Facebook dropped a bombshell on the tech industry last week in the form of a Web-wide "Like" button and the launch of the "Open Graph." Using this new platform, websites can drive traffic from Facebook by including Like buttons on their pages; every 'Like' posts an update to that user's Facebook page. Facebook, the powerful social network said 50,000 websites have adopted the change. What's more, any website can customize its experience, if logged into Facebook. "Already, just one week since launch, more than 50,000 sites across the Web have implemented the new plugins," Sandra Liu Huang said on Facebook's blog for application developers.
"We are thrilled by the strong adoption so far as developers realize how easy social plugins are to use and how powerful they are in engaging users in a frictionless experience without requiring them to share any personal information." People use the "Like" button to recommend websites, news stories, blog posts and music to friends. Facebook announced the change at its f8 conference on April 21. At the time, only 75 sites had signed up to use the feature, which is Facebook's way of making the entire web a more social experience. In a keynote address at f8, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said there would be 1 billion "Like" buttons scattered all over the web within 24 hours of his announcement. Thursday's blog post makes no mention of whether that target was met.
Tech blogs largely have reacted favorably to Facebook's effort to spread itself all over the web. Some have expressed concerns about privacy and the fact that Facebook may want to be a singular, dominant force on the Internet, putting it in competition with search engine giant Google. On the blog Mashable, Ben Parr wrote that the fact that 50,000 websites have adopted Facebook's "Like" plugin is a good sign for the social network, which already has 400 million members. "Social plugins are just the first step in Facebook’s ambitious plan to become the central nexus of the web," he writes. "With this kind of adoption success, it’s tough to imagine a scenario where Facebook doesn’t take over the web."
Likes to Replace Links?
Facebook announced Likes as a form of "social links" — better than a link because it's related to a specific user. If Like buttons take off, that's really bad news for Google, since its algorithm uses links between sites to determine their order in search results. Facebook seeks to replace this open system of links between pages with the "social links" (or Likes) that it controls. Google and other search engines won't have full access to all these Likes, so the company best positioned to rank the Web will be Facebook. No wonder the "open Web" advocates are sounding the alarm, concerned that a single company will stockpile all of our personal information and preferences. Already there are calls to create an "OpenLike" standard that's accessible to all, reports Facebook watcher Nick O'Neill.
Can the measurement of an industry affect the output of that industry? If an Academy Award is the ultimate measure of a movie, do directors set out to create great films or Oscar-winning ones? Appearing on the first page of Google results for your chosen search term is perhaps the online equivalent of an Oscar win. As Google rose to become the barometer of all that's worthy on the Web, publishers rushed to change their sites to appease the Google god. "Search Engine Optimization" became a massive industry; a multitude of SEO consultants sprung up, offering to tweak your Web site to better fit Google's measure of the Web.
What if Facebook Likes take off? Or to use the proper jargon: What if the Open Graph becomes the measure of the Web? Will publishers change their sites to appease our new overlord? Thousands of sites are adding Facebook's version of semantic data in preference to the open standards as Facebook becomes the new kingmaker. In the week since launch, more than 50,000 Web sites have added Facebook's "social plug-ins." All of which will make it blissfully easy for Facebook to organize the Web:
Open web advocates have reason to be concerned. Privacy experts are also raising red flags. No doubt they'll find an ally in Google: Without access to the stitches that bind web pages together, the search engine could falter.
Courtesy by CNN