This doesn't surprise me in that it seems like a natural fit for Facebook, who has a Mobile Problem [tm].
As much as people fear Facebook becoming The Internet (in the AOL sense), Facebook is actually really late to this party.
Apple has a mobile OS, a content and payments ecosystem and a deeply integrated set of products.
Google has a mobile OS, GMail, a search engine, a burgeoning content ecosystem and its Maps/local properties.
Amazon has a content and payments ecosystem, a limited mobile presence (Kindle Fires basically, which are of course tablets not phones) and cloud infrastructure.
All of these things are (IMHO) pieces in technology's future. Facebook really is a one trick pony (although an 8000 pound pony if you want to stretch the metaphor).
It's why you saw them panic about Instagram (if a ~2 year old company with 13 employees is an existential threat then your position is, by definition, precarious).
It's why rumours of a Facebook Phone have circulated for a year or two (eg Project Spartan) and why Facebook launched Facebook Home. It's trying to get the benefits of having a mobile OS without actually developing one and building market share (ask Microsoft how hard that is).
Facebook's strength really is being a closed silo/platform for The Internet (or a version of it at least). So buying Parse makes perfect sense as they want to extend the reach and power of the Facebook platform.
Facebook has a mindshare problem. I no longer consider it a driving force in my social interaction and I'm of the older generation. The younger generation seems to have abandoned it already. It's now a deposit for the occasional family photo and lately seems to be full of chain spam.
When you think back to the history of social networks (AOL, Compuserv, Friendster, Myspace) these things don't have a great half-life.
They need to reinvent themselves and fast, and extending their reach isn't as much the issue as reasserting relevance through great content.
I've noticed this, too. I still log into FB often. But, my FB feed is dead. Only 1 of my 100+ friends still posts something regularly (every week or two). At first, I just thought people created filters that didn't include me (when that feature was introduced). But, they're just not using FB anymore. Thinking back, I almost totally stopped posting stuff around the time they did because the site just began to feel creepy (foto tagging, etc) and started feeling like a mostly empty room at the end of a party. FB feels today like lj and myspace felt right before they died.
I've been keeping an eye out for the next social site where everyone is going. But, there doesn't seem to be one this time. I think social might finally be over.
I'm the one early adapters of Facebook in Turkey since 2006. I was 19 at that time and studying in college. I was trying to push my friends to sign up because it looked like i was the only one in facebook town, alone. Since then i have chance to watch evolution of facebook while I and my friends are growing up. Now I'm 26 and i have bunch of people in my friends (400+) including 50< and 15> years old relatives. I can say that now I'm feeling alone again, despite the crowded feed(bunch of sponsored stories and meme). I can say that I don't have friends to push them to sign up anymore.
Summary it's time to move on for all of us even facebook. In this perspective It makes sense to buy b2b company.
Speaking of late to the party Facebook is just in the process of taking off here in Japan, it's already very popular and appears to be taking over from social networks like Mixi which have previously dominated here.
I don't have any numbers to back this up though, I'm just basing it on the change in usage I've seen here in the last two years. Certainly Facebook is alive and well here, even _useful_ if you can imagine it!
>>Thinking back, I almost totally stopped posting stuff around the time they did because the site just began to feel creepy (foto tagging, etc) and started feeling like a mostly empty room at the end of a party.
I can almost picture your friends snickering at you saying thinks like "Boy, look at vabmit, still has not realized that Facebook is so yesterday"
G+ has its set of users and it might grow in the coming days, but by integrating G+ with Google search they are destroying the sanctity of search. Having to sign up for a social network so that my blog posts can have my photo and name appear in search results is evil. Google can use existing microdata to achieve a similar result. But they want to push their social network down my throat if I want to make my website appear in google search with authorship data.
I hope that the next social network will be real life and that online services will go back to what those things used to be: websites that do one thing good (see Flickr) rather than trying to buy our mortal souls. Or giving me (us?) the feeling this is is what they're trying to do.
Also totally disagree. Sounds like the average Hacker News comment that has no bearing on real users. I keep up with all of my college friends (recently left), high school friends, and almost all new San Francisco friends through Facebook.
- I get its messages delivered to my phone.
- Most every party I go to has a Facebook event associated with it.
- Pretty much every picture taken with my friends goes to it (or Instagram).
I'd say that's pretty normal for most people I interact with.
> If anything Facebook has only lost it's novelty because it's assumed everyone has one.
Sometimes I think every social network is doomed to die in a certain number of years. Facebook simply isn't cool any more because everybody's on it now, which mean's it's ripe for disruption by a network of cool people.
by the time a company reaches $65 billion market cap, the time for a complete reinvention is over. businesses of that size should be mature cash machines. if the plan is to generate cash by offering b2b services, whereas up until now everyone thought it was advertising to slavish users, I think now might be a good time to run as far away from possible from facebook stock.
As a user my G+ experience is so far superior to my Facebook one that I laugh every time I read something like this. I check my G+ every day because my streams are interesting and I enjoy it; I check my FB everyday because my entire extended family, pre-school friends and their dogs have accounts there.
People are crazy to think that Google should not just have one account that spans all their services, it makes business and technical sense; however, if you don't like G+ just don't use it- your Google account just might mean you have a blank place holder page there.
I have a G+ account, 'branded' and everything. However, I also have other Gmail accounts I've created over the years, like a spam account I use to sign up for spammy websites, etc.
The problem is, Google wants me to unify all those, 'brand' them, and get them on G+ and Youtube, and keeps popping up annoy ware about it. One of them on Youtube recently tricked me, and I'm still not sure I selected the most appropriate option.
I appreciate Google is offering fairly granular choices, along with the choice to make no change at all. But this is just more noise and cognitive overhead I don't want to have to deal with.
I already use Google's full unified services they way they want me to with my primary account, I wish they'd just realize that and drop it with the rest.
i dont understand why people say g+ experience is superior to facebook.. every time i come across a g+ album i find it very annoying.. that i have to reach the top corner to close the slide show of the album.. and the fact that when i reach the last picture of the album and i click next i get suggestions to checkout some random g+ albums.. all i wanted was to go to the beginning of the current allbum..
and i can see more stuff in a facebook page, less scrolling..
i know this is subjective that people prefer different things. but it annoys me soo much that people are soo vocal about g+ being superior to facebook in design/usability sense.. i don't see it..
I'm pretty sure Google made G+ to integrate better with products like Glass, which are only just starting to pick up steam. This video helped clarify why Google would invest so much into Google+ :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMY-iNnqUIo
I think it is already a bigger problem. In past Google has always been quick to accept their failures and correct it's course but with their social networking product I think they are not willing to admit that they are a miserable failure.
Way, way too soon to declare G+ a miserable failure. It's the lynchpin to their long term strategy for maintaining their dominance and relevance in Search, which in turn is how their Golden Goose of ad revenue lays its eggs.
Whether us schmuck users like or dislike it is irrelevant. At some point, G+ will be mandatory, as someone in Slate (i think, or maybe on quora somewhere) recently wrote...
Indeed. I think Youtube's "Hey, you should use your real name!" nag to be a very unsettling sign of things to come. My friends @ the Googleplex also note that there was a large schism internally wrt the whole "real name" push, but that's all heresay anyway.
The author thinks G+ will be huge by the end of 2013, which is much too short a timeline... but otherwise I think his analysis is spot-on. Some highlights:
"Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to it, but Google Plus is really Google’s version of Google. It’s the groundwork for a level of search quality difficult to fathom based on what we know today. It’s also the Borg-like hive-queen that connects all the other Google products like YouTube, Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books, and more. And Google is starting to roll these products all up into a big ball of awesome user experience by way of Google Plus, and that snowball is starting to pick up speed and mass."
("awesome user experience" is obviously highly subjective and debatable)
"What makes Google Plus different is that it is the new backbone of a company that does search better than anyone already--something Facebook could never compete with. You use Google to search, right? Well, imagine if Google knew every piece of data about you that Facebook knew. Imagine how better equipped they would be to serve you what you are looking for. Google Plus is a way of entrenching Google’s dominance in that area, not a way of stealing Facebook users. If you are in first place, that’s the time to accelerate your lead."
and the conclusion:
"I know. You are still in the “no freaking way am I joining another social network” mode. But one day soon you will wake up and find out about that one little thing and it goes something like this:
Your buddy, “Hey have you heard about this one little thing?”
You: “Oh. My. God. That’s Awesome. That’s so Awesome. How do I get that?”
Your buddy: “Oh, you need to have a Google Plus Profile or it doesn’t work.”"
The inverse of that is the Microsoft experience - I can remember a similar resentment slowly building across the late 90s. We all still used MS products, and jumped to their tune, but the underlying resentment meant that as soon as an alternative appeared (OSX for some, ipods and/or iOS for others) we jumped as quick as we could.
I wondered that is what google would want, but I dont see how they can make G+ mandatory for their search customers. This would mean you would have to be signed into to google to search.
And it is just not that G+ is not actively used , Facebook has been adding real users and is growing. Forget the fact I won't move to G+ until 50 of my 150 friends move to g+( which is a very low # among my friends, most of them have atleast few hundered ). you will have to export your pictures and some other personalized content to another site. IMO, the best time for a new social venture to gain traction is when it is new on the block. and google has failed. honcho's at google will admit the failure and move on from the social networking space, if their compensations are not tied to g+.
Why do you think they'll move away from social? Asking because, for me, this looks like they'r going "all in" here. They want all private data and social is missing in their chain. But, hmmm, looks like it's much harder to become Big Brothers right hand >:-)
Do you really think Zuckerberg would have agreed to that? I doubt it. Facebook was still relatively small when Yahoo offered to buy them for $1 billion but Zuckerberg didn't give it much thought at all.
It sometimes works, it's just that you never hear about it when it does because you forget all about the small company and it's just seen as a big company's hot new product.
Recall that Google bought Android and YouTube when they were small, Google bought Where2 (Google Maps) when it was small, Google bought Writely (Google Docs) when it was small, Yahoo bought Flickr when it was small, Google bought MetaWeb (those knowledge cards on the right of the search result page) and ITA (flight search) when they were medium-sized, Twitter bought Summize (Twitter Search) when it was small, and Conde Nast bought Reddit when it was small.
The key seems to be to either let the acquired company continue to do its thing without interference or to fold it into a high-priority project within the acquirer, though.
Oh, this. Shutting down services is different to restricting services to your own platform. Perhaps you have a point, perhaps Google would hypothetically have decided to shut down Parse had they acquired it, but it's not fair to suggest they'd have limited it to Android.
I disagree. Google is probably the biggest threat to Apple, and Apple is probably the biggest threat to Android, but not to Google. Apple has essentially no web presence, companies that do are a much bigger existential threat to Google.
you laid down an excellent foundation and then just dismissed it on the conclusion.
why does buying parse makes perfect sense for facebook? you already mentioned they are doing fine there, with their little piece of the internet in their app. why would they want to support 60,000 apps that does other things out of their little corner?
....oh, will they bait and switch them? all 60,000 apps forced to login via facebook only next month?
Bummer. Can I ask why this changed your mind? At FB, we're quite serious about finding ways to gift third party developers with APIs, tools, open source, platforms, whatever we can do to help. I think Parse is pretty awesome and is likely to become more so at Facebook. That's a useless opinion if it's not shared by the wider community, though.
So: feedback taken seriously - we're listening. Fire away.
- I don't trust Facebook to not convert the user system into a Facebook connect monster and force it on me
- I don't trust Facebook to not data mine my data and violate me and my user's privacy
- I don't trust Facebook to let me export my data once I want to move on
- I don't trust Facebook to actually delete data once I tell them to do so
- I don't trust Facebook to not to attempt to monetize my users beyond the account fee that I pay
I am in a similar position. Was about a week away from pulling the trigger on parse after a lot of research into the backend service providers. Now I will definitely look elsewhere. One problem is that FB APIs have a tendency to be constantly changing, and the documentation is not good. This shifting sands is not a good place to build a service.
However, the biggest reason is that FB is NOT a back end service provider. Facebook's customer is the advertisers. Before getting bought, Parse's customer were the companies that used their service. Now Parse is part of FB so future directions will all be in service of FB's main customer, the advertisers. I have no problem with this from a business standpoint, I am sure it is a good move for FB, but as a customer of back end cloud services I want to be purchasing that service from a company that puts me first. FB will not do that.
TL;DR: I was Parse's customer, I am not Facebook's customer.
So the Parse platform allowed me to get and implement my iOS app in under a month, getting my MVP out there. If you want to really assure users that they can be comfortable, and to not flee, make it so we have access to our user's password hashes.
Before, the Parse team said they were thinking of implementing it, but now there's no contest. Either you guys allow me to take my user data, or we're done, and I'm completely separating from you guys, and wouldn't recommend anyone building on the platform.
So, let me have ALL access to my user's data, and we can keep hanging. Otherwise, we're done.
As it is, I'm making plans already to move, on the assumption you guys won't let me get my user's data.
Our team uses Pieceable, which Facebook also purchased, and which I would also consider a tool for third party mobile developers.
The acquisition announcement  states that Pieceable is/was going to be killed 12/31/12, but prior to that date they'd open source it. And, as far as I can tell, that's the last time anything has been said about the product. I don't even know if you're still taking our money, but it's going to suck when you turn it off or it breaks due to obsolescence.
So, my answer is that your prior behavior does not instill confidence.
As someone in a similar situation: I don't like tie ins with huge companies. My experience with the Facebook API has been horrible in the past (constantly changing, poor documentation).
In short, I don't want FB/Goog/Apple/etc. to keep buying up the independent operators that I know and love. In a similar way, I prefer to frequent my local coffee shack over a Starbucks. Nothing Starbucks could do would really change my mind.
There's not really anything facebook could do other than not being facebook. Sorry.
I'm really sorry you've had bad experiences with the API. :/ I'm not sure how much consolation it will be to you, but we've gotten a lot better about this, even in the last year, increasing platform stability, improving our documentation, adding guides and Developers Live, giving 90+ day heads ups for breaking changes that you can opt-in to.
Facebook's definitely not going to stop changing and sit on its laurels; our Platform is going to evolve as well. I know this means work for developers but we'd like to do so hand-in-hand with our community, working together to build a better future. We're learning how to do that. We've made mistakes. But we're here for you and are trying every day to give you more.
Email me at email@example.com if you prefer to rant in a private forum, or here and I'll respond.
Phrasing like this concerns me. When making platform decisions, I would very much like greater assurance that there is an expectation of how a relationship matures than you would find in a "gifting" scenario. I feel like sometimes the attitude from Facebook has been "We're giving all of this stuff away for free! What is there to complain about?" Free means no expectation of warranty and zero assumed reliability.
I don't really even care about free. If you're running a real startup, you pay for things, and I would gladly pay for Facebook API usage if it meant that Facebook took their APIs a little more seriously (I could talk at great length about all the subtleties in Facebook's APIs that require us to duplicate insane amounts of work that Facebook could _easily_ take care of). Amazon is clearly the best at this with AWS (especially in preemptively coming up with new services it turns out everyone was building piecemeal anyway), I would look at Amazon's APIs and try to port the some good insights to the Graph API.
I think the word gift and give in this context are interchangeable. Sounds like you found a word to pick at and are now just hating Facebook for the sake of it. (You managed to extrapolate that Facebook has 0 assumed reliability because he used the word gift.)
Users of apps based on Parse used to just be users, now they're Facebook users. Combine the fact that a core part of Parse is storing user data, and Facebook's track record of treating such data, I think you should be able to figure the rest out yourself.
If I'm going to pay a firm to store data for me, I need to completely trust that that firm is going to treat said data with silk gloves. I choose what's done with it, not my backend storage partner.
I'm going to be very surprised if the Facebook make-a-detailed-profile-of-every-person-on-the-planet department is going to keep their hands off of Parse data for the next 3 years.
I've been using Parse with great pleasure as well for a couple of months and I really want to keep using it because their API is really beautiful and their design is absolutely gorgeous. But the past event that worries me is the acquisition of face.com. Right after the acquisition, they assured everyone it would stay up and they would continue to support it for all the developers who integrated its facial recognition API into their apps. And just a couple of months later, they announced they would fully absorb and kill it as an independent service. Today, the domain doesn't even lead anywhere. Now I know that the scope and impact of Face.com were way less than those of Parse, but still, you can't blame us for worrying.
One thing that would personally reassure me would be for Facebook to add a "non-hosted" offering to Parse, which means the ability to download Parse's application and install it on my own server. If this was available I would keep using Parse as a hosted service knowing that in the event that Facebook decides to shut it down at some point, I can export all my data and have it running on my own infrastructure.
Parse is a distraction for FB. You are not even in the same business. Regardless of what you say, you are unable to override the CEO if or when he decides that Parse is to be shut down. The alternatives are more appealing because their business model solely depends on customers paying for the back end service.
The best thing FB can do is to bind itself legally to continue to run Parse for the next x number of years.
If FB wants to dabble with PaaS, businesses are going to assess Parse on the basis that it is only an experiment. Tying oneself to a back end is like marriage. No one will invest in a relationship if the other side is only half serious.
What would worry me is that I don't understand what Facebook really wants out of this acquisition, and why this will motivate it to do right by Parse users. It looks to me like a number of other people in this thread don't understand either and are coming up with their own theories, few of which are good news for the developer.
Long story short is that Facebook needed a way to be a platform for other mobile app companies' products without building a new os.
Developer mindshare is a big deal for technology companies. It has been argued that Microsoft's dominance in the 90s was fueled by its ownership of the windows api. Because the windows api had the most users, Microsoft owned the main platform where software developers and consumers would meet. While there was often friction between MS and the rest of the software community, they had a beneficial relationship.
Microsoft got paid rent and could leverage other people's work in making their value proposition to customers (ie if you want to game seriously you'll need to run Windows). And all of those developers did not have to write their own operating system or deal with all of the different computer companies.
Because Facebook apps have turned out to be more attractive as a way to access their social media users (ie for dating services etc) than it is for general purpose software products, they need a new way to grab developer mindshare.
Amazon didn't care about making their own mobile operating system because they have AWS. That's why they just forked android. Facebook doesn't want to buy a whole new mobile operating system in 2013 because blackberry and windows phone have shown how expensive it is to try and convince customers that they are a viable competitor to android and iPhone.
Being a mobile backend as a service allows Facebook to take rents and work with developers and avoid that big marketing effort. On the other hand, they will take on similar risks to Netflix. They need to prove themselves to be as valuable to android and iPhone as Netflix is to Verizon and Comcast or they will get jerked around.
I have the same concerns (although I already have apps using Parse in the wild!):
• Will FB kill off Parse? Seems quite unlikely in the short term, but in the long term?
• Are they going to try and force any integrations with FB?
• Will Parse continue to improve (they've done a lot of this recently!) or will it dwindle as others move faster?
• Data / Privacy - what's going to happen with those going forward? These always are a concern in people's minds when FB comes up.
• Facebook's APIs / Developer Support is SHIT... will this happen to Parse too?
There was no definitive list of possible values for the dialog name or parameters either. Apparently "message" was being ignored, but only for "feed" dialogs...? Apparently there is a replacement now, but it's still in beta. How am I supposed to tell my clients what is possible (and sustainable) and what isn't?
I'm in the same boat - was planning on using Parse and no longer think I will. Core issue: complete lack of trust that Facebook won't screw things up as they have so many times in the past (frequent breaking changes to their API, etc.).
Also, complete lack of trust in Facebook due to their lack of understanding of the need for privacy as opposed to pseudo-social ... "stuff".
What's sad to me is I have a HUGELY high view of "you" (i.e. Parse) - your documentation & examples are the best I have seen for any developer services, bar none. I'm just afraid what will happen as you get assimilated into the giant blue monster.
But still - genuine congratulations! You guys have definitely earned it, I'm sure this was the right step financially.
