Facebook’s Sandberg Says Ad Network And Maps Would Be Nice, But Not A Priority


Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg claims Facebook has no plans to build an offsite ad network or a mapping feature, even though they’d be nice to have. Today at the D11 Conference, Sandberg reiterated that Facebook is squarely focused on mobile, and can’t distract itself.

Facebook was in talks to acquire social traffic map app Waze but our sources confirm AllThingsD’s report that negotiations have broken down. Many claim the two would be been a good fit, though it would have been an expensive purchase. Yes, Facebook needs more mobile engagement, and yes, both of its competitors Apple and Google have their own maps. Still, it would have been far outside of Facebook’s core mission of sharing the things you care about…unless you think avoiding a speed trap is central to your life story.

Previously Facebook powered some offsite ads on Zynga.com. Later it began testing a more full-fledged mobile ad network, allowing other apps to use its biographical targeting data to make their ads more relevant. Facebook “paused” the mobile ad network a few months ago without citing a reason. It could bring in a lot of money, but wouldn’t necessarily improve the Facebook user experience. It could also freak people out to see their private Facebook data used to target ads at them on other properties.

Sandberg explained “We have to prioritize ruthlessly” and the first priority is a better Facebook mobile experience, implying a full-fledged mapping app or a money-printing ad network wouldn’t fit with it’s current agenda. She specifically referred to an ad network as “a non-goal.”

Sandberg discussed the recent launch of Facebook Home, calling it just the first version of the company’s effort to make the smartphone more social. She noted that the company will continue to update the platform monthly, as it seeks to improve the user experience.

The launch of Facebook Home was highly touted, but didn’t have the huge reception that was expected. However, Sandberg says that the company is committed to making the mobile phone more social. In doing so, though, there’s been a very bi-modal reaction to the new “apperating system,” according to Sandberg.

“Reviews are ones or fives,” she said. There’s not a lot of in-between. Part of the reason for that, she believes, is that those who love it are already really big Facebook users. Those who don’t love it have a negative reaction to the way it takes over the way they manage and move between apps. At the same time, according to Sandberg, even those who don’t love the app still like its two core features — its preview pane and chat heads.

For Facebook, continuing to invest in mobile is key to the future. Today, mobile accounts for about 30 percent of all revenues, compared to zero not too long ago. And Sandberg believes that the company has a huge advantage on mobile versus on desktop. Today, Facebook accounts for about one in five of all minutes spent on mobile phones, versus the desktop, where it gets one in seven minutes of user attention.

Sandberg has had a big year as COO at Facebook, as well as because of the launch of her book, Lean In. She said that she wrote the book to help open the conversation about gender. “I wrote Lean In because, as it turns out, men still rule the world… and I’m not sure how that’s going,” Sandberg said.

As it relates to the technology market, Sandberg believes that growing the number of women in consumer science fields can actually help alleviate some of the engineering talent crunch. In the mid-1980s, she said, the percentage of women in computer science degrees was about 35 percent, Sandberg said. But now that’s down below 20 percent.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo