Facebook Open Graph: The Definitive Guide For Publishers, Users and Competitors

Written by Alex Iskold

Facebook just shook the tech world by announcing several major initiatives that collectively constitute an aggressive move to weave the social net on top of the existing Web.The rumors were that the leading social network would launch a “Like” button for the entire Web. Instead, Zuckerberg & Co. unveiled a bold and visionary new platform that cannot be ignored.

// The bits of this platform bring together the visions of a social, personalized and semantic Web that have been discussed since del.icio.us pioneered Web 2.0 back in 2004. Facebook’s vision is both minimalistic and encompassing – but its ambition is to kill off its competition and use 500 million users to take over entire Web.

Whether we like it (pun intended) or not, we have to understand what this move means. It impacts users, publishers, competitors and, of course, Facebook itself. In this post, we summarize what Facebook announced and ponder the impact this will have on everyone.

Facebook Open Graph: Publisher Plugins

The Open Graph is a set combination of publisher plugins, semantic markup and a developer API.

“This new API turns Facebook into a read/write storage of user’s tastes.”

Login with Faces & Facepile: The simpler publisher plugins enhance Facebook Connect. They makes it easy and compelling to sign in by leveraging Facebook cookies and showing faces of Facebook friends who are already members of the service.

Like Button and Like Box: These plugins add the liking feature to any content, typically the whole page. Both can be enhanced with semantic markup, described below. But the very basic intent for these is to get users to Like on the site and post a link to Facebook, which is then permanently stored on a user’s profile and points back to the original site.

Activity Feed and Live Stream: These plugins show static and dynamic activity on the site. Activity Feed lists recent likes and comments from the site, while Live Stream shows a real-time view of activity on the site and is intended for interactive events.

Recommendations: This plugin surfaces personalized recommendations for the user based on what friends and everyone else is liking on the site. It is intended to drive the users to other pages on the site.

Facebook Open Graph: Semantic Markup

Facebook announced simple, RDF-based markup to make the plugins smarter. In a nutshell, the markup enables publishers to say what object is on the page – a movie, a book, a recording artist, an event, a sports team, etc. This automatically enables semantics, that is, an understanding that the user is not just interacting with a webpage, but that he or she is liking a specific kind of thing. Semantics then leads to bucketing of the objects into categories like books, movies, music, etc., and gives rise to all sort of applications, including personalized recommendations.

Perhaps even more importantly, the markup helps Facebook connect the users across common interests across different websites. For example, if both Pandora and Last.fm annotate a page about The Beatles using Facebook’s markup, then users will be able to see their friends, who like the Beatles across different sites. This is very significant, because the data around friends is sparse and scattered around the sites. Previously, Facebook would surface this data in the stream without persisting it. Now, the information about a friend’s likes of movies, music, books, recording artists, events, sports team, etc. will be permanent on Facebook profiles and readily available in context around the Web. Seguir leyendo “Facebook Open Graph: The Definitive Guide For Publishers, Users and Competitors”