Facebook and Beyond

Published: April 23rd 2010
in News » World


Facebook wants it all.


The popular social network is expanding and seeks to take over the Web. As the first day of Facebook's annual "f8" developers conference began this week in San Francisco, Facebook revealed its plans to take over the entire Internet.


The means integrating its social networking service into all websites, and deepening the connection between the Web and its users. In short: Facebook will be wherever you look, whenever you look.

After making an entrance reserved only for rock stars, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg got down to the business of explaining what their plans are all about. He then rolled out a bunch of changes that are part of an "unavoidable evolution" in people's interactions, activities, events and interests, all folded into their online identities.

The crowning glory of the new Facebook platform is what Zuckerberg likes to call the "Open Graph", referring to it as "the most transformative thing we've ever done for the Web."


"Today, the Web exists as a series of unstructured links between pages," said Zuckerberg, whose social network boasts more than 400 million users around the world. "The open graph puts people at the centre of the Web".


The concept is esentially to map out user behaviour across various corners of the Internet. He explained that this can be achieved by using information gathered from a user's general online activities. This creates, said Zuckerberg,  "a smarter, personalized Web that gets better with every action taken." 


He then gave the example of a Facebook user who clicks on a news story from CNN and then automatically sees which of their friends liked that piece. In addition, a Facebook member could visit Pandora (an online radio station) or ESPN online and instantly share "likes" or "dislikes" about the song being played or game news with their friends in Facebook.


"Pandora will start playing music from bands you have 'liked' all across the Web," Zuckerberg said. It's a revolution in the way we experience the Web, everything is interlinked and any page can become a de facto Facebook page.


Moreover, Facebook vice president of engineering, Mike Schroepfer, believes the move could turn websites into digital age versions of Cheers, the old TV comedy show set in a bar where everyone knows each other. "It's like Cheers, the bar where everyone knows your name," Schroepfer announced. 


"People can have instantly social and personalized experiences everywhere they go," Zuckerberg added.


Facebook's move is a strike at their competitors (like Web searching giant Google,) who constantly fight for people's attention and advertising bucks. Zuckerberg said that Facebook seeks to benefit by strengthening bonds people have to the social networking service. "The more people use Facebook, the stronger the bond,” he added.


Finally, the new tools have one downside – they could mean less and less people will visit the Facebook site itself. "How do we create a world where when we show up anywhere our friends are there?" Facebook vice president Chris Cox asked rhetorically. "Our answer is an open platform and to give these tools to developers".


Something that just might change the Web, and our social lives, as we know it.

Related articles: (Facebook, Google, social networking, Zuckerberg)

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