Editor's note: We used Cover It Live to cover CEO Mark Zuckerberg's opening address at the company's F8 developers conference today in San Francisco. So if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component at the bottom of this post. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and CNET reporters. You can also read our edited transcript below, or aon the company's key announcements, including a revamped profile page it calls Timeline and changes in Open Graph that make it easier to share media content such as music, movies, news, and games.
Transcript of the live blog starts here:
10:16 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): And here we go... Zuckerberg replaced by Andy Samberg. Of SNL fame, doing his Zuckerberg impression. Very well.
10:17 a.m. (Josh Lowensohn): Samberg says, "Hey, welcome to F8 okay...we're going to change the universe....I say that every year!" He's actually going through with this, saying he's going to focus on authentic identity. "Now's the part where I gab about user growth!"
"Honestly, we just stopped counting you guys!"
"More people than the cast of 'Glee,' more people that claimed they came up with Facebook. BURN!"
10:18 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): "Our focus has shifted from user growth to user engagement" Samberg jokes. Followed by a Charlie Sheen joke. Also just took a knock at Twitter.
10:19 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now profiling his dog's Facebook profile page. Seriously. This is kind of amazing. Posting in front of a giant photoshopped picture of a muscular guy with his head on it. With "Zuck Dawg" on it.
10:20 -21 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : I'm proud to announce new features on Facebook, he jokes. "I'm not really friends with these people. It's the perfect place to put awkward classmates from high school....racist neighbors, and aunts." Fake feature: "The Slow-Poke" Takes 24 hours to reach the person. The real Zuckerberg just came up to interrupt this. Pretending to be angry, with a large grin.
10:22-23 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : "I was gonna feed you information through the ear piece and you were going to repeat it" Zuckerberg says. Samberg now doing a Jessie Eisenberg impression. Followed by Mark Wahlberg.
10:24-25 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : Well, now that's over. All Zuck now. Zuckerberg says we're seeing two things today. The last five years of social networking have been about getting people signed up, Zuck says. But now, most people see social networks as a tool to stay connected every day. New milestone last week: In a single day, half a billion people use Facebook. Zuckerberg says, what's more exciting than that is all the things that are now possible because the connections are in place.
10:25-6 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): : Zuck warming audience up to the fact that they're going to try to get every site on the planet to go social and use FB as the infrastructure of who's connected to whom. But first, he's going to explain why he rearranged the furniture in the FB house... again.
10:26-27 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : Starting with the profile page, which Zuckerberg says is at the center of it all. People have invested a ton of time personalizing this page.He is showing a picture of the profile page circa 2004. Looking very old school, with the long since defunct Facebook guy. You could post a photo, but there were no photos or events. There was no wall. Zuckerberg said it was a big deal because it was the first place to express yourself and discover new content about other people.
10:28 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : Followed in 2008 by the relaunch of the profile to include all the things that people have shared and done. Moving from 5 minutes of exploration to 20, Zuckerberg says.
10:29 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): : Followed in 2008 by the relaunch of the profile to include all the things that people have shared.
10:29-30 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : Zuckerberg now talking about how things that get shared to the wall would disappear. And "we think this is a real problem, and we think we have a real solution." If the original profile was 5 minutes, and stream was next 15 minutes, I want to show you what's next, Zuckerberg says. We've been working on it all year, Zuckerberg says. New feature is Timeline. Timeline is the story of your life, Zuckerberg says. Has 3 pieces: all your stories; all your apps; new way to express who you are.
10:31 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): It's a lot more visual, Zuckerberg says. All your stories in the bottom left-hand side. Basically just like the wall. Then on the right, you have a timeline that breaks down all your posts from various points. Then where's a cover photo so you can "express who you are."
10:31 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Zuck is coming across very Jobs-like in this intro. Nice job.
10:32-33 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now we're getting a walkthrough of an entire timeline.The page is moving nice and smooth, letting users jump way way way back to their earliest posting. Also works on a mobile device. Can just scroll down and it's tightened up to fit a narrow screen. Biggest challenge was figuring out how to put all of it on one page, Zuckerberg says. You can have everything, or just a few things, but it all has to fit and be easy to go through. Zuckerberg says the answer was "magic." No really.
10:33 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): There's an algorithm for that. FB Timeline summarizes more aggressively the further back in time the timeline goes.
10:34 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Looks just like the wall, with everything shared recently. Users click on a year, and it scrolls down to that year. Years also get broken down by month. Zuckerberg points out that it's not everything from the year, just the most important content. "It's all here, it's your whole life," Zuckerberg says.
10:34 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Interesting Time Machine-like UI for choosing epochs in the FB Timeline.
10:35-36 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now we're getting a demo of how you can add a photo to a specific time. You can just mouse over the point in time, and you get the option to add photos, notes, other things. Zuckerberg says sometimes it's not just media, but important events too. But how to filter it to see one type of content? The Web app has filters that let you see just one thing. e.g. photos view.
10:36 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Zuck, he loves his doggie, "Beast."
10:37 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Scrolls just like going through photos on the service."It's much nicer than anything we have today," Zuckerberg says. Items are also posted to a map, so you can see what you've done. The map is Microsoft's Bing by the way--more use of that partnership. Now we're seeing how this works with apps.
10:37 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Map filter shows where you've been. An intersection of map timelines among friends would be cool.
10:39-10:40 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : Most common thing people used apps for was to add boxes to their profile, Zuckerberg says. People were adding 60 to 100 boxes to personalize. "It was getting unwieldy," Zuckerberg says. That's now a part of Timeline. Users are going to rely on apps to help fill that out.
Example here is using a social-cooking app to make burgers. That shows up on the timeline with a link to the app. Timeline also shows recent activity per app, so you can see what people have been up to.
That goes hand in hand with "reports." Which gives you a monthly or yearly report, which goes into the timeline. "We think people are really going to like these," Zuckerberg says.
10:40 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): : "We think people are really going to like these." Steve much?
10:42 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): : How to add an app to the timeline: Can use apps the same way as before, but we think people will discover apps from friends' timelines, Zuckerberg says. That new page looks a lot like giving an app permissions. You just click a button that gives the app permission to be there.
We wanted to design a place that feels like your home, Zuckerberg says. Timeline is a new aesthetic for Facebook. Highlight and curate Facebook to express who you are, Zuckerberg says. Part of that is the big photo at the top (very blog like).
10:44-45 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Can make certain items bigger on the timeline by hitting a little start button on there. Basically makes it go from a square to a big rectangle. Basically a personalization option. Can also give Timeline items privacy settings. This is individual too, so you can pick just a public version of that site, versus a more expanded version for your buddies.
Zuckerberg says what's interesting about Timelines is how different other people's Timelines can be. Examples of that are someone who takes a lot of photos, followed by a musician, and a runner. And that's the end of that feature, Zuckerberg says.
10:46-47 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now we're seeing a video about Timeline. Man, this just got Apple-ish. And succeeding. Very emotional video here, taking you through someone's life with lots of upbeat thumpy music. From birth to birth, even.
Unlike Jobs though, Zuckerberg goes for a little bit of Gatorade.
10:49-50 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): We've had to invent a completely new class of apps to support this, Zuckerberg says. New version of Open Graph. Zuckerberg says that in 2007, there was the idea of the social graph. Last year, it was the open graph--a map of all your relationships and connections. This year, we're taking the next step, Zuckerberg says. You can connect to anything you want, in any way you want. Don't have to like a book, you can just "read" a book. You don't have to "like" a movie, you can "watch" a movie. "Eat" a meal, "hike" a trail, "listen" to a song. Connect to anything, in any way you want. All this will lead to more connections, Zuckerberg says.
10:51-53 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): "This year we're adding verbs," Zuckerberg says re: the new buttons. "Building the language to how this works is hard, though," he says.
Now talking about Ticker--the lightweight stream of friend activity that now sits in the upper right hand corner. The Ticker keeps minor things like you liking something out of your friends' feeds.
Zuckerberg says there are apps that are naturally social, and ones that aren't. Communication and games are social, but then there are things that are sensitive like healthcare and finance.
10:54 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): So new on the list is everything with media: music, movies, TV, news, books. Next is "Lifestyle apps"--exercise, food, fashion, travel. It's about discovering new things through your friends, Zuckerberg says. Parts of that: "Frictionless experiences;" "real-time serendipity;" "finding patterns (in friend activity)."
10:55-56 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Zuckerberg talking about how awful it is when an app pops up and interrupts you to share in order to continue doing what you're doing. That's no longer allowed, Zuckerberg says. That works by connecting your app and your timeline together, so that small actions like playing games show up in the timeline instead of your wall. To do that, the permissions dialogue has been changed completely. Now you can see what the app intends to do with a Timeline preview, and you can control who sees it. The idea is that there won't be any surprises of what shows up on your profile or elsewhere, Zuckerberg says.
10:58 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): How will this help you discover new things? Zuckerberg says your friends are doing cool stuff, but you don't always see it. Now you can see what people are doing live in the ticker.
Just demoed how you can listen to music that your friends are, just by clicking on the play button from the Ticker. In this case it's a song on Spotify, which launched the song in the app.
10:59 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): And the song will play in sync with your friends'. This is really good for music streaming services.
10:59 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): That's cool for songs, but what about with something rarer? Zuckerberg asks. The site will cull some of those activity items and post them on the wall for you to find later.
11:01 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now onto "finding patterns." You don't want to look at every song they've ever listened to, Zuckerberg says. Instead it should be top songs, bands, albums and a history. That works out to be a breakdown of music in the Timeline. Can just go back and listen to those tracks right from that page.
11:01 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): I'm feeling the generation gap here. This is very cool stuff, but I don't think I want my entire life exposed in Facebook this way. But then, I'm old.
11:01-04 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now we're getting a live demo of how this works from Zuckerberg. The demo is listening to a song with friends. There's a "listen with (friend's name)" option. Zuckerberg clicks it, and the song starts going. And it starts a chat through Facebook chat right below, so the two can talk about it. Kinda neat--can see this being very neat for games. And the music demo is over. Worked as advertised. "We've worked with a lot of partners on this," Zuckerberg says.
Zuckerberg says the future of music shouldn't be about blocking you from music you've bought. Should be about helping you discover new music through your friends via the Open Graph.
11:05-6 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Spotify CEO Daniel Ek coming up now to talk about what the company's done with Open Graph. Ek says it's a big day for Facebook and Spotify, but more so for people who love music. Ek saying the first time he used Facebook he reconnected with old friends and discovered things he didn't know about them. But things could have been made better with music. "Finding new music has been difficult," Ek says. Worked in the analog era with records, but not so much with places like Facebook.
11:07 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Ek: More engaged users are more than twice as likely to pay for music.
11:07-08 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Ek now talking about Napster changing music to make it social, but that it didn't work for the music industry itself. That's why they made Spotify, Ek says. The social part makes it exploratory,
so you can find out what your friends are listening to.
Facebook users on Spotify:
-users listen to more music
-people listen to more types of music
-more than twice as likely to pay for music, Ek says.
"We're bringing people back to pay for music again."
"Let's light up the world with music," Ek says. Now it's back to Zuckerberg.
11:09 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Not just Spotify here, Zuckerberg says. More than a dozen others including Mog, Vevo, Rhapsody, Turntable.fm, Mixcloud, Jelli, Slacker, Songza, Rdio, Soundcloud, Earbits, etc.
11:09 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Another key point here is that people are moving to paying for music now by subscription instead of by album or track. This is a fundamental shift we've been expecting for a while...now it's beginning to really take off.
