Facebook boosts European dev support

Facebook boosts European dev support
Michael French

By Michael French

March 11th 2011 at 1:12PM

'We want to be as global as we possibly can,' says firm's top engineers

Social networking giant Facebook has pledged its commitment to helping European developers make the most of its platform.

At a media briefing this morning attended by Develop, the firm detailed activity in recent months that has grown its London-based European HQ as a technical support and partnerships operation.

Key engineering staff at the firm said the more global outlook can help dispel the view that Facebook serves North America first, given its HQ is in Palo Alto.

The firm will "be in their timezone and understand the market" said Simon Cross, a former BBC exec who worked on the iPlayer and took the role of partner engineering at Facebook's UK office in Soho, London, in September last year.

"Historically whenever we announce an update or something it's been seen as a big American company rolling out a new product [which other territories get later]," he said.

"But we don't have to keep talking about the States any more."

To prove it, the social network site has started actively supporting companies of all sizes via a mix of networking, improved local support for developers making Facebook apps and using its API, and events.

For indies and start-ups, the firm has been running 'clinic' style coffee and networking mornings, plus a monthly 'Developer Garage' in London.

Unlike the other Facebook Developer Garages - which the firm admitted it has to encourage developers to attend - the London one has become regular and self-sustaining.

The firm has also been touring Europe, attending larger events and working with bigger companies to better integrate their strategies with the social world.

"By focusing on European developers and European companies we will have great examples of social media, social gaming and social content all made in this territory," said Cross.

"Now we have a  presence and visibility in Europe."

Jason Sobel, Facebook's engineering manager - visiting the UK from the team in Silicon Valley and attending the briefing today - added: "We really do want to be as global as we possibly can."