Facebook goes social, again.

On April 21st at Facebook’s F8 conference the new Open Graph platform was announced as the most ‘transformative’ step Facebook has ever done for the web. Open Graph essentially opens up the internet to the social networking domain.

Open Graph

Facebook is the largest growing social networking site on the internet. Last year they stacked up a record 200million new users to the site bringing Facebook’s total user base at 400million. Top brands have already been quick to add Facebook’s connect api to their digital media campaigns bringing a move towards the social web. However FB connect can be quite a droll to configure and often prompt users consecutively for specific access to their information. This will all be remedied as Mark Zuckerberg outlined the platforms changed policies and new features

Data storage

One of the most important of these changes includes the allowance of permanently storing data on users. This implies that if you were to go to a site and connect with the Facebook platform, that site will now be able to store information from Facebook that you give it permission to. Whilst this is good for brands being able to target you appropriately this can be problematic for sites that are not so friendly. So be wary when giving away permissions.

Permissions dialog

perm dialog
finally this has been fixed by FB. Only one permissions dialog box will now be shown asking the user for the data the site requires. Developers will no doubt be glad they have finally fixed this

Open Graph

The term ‘Graph’ refers to the interconnecting web as a whole.  Facebook wants to connect your social network with the rest of the internet in order to provide you with a more personal and tailored web experience. In order for these external sites to link up to your Facebook they have to utilise the Graph API which comes pre-bundled with a set of social media plugins allowing implementation to be, simplez!

These plugins basically serve a widget onto your website. One of these widgets that will soon become extremely widespread is the infamous ‘Like’ button. Zuckerberg claimed that 1bn ‘Like’ buttons would be served in the first 24 hours Open Graph was released. This button will now also exist on external sites and show you if any of your friends from your social circle finds the page interesting. The Activity Stream plugin displays friend streams relating to the website. This plugin has already been implemented on CNN. Another interesting widget is the Recommendations plugin which provides content from the website that may be relevant to the user. A website can now add meta data on its pages so that when a user interacts with one of Facebook’s plugins that semantic data can then be referenced for personalised recommendations. This allows that data to be stored intelligently. For example if you ‘Liked’ a film on IMDB it will add it to your movies list on FB. The recommendations panel could then show you movies you based on your viewing interests and your friends.

Other news announced at F8 included FB adopting the industry standard OAUTH. Plus Microsoft has launched Docs with FB integration. Allowing you to share your documents with your friends.

If your a developer check out the full Open Graph spec and if your a website/blog owner you can get started straight away by adding your own like button.