The year gone by has been a mixed bag for Facebook. While the numbers have not really been in its favour, the constant evolution and addition of features to its products on multiple platforms are what have kept the loyal user base glued to Facebook.
Behind these new additions and ever-evolving features is a regular company-wide hackathon, where Facebook employees can go beyond doing their day-jobs and help create meaningful features. To give you a summary, Facebook chat, the Timeline, Video, comment tagging and even the Like button, so synonymous with the social networking website, have been products of these hackathons.
ATC was one of Facebook's top hacks
Facebook has now unveiled its favourite hacks of 2013, including mobile efficiency tools to snowfall in chat heads. One of the most important hack this year for Facebook has been Air Traffic Control, a tool that can help the social network improve its mobile experience in developing countruies and places with poor network conditions. The team working on the hack used open source software to create an embedded network that helped the engineers simulate specific network conditions to make their products better.
Similarly, there was the Power Player which helped extract and parse log files from iPhones, letting engineers check how certain events affected the phone’s battery consumption. The thick files were broken down and engineers were able to understand CPU usage, network access and GPS usage in relation to battery drain. A bunch of engineers also built a tool to automate Facebook’s infrastructure maintenance, which the company seems to be using extensively these days.
Besides these behind-the-scenes hack, there are some that users have been able to actually make use of too. If you happened to start up Messenger on your Android phone a few days ago, you would’ve seen the neat snow feature on chat head. This was how Facebook brought in the holidays and has promised some interesting treats for the New Year too.
Let it snow!
There’s also the shared album feature, where you can now create a common album for your trips with friends and have everyone pour in photos from their cameras into the same place. Facebook also introduced a feature where you could check out the weather forecast on an event’s page before you decided to head out or RSVP for it. The social network does admit that it’s mostly useful for cities like San Francisco, where the weather varies from block to block, but it can be a pretty handy tool elsewhere too. If nothing, you’ll know what to wear for the gig. Facebook also counts its latest “Likes” based sticker pack as one of its well-done hacks in 2013.
Facebook's sure had a busy 2013 and we can't wait to see the treats it might bring along in 2014. And more improvements to Facebook Home if it isn't too much to ask for.