Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in a rare public appearance, has touted a ‘personalised web’ as the key to creating a new wave of opportunity for developers and content providers.
Speaking at a conference at London’s Barbican Centre, the young CEO signaled an aggressive phase of expansion across Europe into the personal web.
Zuckerberg said that the growth of social gaming and his own experience using the new version of Spotify illustrated the potential of "products built around people".
A personalised web means a more local web, which means local advertising. And already, brands are starting to favour the local ad campaign over the global ‘one size fits all’ format.
The Facebook CEO added that there is an opportunity for new wave developers as the internet continues to evolve and the application culture continues to grow.
And speaking of growth, last week it was revealed that Facebook had booked sales of £475-£540m in 2009, sharply higher than previous estimates which had topped off at £475m (Facebook remains a private company, and so detailed financial data is not disclosed).
However, the number is thought to be twice Facebook's revenue for 2008. If correct, the figures bode well should Zuckerberg decide to press ahead with his eventual plan to float the business, allowing him to cash out on his success.
Facebook, founded in 2004, now boasts more than 450 million users worldwide, and the numbers are quickly creeping up with the site soon to announce a user base of 500 million.
Zuckerberg said in London that the sites success is built in the way it engages people, "A huge part of our brain is hard wired to process what is going on around us and how to stay connected to people."
More than one million developers now use Facebook's developer tools, which add elements of Facebook's functionality such as the "Like" button, to external sites. Zuckerberg said Facebook's focus is on building out the platform to support external developers.
It is estimated that 350,000 sites are now using Facebook's social plugins, and that some have reported up to fivefold traffic increases.
The recently announced Open Graph is the hook into Facebook's database which allows more user activity to be integrated onto outside sites.
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