Once again, Facebook is attempting to link people and their friends throughout the Web in a manner that is both simple and unobtrusive, while at the same time making sure that various privacy issues are addressed. Facebook attempted something similar last year, but pulled it out when there were too many people complaining that their privacy was being violated.
This time, Facebook is going with something called Facebook Connect, which is a means of logging onto certain sites with a Facebook login and having friends and contacts track down whatever it is that the individual is doing. It’s designed to make the entire social web more of a true network in a way that’s simple and fast.
The way that it’s going to work is easy. The Facebook user can navigate and join in on other websites but they’ll use their Facebook ID. Then, the individual can let others know what they’re doing on the other site to all their friends within Facebook.
Someone might want to comment on a story they’re viewing on the CBS website. They can log onto the site with their Facebook ID and password, and then they can comment and post to forums just as if they were a registered CBS.com user. As the person is moving through the site and making comments and observations, those will be fed to the person’s friends the same way as if it were written on a Facebook Wall.
For those people worried about the privacy issue, Facebook assures us that the only information that will be released is information that the user authorizes to be re-broadcast.
What Facebook is attempting to accomplish is to create a social web that will benefit both users and advertisers. For example, by collecting the information that advertisers want, they will be able to better serve Facebook customers who are looking for information about various products or services or even about other websites. By allowing others to join in on one’s journey through the web via Facebook connect, it will enable more and more online communities to stay connected when their members navigate throughout the web.
Naturally, this will be met with some skepticism, but more than likely, it will be adopted by those people who are tired of having to create individual profiles for each site they visit, as well as having to constantly return to Facebook to update whatever information they want to have disseminated.
With Facebook Connect out there, it is only a matter of time before other services join in – and before the entire web finds itself connected in ways that previously were only in the realm of science fiction writers.