But what exactly did you buy them for? It can't be infrastructure, you already have that. It can't be app development libraries because you already have your own. Seems plausible you want to become a storage platform for their user data, which will ultimately mean tight FB integration. I don't think Parse can survive that. You might not intend to kill it, but how are you going to use it and prevent that from happening?
His issue seems to be a fear that Parse will be "integrated" into Facebook and its walled-garden-philosophy, rather than presented as a serious B2B offering. That wouldn't be as much as a problem with Microsoft.
The difference is Microsoft isn't buying anyone, it's their own service. The guy is turned off by the notion of what's about to happen to Parse, not just that they're being bought. The context matters.
It is still in beta but just for a couple of weeks. In general it is similar to parse.com but it has also heavy support for developing web applications hosted on backbeam (optinally with custom domain). It also has a more powerful query language, a real-time API and great support to manipulate files (you can escale images in different ways just by changing parameters in a URL).
Each project has two environments and you can browse the databases visually taking special care of relationships between entities.
The website is being redesigned and the documentation is work in progress.
This is an example of a complex query to the database:
select('news').query('join author join last 5 comments having score > ? fetch author', min_score)
It's not even close to being accurate. StackMob has multiple official partnerships with companies on that list that include full integrations, not just compatibility, but you only see one line of integration to Heroku. It would take 30 seconds worth of research to show how inaccurate that chart is.
If you're an enterprise developer, AnyPresence is a great option. Hands down the best MBaaS for enterprise, and the ONLY solution that won't lock you in (i.e., you own not just the data, but also the run-time components (code, server, etc). Check them out - http://www.anypresence.com.
As a customer, not necessarily happy about this. I don't like Doug Purdy's quote, "We don’t intend to change this." We use Parse and love it. I really hope they maintain some autonomy as to not get sucked into the "move fast and break things" or "documentation? f--k it." Nonetheless, probably makes a lot of sense for Facebook's mobile strategy.
Unfortunately, intentions about how you'll operate after an acquisition are just wishes.
There's a huge corporate political apparatus that just paid a lot of money for the right to implant their thumb print on how you do things. You may be able to push that day forward, but unless you wind up in charge, there's not much long-term hope.
Congratulations on the acquisition, but sorry about the acquisition.
https://gist.github.com/brianpattison/5463282 "Being acquired isn't part of our game plan for now. We want to build a viable business that people can use and enjoy. We have 50k apps built on our infrastructure and a huge customer base that is growing rapidly. Everyday we have more and more Basic, Pro, and Enterprise users paying us for our awesome services."
It's nice to see Facebook is aware of the areas which it lacks in. Just recently (in the last couple of days), there was an article clearly saying how mobile developers are in fact turning away from Facebook, for a variety of reasons. Acquiring Parse is not only demonstrating acknowledgment of this problem, but also providing a potential solution and way to tackle the problem.
Congratulations to the Parse team and good luck in helping to bring more developers to Facebook's platform! Given Parse's success so far, I don't see how or why Facebook shouldn't benefit from this acquisition.
Could this mean that Facebook is positioning itself as the AWS (in a very metaphoric sense) for mobile and expanding opportunities for the Facebook kapp ecosystem?
I understand that this is a new revenue stream for the company but I've never really seen the Facebook apps platform spawn "fully-fledged" apps other than those that boasted some form of basic Facebook integration. On the desktop at least, a Facebook app has always existed as a second-class citizen, being on a separate page that is segregated from the rest of the Facebook experience. Of course, you can argue that News Feed integration is one way to mitigate that, but from what I've seen, such integration is sparse and jarring - serving as an ad for the application that people on Facebook see.
I'm a big fan of Parse even though I prefer Firebase as a developer. This is sad news because I think they were one company that was executing really well and would have been successful on their own. Even though Facebook and Parse say they are not going to shutdown the service we all know how that story goes.
You're not addressing it, you're just making reassuring noises. Addressing it would involve explaining why Facebook actually bought Parse and how it fits in their overall strategy. There are many reasons, both honest and dishonest, why you may not be able to explain that, but until you do, you're not addressing the issue.
