Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Facebook on “Lockdown” for Upcoming Launches, but f8 Unlikely to Happen for a While

F8, Facebook’s mostly annual developer conference and the place where it makes its largest product announcements, still hasn’t been scheduled for 2011. We do know the social networking company has big projects up its sleeve, including a mobile platform push.

During his recent video-calling announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg¬†declared that Facebook “launching season” is under way. And last week the company went into “lockdown” mode, a self-imposed period of intensive product development, sources said.

A Facebook spokesman did not reply to a query about an ongoing “lockdown,” but he did confirm that there’s still no date for f8 2011. One f8 launch partner said it’s been told the conference is now likely to be held in late September.

At least one Facebook engineer is openly discussing the rationale for this summer’s lockdown — “the point of Lockdown is to refocus our efforts on shipping products,” he said — on Quora, where there’s a mix of uninformed and informed people discussing the new lockdown being motivated by Google+.

Last year, Facebook’s “lockdown” mode was mounted as a 60-day effort in late summer and early fall to push new products out after it became clear that Google would be launching a major social initiative, at that time known as “Google Me.”

The 2010 lockdown — signified by a neon sign on Zuckerberg’s conference room (see what it looks like here), and accompanied by free meals for staffers on weekends — led to releases such as Facebook Places and Facebook Groups.

This summer, of course, Facebook has renewed and even more concrete motivation from the launch and early success of Google+.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus