Thursday, August 9, 2007

GoLoco on Facebook

By now you may have heard that we're running GoLoco on Facebook Platform (for some weird reason the PR people at Facebook insist on the absence of the word "the"). We're excited about the opportunities this provides, and, as engineers, we are having a lot of fun working on the GoLoco on Facebook Platform.

Why Facebook? We've been watching them for a while, and we've been impressed with how well they manage the whole online social network thing. Rather than build a whole parallel social network just for GoLoco, it just made sense to build on theirs.

From the developer's point of view, Facebook Platform is well designed with an intuitive API that provides just what we need. And from all we can tell, they've only just begun. Since they introduced the platform barely two months ago they've had regular weekly updates and the features just keep coming. A recent update enabling javascript support will mean that we can make some performance and usability improvements, so stay tuned.

And we're looking forward to scaling more easily now -- with their investment in robust systems for handling millions of users we can concentrate on making GoLoco easy to use and adding features.

But what about all those people who aren't using Facebook yet? Yes, there are quite a lot of them, but not for long by my calculations.

Facebook Singularity?

According to Ray Kurzweil, the computing power of the human brain will be matched by PCs by the year 2020. However, long before then, if current rates of growth continue, we will reach the Facebook Singularity by January 2011. "What's that?," you ask. And how did you calculate it?

According to the CIA (isn't this where everyone gets their facts?), the world population is growing at 1.167% per year. If growth continues at this rate then the world population will be 7 billion by January 2011.

Facebook reports adoption is growing at the rate of 3% per week. If adoption continues at this rate then the number of Facebook users will be 7 billion by January 2011.

You can calculate the point of singularity yourself if you like. When does World Population = Facebook Population? Facebook's weekly growth rate of 3% is an annualized 1.03 to the power of 52 (don't you love the magic of compound growth? Ben Franklin would be all over this), 1.03^52 = 4.65.

If you plug in the current populations and growth rates we get:

6,600,000,000 * 1.0167^N = 33,000,000 * 4.65^N

where N is the number of years.

Take the log of both sides and solve for N and you get:

N = (log(6,600,000,000) - log(33,000,000))/(log(4.65) - log(1.0167))

Put the right hand side of that equation into google
and you get N = 3.48 years, or around January 1, 2011.

What does this mean? Well, you'd be able to "Facebook poke" every man, woman and child in the world by January 2011.

I know what you're thinking, "no way will that happen because I know my mother's never going on Facebook." Guess again, Poindexter, if your mother isn't on yet, she will be soon.

-- Roy [Russell]

NOTE from Roy's wife and children: (yawn) ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz