This Week In Facebook – February 7, 2010

Facebook kicked off February with a bang. In addition to announcing a new open source project and other items, Facebook celebrated its birthday in style with the launch of a new homepage and announced further product releases in the near future. With rumors of a new email product from Facebook, excitement around future Facebook product releases is growing.

Facebook’s New Homepage Goes Live

At least 80 million users are now viewing Facebook’s new homepage. While there continues to be some existing bugs for Facebook to resolve (including the dashboard privacy flaw that we’ve covered extensively), much of the feedback we’ve heard so far has been mostly positive. Over the next week or so, most of the remaining 320 million Facebook users will have the homepage rolled out to them as well.

Facebook Launches HipHop For PHP

After rumors about a new Facebook PHP product were spread, Facebook formerly announced HipHop for PHP. The product is a “source code transformer” which effectively converts PHP to C++ and then uses g++ to compile the code. Understanding what’s taking place under the hood isn’t what’s important though. The most important thing to realize is that it means Facebook is now much more efficient and should be quicker.

Facebook Makes Printer Friendly Of Ads Receipt

Last week Facebook also announced a printer friendly version of ads receipts. While most users may not care about this feature, active advertisers will find the new printer friendly transaction summaries to be useful. As Facebook states, “This view of your transactions is designed to be more convenient for accounting and tax purposes.”

Celebrity Doppleganger Week Becomes A Hit, Followed By Urban Dictionary Names

Celebrity Doppelganger’s were all the rage over the past week on Facebook. With a large number of Facebook users changing their profile photos to images of their celebrity look-a-likes, Facebook users appeared to start a new trend: weekly viral games. As such, users attempted to spark a new trend last week: Facebook Urban Dictionary week. While not everybody participated in the game, a large number of people flocked to the Urban Dictionary website to find out what their name meant.

Facebook Announces New Ad Terms

Last week many ad networks and developers learned of new Facebook advertising terms aimed at making the Facebook Platform a safer environment for users. In an attempt to avoid future “ScamVille” problems, Facebook is now forcing ad networks to be more transparent about their activities. Some developers and ad networks were concerned about one of the new term statements:

The ad provider also agrees to share with Facebook the contact information, implementation specifics and payment details, for each developer or application on Facebook for which the ad provider provides services.

Facebook then clarified for us that such information “will only be requested if there is a very clear need to do so.”

Debate Over Facebook As The Largest News Reader Rages On

Is Facebook the largest news reader? New data released by Hitwise illustrated how Facebook is increasingly becoming the source of news for many users. While some continue to debate Facebook’s future as a news reader, we argues that Facebook has already become the largest global source of news. If you want a thorough explanation of our rationale, read this article.

Zynga’s FarmVille Launches On MSN Games

Zynga made a major announcement last week regarding their extremely popular FarmVille game. The company will now have the game on MSN Games and Microsoft Live Messenger. It’s a huge milestone for Zynga, who has become one of the largest online game developers.

Microsoft And Facebook Prepare An Improved Search

At the end of the week Microsoft announced that they are working with Facebook to release a new version of search which includes more information, including integration with users’ social graphs. While complete details were not provided, it sounds like the new search will be rolled out once the new homepage has been completely launched and tested with users.