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“Could Facebook be on the verge of pushing Google aside?”

Published on MG Techleader

Last week at Facebook’s f8 conference in San Francisco, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced details of what may cement Facebook’s place as the de facto social operating system for the internet.

Zuckerberg has had grand ambitions for his social darling, Facebook, for quite some time now. In 2007 he announced plans for the much-maligned beacon content-sharing platform, needless to say that grand plan fizzled out almost as quickly as it was announced. But this time around I think Facebook may just succeed. When the Beacon platform was announced Facebook had about 50 million users and incurred the wrath of privacy activists around the globe.

This time around Facebook boasts just more than 450 million users. Some serious growth has happened taking an ambitious social networking player into the dominant social networking player, and one with enough clout (from a user-base perspective) to launch a serious assault at dominating the web landscape. At the heart of this plan is Open Graph. The Open Graph protocol enables you to integrate your web pages into the social graph. What this means is that you will be able to allow users on your website to establish connections with pages on your website as they do with Facebook pages. Based on the data you provide via the Open Graph protocol, your web pages will show up richly across Facebook, user profiles, within its search results and news feeds. Facebook’s move is away from the standard one where social networks are stand-alone applications on the internet to one where, as Zuckerberg puts it, “we’re building a web where the default is social”.

One of the most prevalent changes evident to users is that of the “like” buttons that are being implemented across blogs and websites. This is the start of a set of social plug-ins and lets the site customise user experiences. That information is sent back to Facebook and shared with the user’s networks. Could Facebook be on the verge of pushing Google aside? Well this new direction allows Facebook to make a big push into building the most powerful database of intentions based on users’ interests and their motivations.

Time will tell how this will affect companies such as Google but more importantly how will it affect users in the long-term? Sure you will get more targeted messaging and brand advertising but the privacy implications are many. One of big changes with Open Graph’s terms and conditions is that it allows developers to keep Facebook user data for longer than the previous limit of 24 hours.

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