In Depth: New Facebook CTO Bret Taylor Discusses Open Graph, Mobile and Regional Growth, and Advertising

Part 2 of 2 – See Part 1 here

Five weeks ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appointed Bret Taylor, who joined the company when Facebook acquired FriendFeed in August 2009, as its new CTO. We sat down with Taylor to talk about Facebook’s vision for the future of the Facebook Platform, and how it’s affecting everything the company is doing.

In the first part of this interview, yesterday, Taylor shares his thoughts on the state of the Platform, new ways developers should expect Platform governance to evolve in the months ahead, the new group at Facebook that is responsible for the health of the games ecosystem, new types of communication channels that Facebook may launch, and the Credits rollout transition. Today, Taylor discusses the state of the Open Graph Protocol, and Facebook’s long term Platform vision as it relates to mobile and regional growth.

Taylor is moving from his role has the head of Platform to CTO at a time when Facebook is nearing 500 million monthly active users as a whole, over 1 million websites have integrated Facebook functionality in some form, and social gaming companies on the Facebook Platform are earning hundreds of millions of dollars in overall revenues this year.

Justin Smith: One of your main priorities recently has been the Open Graph products. Can you describe who’s having the most success with this approach to marking up their content?

Bret Taylor: The initial launch of Open Graph was focused on things that would otherwise be Facebook Pages – actors, celebrities, etc. The basic idea was that if you were Green Day the band, it’s really inefficient for you to have GreenDay.com, and a Green Day account on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Your internet identity is GreenDay.com. Through the Open Graph Protocol, that is the thing that users connect to and can add to their profile, and that’s the object sending users updates.

I’m not prepared with enough metrics to answer this question, but anecdotally in my personal network the things that have been working the best are sites with really high quality content that weren’t previously represented well on Facebook. So sites like IMDB, Yelp, and things that really are a part of your identity. To go to a fan page on Facebook and click Like, you have to be a pretty avid fan of a band, but if you’re on IMDB because you’re checking out a movie you watched, adding a “bumper sticker” to your profile is a lot easier to do.

For my friends, this is increasing the volume of changes they make to their profile, and in turn making their profile more accurately reflect their actual interests – as opposed to the movies they typed in when they created their Facebook account in 2005 that have since been frozen in time. I think that’s a really positive change for Facebook, and a really positive change for partners like IMDB, who are getting more traffic from Facebook than they were before.

In the long term, the product is a little immature right now. We just launched it at f8, we’re still learning how people use it. We think about Facebook as a social graph, and the things that people connect to don’t really need to live on Facebook.com.

This is just a first step in that direction. It’s really not important that Facebook hosts the photo, it’s really more important that your friends are tagged in it. That’s what makes Facebook great. Likewise with Events, it’s not important where the event is hosted, it matters that you can invite your Facebook friends and have those serendipitous experiences.