The second annual Facebook f8 Developers Conference has now come and gone, with the announcement of the Facebook Connect platform, redesigned profile pages, and initiatives in improving the Facebook ecosystem.
Ready to rumble!
The stage was set for Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote to kick off the 2008 Facebook f8 Developers Conference at the San Francisco Design Center.
Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote opened by highlighting the past year’s achievements with the Facebook Platform, the tremendous growth experienced, the lessons learnt from their developers and its users, and Zuckerberg reiterated their mission of allowing people “…to share and make the world more open and connected”.
Application Translation Tool
In order to cater for the internationalisation of the site, Facebook will now offer its translation tool, previously available only to translate the site, to application developers to have their applications reach a wider audience than just English-speaking countries.
The tool itself works by allowing users to translate English terms to other languages, with submissions being moderated.
The focus for Facebook in the next year is to further expand the concept of social networking, but outside the realms of Facebook, allowing for its presence and impact to be utilised by websites. There will also be new initiatives to reward applications, and the reorganisation of the content on profile pages to surface more relevant information to share between its users and to lessen the clutter.
After the release of the Facebook Platform last year, which enabled the development of applications within Facebook through an API, Facebook has advanced this concept by enabling the development of applications outside of Facebook on external websites — dubbed Facebook Connect.
Facebook Connect enables websites to utilise Facebook for socialising amongst its users, and also provide streamline integration through authentication, friend access, privacy settings and feed notifications of a user’s activities on a third-party site with Facebook.
Some initial launch partners of Facebook Connect will be digg, CBS, Six Apart, Citysearch and Twitter.
Expanding across the Web
Facebook Connect is part of the overall expansion strategy across the Web for Facebook. To not limit the sharing of information only within Facebook, but to empower the ability to users to further share their activities on the Web when they perform actions outside of Facebook on supported websites.
Zuckerberg sees this as a strategy to keep Facebook relevant and active in the years to come when there could be a trend of shifting away from the main Facebook site.
Facebook Connect in action
Zuckerberg demonstrates the capabilities of Facebook Connecton on a demo site: the ability to use your Facebook profile to log-in and to publish stories back to your news feeds for others to see your interactions within the Facebook Connect enabled website.
A demo site to see this in action is The Run Around.
Digg quickly demonstrates the Facebook Connect integration — interesting to see an OpenID option to the right.
Six Apart shows off its integration with its Movable Type professional publishing platform.
Yet another demonstration from Citysearch where it lists reviews from related Facebook friends as part of its integration with Facebook Connect.
Facebook Connect availability
Unfortunately, the API for Facebook Connect is under lock and key and was not available at the time of the conference; however, you can now apply for an API key.
A quick glimpse into Facebook’s ecosystem consisting of users, application developers, ad networks, academics and venture capitalists. Emphasis was placed throughout the keynote on ensuring a healthy Facebook ecosystem through the creation of new initiatives.
One of the ongoing initiatives in helping the Facebook ecosystem is fbFund, launched at last year’s TechCrunch40 conference. A program providing grants to successful applicants to set-up a business within Facebook.
Two levels of recognition for applications
To reward applications embodying the application principles of Facebook for a good application, Facebook created two recognition levels called Facebook Verification and Facebook Great Apps
Applications go through a manual process of verification before being rewarded by Facebook.
The verification program instils trust to users that the application they are using has been certified by Facebook, and for developers it means visibility to the masses.
Facebook Great Apps
For those applications who not only embody Facebook’s principles, but also advances Facebook’s mission receive recognition of being a Facebook Great App.
Facebook Great Apps Benefits
Being in the highest recognised level means greater exposure to users of their activities with the interaction of the application, like greater number of feed notifications in users’ news feeds, and also Facebook support in the ability to utilise early features.
Facebook aims to tap into and expand its reach and how it is being consumed by creating applications not only on the internet but for the desktop and mobile market as well — most recent of which is the iPhone Facebook app.
Facebook Connect on iPhone
Facebook is also bringing the concept of Facebook Connect to iPhone applications, with the release sometime in September this year.
Open Web support
Facebook announced they would support the Open Web Foundation in its development of its various technologies.
The Open Web Foundation is a non-profit organisation created to support the development of open, non-proprietary specifications for the Web.
Roadmap for Facebook Connect