Today at the LeWeb developer conference in Paris, Facebook released a heat map of developers working on Facebook apps all over Earth. While the map shows the social network’s significant adoption among developers in much of the world, it only hints at the ways the company is planning to expand its development community.
The image marks the first time Facebook has released any numbers on its developers since its acquisition of Parse—a company that provides cloud-based backend services (or BAAS) for app developers—way back in April.
Parse has also been relatively quiet about the size of the development community using its service. When it officially launched in the spring of 2012, the service had 10,000 developers on board. In one year’s time, it was bought by Facebook—which caused even more developers to flock to the service. How many, they wouldn’t say, but a June update revealed that 100,000 apps had been made using Parse.
Speaking to VentureBeat last September, Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar wouldn’t say much more about the company’s figures on developers using the service, but he did give the clear impression of rapid growth following the acquisition:
"Our daily signups are many multiples of what they are before we were acquired." Shortly after the acquisition, daily signups had spiked to 10 times the pre-acquisition average, causing the company to gain 20,000 new apps in just over a month. "We have much more visibility and much more momentum" with the Facebook brand attached, he said. "We’re really happy with it."
Parse’s rapid growth following its acquisition would suggest that, if Parse isn’t at least partially responsible for the numbers on Facebook’s newly released chart, it’s a big part of the network’s push toward attracting more developers worldwide. Mike Randall is the global head of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) program, an internal group that recruits developers to work with select advertisers in order to optimize engagement across Facebook’s entire platform. In an interview with The Next Web, Randall says that his program is one of the key areas in which Facebook aims to grow it’s developer pool:
"I like to bucket them in three areas of where we’re being more prescriptive, for lack of a better term. One is on the business front, continuing to push for global expansion—in some cases that might mean a PMD opens an office in a particular country [or] it might make more sense for that PMD to partner with a local company. We’d love to see a combination of those companies that operate at scale, but also local stars that rise up from the culture, whether that’s in Brazil or Singapore or Australia."
An asset like Parse, which would have all manner of analytics on the developers that use it for Facebook’s perusal, would be instrumental in identifying developers suitable for its ambitions at the intersection of development and marketing. It could also give the social network the means by which it could identify the next big startup for it to acquire.