LeWeb'09: Facebook, Facebook Connect, Identity (Ethan Beard) [en]

Live notes from LeWeb’09. They could be inaccurate, although I do my best. You might want to read other posts by official bloggers, in various languages!

Mark’s initial idea: give people a better way to connect. Basic information. 5 years ago.

Huge growth now. The core activity on the site hasn’t changed, but now the user base has changed. 70% of the users come from outside the USA.

Not just connections between people, but between people, objects, ideas, places. Building an accurate representation of one’s identity. I’m easily identified as/by a series of connections.

Facebook connect: opening up for others to build upon. Traveling together. Facebook didn’t get this growth by going alone. Taking the connectivity of Facebook outside the platform.

Facebook aspires to be a technology that people use to connect to what they care about wherever they are.

Tool for building applications inside Facebook => connecting outside Facebook, with Facebook Connect. Fanbox: very successful. People are looking for ways to connect to brands and companies they care about not just on Facebook.

Didn’t imagine that gaming would be such a success. Social gaming. Hugely successful companies. And now traditional gaming companies like Sony etc are jumping in.


The Huffington Post. Add the network to reading news. What are my friends reading? Using Facebook Connect makes it easy for users to comment and publish back into Facebook stuff they find. Since they added Facebook Connect to Huff Post, 500% FB referrals, 50% comments, 50% user growth *(steph-note: other factors might factor in to explain growth… can’t give 100% credit to Facebook Connect for that, though I’m sure it has an influence.)*

JibJab. Connect is now the primary way to log into the site.

TFI. Integration of Facebook live feed during matches for example.

Bejeweled2 on Facebook. But you shouldn’t be limited to playing on Facebook. With Connect, can play elsewhere but it remains social.

Connect is the glue that ties together your experiences, whatever the device you are using. Ubiquituous. *(spelling?)*

The web is about people and you experience it through the lens of your friends. The graph is the foundation of the social web. *(steph-note: reminds me I have to write a post about the blogosphere as a social network — this stuff is not new)*

TEDx Geneva: François Bugnion, Robert Klapisch, Jan-Mathieu Donnier, Frederic Kaplan [en]

François BugnionSolferino: the birth of an idea

Bloodiest battle Europe had witnessed since Waterloo. 9000 wounded transported to the nearest city (population: 5000) after two days. Book published and translated in various languages.

This is the story of how the Red Cross came to be.

Important principles of the Geneva convention: neutrality of hospitals, and wounded will be cared for (regardless of nationality).

Less than 2 years between the publication of the book and the realisation of the convention.

Dunant was able to translate the shock of what he witnessed at Solferino into a book. Gave birth to an actual strategy.

Robert Klapisch — Broadband Internet for Africa: from Research & Education to Social Development

The driving force for the internet is still science. (steph-note: could be argued it’s commerce and porn, imho)

Research and education networks all over the place. The kind of connections the CERN required paved the way for “consumer” connections at 100Mb/s.

Researchers in African universities have less resources than in Europe. Travelling is costly, etc. They need the network.

Lisbon Summit. Africa Connect.

Obstacles: cost of connectivity, lack of infrastructure, enormous distances, legal and regulatory obstacles in some countries…

Until July 2009, there was only one cable connecting West Africa to the rest of the world. 80% of the traffic is by satellite, much more expensive. No competition => very high prices. Consequence? Most universities have less bandwidth than a typical western household, so students have to resort to internet cafés to have access.

In July, SEACOM raised the money to set up a cable from Marseille to Mumbai and South Africa. American CEO, French VP etc, but 80% capital is African. Capacity growth x50 over the next few years.

UbuntuNet groups 10 countries in South and East Africa (surface = China + Europe + India… Africa is huge!)

HDI Human Development Index: what happens when more people have access to the internet?

Cellphones++ in Africa (300 mio), very creative use. Money transfers to make up for the absence of banking infrastructure. E-government (paying taxes, filling forms). Commerce (farmers getting better deals selling crops and advice on best practices). E-medicine, E-learning.

Fighting the scientific divide.

Jan-Mathieu Donnier — 360° imagery systems and applications

(steph-note: couldn’t really take notes as was busy climbing back on the wifi)

Google Street View cars.

360° photos… and videos.

streetview.ch: interface of their dreams (streetview, map, and street list on the same screen). When you go through the streets, it’s video (whereas Google street view is just a collection of images). (globalvision.ch)

Next challenge: produce 2D images from the 3D data.

Frederic Kaplan — Are Gesture-based Interfaces The Future of Human Computer Interaction

Computers to live with, not computers to live inside. Frédéric gets trapped inside his iPhone. What kinds of interfaces could we have which allow us to interact with computers whilst still interacting with the people around us?

QB1: has microphones, fabric skin, camera, etc — interaction at 4-5 meters. Lives in the same space as we do. User-centred system. They mapped what kinds of gestures people made in front of the QB1 => various zones.

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Blue zone: noisy. Red zone: much less noisy. => in the blue zone, you need to make sure the gestures are intentional, whereas in the red zone, you can be much more reactive.

Shows video: the screen follows the user, and there is a representation of yourself on the screen so you can see if you’re “touching” the controls. Pretty cool. You can call it and it will put its focus on you. You can also just show it a card rather than using gestures to give it an order.

Very important: representation of the user. More or less realistic, iconic, etc — they tried lots of things. (steph-note: I’m thinking of Second Life avatars right now…)

You do need feedback about your actions on the machine. Tennis game.

Gesture-based systems can know a lot about you because they share your physical space. They learn. The system can know who is in the room, how many people.

The mouse did not kill the command line. Gestures will not kill the mouse. They open a new kind of relationships with computers. It’s just the beginning.