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Facebook Tells Parse Developers “No Plans To Change How App Data Is Used” (techcrunch.com)
59 points by csmajorfive 1425 days ago | hide | past | web | 28 comments | favorite

The question people keep asking: 'What does this change about whether or not developers will use Parse?'.

Before being acquired by Facebook, there was a non-trivial probability that Parse would not be around for the long run. Being backed by a large company that isn't going away anytime soon makes Parse a viable option for larger businesses that are more risk averse than smaller startups/developer shops. Early adopters are great for shaping a product, but the majority of the money is in those risk averse enterprises. In other words, being acquired by Facebook hops Parse to the other side of the chasm [1]. There was a similar effect with Heroku being acquired by Salesforce.

I'm not sure what the long term effects of being associated with Facebook's brand are going to be, but there generally is a lot of short term vitriol associated with anything Facebook does that eventually ends up being inconsequential; if I were Parse, I wouldn't be too concerned, especially when their actual numbers indicate developers haven't lost faith in them.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Chasm

I don't care how long the company will be around. I care how long the product will be around. I don't think the acquiring company being around increases the likelihood of the product being around.

It's case by case and there is no general rule. My hunch is that in this case it makes decision makers at big companies feel like they'll be around for longer.

> Being backed by a large company that isn't going away anytime soon makes Parse a viable option for larger businesses

...except that's not the case at all. Look at face.com - once they were acquired by Facebook they all but shut down their API several months later.

I'm not suggesting this will happen with Parse - but it's naive to think that being acquired by someone means existing customers are even more secure than they were before.

Being backed by a company (a) not known as a player in the mobile PaaS space (ie higher likelyhood they will shut it down) and (b) known to care little about user privacy may have also made the chasm 3x wider.

> Meanwhile, to calm fears about Facebook spying on Parse developer data, the company issued the statement “We currently have no plans to make any changes to how Parse app data is used.”

Keyword: currently

So yeah, we all rag on Facebook pretty hard here. What I'm most interested in is, if the uptick in adoption for Parse is true, why do developers feel more comfortable now that Facebook owns the product/company? Given the general pessimism about Facebook's fostering of their own API, and their laughable advocacy of privacy this whole article smacks of PR.

In my mind the whole modus operandi of companies like Facebook and Google is to absorb and mine as much information as possible. So if they aren't going to peek and analyze did they really just buy Parse for the API expertise?

"why do developers feel more comfortable now that Facebook owns the product/company?"

This happens with the majority of acquisitions that, as soon as they are acquired they see an uptick in signups. The uptick would be more interesting if they announced it in a month’s time or in an even longer period of time. There are several reasons for this including, the perception of “X has acquired them and they’re a massive company which means that the service will be around for a while” (which is not necessarily true) and the fact that, the acquired company gets a lot of press from areas they may previously not have done so they get new users either as customers or simply joining to ‘look’ at the service – although they may not become actual valuable users – by those I mean ‘look’ at the service, I’m talking about other employees of the acquiring company, shareholders of the acquiring company etc.

I'll go even further to say that this can probably be attributed to the Facebook + Parse announcement being the first time many developers ever heard of Parse.

Exactly. I'm in that boat.

I had heard of Parse via Hacker News, but didn't ever pay attention to what they did. After the news of the purchase I looked at their offering and said, "This is exactly what I need for my next project."

Is this the same Facebook that would take a handoff approach to Instagram?

The first comment is right, currently being the keyword.

How did Instagram change since the purchase by Facebook? (honest question, I don't use Instagram at all)

I'm not a heavy user of Instagram and am unqualified to answer how the product would be different were the company independent.

However, the most public change to Instagram that many blamed on facebook were the ToS changes that I've heard led to a non-trivial dip in engagement (the primary metric for facebook leadership):

Original Story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4936561

Response: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4939849

Backpedal: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4950853

I have a very good friend who works at Parse, and I have nothing but deep respect and admiration for him and his work. He is well-deserving of this exit. He does not subscribe to the pessimism about the new 'facebook overlords.' I've known him long enough that I would expect him to tell me if that weren't the case.

Will facebook always keep to its PR statements? Only as long as they makes sense for their business... I'd vote 6 months to a year, personally :)

Nothing has really changed with Instagram since Facebook acquired it, there was the TOS debate but that was overblown. Instagram’s core operation is around being able to quickly take and share photos & adding filters etc and that hasn’t really changed.

The only thing they really have done, is launched on the web (they just launched on Android a few days before the acquisition) and scaled up the Instagram team. Likewise, they also enlarged photos on Facebook itself (although that was for everyone not just Instagram) - the fact that they haven’t even given them a tab in their app shows how autonomously Facebook have let Instagram run since acquiring it etc.

Having said that, Instagram now has to play by Facebook’s rules and I expect that we’re more likely to see further integration between the two going forward this year such as advertising etc.

They dropped Twitter card support so you can no longer preview Instagram photos on twitter or inside the twitter apps.

That was Twitter, not Instagram, and it was well before twitter cards had an API. Keep in mind Twitter also removed "find your friends using Twitter" functionality from Instagram too.

Which is such a lame "gotcha'" by FB. If they really cared about user engagement then surely removing user engagement, even in a competing, but tangential product, isn't the way to go.

Nothing has happened to Instagram so not sure what you're on about.

Personally, I'd rather bet on a start-up succeeding than bet against a publicly-traded corporation shutting down a not-as-profitable subsidiary/product. In the former case, I know that folks' livelyhoods are hanging on the line and they're going to try pretty damned hard to keep their business afloat, whereas I don't have any faith in Facebook keeping Parse around looking the way it does if it doesn't meet the right numbers.

"No plans to ..." Is the standard non-committal reassurance.

I'm currently investigating migration plans and checking the stability of my Fast Lists app if I just delete the API key on Parse. I only use Parse for logging and crash reporting and all access goes through a shim class so that I can swap and replace at a single point.

I'm trying to pick a good way of crash logging at the moment as I'm fed up of manually symbolicating. Crashlytics, crittercism and Flurry look nice but I'm not keen on their privacy policies. Hockey app might do the job but doesn't look as slick and the initial install instructions aren't completely clear. I'm also trying to get JIRA and Mobile Connect working although I'm not sure if that does the symbolisation.

Suggestions welcome.

Until, you know ... we change our mind.

What concerns me most is how Facebook may use Parse as a way to consolidate their place in the mobile app space. Just as they've done in the past with their SDK, what if Facebook decides to block access to apps that compete with for example, their messenger, Instagram etc?

Also, who owns the data?

Same thing we were told with Instagram, basically.

Instagram really hasn't changed.

Nothing has changed so yeah?

Pretty sure we told the American Indians "we come in peace," too.

Wow, that comparison is a bit of an insensitive stretch.

aka we haven't decided yet how to best squeeze all the juice.

Uh, huh. Nothing will change...until it changes.

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