Just last week, a small chunk of the tech press was surprised to find invitations for a Facebook announcement waiting in their mailbox.
“A small team has been working on a big idea,” it read.
The only other thing Facebook would say about the announcement is that they’d be showing a “new product”. No comment on what it might be, or which team it would come from. With that said, we think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect.
We’ll be live at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. where the announcement is scheduled to begin at 10 AM Pacific (12 PM Central, 1 PM Eastern, 6 PM London). We’ll be bringing you the up-to-the-second details from the event as they break and, as always, we’ll have photos and live commentary from the scene leading up to the announcement. So be sure to tune in early — say, 9:30 AM?
And that’s all! We’ve just wrapped up. Thanks for tuning in!
(Dig the liveblog? Say hi on Twitter!)
Q: Are you going to have any sort of standards, monitoring what comes through?
A: We have a very well matured and defined process for photos, and now videos. One of the best things about being here at FB is being able to use their systems for that, as well. We’re going to make sure we have very clear community guidelines.
Q: Are you going to be taking clips from people’s stuff and using it for Instagram’s… purposes?
A: No. no no no. Something we want to make clear, very clear: photos and videos, they’re yours. We have no plans to use your photos or videos in any kind of ads.
Q: You said that 15 seconds was the max for the entire thing. Is there a minimum?
A: There’s a 3 second minimum, because below 3 seconds it’s.. not really a video. Per clip [within that limit], the minimum is very, very, very small, for things like stop motion.
Q: Do you have any plans for Google Glass? Whats your opinion on Google Glass?
A: I have NOT used Google Glass yet! If anyone is listening, I want to use it! They emailed me and were like “Hey, do you want Google Glass?” and I was like, “Yeah!” and they said “Okay! Write an essay on why.”
We have a lot to do on the platforms we’re already on, so we’re going to focus on those.
Q (by me!): Can you import videos from the camera roll, or just shoot them through the app?
A: In V1, you can’t import from the camera roll. We talked a little bit about how editing is complicated, and we want people to be shooting things right through Instagram rather than uploading things they find online
Q: Can you talk about the business implications? Including advertising? I’m imagining a lot of bad Calvin Klein commercials
A: I did not expect an advertising question today [he says, sarcastically].
I think there’s a natural business opportunity with photos, but we didn’t start there with video. We focused on the user. Over time, we’ll figure out a way that it’s okay and useful. Right now, we’re perfectly happy with the organic use of Instagram by brands
Kevin: “15 seconds is just the limit of the entire video. You can record as many smaller clips as you want, as long as it fits within 15 seconds. We also export the full res video to the camera roll”
Q: When are we going to see Instagram on Windows Phone?
A: I think WIndows Phone is very interesting, but we’ve got nothing to announce right now.
Q: How long will it take videos to buffer, assuming I have a decent connection?
A: Not long, I hope! We do a bunch of pre-caching to make sure it works smoothly. But this is day one, so we’ll have to fine tune based on community feedback.
Q: Why is 6 seconds not long enough? Why is 15 seconds better?
A: I think it’s an artistic choice. In our testing, we tried a bunch of different lengths, and we just came out at 15 seconds. Not too long to upload on mobile, but not too short to get the story you want.
Q: Can you talk about the impact here from a server perspective?
A: We’ve got probably 3/4 of our team here, with the other 1/4 watching our servers. It was a big undertaking, but we don’t expect it to be an issue
Q: Will videos post natively, on FB Timeline?
A: Yes. You’ll be able to see videos right in your timeline.
We’re moving into a Q&A
“Thank for you coming out. We’re really excited to see the videos that everyone produces.. and really, thank you so much.”
So lets recap: It’s on iOS and Android, on day one. It shoots 15 second videos, with 13 custom filters, and cover frames (thumbnails) that you choose. And it has Cinema, Instagram’s new stabilization tech.
Cinema is their video stabilization tech. Kevin is demonstrating it side by side — if it’s true to life, this is very, very impressive stabilization.
“We’ve worked with the leading video scientists to create something great. We call it Cinema.”
Kevin shows a few videos, all shaking hard. “These are the videos we’ve come to expect. This is a sad affair”
“Filters are cool. How many of us take videos on our phone, and say ‘I remember that…but.. what if it wasn’t so shaky?”
“We worked hard on all of this.. but we wanted to do more.”
“And that’s video on Instagram. It’s everything we know about Instagram, but it moves.”
“From Day One, videos will be on the web.”
“On day one, it’ll be on Android as well [as iOS]“
Interesting that it doesn’t loop — thats a pretty significant counter to Vine.
“It plays once. It doesn’t loop. It doesn’t get in the way”
As you scroll through your feed, videos are marked with an icon in the upper right.
“Everything works the same. Hashtags work the same. This is the Instagram you know and love, but it moves”
After you shoot a video, you can choose a “Cover Frame” — a frame from the video that acts as the thumbnail of the clip when you share it.
Video filters can be applied on the fly, as the video preview plays back
“We, of course, wanted filters. Our filters for photography were great, but we wanted something new. So we partnered with someone really great to make 13 video filters”
As you record your video’s segments, each segment is broken up in the timeline. If one gets messed up, you can tap just that segment to delete it.
“But you can’t always fit a whole story into one 15 second video.”
“It’s the right balance between not too short, and not having to worry about upload times.”
At the bottom of video mode is a capture button. Hold it down, and it records up to 15 seconds of video.
At its base, Instagram look quite similar. Pop into the viewer, and there’s a video mode button in the lower right.
He moves into a demonstration
“The third thing: community. From day one, 130 million people will have access to recording the world’s video”
“The second thing: it has to be beautiful. If it isn’t beautiful, it isn’t Instagram”
“We focused on 3 things. First, simplicity. Simplicity really, really matters here. Video is complex; it’s hard to edit, it’s hard to manage, it’s hard to upload.”
“I’d like to introduce… Video for Instagram”
“[When we created Instagram], we brought in photos — but we left video on the side. Why? Because we wanted to focus on speed, simplicity, and beauty. 2 years ago, this was really hard to do for video”
“We’ve taken photos and made them beautiful. What do we work on next?”
“This is where Instagram is, and what we are. But what’s next?”
“Meanwhile, 130 million people are using instagram right now.”
“We’ve had over 16 billion photos shared. That’s a lot of pictures of coffee. We’re seeing over 1 billion likes per day”
“We’ve been at this now for a little over 2 1/2 years, and it’s come a really long way. Let me tell you a bit about how far”
“You see, Instagram is no single thing. Instagram is a tool best used to capture and share.”
“Instagram is a way to stay connected. As we’re separated by time zones, boundaries, and language, Instagram allows us to connect.”
“We, as humans, are forever on a quest to take a moment in time and record it. To remember it. In this way, Instagram is a tool to remember.”
“The answer is a hard one; it takes on a different form for whoever is using it. When I use instagram, I think about visual imagery. It’s in our DNA, and it’s what drives us”
“When we joined, a lot of people asked me: What is Instagram? What is it about?”
Kevin Systrom has taken the stage.
“As you can see, we’re just getting started. I want to hand it off to kevin to show you what we’ve built together”
“[When we acquired Instagram], this team of 12 people had about 20 million users. Fast forward to today, and we’ve more than tripled the team, and they have over 100 million users.”
“Today, we’re going to focus on Instagram”
“There are lots of different types of media that people want to share. That’s why we’ve developed 4 different types of apps — from the Facebook App, to messenger, to Instagram, to Pages”
“Today we want to talk about something a little different. At facebook, our mission is to give people the power to share and make people more connected”
And there’s Zuck!
Still just waiting for the show to start. Don’t worry, you’re not missing anything yet!
We’re being asked to turn off our phones and take our seats. Sounds like we’re about to start.
Just a few more minutes! The event is scheduled to start at 10 AM Pacific.
(Not a bad view of the stage, right?)
See that big ol’ empty chair with the backpack in front of it? That’s where i’m camped out. I think everyone assumed the front row was reserved.
We’re heading into the announcement room now.
It’s a muuuuch smaller shindig than the Facebook home event; they’ve got couches and loveseats set up instead of cafeteria chairs, and the’ve made room for maybe 1/8th as many people.
Check out out: we found a cool little easter egg on the back of the Facebook sign. It’s a nice tribute to Sun Microsystems, the previous resident of this campus.
It’s starting to fill up:
30 more minutes!
The event is scheduled to start at 10 AM Pacific
We’re all shuffling into a little room just outside of the theater to queue up and get our badges
Facebook’s announcement is scheduled to start at 10 AM Pacific (12 PM Central, 1 PM Eastern, 6 PM London) on June 20th. Come back just before then!
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