Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Web 2.0

Web 2.0: 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.


Cloud Expo Latest Stories
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution