Mark Zuckerberg takes the stage at Facebook’s f8 conference in San Francisco in about five hours, which means the Web is full of speculation about what he might announce. Here’s a handy scorecard:
- Preferred Apps: This story broke yesterday, when Kara Swisher reported that Facebook was going to tap some apps as “preferred” today (we’ve confirmed it independently). But there were few other details. Mike Arrington says that the system will actually be three-tiered: preferred, normal and spammy, and that each tier will have different rules for invites, notifications and news feed entries.
- Facebook Connect: Two months ago, Facebook announced Facebook Connect, which allows users to bring their Facebook data to outside Web sites. So expect to see a formal launch of the product today.
- fbFund Winners: Last year the Founders Fund and Accel Partners created a $10 million fund for Facebook applications. The first recipients of the $25K to $250K awards will probably be announced today.
- Payment System: This is probably the least likely. Facebook has been toying with the idea of launching a PayPal-like system for applications, but we hear Zuckerberg isn’t sold on the idea. The blog Inside Facebook reports that Facebook is in fact building a system, but it won’t be ready for preview today. Mike Arrington disagrees.
We think the tiered apps, Facebook Connect and fbFund winners sound fine, but we’re most interested in the payment system, because it has real potential to help solve Facebook’s revenue problem. And if Facebook doesn’t introduce one soon, expect to see someone else beat them to it. Slide founder Max Levchin tells us that if Facebook doesn’t build a payment system he can use for apps like SuperPoke, he’s just going to have to do it himself. And given that he helped build PayPal way back in 1998, we believe him.