Friday, April 23, 2010

Facebook Moves Outside the Walls

“the Open Graph puts people at the center of the web” – Mark Zuckerberg

Instantly Social, Personalized, Simple

During Facebook’s f8 keynote (Video Here) yesterday (April 21,2010), CEO Zuckerberg redefined the web as a single interconnected fabric of people, brands, and experiences with Facebook as the fabric which knits it altogether.

Facebook will offer social metadata for everything. This web-wide experience allows your social connections, likes, activities to come together in a new way which prioritizes semantic understanding and interconnectedness. Instantly social by sharing information about what my friends and others “Like” without requiring that I login or authenticate at any Open Graph enabled website, not just Facebook Fan pages. All of the information that I respond to increases the systems semantic understanding of me and the experience can serve up personalized recommendations and experiences. Simple interfaces for the user and simple code paradigm for the developer allows ease of adoption.

The relatively short and simple message will cause profound waves throughout the internet.

So what exactly did they announce?

Social Plug-ins

All of these are simple HTML, usually a single line of code that can be easily added to websites/blogs of even the non-tech savvy

Like button - built with the philosophy that if you make sharing easier and more people will share. This takes the “Become a Fan” of a Facebook page and replaces it with a “Like” button which is available across any enabled web page. I can see what other Facebook users and what my friends have liked when I visit a web page without needing to give that website any information about me. And when I hit “Like” my information, and my social graph is shared with the site. Semantic data about the site is shared back with Facebook and becomes part of what shows up in my profile and informs personal experiences for me.

Facebook Feed - bring your feed to another site

Recommendations - Personalized based on your previous Likes and your friends Likes

Login with Facebook – this previous functionality which many 3rd party websites had embraced as a low barrier to getting people to sign in. It was becoming a major trend amongst sites which require a signup. The new and significant improvement is the ability to now show friends who have already joined before asking you to join

Social Bar - one simple bar to rule them all. Locked to the bottom of screen, it gives you all of these new social features as well as chat

Open Graph

Protocol with semantic information

Objects which are liked are represented in Facebook with a deep semantic knowledge

Connections persist over time and are updated constantly

Graph API

Server side API has been significantly simplified from a developer point of view

This has been completely rearchitected for simplicity, stability, and the Open Graph

All developers need is a Web browser and cURL. Instead of archane code constructs there is a hierarchical web-style reference mechanism to find and retrieve information about a user. http://graph.facebook.com/btaylor/events This API is extensible and as new types of ID’s are invented, the old code continues to work and it is just a new hierarchical reference.

Search across all public updates across Facebook

Call-backs create real-time awareness means that applications do not need to keep continually checking, they can get updated when changes occur.

Authentication is moving to the OAUTH industry standard.

Policy changes

Facebook also added one step permission during signup to ease drop outs and simplify how people understand and choose what they want to share.

Facebook has had a policy that external sites could not save Facebook user data for more than 24 hours. This was a serious impediment to using Facebook as the sign-in mechanism and inhibited productive usage of user data. This policy is now revoked (which brought cheers from the developer crowd). External sites can keep and use data which has been shared by the Facebook user. This will now drive deeper engagement without the need for incessant updates on their user data.

30 partners announced including (amongst others):

Microsoft Docs.com for simple file sharing of Office docs

Pandora, iMDB

Yelp, CNN, ESPN,

Brett Taylor, former CEO of FriendFeed and now Platform Lead at Facebook, shared insights on social media networks gained from FriendFeed. They found that for FriendFeed the magic number of friends to discover on the service which turned a user into an active user was five.

When the way of discovering these friends was searching, browsing for them it was difficult to do. So they added Address Book importing and found that if folks did that, they most likely made it to the magic five. However there was a large barrier to entry to ask people to share that level of data with FriendFeed. Next they added in Facebook Connect and found that this was the secret sauce. Users which came in via that mechanism discovered their friends and were 2X more likely to become engaged. The barrier there was that coding for Facebook Connect was cumbersome and difficult. These new announcements directly address all of those issues.

Zuckerberg pointed out that your friends are already on Facebook, or soon will be. They have grown from 100M to 400M users in a year. They are seeing steep usage gains on the mobile front (and separate information released earlier shows that those who use mobile Facebook are their most engaged users).

The buzz on social media streams has been torrential I the last 48 hours. A small sample:

How Facebook won the web

Social: Universal Like Button Spreads Facebook Across Web - Advertising Age

Facebook May Not Be Skynet, but It Is Getting Smarter, and That's Bad for Google - Advertising Age

Ultimate Guide To 11 BIG Facebook Changes--And What They Mean

With Open Graph, Facebook Sets Out To Make The Entire Web Its Tributary System

Facebook Wants the Web's Default to Be Social - PCWorld Business Center

Zuckerberg: “We Are Building A Web Where The Default Is Social”

How To Protect Your Personal Information In Facebook (Privacy)

With Open Graph, Facebook Sets Out To Make The Entire Web Its Tributary System

Facebook Wants the Web's Default to Be Social - PCWorld Business Center

@Scobilizer: Like whoring has already started: this band giving away free album in return for a like

Brightcove Announces Support for Facebook's Open Graph and Social Plug-Ins

Levi’s Integrates Facebook Social Plugins into Online Shop

WSJ: Facebook wants to know more than just who your friends are...

HUGE insights on the future of the web from Zuckerberg's implications today at f8 conference

I Think Facebook Just Seized Control Of The Internet

Zuckerberg: “We Are Building A Web Where The Default Is Social”

Facebook Partners With Pandora For Social Music

Facebook's Open Graph Personalizes the Web

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