back to top

23 Amazing Projects From BuzzFeed's 2017 Hack Week

We made ya some cool stuff!

Posted on

In July, the BuzzFeed Tech team took a week off of "regular" work to hack on new and exciting projects.

The BuzzFeed Tech Team puts on a Hack Week once a year to help stretch our imaginations, work with people outside or normal teams, and have fun as a Tech organization. This Hack Week, we created 38 different projects from Tech teams all across the globe.

BuzzFeed Tech is made up of ~230 folks, including engineers, product designers, product managers, QA analysts, data scientists, data analysts, product support specialists, and project managers. We maintain and build internal tools as well as consumer facing products like our website and apps!

1. StickerBomb

Ever wonder what it’s like to experience a fifteen foot tall BuzzFeed reaction badge in “real” space? That’s exactly what we set out to answer using iOS 11’s new ARKit. Consisting of a badge composer, a library of custom 3D objects we created a phone-sized window into augmented reality to get a feel for the basics and test the limits of the technology. The app we built, while simple, is surprisingly engaging! We had a bunch of fun holding up our phones and walking around giant virtual (AKA “nonexistent”) objects as passers by gave us sideways glances.

Team: Laticia Chance, Rituja Donadkar, Jay Henry, Joseph Bergen


2. Virtual Reality Quiz

BuzzFeed's popular quiz format, but as webVR experience where users navigate a three dimensional space answering questions. The quiz is called "Which Simulated Reality Are Actually Trapped In?" where the choices made will determine your virtual destiny.

Team: Manuel Palou

3. BuzzFeed & Chill

BuzzFeed and Chill lets the user pick a different theme for the BuzzFeed landing page in order to view from the TV series world’s perspective. We implemented separate themes for Broad City, Adventure Time, Parks & Rec, Game of Thrones, and Terrace House. Once the user selects one of these TV shows, the landing page completely changes to fit the respective style and content associated with the show. This project allowed us to play around with our favorite shows and try on the shoes of our awesome content creators downstairs.

Team: Jessie Wu, Jess Kustra, Brandon Choi

Award Winner*: Mostly like to be monetized and have Sophie Turner come visit the office because of it


4. In-Frame

View this video on YouTube

In-Frame creates a video overlay that lets users explore information related to the current scene.

Team: Kiran Booth-Patel, Ivan Butyliuk, Ian Feather

5. BF, RN

BF, RN provides BuzzFeed content that's right for you right now. Bored in class? Having a bad day? We've reimagined content discovery to be tailored to specific timely moments, instead of by topic area/vertical. We've also removed the feed, so once you've told us how you're feeling right now, we drop you into a continuous content consumption experience.

Team: Allison Krausman, Alp Ozcelik, Lauren Zhang, Brandon Truong, Chloe Rosen


6. Quizzes from the Android Widget

View this video on YouTube

Normally, users would have to enter the app to take one of BuzzFeed's many quizzes. Now, simply by adding the BuzzFeed Quiz Widget, users can complete any quiz from their home screen.

Team: Kevin Skrei

7. The Android Tasty Shopping List Exporter

This Android App allows a user to browse Tasty recipes and export to 3rd party shopping apps. This functionality can be shared as an open spec or for select business partners. This project, was written from scratch in less than 3 days, using the Kotlin Programming Language.

This app doesn't simply export simple text but a rich informational format. Furthermore this Tasty app knows nothing about the shopping apps, but relies on the Android Intent mechanism to register an interest.

Team: Steve Peterson

8. RetroFeed

RetroFeed is an easter egg on the BuzzFeed homepage that retro-ify's the website.

Team: Noga Raviv, Annie Zhang, Douglas Rudolph (we are all interns!)

View this video on YouTube

9. Operation meme

We wanted to make the home feed more dynamic by including standalone imagery and quiz questions. We added a static image component, a react carousel of images, and an interactive quiz unit. We also created a better comics-browsing experience with template changes to /comics, pulling from all recent content posted to our BF Comics Facebook page.

Team: Sean Gilbertson, Lindsey Maratta, Swara Kantaria, Matt Semanyshyn

10. WS4L (Websockets 4 Live)

The goal of the project was to enable bidirectional real-time communication between our visitors and platform, and to see what awesome applications we could build on top of it.

We produced 3 projects:

Favicons: A multiplayer game to guess the words composed of favicons

Le Book Game: A turn-based multiplayer game where players collaborate on a book

Real time feed updating, complete with a novelty buzzing-feed-on-update!

Team: Amanda Nguyen, Artyom Neustroev, Dang Vang, Mark Gannaway


11. Automated Video Editing with Video Roulette

Video Roulette is a game that can generate over 100K unique new videos from existing BuzzFeed content and encourages users to discover content in a playful way.

By dynamically creating a mashup of videos selected by the game it demonstrates the possibilities and future direction of automated video editing.

Team: Alex Perevalov, Claudia Mei, Peter Karp

12. Tech Docs Slackbot (aka DocBot)

A slackbot allowing for slash commands to find documentation for services, as well as making interesting documents (like the BF Guides to Computing) more easily discoverable. Future goals include expanding to other documents, and creating a bot interactive to help with onboarding.

Team: Rowan Cota, Derek O'Brien, Miguel Coquet, Arielle Benedek (with additional contributions from David Dunlop, Dao Nguyen, and others...

13. BuzzWiki

A glossary of terms both industry standard and unique to BuzzFeed that is accessible to ALL employees. Eliminating duplicate spreadsheet efforts by having a centralized place where users can consume, share and easily contribute. Available via a webpage or slack via a simple command [/WTFis]. Useful to onboard new team members regardless of departments and a quick refresher on new or forgotten terms.

Team: Kayne Bordes, Caylee Betts

14. BubbleFeed

BubbleFeed is a Interactive Data Visualization of the site. Written for in JavaScript and D3. Pulling in the urls for each post, hit counts per post and summary text, BubbleFeed creates interactive bubbles for each post. Users can preview an article by pressing on it. Open the link in a bubble opens the post in a browser window just like a normal browser.

Team: Chris Applegate, and Dan Meruelo


15. MoodBot

View this video on YouTube

We used Apple's new Core ML technology to run a convolutional neural net that gauges the user's emotion ( via the iPhone's front-facing camera. We can then leverage this for mood based quizzes and challenges. Our demo app shows the user a funny video while challenging them not to smile for 30 seconds. We use the emotion prediction probability to gauge when the user is starting to smile and give them a warning, and if we ever can't find a face we'll pause the video and timer.

Team: David Mauro, Wolasi Konu, Pete Walters

16. Find On Image

Find On Image is a brand new quiz format which we’re already seeing authors do amazing things with. All you need to do is: upload an image, define areas people can tap on, and the results to give them based on where they tapped! Our engine supports both Trivia and Personality formats, which gives authors great flexibility and lets their imagination run wild.

We’ve had crosswords, “tag urself”s, map games, celebrity tie-ins and many more proposed. As there’s a fully fledged self service builder, people can experiment with it without being delayed or needing to commit to presenting us with a finished article.

We also built easy editing support in right from the start, so International teams are adapting successful quizzes into all sorts of languages as we speak - all without us helping! The team heroically built the entire project and put it into production within Hack Week and continues to support and develop upon it.

Visitors are finding it fun, intuitive and engaging, saying we’ve been “upping our quiz game” ;)

Try one out today, with This Dessert Quiz Will Reveal A Deep Truth About You or Prove You Have Perfect Colour Vision By Spotting The Odd Colours In These Pictures being popular examples of Personality and Trivia types.

Team: Celine Chang, Paul Curry, Anjali Patel, Ola Sendecka

17. SkillsBot

SkillsBot promotes connectivity, skill-building and problem-solving at BuzzFeed by connecting any user with an expert peer that can lend a helping hand with a topic, software or skill.

Team: Max Brawer & Terrance Liang


19. BFSynth

View this video on YouTube

A Chrome extension that turns the BuzzFeed Homepage into a simple synthesizer using the Web Audio API

Team: Patrick Carey

20. sli_api

sli_api is a Slack integration and API allowing users to create and execute Slack commands that make API calls and format the results

Team: Steven Gemmen, Agustina Varela, Benjamin Stockwell

21. Hacquille O'neal

View this video on YouTube

Using in-video retention data from YouTube, our system identifies the most watched parts of a video and retrieves them as clips. These clips can then be stitched together to make a highlight reel, or shown to creators to inform them about the most appealing parts of their video.

Team: Ali Baghshomali, Jonathan Ma, Jennifer Greenwood

22. Ad Graft

View this video on YouTube

A new chrome extension allows the sales team to generate previews of mock ads for potential advertisers using existing assets. Advertisers can save and share links to their ad previews while they consider investing in an advertising campaign with us!

Team: Caroline Amaba, Rebecca Close, Hana Carpenter, Andrew Paulus


23. QuizPro

QuizPro is a chrome extension that helps quiz-creators quickly get data on their quizzes — such as what quiz results are most common and which ones are shared the most.

Team: Dilip Rajan, Will Herrmann, Emma Byrne, Lyle Smith

Here are some photos of teams working throughout the week!

At the end of Hack Week, the entire Tech team gets together to watch everyone present their projects and celebrate an amazing week!

Interested in working for BuzzFeed Tech or just want to learn more about what we do?

Check out our Tech Blog for tons of interesting posts about how we work here at BuzzFeed Tech.

If you think you could be a good fit for our team, check out our open positions!