Did Facebook just conquer the Web?
Once a mere online yearbook, Facebook has recently grown to become the most trafficked domain on the Internet. But that was just the prelude. The next chapter starts this week, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announcing a new application that could plant Facebook plug-ins on every square inch of the Internet and let publishers share and collect the public data of each user. "Facebook is basically going to be the Web," wrote Slate tech columnist Farhad Manjoo on Twitter.
Here's the change you'll notice: websites like Yelp and Slate and CNN will start dropping social "plug-ins" -- little Facebook widgets -- into their sites. This way, you can see what your friends have read and liked. As Slate's editor David Plotz explained in a note to readers, "just press the Facebook 'Like' button at the bottom of any story, add a
comment if you want, and approve it: A post saying that you have 'Liked' the story will appear on your Facebook wall and as part of your
news feed." If that doesn't sound terribly revolutionary, it's because it isn't. Plug-ins for other social media sites like Digg already exist on many websites.
But wait, there's more.
Facebook will allow website developers to collect and use our information when we connect to a site. When I press the "like" button, that goes into social clearinghouse of information. Other sites can see the articles I like on CNN, the music I like on Pandora, the food I like on Yelp ... and that's in addition to any information I make public on my Facebook profile. The Facebook team calls this application "Open Graph." You can call it the future of marketing.