11:09-10 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now we're getting a demo with how this works with media (again). Can click on a media item on the news feed and it opens that up in a canvas page.
That works with Netflix too, so clicking on a video someone's watched, it will open up in Netflix.
11:11-12 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now we're getting a look at how that works back on the Timeline. You can see how videos show up there, including how many times they've watched something. Better hope you don't have embarrassing habits.
Now coming up, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Who's had an interesting few weeks here...
11:12 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Ok, here's my problem with this social discovery of media: Some of my best friends have music etc. tastes that are completely divergent from mine. So don't know how this works out.
11:13-15 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn) Now Hastings sharing a story about how Netflix algorithm has been recommending "Breaking Bad" to him. And Hastings saw someone else watching the show in the Facebook Ticker, and it ended up getting him to watch it versus the Netflix algorithm.
Hastings said Zuckerberg approached him about a year ago to get all the viewing activity shared on the service. Eventually Hastings asked "What is success for you in this interaction, Mark?" Zuckerberg told him it was about making it more social.
Hastings says Netflix is in 45 countries around the world, 44 Netflix integration is not. That last country is the U.S., which is joining the Facebook party because of a new bill that goes live today. Hastings says there will be more on that on Netflix's blog.
11:15-16 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Not just Netflix and Hulu. Also IMDB, DirectTV, DailyMotion, Ina, FLixster, Blockbuster, Cinemur, Izlesene, Into_Now, others.
Zuckerberg's now talking about how this works with social news, so you can see what your friends are reading.
11:17-18 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): On the news feed that's a roundup of some of the most popular articles your friends are reading. Yahoo is using Open Graph to make it easier to discover stories read from your friends, Zuckerberg says. Also breaks down news feed items by topic.
The Washington Post has its Social Reader canvas app, so readers can see what their friends are looking at, and read it within Facebook as a canvas app.
The Daily also has a new canvas app. Web app version of that is only being released in Facebook. Zuckerberg says that's been done because people want to read right on the site.
Included companies: Digg, Huffington Post, USA Today, Gizmodo, The Guardian, Flipboard, The Independent, others.
11:18 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): What people are just "reading" vs "liking" could drive far more referrals to news sites from Facebook. New news apps will be embedded in FB. What's next? FB takes on Google for advertising, big time.
11:19-21 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Now onto games, which Zuckerberg says is the most successful app type on Facebook. New social graph makes it easier to discover what your friends are playing. Now you can see real things your friends are doing, Zuckerberg says. That shows up on the ticker. e.g. your friends are playing Words with Friends and you can see someone's word score in real time. Clicking on it lets you watch that game, and start playing if it's a group game. Companies included: EA, Wooga, PopCap, Zynga, Playfish, others.
Now onto lifestyle apps--the last category by the way. Apps that help keep track of things you're doing. Walking, running, eating, etc. Nike+ app getting demoed. Shows your running activity, and can compile the activity from your friends too. Can see how far your friends have run.
11:21 a.m. PT (Rafe Needleman): Can I share this with you: The amount of personal information that people will be sharing through Facebook and that Facebook will be collecting and retransmitting really freaks me out. But it looks like the perfect strategy and direction for Facebook itself.
11:23-24 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Works for Foodspotting too, so it compiles those tagged meals. On the Timeline you get a monthly and annual report from that app. Others: Airbnb, Disqus, Stubhub, Path, Appsfire, Grockit, Yummly, RockMelt, BranchOut, SneakPeeq, TicketFly, BuzzFeed, others.
And that's a wrap for the Open Graph demo. But wait...is there more? Yes, we get a video of the Open Graph apps. Showing people discovering new music from their friends. Sharing food they're making leading to someone buying food while at a grocery store.
"Discover what your friends are ______" is the tagline "Your apps. Now with friends."
11:25-28 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): More detail involved with how to build them, so Facebook CTO Bret Taylor is coming up on stage to walk us through what might be a code demo.
