Facebook Roundup: ComScore, User Data, Photo Slideshow, Lexicon, Qik, User Testing and Internal Dashboard

ComScore: Facebook on Top Since May – comScore reported that Facebook experienced triple-digit growth in the U.S. in 2009, sitting on top of all other social networks since May of last year. Facebook finished with 112 million visitors in December, up 105% from the previous December in 2008; Facebook also grew “substantially” across almost all performance metrics, including unique visitors, page views and time spent on the site.

The average minutes per usage per day is up, the average usage days per visitors is up, and the amount of time spent on Facebook grew three-fold in the span of one year.

Massive Facebook Data Set for Academic Release – Pete Warden, a former Apple employee and game developer, is set to release data on 215 million public Facebook accounts to the academic community this week. Warden wrote on his blog Wednesday that he was hoping to have released it then, but he’s incorporating suggestions that came in after he published a “How to Split up the US” post Saturday.

One of these suggestions comes from Facebook, he says. They “asked for a little more time to check the privacy implications.” The data set includes friend, fan and name data from the 215 million profiles, as well as much more, and concerns some people like Michael Zimmer because of the implications for user privacy.

Zimmer writes that Warden exploited Facebook’s infrastructure to access public profiles without having to be signed into a Facebook account and that this data set may be problematic to those in it, “It is impossible to predict who might use Warden’s dataset and to what ends, but this threat is real.”

Play Facebook Photos in a Slideshow – A Facebook Slideshow prototype was released recently that allows you to view photos in a slideshow as opposed to having to click through. After activating the prototype you click on “Play,” located in the upper right-hand corner of your photo to see a new photo every five seconds.

[Image via TechCrunch]

Facebook’s Lexicon Disappears – Facebook’s Lexicon tool that provided information on site-wide trends disappeared this week, as spotted by Steve Rubel. Facebook provided the following message: “Thank you for your interest in Lexicon. We are removing the Lexicon product from Facebook for the time being. We may bring components of Lexicon back in the future, but we are focusing development on our analytics tools for Page owners, advertisers and Platform developers.”

This may be because Facebook doesn’t want to appear to support data mining of the stream with its own tools, even though that’s what marketers would ideally want. However, it might also mean that an even better tool than Lexicon is in the works.

Qik Allows Facebook Comments – Mobile video sharing company Qik announced a new Facebook integration that allows users to see comments on Qik videos posted on Facebook. Video comments in Qik are automatically posted onto Facebook videos as well.

A Peek Into Facebook User Testing – Newsweek’s Nick Summers got the chance to see how Facebook conducts its user testing recently, recounting his experience in a blog about the company’s user lab in Palo Alto. Summers said the user lab occupies two narrow side-by-side rooms, one for engineers and the other for users, with a large display for the engineers that duplicates usage from the user’s monitor.

Facebook engineers apparently do care about what users experience on the social network, Summers said they groaned when a first-time 24 year-old named Mark had trouble uploading photos, “We gotta change this,” they said. But, Summers also plainly points out that Facebook has always done what’s best for Facebook, noting that moving the notifications menu to the left of the page brings with it a 10% increase in clicks.

Facebook Talks Internal Dashboard – On Thursday engineer Michel Novati discussed Facebook’s internal dashboard at length in a note on Facebook Engineering’s Page. Internal dashboards have to primary functions, he wrote, to allow non-engineers to build dynamic pages completely in the browser without having to rewrite code and to give engineers the chance to break down complex tools into simple widgets.