A year ago, Bret Taylor was CEO of FriendFeed, a promising but utterly geeky startup that anticipated the way people could understand the integrated social web. Expectations for FriendFeed were always high given Taylor had co-founded Google Maps and his co-founder Paul Buchheit had created Gmail. After Facebook acquired FriendFeed last August, Taylor’s influence within his new company company has been swift; at April’s Facebook developer conference, he shared the keynote stage with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, offering a clear and commanding presentation of Facebook’s big product launches. And so after getting (somewhat) out of the woods from its recent privacy flap, the company named Taylor its CTO, marking his ascension internally as its big-picture technical thinker.
We took a trip down to the company’s Palo Alto, Calif. HQ last week to talk to Taylor about his plans for the role, as well as all the other hot-button Facebook topics like privacy settings, instant personalization and restrictions on gaming apps. I’ve been following Taylor since he was figuring out his startup ideas as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Benchmark Capital a few years ago, and was interested to see how engaged and absorbed he was at Facebook. The videos are a bit longer than what I’d normally do, but I hope you’ll find it interesting to hear a bit more about how Taylor thinks.
The first video covers:
* Taylor’s big projects at Facebook to date: simplifying the Facebook platform and building a tool to efficiently query connections between people and objects
* The adoption of social plug-ins and his vision for the personalization of the web
* His internal crusade for simplicity
* His impressions of how Facebook is seen in the developer community and his recommitment to on-platform application developers
* Plans to reconfigure the newsfeed to improve distribution channels for gaming apps
The second video covers:
* Native apps vs. the web
* The idea of Facebook owning the social web, and the consequences of that
* Facebook’s privacy settings (Though he didn’t give out a specific number, Taylor said the majority of users who have visited the new privacy setting page have used it to change their settings.)
* Plans to make Facebook more secure and to protect partners from inadvertently sharing user data
* Taylor’s next two big areas of focus within Facebook: search and newsfeed
Please see the disclosure in my bio about Facebook.