Live: Facebook Unveils the New Facebook Pages (and Other Product Updates)

-Facebook Pages Icon-Starting in 10 minutes, Facebook will be holding a press conference webcast to to discuss the new Facebook Pages. Participating in the webcast will be Mark Zuckerberg along with Director of Product, Chris Cox, and Product Manager, Peter Deng. We will providing live coverage of the 2 hour long event (yes a whopping 2 hours). Since the event is so long, we will be breaking it down into segments. I will also write a follow-up post containing all of the details of the event.

[1:00 pm EST] Currently waiting for the conference call to start. We’re looking at a screen of the Facebook logo within a presentation on Chris Cox’s computer.

-Facebook Slide Screenshot-

[1:05pm EST] Conference call operator has hopped on to notify us that the call will begin momentarily.

[1:10pm EST] All products are going live at noon according to the person (who sounds like Brandee Barker) who has just hopped on the line.

[1:11pm EST] Mark Zuckerberg has come on. “Today we are talking about a couple new things. Over the past few years we have built a series of products.” Mark is continuing to provide a history of how Facebook has built the site up over time.

Editor’s note: We just received information that the Colbert Report will be one of the pages to go live immediately.

[1:14pm EST] Mark Zuckerberg: Mark is continuing to discuss random things that are going on in the industry including what Twitter and MySpace are doing. “Today we are going to talk about a few products that are helping individuals talk person to person socially.”

[1:16pm EST] “Today you’ll hear from Chris Cox.” Mark is now describing how and when Chris Cox joined Facebook. I’m happy to give you Chris Cox.

[1:17pm EST] Chris Cox has taken the stage. “I’m excited to talk about how we are evolving news feed.” Looks like there will be a few other product announcements if I understand what Chris just said. Chris is telling a story about early on at Facebook when one of the other people at Facebook was illustrating the concept of the social graph to Chris during his Facebook interview. “Today I’m going to talk about 2 new products that we’ll be rolling out in the next two weeks.”

[1:22pm EST] Chris is showing a slide of Marshall McLuhan (name not spelled right). He was the guy that presented the world with the idea that the media is the message.

Marshall McLuhan Slide

[1:24pm EST] Chris is showing a slide of the telegraph map, then a map of the airlines and now a map of the internet. Marshall spoke of the “simultaneous happening” in which we would know about what everyone was doing wherever they were. Chris is now showing a slide of all the past Facebook designs. He is describing in abstract terms how the Facebook site has evolved. He is explaining how the news feed and status were launched in 2006.

[1:27pm EST] Chris is explaining how they built the platform in 2007. “Then in 2008 we redesigned the profile. We found that engagement on the site went up.” As of yesterday we began translating the site into Hebrew and Arabic.

-Facebook Growth Slide-

[1:31pm EST] Chris is now talking about our different types of relationships. As people from all the areas of my life (Friends, Family, CoWorkers, and Public Profiles), I want them to go into the stream. Chris is now also explaining how sharing on Facebook works.

-Facebook Sharing Slide-

[1:34pm EST] Over the next few months we are launching something we call the “Arrington Feature”. Mike can open his privacy and as many people as he wants, those people can subscribe to his information. (This is a huge change in that you can subscribe to peoples’ information the same way you can on Twitter).

-Facebook Pages Redesign Screenshot-

[1:37pm EST] Launching today will include Barack Obama, U2 and CNN, as well. Over the next week existing page owners can transition over to the new design which will be complete by next week and complete by March 11.

-Facebook Pages Launch Partners-

[1:39pm EST] Now I’m going to talk about the stream. There will be a new homepage which launches by next March 11th.

-Facebook New Homepage Shift Screenshot-

[1:41pm EST] We will be adding filters to the feed which includes a general news feed, and then filters by friend lists, and applications. We are also making it so you can share any type of content from the homepage.

-Facebook New Homepage Screenshot-

[1:44pm EST] I’d like to invite up some other people to answer questions. Peter Deng is here, Mike Schrep who is our VP of Engineering.

[1:45pm EST] Brad Stone: Could you tell us about the old Pages and what the restrictions were?

[1:46pm EST] Peter Deng: We’re now focused on the stream and dynamic content.

[1:47pm EST] We are not allowing 25,000 friends but we are switching it so that people can view all of your activities if you wish to let them.

[1:47pm EST] Robert Scoble: How do I move friend requests to this new page? Chris: We want to eventually merge it but today you can’t, you need to set up a separate Page for the time being but eventually you can merge it.

[1:48pm EST] Jessica Vascellaro: Is this the same as the live feed from today? Chris: No it’s not the same. Jessica: Is the new feed more real-time? Chris: Yes, the new feed will literally be real-time with filtering controls.

[1:50pm EST] Mike Arrington: Don’t want to beat the dead horse. What’s changing exactly? Mark Zuckerberg: There is a philosophical change which is that we want to converge all of these objects to have the same type of presence.

[1:52pm EST] Question: What percentage of people max out at friend requests? Answer Zuckerberg: it’s a very small percent. It’s probably less than a tenth of a percent.

[1:54pm EST] Robert Scoble: If I’m Coca-Cola, can I build a page in the same social graph as Mike Arrington? Zuckerberg: Essentially yes. We are moving toward making people and pages the same type of thing. We believe that all entities that are communication should have equal access.

[1:55pm EST] Christoph in Germany: Do you have in mind certain companies or groups that you’d like to address with that feature? Answer: What we’re trying to do is give people a voice.

[1:58pm EST] Nick O’Neill (Me): Can pages now send messages directly to fans of that page rather than updates? Mark Zuckerberg: Pages were able to send updates before. One of the things we’re trying to do with inbox is make it a much more focused medium so that it’s people that want get in touch with you. Over time we’d like to bring these to things into parity with each other. We want people to be able to broadcast out to their friends eventually as well. The idea is to move in both directions though.

[2:00pm EST] Question: Will feeds be indexed by search engines? Answer: Right now it’s private information. We are moving in the direction of making specific information more public as users choose.

[2:11pm EST] Scott Harris: Will this help you provide more targeted advertising? Mark Zuckerberg: As a trend? Yes. We aren’t announcing anything specific today though.

[2:12pm EST] Robert Scoble: Are you going to provide location based services? Mark Zuckerberg: That’s definitely the trend and we are on this arc toward openness.

[2:13pm EST] Chris Cox: One thing to note is that we are working at opening things a lot quicker now as we’ve abstracted a lot of the primary services.