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Technologies Behind Facebook’s Instant Personalization 5 June 2010

Posted by Toni Del Rio in Tools & Tech, Trends.
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On April 21st, 2010 the Facebook F8 conference took place in San Francisco. That day CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the social networking company’s director of product, Brett Taylor revealed the company’s master plan to make the World Wide Web, Social. The f8 launches expand on the concept of authenticating on sites using Facebook Connect — which reached 100 million users in its first 15 months — and sending back updates to the Facebook news feed. The major highlight is that Facebook will move from the idea of a transitory stream of actions to give partner external sites continual access to its users’ information.
These blog summarizes the three major initiatives that support Facebook’s master plan, as presented by Zuckerberg and Taylor:
a. Open Graph: This protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. This allows any web page to have the same functionality as a Facebook Page.
b. Social Plugins: This feature enables business and brands to provide engaging social experiences to users with just a line of HTML. As Facebook hosts these plugins, they can be personalized for all users who are logged into Facebook. This allows companies to reach even users that have not yet signed up at their websites.
c. Graph API: The objective of this new product for developers is to simplify the way they read and write data to Facebook. It offers a simpler and more consistent view of Facebook Social Graph. It represents each object in the graph (e.g., people, photos, events, and fan pages) and the connections between them (e.g., friend relationships, shared content, and photo tags).

For perspective, this is how Zuckerberg explained the impact of the adoption of the Open Graph:

“Facebook has focused mostly on mapping out the part of the graph around people and their relationships.
At the same time, other sites and services have been mapping out other parts of the graph so you can get relevant information about different types of things. For example, Yelp maps out the best local businesses and Pandora maps out which songs are related to each other.

All of these connections are important parts of the social graph, but until now it hasn’t been possible to easily share the connections you make on sites like Yelp or Pandora with your friends on Facebook. And you haven’t been able to bring your friends from Facebook to share experiences on these sites or personalize them to you”.

Consequently, Social Plug-ins will play a key role in facilitating the connections involved in this Open Graph. For example, now websites can include a Facebook “Like” button on their pages. By doing that, the website will integrated to Facebook through the Graph API. This information will feed your profile in Facebook and in theory improve your user experience. Traffic over Information Bridge generated by the Graph API will become more interesting as more and more developers are able to exploit its potential.

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