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Facebook Like and the Open Graph Protocol

Posted on May 4, 2010 by Zach

The social media scene has been buzzing, no pun intended ;-) about some of the new features recently released by Facebook. Specifically the release of the Open Graph Protocol and the Like Button.

"The Open Graph protocol enables you to integrate your web pages into the social graph. It is currently designed for web pages representing profiles of real-world things — things like movies, sports teams, celebrities, and restaurants. Once your pages become objects in the graph, users can establish connections to your pages as they do with Facebook Pages. Based on the structured data you provide via the Open Graph protocol, your pages show up richly across Facebook: in user profiles, within search results and in News Feed."

While I think that this is a natural progression of what Facebook has been doing I am also interested in the discussions about the Like feature replacing links on the web. I don't entirely agree that will happen however I think that Facebook is making a major play for some very valuable social content. I think that the importance of this new facebook technology will largely be hinged on how open facebook becomes, because before bydefault everything was closed.  Recently though Facebook has changed their privacy settings to be more open which has come under scrutiny. If search engines and other websites can get access to the data I am not sure it's as big of a deal, they have been able to evolve over time to the changing web; however, it puts the ball for this type of data squarely in Facebook's court. This changes the game by adding a middle man to all of the data search engines and other websites care about. I don't think this is the end of search engines, far from it, I think that this is an evolution of the way people share and curate content socially.

In all honesty I think the new Like feature is great, much better than the old way you could share websites and content.  It creates a more curated web through your social graph. I am almost surprised they have not created a Facebook bar (ala the now defunct Digg bar). Where you are browsing the web through Facebook and then chatting and sharing features at the click of a mouse, maybe someday that will come (I'm not saying I think that's an amazing idea just surprised that they have not created it yet). I know they have an IE and FF tool bar but unlike the Diggbar it takes installing and is far from seamless. In some ways this makes me think they can create a better Digg, curated by your friends, a little Metadata, categorization and a sprinkle of people actually using it and you've got something. It moves more and more content into Facebook, makes it more social and lets people more easily share their likes and interests.

I think this just goes to show how powerful/useful Facebook can be, I think it's an amazing platform and it will be interesting to see how they leverage their power and usefulness.

Predictions

  • Seemlessly integrated Facebook Bar (much like the Digg bar) by the end of 2010.

  • The new Like button data will become some of the most coveted and important data on the internet.



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