For years, mobile was just another feature for consumer Internet companies--desktop was the priority. Today, mobile is the Internet, especially for social networks--the natural medium for people to connect, wherever they are and whenever they want. Is there more transformation to come? Who will lead it? What could be the pitfalls? Facebook’s mobile chief and the visionary leader’ of the world’s largest wi-fi network look into the future.
Cory, Vice President of Mobile Engineering in Facebook, talks about the beginning of rebuilding Facebook's mobile App. Two years ago, Facebook had bad HTML5 and 3 minor problems. The App was slow, crushed a lot, and people hated it.
"Corey, can you fix mobile?"
They started to rebuild the apps two years ago - but they didn't know much about native mobile development. How to do it well? A lot of good engineers worked on the site, not on mobile. But normal people carry a phone and want to send updates on the road. The team didn't only had to change the technology. But will they have the right instincts? Do they know they risks of mistakes? These questions popped up, but only 3 native iOS-App developer out of 600 engineers worked at Facebook two years ago.
Then the change started. Not only hiring people with the expertise to rewrite software, it changed the hiring as well. After 7 months of kick-off the rewriting the mobile app was published. Now, no mobile team exist anymore. The understanding of mobile changed and now it is fully distributed to all the other sections. The mobile transition is finished.
Instagram might had an influence on it. But Facebook didn't mess it up. It's a great team which kept it's liberty. Facebook only helped with infrastructure to lower costs and both shared their knowledge. Instagram is still the same.
How does Facebook deals with new technologies? "Very carefully", Cory answers. Every ecosystem has its problems, and Android is the Wild West. Especially the News Feed is a challenge. It's especially customized for you every time you reload or open up your phone. But for Martin it looks like adds are so much better on mobile, more relevant, and less annoying. Most annoying on systems is usually the password, that's why FON is using Facebook connect.
FON is a community empowered company dedicated to building the world’s largest global WiFi network bottom up, spreading the power of Wifi around the world - and Martin gave away some new FON boxes to the audience for joining this global network. Thanks, Martin!