Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his pal from the recently acquired Friendfeed, Bret Taylor, showed off a whole bunch of new features that’ll impact your entire Web experience today at the f8 developers conference. Here are the highlights.
• The death of Facebook Connect. No longer do you have to deal with a middleman forcing you to confirm Facebook Connect every time you want to use your Facebook login at another site or service. Facebook is moving to a one-click authorization, so once you’re logged in to Facebook, you don’t need to log in again and again and again. That leads into the next point…
• Open Graph. The number of sites that use Facebook and Facebook’s collected data in extensive, interesting ways is about to skyrocket. So once you’re logged in to Facebook, if you go to Pandora, you can see
what your friends are listening to, what they like, and see
recommendations from other users with similar taste. And it goes both
ways–you can “like” an artist on Pandora, and that artist will show up
in the “Favorite Music” section of your Facebook profile. And that’s just one of 30 partners who will be part of the launch, including other online services like Yelp and IMDb, news organizations like ESPN, and Microsoft–which is going to offer Web-editable Office 2010 documents (read more about Microsoft’s Docs here).
• Incredibly easy plug-ins. Since the new API is so easy to integrate into any site (it’s just a few lines of HTML), you’ll start seeing Facebook integration everywhere. Go to CNN, which has already integrated the new global Facebook authentication across its site, and you can “like” a story, which posts it to your Facebook stream. But you can also see a little pop-up showing what your friends have liked. This is different than the deep-diving Pandora integration. It’s the easiest integration Facebook has ever offered, which makes it much more likely to spread fast.
• The social bar. Remember Digg’s floating toolbar that appeared on lots of different sites, allowing you to use Digg services from anywhere? If you do, it’s probably because you hated it–Digg eliminated it after a torrent of anger toward the bar from Digg users. In that proud tradition, Facebook is introducing their own floating toolbar, which gives access to services like Facebook Chat and friend updates. You will likely start seeing this on poorly designed sites soon, with backlash to follow.
• Credits. Facebook will start using a single currency, to be called Facebook Credits, for all in-Facebook purchases. This is likely to be a bit of a pain, since the currency will have to be converted from real currency like dollars or euros. Microsoft used a similar idea with its “Microsoft Points” currency, to general consternation, although it had some success with the system on Xbox Live.
• Location was a no-show. Despite the wide assumption that Facebook would roll out an oh-so-trendy location-based service (a la Foursquare or Twitter), there was no such announcement. Facebook even teased us with fun little check-in points via the RFID chips in our press badges, but it was not indicative of any new location-based features. Zuckerberg declined to speak in much detail about future location plans, except to confirm that it is being worked on.