On Monday, Facebook announced that within a few weeks its Facebook Connect login system will be available on several high profile participating sites, including Digg, Twitter, Hulu and more. With Facebook Connect, Facebook users will be able to participate on these 3rd party sites using their Facebook IDs.
The benefits to users are an easy login and the ability to let all your Facebook friends know what you’re doing on these other sites. The option of broadcasting your every move can be turned off within your privacy settings. Fact is, you may not want every site you visit to know who all of your friends are, or your friends to know every site you’re visiting.
Participating sites benefit from a lower barrier to entry. Their registration process is removed, which could mean more members, traffic and participation – hopefully translating into higher ad revenues.
I’m not sure if Facebook Connect means that their walled garden is finally coming down or if it is just expanding. Facebook Connect will extend the brand more broadly across the Internet, giving them more ownership for the social web. And, Facebook gets to collect more data from its users by collecting data about them even when they leave their site. Although users will have the option to turn this data sharing option off, the fact remains that participating sites, become another data point on Facebook.
It also shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Facebook’s approach to the concept of data portability is proprietary (Google, Microsoft and MySpace supported Open ID/open-source is more open than Facebook Connect). But Facebook’s efforts certainly help forward the promise of an open standards-based data portability ecosystem. Carrying your preferences, interests and connections with you can help shape, enhance and personalize your online experience.
Most social media users participate in more then one site. It can be quite annoying to have to create a unique profile on each site. Facebook Connect changes this. Since it won’t be available for a few weeks, you can check it out and see how easy it is to use on this demo site.