On Wednesday, Facebook CEO and President Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the next step towards a more socially integrated web at Facebook’s f8 developer conference in San Francisco. Facebook’s latest release includes open APIs and a suite of plugins aimed at making third party web sites more personalized and social.
With very little coding effort, sites will now be able to import experiences and interactions once limited to within the confines of facebook.com. Examples of these distributable features include a web-wide “Like” button and contextual activity feeds. These feeds will show which of the user’s Facebook friends have viewed an article or product, and offer recommendations based on friend activities. Sites like Yelp, CNN, BuzzFeed and Pandora have already integrated the new Facebook functionality.
Facebook’s “Like” button integrated with an article page on Buzzfeed. Clicking the button automatically updates the user’s Facebook Wall and their friends’ activity feed.
The implications are astounding and limitless. And the importance to business owners is multifold: users will be more likely to treat sites as destinations if they can accomplish socially-oriented tasks without leaving the site. This will translate into longer visits; more exposure to content and products; and an overall richer experience for the user. Furthermore, from a business perspective, the new functionality is so easy to implement that it will save countless programming hours.
Ai immediately incorporated the “Like” button feature onto the product pages of one of their premier clients, Steiner Sports. Now, sports-fan Joe Smith in New York can browse steinersports.com and click “Like” on everything that catches his eye-from a Derek Jeter Autographed Baseball to a World Series Autographed Locker Room Hat-and his cousin in Talkeetna, Alaska will get a real-time idea of what Joe might like for his birthday in two weeks.
Facebook’s latest effort to deepen the social experience on the web represents a significant step forward in creating a tighter internet, where users will be presented with recommendations from friends they know and trust on any site they visit. For customers and businesses alike, the new Facebook feature is an instant wishlist, registry, recommendation tool, and will become a powerful indicator of social and marketing trends.