Parse Opens In The UK

May 17, 2014 10:10 AM

parseBack in April 2013, Facebook acquired Parse, a company that predicts trends for cross-platform apps. This little known company has announced its first European office in London almost a year later. Parse announced that its London office is at the core of Facebook’s plan to become a platform for developers in its own right, avoiding issues with Androis, iOS or the Windows Phone.

Co-founder James Yu said, “Parse is the easiest way to add a back end to your mobile application. You can do this without having to know anything about servers, about network protocols, about caching, about all this stuff you usually have to deal with when doing something as simple as saving high scores for you game.” These very lines won over Facebook, making Parse their first non-consumer acquisition in a deal that TechCrunch reported to be worth $85m.  Doubling their team size in the past year, Parse’s software is now used by firms such as Harper-Collins, Topshop and Deezer to put almost 260,000 new apps with minimal effort.

Introducing offline functionality at this year’s F8 developer conference the feature Parse claims, allows developers to build apps that host some of its server-based information locally. Working on the inside with Facebook’s recently announced Project App Links, Parse aims to restore the openness of the web to mobile apps. The project was announced by Mark Zuckerburg at F8 this year and is a joint venture. With a novel concept from Parse, a the large number of launch partners is brought in by Facebook and that’s how their relationship seems to work.

“It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem. If you have App Links, and no-one’s using it, it’s hard to get it kickstarted. So that’s where it makes sense for [Facebook] to promote the standard, but also conform to it from the feed, which is one of the largest linkers in the world.”, Yu said of the deal. Insisting that App  Links and it’s contribution is critical to the success of this project, Yu went on to say that integration is his ultimate aim. “You can build on Parse without Facebook, and you can build on Facebook without Parse, but it goes very well together. For anyone developing apps for Facebook, Yu was quoted saying, “Parse is the easiest way to use a Facebook login, and that’s the tightest technology integration we have.”James Yu, Co-founder Parse.

Encouraging the integration with Facebook means, having less to do with the process of developing apps themselves. A Facebook login avoids the hassles of building one’s own authentication servers and the Parse back-end  means, the cloud aspect is taken care of. Should the app be simple enough, it can run on the Facebook app itself, letting the developer bypass the app development cycle entirely. Facebook has a motive that is really dependent on the life of the social networking itself. Not wanting to face the same silent death suffered by the likes of Orkut and MySpace, Zuckerburg with Yu wants to build an entire ecosystem of apps based on Facebook. This allows users to log in more often and hang in for the long haul.

“You can skip us, and try to do it yourself, but it’s really a lot of work. It’s like every time you do that process, there’s a hundred small decisions you need to make. Things like choosing a database, choosing a server technology, hiring people to design that sort of system for you. Building an application is a maze of different turns and twists, and we show you one pathway.It’s like using an Apple product: it just works, because they own the chain of hardware and software.”, Yu was quoted saying making his last comments on the process.

Is this strategic route the reason Facebook acquired Whatsapp, Oculus and now ProtoGeo? Is Facebook planning on outliving all its social media competitors? Let’s see what is in store for the future.