When you go to your Timelines, they will probably look sparse, Taylor says.It would be nice to have recipes, and run histories in the Timeline, but they won't be there immediately, Taylor suggests.
"This is the opportunity of Open Graph," Taylor says. Apps that developers write can beef up that Timeline. Taylor says it's the biggest change to the site since the first platform launch.
How to integrate Open Graph into developer apps? Taylor says the main goal was designed to be simple, and that the end result is "frictionless." The end result is that more people will see and use your app, he promises.
11:30-34 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Taylor's giving us an example of how to share activity from iHeartRadio, which is a launch partner. Users click the share with timeline button once, and the service keeps sharing those items to the Timeline. It's "social by design" Taylor says.
It's not a permissions thing, Taylor says. "It's a feature of the app." The sharing expectation is right up front, and as a result, users don't need to worry about having to click the share buttons, and app developers don't need to plaster them all over the place. It's "a challenge and an opportunity," Taylor says.
Under the hood, developers need to pick out what type of app activity gets shared out. Developers get to pick how items shared to the timeline look, then add the "share to timeline" button. That's all that's necessary, Taylor says. So for a music app, the developer can pick things to share, like when a user listens to a song, creates a playlist, or both. And apps can post that out to the Ticker, Newsfeed, and Timeline.
Now we're seeing how that can work with cooking, and exercise apps too.
11:36-40 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn):There are six potential queries for that data developers can tap into and share in their Timeline items, Taylor says.That sharing works on the Web, mobile devices, inside of apps, Taylor says.
Taylor says most popular shared items won't be from the Web, but from apps you're using on mobile devices.
Facebook's got new technology to surface this called "Graph Rank." It's an "artificial intelligence system" that manages discovery of all Open Graph activity. Figures out what activity is most interesting to you as the user, Taylor says. Designed to work for any app too.
Taylor explaining it as a way for developers to see what their app is doing well, and what it's not. Things people are doing a lot of, and other people find annoying (read: those pop-up notifications that ask you to like something to continue).
And Taylor's off the stage. Now up is Chris Cox, VP of product management, to tell us how Timeline came to be.
11:41-45 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Introducing us to Nick Felton, who was an inspiration for these features, Cox says. Cox says infographics have become the way people have come to parse data.
Going through various infographics, things like government spending, economic breakdowns, what's wasted by the average human. Cox says that every year newsrooms stop what they're doing and summarize what's happened over the past year. Happens in every genre: gossip, design, hobbies.
Cox says Felton got very good at doing this, then wondered what an annual report would look like for one person. What would one person's life look like for a year, on one page? "It's not that crazy of an idea," Cox says.
People who do that end up putting those scrapbooks on a bookshelf, and basically forget about them until someone wants to see it, Cox says. So what happens if you can mix that with informational design. Looks like the Felton.com annual report. Felton started doing it with his own life--even the mundane details.
"The end result was amazing," Cox says. Wasn't just good looking, but dealt with a problem of the digital age. Kept doing it each year, grabbing more data. By 2009 it was hard to call it something other than art.
11:46-49 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): As soon as we got wind of this at Facebook, we have to hire this guy, Cox says. Cox says that worked out, and that's how Timeline came to be.
The example was to print out every page of the profile, then stitch it together to demonstrate how much data each user was sharing, that was basically lost. The prototype called "memories" accidentally launched in 2006. Wasn't ready for prime time, Cox says, but the feedback was positive.
11:49-53 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Cox now giving a rundown of how much stuff has happened in his life, yet how hidden it was on Facebook's profile page. The answer was the Timeline. "You don't have to spread it out on your living room floor," Cox says.
Cox now giving a rundown of all the things that go into the Timeline, making it something people can eyeball to get to know you as a person. Cox says that when you switch from Timeline to the profile view, you realize how much just gets lost from the profile page.
