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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Butler’

On the Path to 1 Billion Users: Facebook’s Feature Phone Strategy

March 20th, 2011 03:37 admin View Comments

facebook150.jpgThe Israeli mobile startup Snaptu confirmed on its blog today that it has been acquired by Facebook. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed for Facebook’s first acquisition outside the U.S., but the sum was pegged at $70 million.

Snaptu builds applications for feature phones, and the startup worked with Facebook to develop its feature phone app, released at the beginning of this year. That app expanded Facebook’s mobile app availability beyond just smart phone users, bringing a Facebook app to over 2500 different mobile devices.

Expanding to New (Mobile) Markets

The acquisition of Snaptu is an interesting move for Facebook, indicating perhaps its plan to expand to new markets via new mobile markets – as the company continues on its trek towards 1 billion users.

The feature phone app built by Snaptu was one part of that, as it followed Facebook’s launch of Facebook 0 last year, a site where users in certain countries could go to visit Facebook and incur no data charges.

Making mobile apps available beyond the smart phone may be crucial to gaining new users as not-so-smart phones still make up around 75% of the mobile phone market. By making itself easily accessible via feature phones, Facebook is opening itself to those who might otherwise have the resources to visit the site.

Mobile Facebook Users are Active Users

Facebook says that more than 200 million users currently access the site through mobile apps. But here’s a more important stat, perhaps: Facebook says that people that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users. That makes a resource like Snaptu important for helping Facebook make itself the central social hub for all mobile phone users, not just iPhone or Android owners.

The acquisition of Snaptu is the latest in a string of mobile startups that Facebook has picked up recently, having acquired the group messaging app Beluga earlier this month and the local mobile advertising startup Rel8tion in late January.

Image credits: Paul Butler

Source: On the Path to 1 Billion Users: Facebook’s Feature Phone Strategy

Facebook Intern Is Smarter Than You, Creates Data Visualization Of World Friendships

December 13th, 2010 12:57 admin View Comments

Facebook engineering intern Paul Butler has created the stunning map of international human relationships above, using a ten million friend pair sample size from Facebook social graph dat. His methodology?

“I defined weights for each pair of cities as a function of the Euclidean distance between them and the number of friends between them. Then I plotted lines between the pairs by weight, so that pairs of cities with the most friendships between them were drawn on top of the others. I used a color ramp from black to blue to white, with each line’s color depending on its weight. I also transformed some of the lines to wrap around the image, rather than spanning more than halfway around the world.”

Hey Google HR people, Paul Butler. That’s P-A-U-L B-U-T-L-E-R. You can find his Facebook profile here.

Source: Facebook Intern Is Smarter Than You, Creates Data Visualization Of World Friendships

Um… That “Goldilocks” Exoplanet May Not Exist

October 12th, 2010 10:44 admin View Comments

Gliesewhut2A group of Swiss astronomers announced yesterday at the International Astronomical Union’s annual meeting in Turin, Italy, that they couldn’t detect the “goldilocks” exoplanet found by U.S. researchers a few weeks ago. That news of that planet, dubbed Gliese 581g, generated much excitement, since researchers said it was only three times the size of Earth, and it appeared to lie in the habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface.

It didn’t take long for some cold water to be thrown on the astronomical community and the space-loving public. Presenter Francesco Pepe and his colleagues claim that it will be years before the data is clear enough to see such a planet.

“We do not see any evidence for a fifth planet … as announced by Vogt et al.,” Pepe wrote Science in an e-mail from the meeting. On the other hand, “we can’t prove there is no fifth planet.” No one yet has the required precision in their observations to prove the absence of such a small exoplanet, he notes. [ScienceNOW].

Such small planets are very hard to find. Astronomers discover these planets by calculating how they interact with the star they orbit, making it wiggle ever so slightly. The American team that identified the planet a few weeks ago saw the wiggles when analyzing a combination of two sets of data.

Astronomer Paul Butler, a member of the U.S. team who is at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., says he can’t comment on the Swiss work because he wasn’t at the meeting and the data are unpublished. He notes, however, that more observations will likely be needed to solidify the existence of Gliese 581g. “I would expect that on the time scale of a year or two this should be settled.” [ScienceNOW].

There will be more information available when the Swiss team releases its data and methods, but for now you might want to unpack your bags.

Image: NSF

Source: Um… That “Goldilocks” Exoplanet May Not Exist

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