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Facebook's era of breaking things is over: F8 brings new tools for mobile developers

Caitlin McGarry | May 2, 2014
Facebook is now an entirely phone-first company. It makes most of its money on mobile and more than a billion of its active users are browsing their News Feeds on a phone. So it makes sense for Facebook to use its F8 conference on Wednesday to give developers the resources they need to build better apps and games for us to use--even if that means no radical redesigns or groundbreaking products.

"I hope this is the direction mobile takes for the future," said Parse founder Ilya Sukhar. "This is how the Web worked, and it's awesome. Let's keep it awesome."

Move fast but be stable

Facebook also used F8 to officially launch its ad exchange, the Facebook Audience Network. Though this doesn't directly affect users, it does allow app developers and advertisers to target you based on the wealth of information Facebook has collected about you over the years.

Think of F8 has Facebook's version of Apple's WWDC or Google I/O. There are often product announcements, but it's an event largely designed to get developers excited about integrating their work with Facebook (or Apple or Google). Unlike Apple and Google, Facebook's F8 schedule has been sporadic at best. But Zuckerberg promised that Facebook can be counted on as a dependable resource for developers, even announcing next year's F8 date to prove it.

Facebook has held four previous F8 developers conferences — one in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 — where Zuckerberg has used the time to launch new products and unveil redesigns. Facebook Timeline was first shown off at F8 in 2011.

"In the past, we've had F8 when we had a big new product announcement," Zuckerberg said in his kick-off keynote address. "Now we're focused on building a stable mobile platform."

Say goodbye to the days of "Move fast and break things." Facebook's new mantra, "Move fast with stable infra," may not be as catchy — or look as good on a sign — but who needs a slogan when you're a full-fledged, worldwide media and advertising organization? Not Facebook.


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