f8: A New Class of Apps
by Bret Taylor - September 22, 2011 at 11:30am

We are hosting our fourth f8 conference today in San Francisco, where we’re introducing the the next evolution of Facebook Platform and the Open Graph. The Open Graph is the most significant update to Platform since it launched in 2007, expanding the capabilities and opportunities for social apps, from music to TV to news to lifestyle apps such as cooking, fitness, and travel.

We launched the Like button at last year's f8, and it quickly became one of the most popular tools on the Internet. As we have continued to introduce more features on Facebook Platform, now more than 500 million people engage with Facebook across more than 7 million apps and websites every month. Compared to f8 last year, this is close to double the number of people and triple the apps and websites.

Introducing Timeline

As part of f8, today we announced Timeline. Timeline is a page on which you can put the events and activity that matter most to you. We provide some of the most important stuff that you'd want to put there, like photos and major life events -- but those types of content are really just the start. With the Open Graph, you, as Facebook developers, can enable people to truly make their Timelines their own.

All developers will have access to a pre-release version of Timeline for testing after your app is configured to use Open Graph actions and objects. We encourage you to take a tour and learn more about Timeline.

Timeline will launch to users in the coming weeks. People will be able to add apps to their Timeline to show friends what they love, seamlessly update Timeline with their activity as they go, and have an easy way to reengage with the app.

For example, I love to cook. I want an app that lets me add the recipes I cook on my profile, and at the same time, discover my friends' recipes. The opportunities are endless, such as building an app for runners to share their routes and achievements, photographers to feature the photos they take, and music lovers to share their playlists and top albums with friends. Develop Open Graph apps that will make Timeline the personal, expressive page we believe it can be.

App Discovery through friends

App discovery is an important part of the Open Graph philosophy. The structure of the Open Graph enables apps to grow more quickly based on usage. The more engaging your app is, the more people will discover it on Facebook.

As people add apps to their Timeline, friends will be able to easily discover and connect to your app in just a few clicks, as they see it on not only each other’s Timelines, but in News Feed, or the newly launched Ticker.

Distribution based on user activity and engagement

Distribution through News Feed, Ticker, and Timeline will be based on Graph Rank, the underlying system that manages discovery of Open Graph activity around Facebook. Graph Rank is designed to give more prominence to engaging activity. The transparency of the system should enable you to predictably measure your app’s performance.

Graph Rank is also personalized. We know people are friends with both their college roommates and their colleagues at work, and those relationships are different. Just because my mom is interested in the movies I am watching doesn't mean she is interested in my Github checkins. Graph Rank isn't a global score, but a personalized view of you and your friends' tastes.

New analytics

From the Dev App, you will be able to see analytics for all the Open Graph activity published by your app. You will be able to optimize your app’s Graph Rank based on this information.

Any app can be social

As the Open Graph opens up Platform to more categories and verticals, many more types of apps will be successful on Facebook because Open Graph isn't just about sharing - it's about self-expression and serendipity. Whether you have a Website, App on Facebook or Mobile app, you can make it Open Graph-enabled so users can see their activity on Timeline.

New Opportunities

We are excited about the sites launching later today with Open Graph apps. Learn more about these sites on the Platform Showcase.

The Open Graph Beta is now available to all Facebook developers. This beta gives you access to the docs and tools you need to add Open Graph actions and objects to your app. Stay tuned for more information later today on f8 Live and on the Developer Blog on how to get started with the new Open Graph features.