On Wednesday, during the 'F8' conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced a platform that will revolutionise our on-line experience.
It's called 'Open Graph’, releasing the Facebook experience from the bounds of Facebook.com and activating it in any digital context.
From now on, everyone who visits a site that implements the technology will be able to interact via Facebook without accessing Facebook's site.
A practical example?
- You read an article on CNN.com
- Without needing to login or 'connect'
- I see how many friends liked the article
- I click the 'Recommend' icon inside CNN.com (sites can either use 'like' or recommend', the result is the same)
- The article is recommended to my friends
Any website can implement Facebook Open Graph to offer people a completely integrated experience with the social network and the three kinds of data it provides:
- User identity
Facebook Open Graph is - in fact - "the portable user": it makes the whole web social, part of the Facebook ecosystem.
What can we expect for the future?
- Digital experiences will be personalised and integrated with each other;
- Facebook.com won't be the only Facebook destination and - in the long term - it will lose relative relevance because it will be subsumed within Facebook as an ecosystem;
Facebook Open Graph is an unprecedented opportunity for brands to socialise and customise their digital experiences.
And what about privacy?
Is this another nail in the coffin of the very concept of privacy? In the future will we really share everything? Ultimately people will be the ones to decide what they want to share and with whom. But now it will be not only what happens on Facebook.com, but everything happening outside it too. Facebook is trying - after problems in the past - to manage this issue in a transparent way. And Open Graph shares less data compared to the 'old' Facebook Connect, because it shares only what's strictly necessary. However, it's too early to tell how people will ultimately react.
What do you think? Do you see a risk or an opportunity for people in the long term, once everyone has understood the real impact in terms of privacy? What opportunities can you see for Facebook Open Graph?