Facebook's Director of Engineering, Andrew Bosworth, reveals how the social network extensively tests a feature before launching it.

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Facebook has a knack of shipping out new features to its user rather speedily. Rather than making the user wait for a definite time, say a month or two months, the social network keeps rolling out new features that it deems would be useful for the users. Now, Facebook’s Director of Engineering, Andrew Bosworth, reveals how new features are tested before mass launch.


Bosworth has been at Facebook for the last six years. Before it, he was working at Microsoft where new features rolled out slow and after a lot of deliberation. This, however, changed when Bosworth moved to Facebook where new features had to be rolled out fast and often.

He reveals how Facebook tests its new features well before launching them out to all users. Bosworth says, “If you’re not willing to test things and prove that they do or don’t work, some things that were wrong a few years ago may not be wrong anymore.”

And to test these new features well, Facebook first let its employees use them to gauge how interesting and useful they are. The next stage is to roll out these features to a selected group of users and gather their feedback about them. If the feedback is positive and the feature really seems useful, it is then rolled out to all the users.

According to Bosworth, “One of the biggest misconceptions about Facebook is that we’re always adding things. It’s a mistake to think of these things as strictly additive, because most of these changes are modifications. There’s probably more removed then added out of this process. The odds are good that everyone on Facebook has been, at some time, part of a test.”

Given the crucially important position of Zuckerberg, he is involved in a lot of big decisions and Bosworth says that his decisions have nearly always turned out to be wise.

Of course there have been mistakes on the way and Facebook has learned from them. For instance, Bosworth mentions the time when Facebook reduced the size of its chat window which resulted in a total decline of 10 percent in the users who used the feature. The social network hadn’t tested this feature on its select groups and so, realized that it must always do so before introducing new features to all.

Bosworth further states, “We’re dealing with human emotions. Everything doesn’t boil down to a number you can measure. Do people say it feels good? Is this what they expect? Sometimes, that isn’t boiled down by data.”

Source: Facebook

Courtesy: The Verge

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  On August 10, 2012(1 year, 11 months ago.)

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