Facebook has been wooing the UK developer and media community over the weekend and today in London. It’s hard to believe that three months ago the social network was being pilloried in the media for being perceived to have played some part a brutal murder.
But at the first official Facebook developer day to be held outside California, Mark Zuckerberg and his European team pulled off a flawless event at London’s vast Barbican Centre, throwing out a few hints about the future.
The most interesting was Zuckerberg’s hint that location based features were coming to the platform. To a packed audience he said: “We are finishing designing our application soon and hope to offer it soon.” Whether that means integrating location data from the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla was not elaborated on.
Zuckerberg also bigged-up streaming music service Spotify which recently became social, with the ability to import your Facebook social graph. He told the assembled crowd that “The new version of Spotify is really pretty amazing… I’m using it so much more.”
Zuckerberg was joined by Joanna Shields, who now leads the European business, Ethan Beard, platform director, and Christian Hernandez, who is charged with developing international partnerships. This was clearly a big push and the overall tone was one of a significant move to engage with developers outside the US.
Shields, the crack executive who steered Bebo towards a sale to AOL for $850 million and later jumped to Facebook also let slip a comment about the recent sale of Bebo for a paltry $2.5m. When asked what she thought about it, she said: “Today’s not about that, I’m just happy to be on the winning team. I did my job, very well.” She certainly did.
And there were some interesting other titbits dropped at the event.
• Today, 50% of the “Likes” appearing on Facebook are coming from European users and over 100m “Likes” have been generated on third-party sites since the feature was introduced.
• 70% of Facebook users come from outside the US, as well as “most” of the 1M platform developers. London is one of biggest cities for Facebook developers.
• Facebook now has over 26 million active users in the UK, 10m in Germany, 10m in Spain, 16m in Italy and 15m in France
* Zuckerberg met with the UK Prime Minister. The UK culture secretary Tweeted that he was a “Really smart guy with some good ideas” on improving “digital engagement in policy making.”
• Nike’s awesome “Write the Future” advert for the World Cup got over 5.6m playbacks in the first 24 hours on Facebook and added 6m new followers to their fanpage.
• Gaming continues to be big on Facebook with over 200m monthly players, each playing an average of four different games. Some 24 games have over 10m monthly users.