to make sure it stays up. Facebook is now taking that reliability into its own hands.

Facebook Connect Teaming Up With MySpace

About a month ago, we’ve heard reports that MySpace and Facebook aren’t quite the archenemies they once were. In fact,  MySpace was to reportedly going to implement Facebook Connect which would allow users to log into MySpace with their  Facebook credentials.

Facebook Connect Features

MySpace has indeed implemented Facebook Connect on its very own Fan Video service. This is a very important step considering MySpace was once the undisputed king of social networking and this arguably signifies the end of the “MySpace era”.

It has become glaringly obvious to MySpace that Facebook has taken over when it comes to growth and overall number of users. As a result, MySpace has chosen to focus itself on a couple of specific niches –  music, video and entertainment; all areas which Facebook never fully developed. Considering this recent partnership, I expect more implementations of Facebook Connect on MySpace in 2010.

What are your thoughts? Is this a good move by MySpace / Facebook?

Facebook Finally Increases Photo Sizes

Facebook Photo Gallery Size

It’s been a long time coming, but according to the Facebook Developers’ page, Facebook users can expect larger photo sizes beginning tomorrow with a complete roll out finalized over the next three weeks. While its not a huge increase in size (604 pixels to 720 pixels) any increase in size is better than not!

For those of you with Facebook applications that query the photo FQL table or uses photo.get, make sure you update your code to accommodate these new increased sizes.

One of the interesting things, however, is the size of the profile picture will be getting smaller! Profile pictures will move from 200×600 to 180×540 pixels. Again, for you developers, be sure to adjust your applications accordingly.

As one of the largest photo-sharing sites on the web, it’s nice to see Facebook increasing it’s pixel space, even if the increase isn’t as large as we would all like it.

What do you think about Facebook’s photo changes?

Twitter Releases Answer to Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect was first announced in May 2008, and currently boasts over 80,000 websites have added the feature with over  60 million Facebook users engaging with Facebook connect on third party websites each month. According to multiple sources, Twitter is now preparing to launch its own set of tools that will let third party websites easily integrate Twitter features  directly into their web sites and services. This is essentially a direct response to the massively popular Facebook Connect feature.

The new Twitter “connect” product will reportedly allow websites to authenticate users, pull data and then publish back to Twitter.  While all of these features currently exist via the Twitter API, the Facebook Connect-like packaging and easy-to-use
widgets
don’t exist yet.

We’ll update this development as soon as we have more details but our understanding is that Twitter has been working with  a handful of publishers and will likely make an announcement about the new product shortly.

Haiti Earthquake – Online Donations and Help Resources

Red Cross LogoI thought it necessary to deviate from the regular ‘facebook‘ related posts in favor of  helping those impacted by the recent earthquake in Haiti. According to the latest news accounts, over 100,000 are expected to have died during the quake or over the past 48 hours with the after effects of disease, dehydration and starvation.

As Only Facebook‘s minor contribution to the Haitian disaster, here is a compilation of websites that you can check out if you want to monitor what’s happening in Haiti and also make donations to the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders. In addition, for each and every new Facebook Fan generated through the remainder of the month of January we’ll be donating $5 to the Red Cross relief efforts – so become a fan here!

  • Text Yele. Wyclef Jean is urging donors to text ‘Yele’ to 501501 and make a $5 contribution to the relief effort over cell phone. Click here to get more information via Wyclef’s Twitter page.
  • Save the Children. Donate at savethechildren.org or make checks out to “Save the Children” and mail to: Save the Children Income Processing Department, 54 Wilton Road, Westport, Conn. 06880
  • UNICEF. Go online to unicefusa.org/haitiquake or call (800) 4UNICEF.
  • Red Cross. To Donate $10 to Red Cross for #Haiti – Text HAITI to 90999 (the $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill)”. You can also go online to redcross.org and click Donate, or call (800) REDCROSS.
  • Direct Relief InternationalDonate online at directrelief.org.
  • Mercy Corp. Go online to mercycorps.org or mail checks to Haiti Earthquake Fund, Dept. NR, PO Box 2669, Portland, Ore. 97208 or call (888) 256-1900
  • Useful Number to Memorize -1-888-407-4747. It’s a toll-free number set up by the The State Department has also set up links on its Web site to facilitate donations to disaster relief agencies.
  • DipNote – urges everyone to donate
  • TwitterMap.tv – shows where people are tweeting geographically
  • Google Earth image mapping layer of Haiti
  • Center for International Disaster Information
  • Text “HAITIY” tp 9999to donate – part of this donation will be used for another dimensione.
  • Or you can go online to organizations like the Red Cross and Mercy Corps to make a contribution to the disaster relief efforts.

Have I missed any important resources? Please leave them in the comments if so!

Facebook Launches Twitter “Retweet” Feature

It’s been a long time coming – Facebook launching its own version of Twitter’s retweet feature. Facebook has rolled out a “via” feature that allows you to repost another friend or user’s shared items, with a “via” link attached for attribution.

With most new features, Facebook institutes a progressive rollout, however, it appears the ‘via’ feature is live for everyone. To try it out, head over to a friend’s posted item in your news feed and click on the “share” link. You’ll now see a “via [your friend’s name]” and also an option to remove [your friends name]. Once the item is shared, it will appear on your profile with a via link that also points to your friend’s profile. Your friends will also see the item in their News Feeds which now creates the viral loop that folks on Twitter benefit from with the retweet.

As of right now, the feature only works for posted links. It is not yet possible to “via” status updates or photos. Nonetheless, this is yet another big move by Facebook to bring  its social network more inline with one of its biggest competitors – Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Retweet Feature

With the biggest buzz word in the industry being “real time search” this is clearly another effort to improve Facebook’s search tool and to become more relevant in the world of real-time news, search, and information. It will be interesting to see how quickly users respond to this new feature and start sharing “via” links in their own feeds.

What are your thoughts? Will you use this new feature? Why or why not?

YouTube Getting Social With Facebook Integration

YouTube Logo

Google has been rolling out new products and features in excess as of late. The most recent is a partnership and tighter integration with the social network Facebook.

Youtube is now experimenting with a new “feed” which will  connect YouTube and Facebook. The Facebook feed will push your friends embedded YouTube videos directly to your YouTube homepage.

While the YouTube syndication is still being tested, this blog post will provide deeper details on how you can try the feed for yourself.

A software engineer at YouTube, Chris Testa, said in the blog post:

“Sometimes those videos are served up by algorithms that offer recommendations based on your viewing history or the channels you’re subscribed to. By adding the videos your friends are embedding on Facebook into the mix, we’re hoping to close a loop with regards to how videos are shared and consumed these days.”

So why would YouTube want to go this route? Consider this – according to YouTube, a staggering 46.2 year’s worth of YouTube videos are viewed on Facebook everyday. The numbers for other social networking sites Orkut, MySpace and Hi5 trail off significantly at 12.7, 5.6 and 1.2 year’s worth of video views per day, respectively.