Today, hundreds of millions of users will receive a notification inviting them to review their history on Facebook, with about 15 highlights ranging from their most-liked posts to their most popular photos.
The effort has taken a small engineering team at Facebook the past few months to put together, which makes sense when you realize the company had to generate millions of HD videos. Teams involved included Everstore, which works on media storage, and Moonshot, the team that handles allocating idle server power to whichever task demands huge amounts of data-crunching. Working together, they cut the server time needed to generate the videos from 17 minutes to just one.
"One of the things that motivated us was that there's really only a handful of companies that could take on something like this — that could render videos for as many people as we can," said Nick Kwiatek, Facebook engineering lead.
The videos are pretty mild, all things told, and Facebook itself seems to be planning something pretty low-key for their own celebration.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote: "It's been amazing to see how all of you have used our tools to build a real community. You've shared the happy moments and the painful ones. You've started new families, and kept spread out families connected. You've created new services and built small businesses. You've helped each other in so many ways."
And Zuckerberg's right. The video montage is a nice gesture that brings back a lot of memories... that, depending on your age, maturity level and amount of online discretion, might be unexpected or undesired. Older millennials who joined 10 years ago will have photos of their graduation, and maybe of getting married and having kids. Whereas younger millennials will find themselves looking at photos of that time they passed out and had someone draw male genitals on their face with a Sharpie. Or, if you're me, you'll see this.