Facebook's 'Like' Button to Expand Content Sharing

With Facebook's annual developers conference on Wednesday the web is buzzing about what the social network will unveil. The site already has 400 million unique users, half of which go to the site daily: so the question becomes how to extend Facebook's community beyond the website itself.

Source: facebook.com

And following Twitter's first developers conference last week, "Chirp," there's sure to be talk about Facebook's "public" stream of status updates.

Rumors are swirling that Facebook will unveil a "like" button that websites can embed to allow users share content with their friends on Facebook. The idea is to allow people to connect with Facebook friends without going to the site.

This would build on "Facebook Connect,' which 80,000 websites have implemented on their sites, allowing users to post links directly from a site like CNBC.com or NYTimes.com, to Facebook. Clicking on a Facebook "like" button would also presumably allow Facebook to follow users activity around the web, which would allow Facebook to better target ads.

"The Facebook Effect" author David Kirkpatrick says Facebook will effectively allow any website to have the function of a Facebook page. That would include allowing Facebook users to endorse something they like for their friends. But it could also allow them to comment, share, and follow their friends on this outside site.

Another topic sure to surface at F8: location functions. More than 100 million active Facebook users access Facebook through their mobile devices, so there's huge potential to automatically including their location in status updates, etc. And location is incredibly valuable to advertisers.

The way companies allow web surfers to share information to their social network is in the spotlight. Last week at Chirp Twitter explained how its @anywhere service will allow people to log onto the microblogging service from other websites. And just today a coalition of websites including Google , MySpace, and Meebo, announced they're introducing a new standard for sharing information across the web.

Meebo runs the toolbar at the bottom of websites and articles that allows users to share to Facebook, Twitter and other sites. The plan is to create rules and standards for how Web sites allow visitors to share information with social networking and other sites.

But Facebook is also reportedly planning a toolbar for the bottom of websites-- like Meebo's --to allow web surfers to share to Facebook. Will Facebook work with this coalition? We'll see if we hear more about this at F8.

I'll be reporting from F8 in San Francisco on Wednesday, so please tune in for more updates.

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