Which is fine by me - I don't have any eggs in this basket - but the pedant in me needed to point this out. If you want to have a chance to dispel all the doubts, start by answering the above clearly and with no overly enthusiastic exaggerations à la "Facebook is awesome and Parse is so great" and so on...
It's really not that hard to understand why Facebook "actually" bought Parse. Parse has a great product that developers like to use. Facebook has a platform and that requires making users and developers happy. Buying a product that makes developers happy and making it a part of Facebook's platform is a pretty straightforward strategy.
Facebook has a platform and that requires making users and developers happy.
No, Facebook has a platform that requires extracting as much personal data from people as possible in order to sell ads to advertisers. The developer platform, apps, etc, are all subordinate to this objective. There's no business model for Facebook to "make people happy". It is absolutely an advertising company, and Parse is/was not. So, the question remains, how does Parse fit into Facebook's advertising-driven business model?
That is a pretty big misunderstanding of how Facebook operates. If Facebook put advertisers ahead of users, it would not be at 1B users and it would not have been around for 8 years, and dominant for many of those years. The business model is primarily to make people happy to make sure to have their attention, and secondarily to sell ads against this attention.
I've worked at Amazon, Google, and Facebook. The core characteristic of each of these companies is that they are all ruthlessly focused on their primary customer as the user, not as the retailer or the advertiser. And it is for this reason that they get to massive scale and become dominant. If you don't get this, then you won't understand why Parse is a clear fit.
Ah, that ruthless focus on keeping the users and the developer community happy must be why Google killed Reader and will probably kill Feedburner soon, and why so many great products got acquired and then killed by their new owners a few years later.
You're right that if you believe what you just declared, then Parse's future at Facebook seems reasonable. You're also right that we won't convince each other of our views on this, so I guess time will tell whether Parse continues to thrive or gets shitcanned in a few years.
Apple should have just acquired Parse. iCloud is a mess, it's a next step for them to provide some sort of back end API for iOS developers. They're sitting on a huge pile of cash and all Tim could come up with is stock buyback.
While I agree that there needs to be a "fix" (and I have to assume one is in the works), but taking the Microsoft route of throwing money at problems until they work put them into the position they are today.
I'm not a mobile developer, which is probably why I struggle to see what Parse does? What does Parse give me (if I was a mobile dev) that I don't get from Heroku+libs? Are push notifications and identity so painful to deal with that there's a business in creating a full platform to deal with it?
That's silly. Seeing as how I had to google PKI to see what it was, I doubt I'd be able to build a Parse-like service in one afternoon. Parse may not be strictly necessary, but it's a fantastically easy and cheap way for iOS (and Android and front-end and Windows Phone) developers to get their backend up and running.
> Seeing as how I had to google PKI to see what it was, I doubt I'd be able to build a Parse-like service in one afternoon.
Then it's something you would learn, and those several afternoons would mean that you'd be well equipped to tackle a similar problem in an afternoon later.
Basic x509 certificates and PKI is really something an iOS developer (or any developer, really) should be able handle. Understanding this stuff is pretty central to just about all secure communications we have between clients/servers anywhere. It's not like you have to reimplement a crypto library; you just need to know the basics of how they work.
It actually is very easy, we have a tiny pushserver written in Python that was written in a day or something like that. It's been running for almost a year without a restart, so it didn't even need further development.
It's still an afternoon's worth of headache. Parse is just the time it takes to set up the certs, profile and configure your app. Plus, doing it DIY means you have to maintain a system for sending the notifications, whereas Parse provides that for you.
There's definitely a bit hand holding with Parse that makes it attractive to a inexperienced developer. If opening a socket and sending and receiving binary data makes you nervous, then Parse is going to make you feel a whole lot more comfortable.
But the real win with Parse is that for small to medium sized apps, you don't need to manage your own servers. Apple takes care of delivery, Parse takes care of the backend. You don't need to worry about uptime or maintaince or 2 am notifications that your server is down.
Parse is even more attractive to the experienced developer. After 15 years of backend bullshit, I was pretty stoked to find something which could make almost all of that pain and suffering finally go away.
