Facebook Is Now The Infrastructure For A Social Real-Time Web

We all know that Facebook‘s F8 conference was just yesterday, but the information on what was changing (see here, here, and here) started leaking almost a month ago. People new about the like button and the potential currency news. To get an idea of how much Facebook announced, take a look at the live blog at AllFacebook.com. There was a lot of information given in a fairly short time. Of course, they also had a simple blog post with some information, specifically some of the first partners in this “social web”. So far, there have been some mixed reactions to all of the news.

TheNextWeb has a nice overview if you want some explanation of the new features. For my purposes, let’s just take a quick look at what launched in the past few days:

  • Community Pages, Interests and Profile settings: “Profiles no longer are a static list of likes and interests. Now, they are a living map of all the connections that matter to you.” That should have given us a good hint as to what Facebook was planning.
  • Open Graph API: A protocol and a set of permissions on what information you are linked to. This is the core of Facebook’s plan as it allows you to connect various things like your interests, your music taste from Pandora and other cool things. This also includes the changes to the application data caching policy.
  • Social Plugins: This is the part where Facebook puts its clutches all over the internet.
    • Like Button: You can like any site that enables this and the site does not need to do anything on Facebook. They are making this as simple as possible for sites to adopt.
    • Activity Stream Plugin: This shows what activity your friends have had on the site.
    • Recommendations Widget: This shows what content is most relevant to a user entering the site.
    • Login Button: A basic plugin that allows users to login and show who else is registered.
    • Social Bar: This is supposed to look similar to the basic Facebook bar that is at the bottom of the Facebook site.
  • Search: You can search all public updates on Facebook. They specifically mentioned that you could build something to track the mentions of a specific brand. Facebook continues to think about revenue with everything they add.
  • Real Time Stream: The only question here is when this will be available.
  • OAuth 2.0: They have implemented the standard on existing and new APIs.
  • Facebook Credits: It is still in a closed beta, but they have almost 100 applications so far.

That is one impressive list of features for one announcement. All of this allows Facebook to get installed onto various sites across the internet. If they make this as simple as possible, most site owners will take advantage of the potential user base.

However, I do not think many people put all the pieces together. I made some logical leaps in a post about a month ago called Facebook’s Plan For World Domination. In that post, I listed the things that Facebook was trying to do, and much of this is coming true:

Make Facebook the defacto infrastructure of the internet. Facebook is already the defacto standard social network. If Facebook allows likes and comments on any page, they can quickly become the standard of conversation. Imagine that Facebook follows through on the threats of an email client and location check-ins. What other basic internet interaction would they be missing?

Supposedly, location information is also coming even though no announcements were made. With all of this information being collected from all over the internet, Facebook is making a very big play to become the new real-time social infrastructure of the web. Given the number of users they have, it is likely that this will occur.

Another interesting note is that most of the announcements were actually much more interesting than what people thought might be done. There is a Like button, but it is way better than what people thought. All of this social infrastructure is nice, but the real killer features are public searching and a real-time stream. Adding the social plugins and the open graph to a publicly searchable real-time stream of information is just impressive.

As I said on Twitter yesterday, Facebook told us they have a plan to take over the internet and it is a good one. You cannot stop it. You will be assimilated.

5 thoughts on “Facebook Is Now The Infrastructure For A Social Real-Time Web

  1. […] By Becoming More Open, Facebook May Allow Us To Decentralize Again Published in May 10th, 2010 Posted by Rob Diana in Social Media There are a lot of people beating up Facebook for their supposed privacy issues. I am not one of those people. Does Facebook have issues? Sure, no company or website is without issues. However, Facebook is the poster child for our current centralization cycle. Information technology has gone through these cycles before. We were mainframe centric, then PCs distributed some of the computing power. Then AOL became the internet for most people, which was followed by a more open internet with various search engines and email providers. Now, we are centralizing again as people try to find the place to store their identity. Facebook hit a home run with their service as everyone seems to have a Facebook account. Facebook is so large, that I have even argued that they are now infrastructure for the future. […]


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