Liveblogging Inside Social Apps: Facebook Platform Roadmap in 2012

We’re at the San Francisco Design center, blogging Inside Network’s third annual Inside Social Apps conference. Founder of Inside Network Justin Smith sat down with Facebook Director of Product Management Carl Sjogreen for a fireside chat called “The Facebook Platform Roadmap in 2012.” With the company filing for an initial public offering last week, Sjogreen was unable to share too much about the future of monetization the platform, but he provided insight on the state of Open Graph, mobile and games on Facebook.

The following is a paraphrased transcript of the discussion.

Justin Smith: It’s been a few months since the announcements at f8. Take us through the new changes.

Carl Sjogreen: There are basically three major areas Open Graph, mobile and games. Open Graph sounds sort of abstract so it’s useful to talk about what the product is and how we built it. The point of Open Graph for the everyday user is to enrich Timeline. Facbeook is more interesting for you and for your frends if not just what you do on Facebook. OG has potential to

Justin: Historically apps that have monetized well have been games. Most of what we’ve seen in Timline/Ticker format have been media focused. Could you talk about your vision for the opportunities there?

Carl: At f8 we launched with dozens of partners with news, music, etc. What you’ve seen from Open Graph so far is a small part of the vision. In the past, a lot of time and energy for developers has been spent figuring out what are the channels and how do I use them? You needed to have a Ph.D in Facebook to be successful in building an app on the platform. We want people to build fun games, awesome social music applications, cool ways for people for learn about fashion from their friends. With Open Graph you just share the activity that’s happening in the application and that just sort of lights up the Facebook environment.

Justin: Over the past few years there have been a variety of iterations of distribution channels and notifications. Do you think it will be more oriented around Ticker in the future?

Carl: There definitely ways to optimize Open Graph distribution. How you generate stories, how they aggregate together. More sturctured information leads to more interesting stories. We want to move to a model where fundamentally the integration point in the app is to take the action and add it to Facebook in a structured way. Then we can take that structured data and create a more structured representation of the core activity within an application. Instead of making a post to News Feed and nowhere else. By connecting application activity with Facebook, we can turn on Ticker, Timeline and whatever we come up with next. We’re really in early days with this. We’re still trying to figure out what are all the right tools for developers. We want it to be a simple process for developers. For users, it’s about creating a rich, immersive experience to fill in Timeline with the things you care about.

Justin: How does Open Graph affect the game developer community?

Carl: One of my favorite examples is Words With Friends. It now shares all the words I play without interrupting me with a dialog. I think the potential for games is huge. One of design centers of Open Graph is that we want people to build great apps, and by simply adding the actions users already take within apps into Facebook. So you have to think like a user, “what are the things you’d want to show off on Timeline, show off to your friends, what are the things you want to share?” Those are great things to enable with Open Graph because it makes Timeline richer.