Is it really not obvious? Parse doesn't overlap with Facebook's core goals and that frequently means somewhere down the road "business as usual" means "you have 60 days to GTFO". There's also not wanting Facebook to have access to your data or just plain not wanting to do business with Facebook (I fall under that category, a FB buyout or partnership is the fastest way to get me to stop using a service).
Here's my speculation: Facebook bought Parse to attempt to own mobile usage data. Draw parallels with what Google did when they bought Urchin to form Google Analytics. I don't think Facebook cares about creating developer experiences. I think they care about having tracking hooks into mobile applications.
> Instead, they are going on the record and saying its not true.
It's not like "going on record" means anything; truth is an oddly malleable thing. What's true today might not be tomorrow, what is said to be true may only be what the speaker needs you to believe is true, or it may be the speaker only believes it to be true.
The best predictor of what's to come is past experience and objective observation, not the words of people who have both incentive and ego wrapped up in propagating a particular narrative.
 From another comment, here's an e-mail from the Parse team, from 1/15/2013 -- only 3 months ago:
"Being acquired isn't part of our game plan for now. We want to build a viable business that people can use and enjoy. We have 50k apps built on our infrastructure and a huge customer base that is growing rapidly. Everyday we have more and more Basic, Pro, and Enterprise users paying us for our awesome services."
I hope the platform can stay as independent as it is. I just recently won a Google arranged hackathon in Munich (and through it a fully paid trip and tickets to I/O - yay!) and it would have been totally impossible to do this without parse. A few lines of code and I was able to setup a complex messaging system between a native Android app and a server visualisation.
It sets you free from so many worries and really makes any mobile app that talks to a server so much easier to develop. It's the single most useful service I have ever used in this space.
Everyone wants a piece of mobile dev tools. Think Twitter + Crashlytics and now Facebook + Parse. As some might remember, Facebook at one point only had Heroku as their core Dev partner , so it only makes sense for Facebook to get in this space.
No? From what I can see they've taken less than a 10th of that in VC. And this is the first time in over a year that I've heard anything about them. Buzz isn't everything, and maybe there was a viable business there. But they certainly weren't setting the world on fire.
It's pretty hard to see how a near $100 million exit in circumstances like that would be disappointing or "really cheap". (And congrats certainly seem in order for everyone involved).
When you have used the technology and seen with your own eyes the amount of time and effort it saves you when developing a mobile app, $85M really seems very cheap, especially when you compare it to how much they paid for an Instagram for example. Plus it should be mentioned that although their primary focus was on mobile platform, their SDK's also support Windows desktop, MacOSX, and traditional web dev. The potential is absolutely huge.
Whoa. This is pretty big news. This + Piecable + Facebook's huge push in mobile development recently = Facebook building a new, simpler development platform/environment for mobile apps? This speculation can be taken pretty far.
Facebooks problem is a fundamental development culture one, 'move fast and break things' is not great from the perspective of developers latching onto your platform. If the reward is great enough, yes its worth it...
Parse is an amazing product. Facebook just killed it on this acquisition if they can find a way to leverage Parse's ability to provide quicker deployment and their position as a great platform for rapid distribution.
It's weird... Last night I had a completely "arbitrary" dream about this company. Like, my <insert fake company name here> company was struggling with payments and this company was in my dream.
I'll acknowledge that I've been using CPAP for over a year and now can actually remember my dreams (_shudder_) because I sleep so well, and I don't actually use this service, but for some reason my dreams were very vivid. I'm not even sure why they might be relevant to me right now. Maybe I read too much HN before bed... ;)
soon we will be able to mine the realtime social space for memes and meme likes. sounds valuable.
facebook hasn't delivered. years ago i was sold on this service - i envisioned a future where i could find a doctor via my social network, or collaborate with a team member from within facebook on a document, or play a realtime game with a friend.
the only thing it seems to be good at is spreading wall spam and obscuring content. lets start with the ability to review wall posts by date instead of the endless scroll of stupidity.
I'd rather see that approach than a no entry, shut down developers approach. Admittedly Facebook offers a lot more than Twitter to justify such a cost, but Twitter seems like somewhere developers want to be too. Paid usage API sounds like a good idea to me.