Cox talking about how looking at Timeline, he can go back to when he was planning his wedding earlier this year and see all the details: photos, music, wall posts from friends. "Now I get to keep that too," Cox says. "When you want to get back to reality, all you need to do is scroll back up to the top of the page," Cox says.
"We're a culture of builders, now let's go make something awesome," Cox says. Now Zuckerberg's back up, presumably to wrap it all up.
11:54-56 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): Zuck running down the talking points again. When is it launched? Zuckerberg asks...Timeline in beta. Starts now. Developers can start using Timeline today, everyone else can sign up to use it, and Facebook will roll out to everyone else in coming weeks.
As for Open Graph, Zuckerberg says Timeline needs to come first. But music, movies, TV, and news launch now. "We weren't going to let you go home empty handed," Zuckerberg says.
Zuckerberg closing by talking about how he looked up to Intel for using Moore's Law. Got into the development of Intel, and entire technology industry for decades, he says. Exists in Facebook too. The amount of things people want to share with others is increasing each year, Zuckerberg says.
"Looking back seven years, who would have thought we'd be here today?" Zuckerberg asks. "Let's go build some great stuff, let's rethink some industries, and see you at next year's F8."
And that's it.
11:57 a.m. PT (Josh Lowensohn): So to wrap, we've got Timeline, which developers get today, and users can sign up to use in the next couple of weeks. Developers also get access to Open Graph to build those extras into their applications.
Thanks everyone for joining us this morning.CNET's live blog:
Editor's note: The following is the story we published leading up to Zuckerberg's presentation.
Today is the big day for Facebook. Following a trickle of feature updates to the site within the past few weeks, the company is set to unveil at its annual F8 developer event some big changes to what has become the world's biggest social network.
As for what to expect, there is a lot on the docket. As my CNET colleague Edward Moyerearlier this week, there are expectations of:
Deep integration with music services
CNET has previously reported that Facebook has been in talks with music services to more deeply integrate them, and Thursday that's expected to be officially unveiled. Earlier this week, the company took the wraps off its lineup of speakers, which include music services Spotify, and Turntable.fm. A this past weekend by The New York Times suggested those partnerships would be a larger part of allowing users to turn profile pages into "a primary entertainment hub," letting them share music, TV shows, and movies without leaving the site.
A big profile redesign
Among the other changes in store is said to be a "major" profile redesign. Mashable this week reported that profiles will be getting an overhaul, along with more ties to Facebook's Credits system to put e-commerce in the forefront.
A Facebook app store
Like Google's Chrome Web app store, Facebook too might be getting into the paid Web apps arena Thursday. The same Mashable report suggested that could be the case. Facebook's first F8 in 2007 was the launch pad for its third-party application platform.
A from TechCrunch in June highlighted something called Project Spartan, a version of the site designed to work on Apple's mobile Safari. Unlike its existing app, the idea of that project is to allow third-party applications to run through the tablet app, skirting Apple's in-app purchase requirements and giving the company a way to extend its Credits system to additional devices.
Like button joined by others
Will the iconic "Like" button soon be getting some new friends? That's the rumor from TechCrunch, which said that the iconic button will be joined by buttons for "Listened," "Watched," and "Read." Not to be outdone, there will also reportedly be a "Want" button for bookmarking e-commerce goods.
A new photo-sharing app
This is probably one of the most fringe possibilities, but Facebook is expected to be launching a standalone photo-sharing app. That's based on a TechCrunch from June, citing photos the tech blog acquired of the project. Facebook's already broken out its messaging platform as a standalone iOS and Android app, so the possibility is starting to look a whole lot more likely. Is F8 the right place to take the wraps off it though? Probably not, unless it makes use of some new developer APIs the company wants to show off.
There could very well be more surprises in store too, so be sure to join us Thursday at 10 a.m. sharp. Until then, you can sign up to get a reminder of when it starts.
Editors' note: The original version of this story was posted September 21 at 10:07 a.m. PT.