Facebook Is Doing What?!

This week at the F8 Developer Conference, Facebook publicly confirmed its plans for world domination.

Amidst more mundane semantic announcements, such as doing away with becoming a “fan” of a brand and replacing it with “liking” brands, Facebook dropped a bomb shell on the internet unveiling a web experience catered around your likes.

Hello Open Graph

Facebook’s latest innovation is the Open Graph platform.  Like Facebook Connect on steroids, Open Graph will transform the anonymous web into a deeply personalized experience. The service will allow publishers to share information about users in order to serve bespoke features, promos, and functionality to the tune of their individual interests regardless of whether or not they’ve visited the site before. As Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg puts it:

“The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken.”

Say I visit The New York Times, I will immediately be served content specifically tailored to my interests; maybe a call-out to a photographer’s autobiography on the Nonfiction Best Sellers List, the latest breaking headlines about the tech industry, and a gallery of the new Free People line featured in the Fashion & Style Section (Whoa, how do they know about my shopping addiction too!?).

Taking it a step further, Open Graph will make our web browsing experience more social too – bringing insight from my social graph. On review sites like Yelp, I’ll see results from friends rather than strangers.

CNN, Pandora, and Mashable are already actively participating and a few bloggers point out their mixed opinions here and here.

A little too creepy for you? Let’s hope Facebook lays out some clear opt out options. As Mashable’s Christian Warren puts it, “Privacy will become the user’s responsibility.”

The Advertiser’s Jackpot?

Search behavior and click-through stats are valuable, but what Facebook is sitting on is the jackpot – access to purchase behavior, relationships, likes, comments, updates and sharing  (via micro-interactions), and soon enough, location. Brands and advertisers that understand and adopt the next generation of behavioral targeting will be able to seamlessly integrate into the lives of consumers like never before. It’s like a representative from Fiji Water handing me an ice cold water bottle after I just walked in from a grueling bike ride without even having to search or think. Now that’s precise!

In other announcements:

  • Say good bye to Facebook Connect! With the adoption of Open Graph, the identifiable Facebook Connect API will be of no need. For nearly two years, Facebook Connect has been the way to share your social graph with third-party websites.
  • Announcing Face… Docs !? And if all that wasn’t bad enough news for Google this week, Facebook and Microsoft have partnered to launch Docs.com, essentially a WebSuite of the beloved Office Suite.