For the third consecutive year, Apple tops the list of most innovative companies.
Facebook Comes of Age with its Billionth User
When it comes to defining a product, Chris Cox, vice president of product at Facebook, knows what that is.
"The 'like,' the newsfeed is a product, the timeline is a product," Cox said.
It is possible to think of creating these products that exist on the social network platform as similar to building a container, he said, something that takes up space in the world.
Facebook -- the platform for human connection on an unthinkable scale -- was inevitable, Cox said Monday at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific forum, which is examining emerging technologies and ideas, and what happens to them and society when people start using them.
"A lot of us think these technologies are going to be built, we just didn't know when," Cox said. "You have to think something like this was going to come about."
He remembers days of resistance from users and outsiders to the platform, and he expects that won't change because of human nature.
"We're not very good, when something new comes along, at understanding what's going to be valuable in the long run," Cox said. "I think that's the take-away."
Facebook, now in 80 languages, just announced that it has its billionth user. "We don't even know how to think about that," Cox said. "Our typical user is in India or Indonesia, using a mobile device."
Mobile is the future of Facebook connecting, Cox said, although he believes that PCs won't ever go away.
A billion photos are uploaded each week. "Literally hundreds of millions of people a day are writing the Internet," he said. "It's a billion little tiny pieces that all of us are creating every day instead of the thousand people who used to provide and define information."
"Each person is in control of their representation on Facebook," Cox said. "We're always reminding people that you can remove stuff and you have privacy control on your profile."
Facebook also built a bunch of unique tools, such as one for resolving disputes and another for reporting friends who might be suicidal. The company also worked with a group in Berkeley, Calif., specializing in compassion, to figure out how to best communicate with users who have posted offensive content on the platform.
As the product of Facebook grows globally, the challenges of connecting ever more diverse communities, and delivering it to them in increasingly mobile ways, mean that need to think and create the technology into the future will always be a necessity.
"We built tools so our product translates into native languages and locale," Cox said. "This is a tool that's gone above and beyond the United States and that's something we're proud of."