Impact Of Facebook Feature Changes & India Tie Ups

According to Facebook, Public will be the New Private. Goodbye Privacy, Social will now be the default status of the Internet as dominated by Facebook.

At the F8 conference, Facebook released stats of their growth. More importantly, they released tidbits of information which revolutionize the way the 400 million users of Facebook use the Internet.

Mark Zuckerburg outlined his ambitions on how the Web will be converted into one instant social experience. No longer will you browse alone. Let’s look at a few things Facebook has included.

  1. A Universal Like Button
  2. Auto-Login Capabilities using Facebook
  3. A Facebook Social Bar

And the Open Graph!

What do each of these things mean? And what are the implications on your World Wide Web Experience?

For one, social plugins like the Universal Like button mean that you can instantly share on Facebook anything you like across the Web. Unlike the share, you can also see all your other friends who’ve liked it, and everyone else who shares the same interest. This is quite a punch to both Twitter and Google Buzz.

The interesting thing is that now, a lot of sites will auto-login with your Facebook account. So, you don’t really need to login to Like something. Facebook Connect with it’s multiple permissions will evolve into a one-click permission button, where you can now logon to almost any website.

The Social Bar adds Facebook Chat. A small bar, hovering on your browser, with the Like Button and Facebook Chat. That’s not all, assuming you’ve auto-connected, it’ll also show you pictures of all your friends who’re currently on that site.

The Like Button has a few more features, like the Activity Stream and the Recommendations Stream. If you go to a Website, you will get recommendations based on your “Like” activity and that of your friends.

What’s the Open Graph? Facebook will now connect with over 30 partners across the Web to give you a more personal experience. Yelp in the USA maps businesses, restaurants etc. Pandora is prolific in the USA for music. Facebook plans to track usage of these sites deeply with your activity and that of your friends to give you recommendations. Go to CNN.com, and once it’s implemented, you’ll receive recommendations on the stories you might like. Pandora, once linked with Facebook will give you music recommendations. Check out a restaurant on Yelp and you can also see every review that your friends have made on nearby restaurants.

An instant social experience. GigaOm has a nice article on it (with a much more deailed explanation). There’s also a good article on how this affects privacy (by Christina Warren) on Mashable.

What Else? Docs for Facebook! Microsoft and Facebook are now collaborating to unleash on the Internet Docs.com, which is sure to prove to be competition for Google Docs.

“Now you can discover, create, and share Microsoft Office documents with your Facebook friends. Built using Microsoft Office 2010 – Docs for Facebook lets you work from just about anywhere with the familiar Office experience.”

So now, Facebook can now evolve to more than just conversations. Docs can be uploaded either through a Web application or through a computer, and more, they can be edited realtime. Check PCWorld Article – A Hands-On Tour for more details.

Facebook has also finally given details on Facebook Credits, perhaps the most long-awaited virtual currency on the Internet. This is especially important for those who like gaming on fb. VentureBeat has an excellent explanation on how Fb Credits will function. Check the article out here. BTW, Facebook makes a 30% cut on every Facebook Credit transaction.

That’s more or less it for the announcements.

Except for the Indian Take!

On their announcements for the Open Graph, Facebook predominantly featured Microsoft Docs, Yelp and Pandora. But there are other partners.

So what is Facebook doing in India?

In India, Facebook has tied up with Naukri.com, Times Internet and Espn Cricket. So now, users can share job postings on Facebook. Naukri, one of India’s largest job-search portals, has integrated Facebook’s new Social Plugins. This integration will give users the ability to share job postings with their circle of friends and view jobs posted by their friends on Facebook using the Naukri platform.

This move by Naukri is a brilliant First Strike as it is the only jobsite partner in India to partner with Facebook.

Times Internet has also jumped onto the bandwagon. Content on Timesofindia.com, Indiatimes.com and all sister websites will be connected via Facebook, to give you recommendations, the ability to instantly share on Facebook and many other features.

Cricinfo.com has also integrated Fb plugins. Cricinfo.com is prolific, and apart from sports news, also features blogs and opinions. And now, Liking the fact that your favourite IPL team is winning will be a click away!

As you would’ve noticed, Facebook has released so many features in one go, it’s quite scary. And evaluating each and every feature is too tedious, hence excuse the number of referrals.

What I’m worried about is how powerful this makes Facebook. Move over Google, Facebook is all set to dominate the Internet. Now, anywhere you go, Facebook has access to what your interests are. Your activity stream is being monitored, and more often then not, it’s being provided to developers and advertisers so that you can be targetted for ads you’re more likely to click on.

Now, Facebook has complete control over your online life. And unlike Big Brother Google, who does it from afar, with Facebook it’s very very personal. It has access to your friends, your family, your likes and dislikes, the games you play, and now, with Facebook Credits, what you spend. Facebook has also modified its API. No longer will user data be available for only 24 hrs. Also now, sites can ask for very specific data as opposed to getting everything stored on a user. This way, they have better access and more time to analyze you.

Once you have a web experience which is tailor-made, how does it impact search? Facebook will now know what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to online purchases or searching for theatres or restaurants. Like SearchEngineLand.com writes, the word semantic metadata looms ominously, primarily because of the implications it has if Facebook ties up with Microsoft’s Bing for search.

One you give a company so much data, you risk the chance of it going rogue! What if Facebook succumbs to the Dark Side of the Force? One of my favourite critics, Scoble has a nice piece on the same theme (with way more referrals so you can get a more wholesome view of how Facebook is Scary!)

This is a major change, and an extremely ambitious one. Zuckerberg’s been ranting about how Social is the New Default Status of the Web. But dare we risk it?!

Oh, one more addition. Statcounter recently released stats. Facebook is one of the primary sources of traffic to global websites via Social Media, accounting for close to half (48%). Twitter accounts for 10%.

So what happens when Facebook realizes IT does not like YOUR website?!

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