advertisement
advertisement

Facebook Plans for the End of Its Salad Days

Facebook’s growth continues relatively unfettered, but the site’s management is keen to get all the hooks in place to keep it relevant when growth begins to slow. Now it has taken a number of steps to address the issue.

Facebook’s growth continues relatively unfettered, but the site’s management is keen to get all the hooks in place to keep it relevant when growth begins to slow. Now it has taken a number of steps to address the issue.

advertisement
advertisement

Today Facebook announced it’s releasing the Facebook Connect Wizard–to make it easier to use Facebook to add “social context to any site.” Using the Wizard means it’s now a quick, simple, and relatively painless three-step process to integrate Connect in your site. You enter some site ID details into the Wizard, download the special code Facebook’s development engine presents to you, and plop it into your site’s web code. Amazingly simple.

But there’s more. A new Playground system has some basic functions already set up to let you quickly incorporate stuff like profile pictures, user names, friend images, and so on, into your web pages. But it’ll no doubt be useful to non-expert web developers. The upshot for Facebook? It gets included into the fabric of even more websites out there on the Interwebs.

The giant social net is also launching “Translations for Facebook Connect.” The facts were revealed at the Future of Web Apps conference in London today, and there are surprisingly big implications. If you remember, Facebook came up with an innovative solution for regionalizing its services when it began to get really popular–it launched the Translations app, which turned the tricky job over to the experts: its regional users. It was a neat and classic solution to a problem that faces many online services, and with its legion of global users, a crowdsourced solution made perfect sense for Facebook.

Which is why it’s leveraging off the success of Translation via the Connect system: This effectively makes the same mechanical turk translation service available to anyone who has already embedded Connect. You upload the relevant HTML and Javascript code to your site, and then either do the translations yourself, or put your widgets, applications, or entire sites in the hands of the relevant regional users of Facebook. You don’t have to relinquish control entirely–you retain oversight, and you can even appoint a specific translation administrator to watch what’s going on for you.

advertisement

It’s fabulously simple, and no doubt will be used by many.

But why is Facebook doing all this stuff? The name of that London developers conference is a partial giveaway–it’s about the “future of web apps.” Facebook is fabulously successful, and it’s still attracting users by the boatload daily. But at some point it will saturate the market, and another social tool will come along and steal the limelight (Twitter surprised everyone). If Facebook’s system is subtly intertwined with millions of other websites, it will still be relevant when that saturation point comes. And by letting others use its code it will always attract users to Facebook itself–where it can sell advertising space.

[Facebook Blogs]

advertisement
advertisement

About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

More