Facebook made a raft of announcements at its F8 developer conference this week that shook the social media world – and promise to further extend the firm’s influence on the internet.
Among the big news was the announcement of its new Facebook for Web Sites platform, a new Graph application programming interface and also the offer of a new version of its Facebook Insights analytics service that give users who implement the new features data on their websites about the people who share content from these sites.
But the news widely regarded as the 'game changer', was its unveiling of new plugins that will enable websites to embed chunks of Facebook tools onto their sites.
Launching with 30 partners, including the likes of LOVEFiLM and online music site Pandora, ‘Open Graph’ and the new set of social plugs ins seem designed to make the entire web a more social experience.
The tools allow users to log into their accounts via sites with the embedded Facebook functionality, so that they can share videos, stories, photos or music with their friends via a 'Like' button. In addition, there are pop-up windows to show users what friends are watching and reading on the third party site.
All of which means that content is shared on Facebook with the minimum of effort, while the information of what users 'Like' can be supplied by Facebook to the third party to enable it to create a more personalised experience for that user. This provision of information is critical to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision that "the future of the web will be filled with personalised experiences."
On the Facebook blog, Zuckerberg wrote: "We are making it so all websites can work together to build a more comprehensive map of connections and create better, more social experiences for everyone. We have redesigned the Facebook Platform to offer a simple set of tools that sites around the web can use to personalize experiences and build out the graph of connections people are making.
"This next version of Facebook Platform puts people at the centre of the web. It lets you shape your experiences online and make them more social. For example, if you like a band on Pandora, that information can become part of the graph so that later if you visit a concert site, the site can tell you when the band you like is coming to your area. The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalised web that gets better with every action taken."