Welcome to the Official Vancouver Facebook Garage Live Blog! As previously announced, events will be underway at 5:30pm but here are a few shout outs before we get started:
Big thanks to the Official Live Blog sponsor, Communicate.com. Also thanks to Techvibes.com for being the media sponsor (including Flickr shots by Kris Krug that I will be using throughout the evening) and Vancouver Film School for offering up the venue. Of course we cannot forget Facebook, who has officially sponsored this event as well (thanks for the swag!)
Here’s a rundown of the schedule:
5:07pm: Just getting setup at VFS. Once again BIG thanks to them for accommodating our group. Shout out to official photographer Kris, who apparently is stuck in an elevator somewhere and to my pals John Biehler, and Duane Storey who are unable to attend. Duane’s developed his own Facebook app featuring Matt Good’s CD release and concert dates.
5:29pm: Kris is here and photos are coming shortly. The video feed should be setup soon and every seat in the house is taken. I won’t have time to attribute the pics with captions on the fly, just know they are all credited to kk+ on Flickr.
5:45pm: Starting off with demos in anticipation of a Skype video chat with a representative of Facebook. Each demo presenter will have about 5 minutes to present their Facebook App. First up… Up4 (Social Planning Helper) Built By ActiveState. What are you up for? Up4 is designed to let your friends know in a very casual way (with no specific times etc) what you would be up for doing. You can select specific friends to notify or send to your entire list.
Using tabbed browsing in the application, you can block times for events and activities you would be willing to do, and also see what your friends could possibly want to do. It’s sort of like the pre-event stage. It’s if you’re interested, you like the idea, etc. without any real commitment off the bat. What’s next? They’ll be launching a skinned version of the app in time for the holidays.
5:50pm: Up next is Are You Normal Built By Kinzin. It’s a social survey app for Facebook that was actually featured on the cover of Vancouver’s 24 Hours newspaper this morning. Answer the questions, see how your friends answered and find out just how normal you are.
6:00pm: Third demo is NoteMix – Create courses and collaborate on notes with other course members, presented by Colin Kierans. NoteMix is for collaborative note taking in your courses (college etc.) enter your school, the course code and edit summaries on the go. Your classmates can log into Facebook, fire up NoteMix and collaborate summaries and notes with peers, sort of like a wiki but with a friendlier and Facebook-y interface. Notifications are given for most recently updated courses.
6:05pm: Handi Mobility is up next with MyBus. If you attended the most recent DemoCampVancouver or happened to see my blog post you’ll know this is one handy and incredible simple tool for catching the bus on time… as long as it is on time. They’re also working on the iPhone version.
6:10pm: The call from Facebook headquarters has just come in over Skype, the auditorium is chatting (one way) to David Morin, Senior Platform Manager in Palo Alto, CA.
6:20pm: The connection was lost so we’re getting a mini demo of Hockey Pools. Greg is just leading us through the app, which he personally has installed, even though Ben Nevile cannot be here to officially present it.
6:22pm: Opus “Mixx” Music Player and Social Playlists presented by Jeremy Lim from Donat Group. Basically it’s a mix tape creator that always starts with the statement… “I want music that…” You can then rely on friends’ recommendations for tunes, whatever you’re in the mood to listen to. Since the app functions by uploading mp3 files to the Opus servers there are several skeptics in the audience mentioning the legalities of the player. There’s also the subject of quality of files uploaded, duplicates and copies but they are still working out some kinks. Mixx music player is based on php and Drupal.
6:36pm: Green Gifts by Social Signal (for BC Hydro) is up next, presented by Rob Cottingham. “How does an organization dip its toe in the online water, especially when it’s a public organization.” The idea of gifts on Facebook really appealed to Social Signal’s client so together they created Green Gifts – a fun and entertaining way to promote sustainability and energy conservation. Each free ‘Green Gift’ comes with a PowerSmart tip as well.
18:52pm: Scratch and Win by Backstage Technologies will be the last demo before a small break. It’s an image, a prize icon and a score tally that goes up. You have credits, buy scratch tickets, and win prize tokens. Earlier in the evening someone else brought up the concept of gambling on Facebook (during the Hockey Pools segment) and if it’s banned, which it clearly is as stated in their terms of service. New users get 10 credits and the choice of 4 different tickets when they sign up. Complete with scartchy sound effects, 95% of tickets are winners. “Facebook is about wasting time”, so Backstage has done exactly that, built an app to help people just play and have fun… but of course with a little competition hence the ‘rankings’ page. “Your app must let you do something to someone”, so with Scratch and Win you can send tickets.
7:30pm: Final demo of the evening is ClassTalk built by PeerGlobe. Born out of a now-extinct social networking platform, ycas, Class Talk generates new conversations within Facebook with its own applications. You can register your courses at major educational institutions around the world, schedule, discuss and even sign up if you’re the teacher. It’s like a giant (as in complex and multi-faceted) Facebook group, filled with classmates in which you can share documents, leave notes and comments and connect with others.
7:48pm: Big theme on the night being, how can we compete with zombie and food fight applications?
7:52pm: Jason Bailey from Kick In The Nuts Media is presenting on monetizing your Facebook app – making $$ money $$. Valuating applications for purchase by investors based on install numbers. Trip Advisor is an example of a million + installed application that’s built for branding and is making money. Pay Per…. impression, click, action, sale. Another example of an app that is making a LOT of money is one of the Pink Ribbon/Breast Cancer awareness campaigns which encourages a toolbar download through a ‘free causes’ website. For every member that downloads and installs the toolbar, they will donate a certain dollar amount to the cause. With the money they’re making from toolbar referrals… it’s quite a healthy sum they can scrape off the top. Facebook is full of these applications that only need member clicks and installs in order to make a nice chunk of change. The point? Developers have the ability to jump on this monetary bandwagon as well. Best way to get people to click through? Ask a question, have a poll, request an opinion and offer a “free” offer.
8:15pm: Presentation are over. Side note, Roland’s active on the Jaiku Channel for the Vancouver Facebook Garage.
8:20pm: Last but not least… Boris and Johnny are here to talk about the FUTURE of Facebook and not locking your app inside. Johnny leads off introducing OpenID – build your apps for everyone, there are many options although they’re not always simple to implement. Boris refers to Facebook as a “giant walled garden, we’ve seen this before ie. with AOL,” let’s open things up. During Q&A the audience mentions there’s a new app for Facebook that allows you to download your friends in a CSV. The examples at this point are referencing monkeys and the ownership of monkeys. I’m no longer able to focus on the big screen but I’m sure glad these guys are still on track, talking about the concept of an “open web”.
I’ll be heading home as I’ve been fighting off a cold for the entire day, and I might just let it take over soon. As I am heavily air conditioned and neck-kinked at this point, all the best to those going to the after party. Have fun guys, take pics! And anyone who DID tune into my live blog… please let me know what you think/thought. Thanks!