22 AprHow Facebook’s open graph changes the game

Yesterday at the f8 conference Facebook introduced their new ‘open graph protocol‘.

Essentially what this means is that Facebook has now made it possible to not only integrate elements of it’s interface, such as the ‘like’ button, into everywhere you go on the web; they’ve made it possible for you to bring the Facebook experience and your friends along with you wherever you go.

This also makes it possible to navigate the web as YOU; being served up web pages that are tailored specifically to your ‘likes’ from across the web.

Some of what this means now:

  • Implementation of Facebook features across the web very rapidly.
  • See what your friends like on websites all across the web.
  • Ability to essentially be connected to your Facebook friends all the time across the entire web.
  • Facebook becomes the hub for your ‘likes’ and those of the rest of the world.
  • Share documents with friends via docs.com (a direct attack on Google Docs)

What we may see in the near-term future:

  • Social search further threatens Google.  Facebook and Microsoft are working together so there may be some further implementation into Bing in the future.
  • Expect advertisers to start to take into consideration your ‘likes’ from across the entire web and display customized ads on the pages you’re currently viewing.  This may position Facebook further as the most targeted advertising platform available. Imagine Google Adsense ads being replaced by Facebook ad panels.  This won’t happen immediately since data needs to be gather and frameworks implemented…but expect something like this to emerge.
  • Increased competition for the web’s social default.  I’m thinking Google may jump in with their Gmail-based, relatively untapped, Buzz, however I’m unsure how well this would take hold.  The ideal would be an open source platform that keeps competition going, such as some implementation of XAuth.  Xauth isn’t ready (or even designed) for this type of use, but I’m still holding out hope for an open source, social web.
  • This could further position Facebook as the go to location for data to fuel the emerging Social CRM trend.
  • Third-party tools for accessing and manipulating Facebook’s open graph data in useful and meaningful ways.  Much like the third-party explosion of applications we’ve seen for Twitter.

Further thinking on how ‘open graph’ changes the game

This effects a lot of the web (basically all of it) and the many of the major players in the game.

First, it’s an attack on Google’s reining web-dominance.  As the web and search becomes increasingly social these two giants are pushing forward into this ever overlapping arena.  Google currently wields a tremendous amount of data about our web use and the information from its suite of services for organizing and managing our lives .  While Facebook seeks to be the hub of our likes and interest and seeks to make our daily web activities more social and personalized.

Facebook has now made itself essentially as open as Twitter while at the same time distributing itself across the web via the developer’s ability to embed certain Facebook interfaces into non-Facebook pages.  They’re counting on the rest of the web community to use this as the new standard and they seem to have significant forward motion in that direction.

Still, this poses the problem of disgruntled users who had come to expect the privacy the Facebook used to tout as central to their policy.  In March of 2008 Zuckerman, in an interview with ReadWriteWeb, said “If that data is published off-site, then there’s no longer any control over the data for users”; this clearly isn’t their policy anymore.

Google could perhaps implement a similar system which enables a personalized web experience without Facebook’s vision of complete social integration; and perhaps offers a more low-key way of sharing, connecting and collaborating with friends online.

How do you expect these new changes to effect the way we use the web? Leave a comment below to voice your thoughts.

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Joshua Guffey

Project Manager at Dependable Data Services
Father. Husband. Search Marketing Professional. Conversion Optimization Consultant. Love Rumi.
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