As we all know by now, one of the things Facebook is known for are its hackathons. After all, a mainstay of its culture is the Hacker Way and it doesn’t matter whether it’s for college students, photographers, or just internal — there’s always something that can be hacked.
With just two days before we hit the New Year, the social networking company has published a post recounting its favorite hacks of 2013. It’s estimated that during the past twelve months, there have been around 8 hackathons (Facebook hosts them every six weeks or so). Sometimes, interesting products are formed, including Chat, Timeline, Video, and the Like button.
So what were the seven hacks that made the favorites list this year?
Air Traffic Control
This hack was aimed at helping Facebook improve its mobile experience in developing countries or those with poor infrastructure. Internal teams were able to “simulate specific network conditions” for their phones to better understand how to optimize Facebook apps to work across various traffic speeds, whether you’re on WiFi or on a bad 2G data connection.
Shared Photo Albums
A feature that launched to the entire Facebook community in August, Shared Photo Albums allows anyone to create a photo album and collaborate with others.
This hack was created to enable developers to better understand how things affected the iPhone’s battery usage. A team from Facebook’s London office created a tool that parsed through the log files generated from the device and graphed data over time. It became quite helpful that the company is now using it to build better apps that use less battery power.
Okay, a bit shocking that a sticker pack ranks as one of the favorite hacks, but we’ll go with it. Based around the original Facebook Like button, Thumbs Up is now available “millions of people on Web and mobile” following its debut in December.
Weather on Events
Another feature that is now available to the public, Weather on Events gives guests an idea of how to dress for events they’ll be attending. This particular hack uses Weather Underground’s localized weather stations to provide the necessary data. It has also expanded beyond event pages to be also included on parks, cities, and neighborhoods.
“A Self-Upgrading Network”
This hack was made to allow Facebook to “automate maintenance of our infrastructure without impacting site functionality”. It eventually evolved to allow engineers to make upgrades to its technology without overwhelming resources needed.
The last hack on Facebook’s favorites list is the ability to make it snow in Chat Heads. Unveiled earlier this year with the Home Android launcher, Chat Heads has since made its way to the social network’s standalone iOS and Android apps. During the holiday season, a software engineer apparently thought it best to make it so that it snowed when someone was chatting with you. It’s only for Christmas, but Facebook says a surprise is coming for New Years.
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