Along with some of the immediate changes to Facebook, other changes will take a little bit of time for everyone to implement. The two new main changes will be in the form of Social Plugins and OpenGraph. Together these will replace the current Facebook Connect system that over 100 million people are already using.
Social Plugins Hook Facebook to the Web
- Liked a specific article. Through this Like button, even if you have never visited the site before, Facebook will be able to tell you which friends liked an article on CNN, a movie on IMDB or a song on Pandora.
- The Activity Stream plugin shows you what your friends are doing on the domain.
- Recommendations will show users which pages they should check out on the site next.
- With these plugins, Sign in with Facebook, will show you pictures of your friends who have signed in and if you want to bring Facebook chat to your site simply add the Social bar.
75 sites are currently partnered with Facebook through these new plug-ins and more are sure to follow soon.
While Taylor’s unveiling of the plug-ins will change the way Facebook users will interact with sites, the OpenGraph Protocol he announced next will undoubtedly change the way that websites interact with Facebook. With the current Facebook system, if you linked to a new band or movie, that information would be passed through the News Stream and would be gone a day later. Open Graph looks to change that throwaway interaction into a permanent one.
Open Graph runs on a type of code called semantic markers. When someone likes a certain movie on IMDB for example, this code will tell Facebook not only that Person X likes it but also that the film is of a certain genre, has a specific title and stars specific people. Facebook will then automatically save this information on your profile page. That way if you like “The Godfather” on IMDB it will appear in your movies section.
But a permanent mention is not the only goal of linking these profile pages. Hovering over the link will pull in information from IMDB and clicking on it will send you to the page. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that a site can update a user about their likes within the stream. For example if I am a fan of Ndamukong Suh on ESPN, when he is drafted by the Detroit Lions, ESPN will share that story with me in my Facebook stream.
This new API coupled with new features like the ability for developers to pull in Facebook searches, develop logins around OAuth and receive real-time instantaneous updates from Facebook will provide a whole new level of interaction on the web and on Facebook.
Zuckerberg closed his address with the idea that the web’s “default is social” and that these new tools will help all of the Internet become a more socially aware place. Based on the ease of use and the capabilities that these changes may bring, I have to agree that the future does look a lot more social.