CEO Mark Zuckerberg just announced his plan to bring Facebook across the web—to make any website instantly social.
With Facebook's new strategy your network and all your friends' updates and preferences will be available not just on Facebook.com but also on any website that integrates the social network's three new products announced today.
They will vastly expand Facebook's presence and reach across the web.
Zuckerberg talks a lot about the "open social graph." To put it simply, the theory is that any website is far more engaging if you know what your Facebook friends are doing on that site.
Product one: Facebook is launching a "Like" button that any website can install. Instead of just connecting to friends, Facebook wants to click "like" to connect to places, objects, movies, restaurants etc.
Thirty websites including Yelp, IMDB, CNN and ESPN (parent company Disney ) launching this "Like" button. Click to indicate you're a fan of a movie, restaurant, athlete or news article and that info will show up on your Facebook profile. That info will also be presented to your friends when they go to any participating site.
You'll be able to see what your friends "like" or what they're reading or doing on these sites without ever logging in. As long as you have Facebook open somewhere on your desktop, all this "Like" info will automatically show up whenever you land on a participating site. That means that your social network will give you relevant info, pretty much wherever you go.
Product two: a recommendation plugin. Outside websites can implement a system that will automatically serve recommendations based on what your friends have done on that site. Again, no one has to log into outside websites: as long as you're logged onto Facebook elsewhere on your desktop, a site like Yelp can suggest restaurants based on what your friends like.
Companies have good incentive to install this plugin-- people are more likely to stick around a website and read another article or restaurant review if they're following friends' recommendations.
Product three: a social bar that websites can install at the bottom of their page. Facebook chat, updates from your friends, and access to your news feed will all show up on the bar at the very bottom of a website. CNBC, say, could install this service that would allow CNBC.com readers to interact with their Facebook friends and access those updates without ever navigating away from CNBC.com. You could instant message with your Facebook friends on top of a CNBC.com article.
These announcements have no direct impact on Facebook's advertising model. It'll actually help other companies grow their advertising revenues—the more information IMDB has about its users, the better it can target ads. And the more social context websurfers have for Yelp restaurant recommendations the longer they'll spend on your site. This means we can expect a ton of companies to embrace these new services.
It that these new services could actually keep Facebook users from needing to go to Facebook.com, which is the only place where the company can deliver ads. Will this hurt Facebook's ad delivery?
No-it only makes the service more valuable and relevant. But it's worth noting that this helps Facebook's partners ad revenue more than Facebook's. One question raised here: does this lay the groundwork for Facebook to launch a targeted ad network for these other websites? No comment. But it certainly could make sense down the line.
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