Princeton Beats Out 13 Schools to Win Facebook’s College Hackathon

Overcoming stiff competition from MIT and Waterloo, Princeton won this
year’s Facebook College Hackathon finals. Over the past few months,
Facebook conducted run-off competitions at fourteen colleges across the
United States and Canada, and this Friday held the finals at Facebook
headquarters in Palo Alto. The Princeton team was the only one comprised
mainly of women, and their winning project Color Me Bold allowed users
to submit a photo of an outfit and receive instant, algorithmic fashion
suggestions for how to improve its color scheme. Watch as we interview
some of the top teams, play around on Facebook’s famous Ripstick
skateboards, and talk with the winners about whether they’ll be turning
their project into a startup.

My personal favorite was MIT’s 2toBrowse, a Chrome extension that
allowed two people on separate computers to both control active cursors
and collaboratively browse the web. One users installs the extension,
receives a special URL, and another can click it to instantly begin
browsing together without having to download anything. The extension
could help people teach their parents how to use a specific website,
allow customer service departments to walk customers through solutions
to problems, or provide entertainment.

Other high quality projects included Georgia Tech’s Skoole, an on-campus
peer-to-peer SMS-based textbook exchange, and a cloud-hosted security
system from the University of Illinois team that lets users access their
personal browser settings and files from public computers using the
proximity of their mobile phone as the key. Waterloo produced the most
technical project, a JavaScript MapReduce distributed computing library.

The College Hackathon, also known as the Camp Hackathon, serves as a
powerful recruiting tool for Facebook. By finding top young engineers
and bringing them to the headquarters, Facebook increases the chance
they’ll want to work for the company once they graduate — or drop-out
like Facebook’s founders. Though I must say, the $500 per team member
grand prize seems a bit small considering the company is preparing for a
$100 billion IPO. At least last year’s winners got a summer internship
at Facebook.

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million
users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004,
initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge
hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding
a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin
Moskovitz and Chris Hughes to help build Facebook, and within four
months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original idea for
the term…
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