During its third annual f8 Conference for developers and entrepreneurs, Facebook announced a new platform full of features designed to up the ante in the race to dominate the social web. As if the social web itself could get any more “social”, the folks at Facebook are revamping their own offerings and partnering with other sites on methods of personalization designed to put the user at “the center of the web”. They call these new tools “social plugins” and they promise to transform the way we interact on the web.
A few of these new “social plugins” are ready to roll in the days ahead and are featured on the official Facebook blog. It is beyond apropos that the developers should call them “social” as they require Facebook itself interact with other sites on the web. Currently, only three sites have been chosen to pilot the new platform (Yelp, Microsoft Docs, and Pandora), but over 70 others have signed on to be added soon. As we wait eagerly to take them for a spin, the iBraryGuy team thought we’d summarize two of our favorites: the soon to be ubiquitous “Like” button and the interactive “Activity Feed”.
Like – One of the most popular features on Facebook is the little thumbs-up icon that lets users designate the things they really like. Imagine being able to go to other sites and using that same functionality. Facebook’s new partnerships will let you “like” everything from news stories to items for sale on commercial sites. The items that you “like” on these sites will show up in your Facebook feed where you can share them and others can actually comment. Additionally, sites that you “like” can even send you updates as they change or add new content.
Activity Feed – This is an interesting feature to say the least. The idea here is that users logged into Facebook and visiting one of the partner sites will actually be able to see how their friends are interacting with that site. You will be able to see articles or items that they recommend or on which they have commented. Other sites and tools have permitted social web browsing in the past, with varying degrees of success. The fact that Faceboook is building this functionality into its already uber-popular and robust social networking platform gives it an instant leg up in this arena.
Whether you love Facebook or hate it, over 400 million users and a media omnipresence make it impossible to ignore. There is no doubt that it has altered the way people interact online and its popularity continues to surge. The changes coming with the new Facebook platform promise to innovate the social web even further. From new community pages to increased partnerships with other popular web destinations, Facebook’s developers have a lot in store for us all. What can we say? These are exciting times indeed!