What a Week! Now Facebook Announces “Facebook Connect”

The Wall

My head is spinning. I can hardly keep up. In the latest news, according to Dave Morin at Facebook, is the announcement of Facebook Connect:

“Facebook Connect is the next iteration of Facebook Platform that allows users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site. This will now enable third party websites to implement and offer even more features of Facebook Platform off of Facebook – similar to features available to third party applications today on Facebook.”

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch writes:

“Facebook connect is Facebook’s first honest attempt to allow access to Facebook user data outside of Facebook itself. The company is describing it as giving third party applications access to much of the same data as Facebook applications have today. We’ll know more in a couple of weeks when it formally launches.”

Like MySpace’s announcement of yesterday, the general spirit sounds great and totally aligned with the data portability and open Social Web memes. But, of course, the devil may be in the details. Eager to connect with Dave to learn more and see what this means for sites like Plaxo Pulse.

This sure sounds great:

“These are just a few steps Facebook is taking to make the vision of data portability a reality for users worldwide. We believe the next evolution of data portability is about much more than data. It’s about giving users the ability to take their identity and friends with them around the Web, while being able to trust that their information is always up to date and always protected by their privacy settings.”

Caroline McCarthy of CNET has a nice writeup with some insight into the backstory:

One Facebook insider, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said to CNET News.com that the project had been in the works for quite some time, and said the announcement wasn’t issued as a response to MySpace’s “Data Availability” project.

Update:

David Recordon of SixApart and the OpenID Foundation has an insightful writeup on the actual details of yesterday’s MySpace announcement:

“After this announcement I had the pleasure of speaking with a reporter who was on the briefing call. He explained that MySpace said that due to their terms of service the participating sites (e.g. Twitter) would not be allowed to cache or store any of the profile information. In my mind this led to the Data Availability API being structured in one of two ways: 1) on each page load Twitter makes a request to MySpace fetching the protected profile information via OAuth to then display on their site or 2) Twitter includes JavaScript which the browser then uses to fill in the corresponding profile information when it renders the page. Either case is not an example of data portability no matter how you define the term!”

Indeed, the devil is in the details.

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One thought on “What a Week! Now Facebook Announces “Facebook Connect”

  1. [...] that are supposed to connect the Social Web with the regular website (some nice links can be found here and [...]

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