I have a feeling that when historians look back at the policy- and development-related announcements by Facebook this week, they will see it as a pivotal moment in the advancement of publishing. Robert Scoble has a great summary. Be sure to read the middle and end bits, but for those who can’t be bothered to click over to his blog, please read this:
1. It gets Facebook plastered all over the web. Already Facebook likes are on many many sites and I’d expect to see Facebook’s new social features to show up on at least 30% of the web’s most popular sites within a month.
2. It lets us apply our social graph “fingerprint” to sites we visit. You do this by adding social plugins to your site, which is pretty easy to do.
3. It lets us apply our behavior “fingerprint” to sites we visit. Again, by adding social plugins onto your sites.
4. Facebook gets to study everything we touch now and will bring a much more complete stream back to the mother ship. This lets them build new analytics features for publishers, too, as All Facebook’s Nick O’Neill writes, but now Facebook will have the best data on the web for advertisers to study.
5. Facebook gets us to keep our profile data up to date. Marketer Ed Dale nailed why this is such a big deal.
6. Facebook gets to overlay a commerce system, called Credits, on top of all this. Justin Smith of Inside Facebook writes about that.
7. Facebook has opened up to enable all this stuff to flow back and forth and has removed the 24-hour limitation on storing data gained from its API. This is probably the biggest deal for developers, Inside Facebook writes about that, but they’ve also made their API more granular so that sites can ask for, and get, very specific data instead of getting everything stored on a user. We’ll be talking about this for a while, because it actually has good implications for privacy.
8. All this new data will enable Facebook to build new kinds of search experiences, as All Facebook hints at in a post where they say Facebook is trying to build a version fo the semantic web. Search Engine Land goes further in detail about what these changes will mean.
9. It lets Facebook minimize the need for a “public” fan page, like mine. Inside Facebook explains more in detail why this is true. Mostly because they’ll spit all those bits over onto my blog, if I add the code to my blog (which I’m pretty sure I will).
10. Finally a stream of focused bits for the people who are actually visiting your page can be pushed back out to you, as Inside Facebook demonstrates.
11. They made the API much simpler and shipped a powerful graph API so more developers can build apps for Facebook (this has been one of the advantages of Twitter, for instance, because Twitter’s API was simple to figure out). Heck, you can even hit it from a web browser to see what it returns. Here is what it returns for http://graph.facebook.com/scobleizer (if you want to try it yourself, just include your Facebook name instead of mine).
I’m still digesting the information, and have a few specific concerns:
- Will it lead to information overload in people’s Facebook feeds?
- For sites that take advantage of these changes, will it generally favor large sites over smaller ones?
- What happens to sites that don’t play with Facebook?
Scoble also addresses the privacy and power equation, as does GigaOm.