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Facebook’s Open Graph Attempts To Integrate The Entire Web

April 22nd, 2010 by | 6 Comments

Through Facebook’s F8 developer conference, the company has introduced some of the most instrumental developments for the company and possibly, the direction the Internet is headed.

On its first conference in 2007, it was the Facebook Platform and the introduction of the concept of the social graph which practically connects everyone on the site through common friends and similar interests. A year later, the site pushed for integration with other Web sites with the launch of Facebook Connect.

This year however, Facebook has unveiled the Open Graph protocol to make the Web even more solidly connected by enabling site owners and Web developers to integrate their Web sites into the so-called social graph. Once there, Facebook users can establish connections with it the same way they connect with Facebook Pages.

The idea behind it is that other sites have been developing social graphs of their own though specific only to their particular niche and Open Graph aims to unify them. This way, these sites will show up on Facebook by way of user profiles, search results and in the users’ News Feed, while some Facebook functionalities can cross on over to these sites.

“For example, if you like a band on Pandora, that information can become part of the graph so that later if you visit a concert site, the site can tell you when the band you like is coming to your area.” said Zuckerberg on the announcement posted on the Facebook Blog. “The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken.”

Open Graph has initially been rolled out to 30 partner sites including the aforementioned Pandora, Yelp and Microsoft’s recently unveiled online collaboration word processor Docs.com.

In essence, this seems a logical progression, in line with the popularity of Facebook Pages, the latest socially-hinged innovations online and the cross-platform information sharing between sites.


A sample of Open Graph’s implementation on IMDB
Click for a closer look.

As a protocol, Open Graph will have a specification all its own which other Web sites would have to implement to appropriately mark their pages as objects in the social graph. With a defined set of metatags, developers customize further to add functionality. Facebook has also set aside a page where you can customize social plugins such as Like and Recommend buttons and generate their codes for quick and easy deployments.

It should be interesting how this capability will be refined to the partner sites’ advantage. For instance, you can now Like every movie title and actor on IMDB or Recommend each news article on CNN and include a comment. Both these will reflect on your Facebook profile’s News Feed as a status updates.

Zuckerber is, of course, enthusiastic and shares this fascination with the possibilities Open Graph offers.

“We look forward to a future where all experiences are this easy and personalized, and we’re happy today to take the next important step to get there.” he said.


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