Facebook F8: the main announcements and a small fairy tale

Mark zuckerberg I guess no one needs this blog to know about all the new features Facebook plans to roll out (and has rolled out).

Yesterday, the company killed the fans. And today it’s creating a lot of excitement and buzz with an avalanche of new features, services and partnerships on its F8 developer event.

What can I offer you? A summary of what has been and is being announced and a fairy tale.

First the summary.

1) Open Graph: a platform that basically will enable other sites, like Yelp, to have access to all the stuff you like when you sign in via your Facebook profile. Endless possibilities. Facebook Connect but then the new version and more sharing and connecting possibilities + user data will be stored for more than the actual 24 hours.

2) Social plugins: again more connectivity via a plugin that enables all these websites and online applications out there to offer their users the possibility to live the Facebook experience within those environments. An example that was given: the “Like” button. It’s more than a button within Facebook but a combination of social bookmarking and sharing. Example: if you like a post on this blog, you’ll be able to “Like” it.

3) A Facebook toolbar: I guess you know what that is. Google has one, Firefox has one, hell, everyone has one, and you can even make your own. What will be in it? Well, features and chat (just like you can videochat with the Wybia ‘Join chat’ button at the bottom of this blog (registration via Twitter or Facebook).

4) The Graph API: let’s call it the thing that will make it easy enough to develop cool stuff with all the new features announced.

Microsoft facebook docs 5) A bunch of partnerships: with Pandora (for “social music”). Also with Microsoft, well they already have a partnership, but now they launch Docs.com, a service to “discover, create, and share Microsoft Office documents with your Facebook friends” (rings a bell?).

The service is built using Microsoft Office 2010, and you can ask to try it (you might have to wait a bit).

There’s probably a lot more and also a lot more coming.

Some of these new features are really great if you look at them from the developer, marketer, user and connectivity viewpoint.

A fairy tale: let’s build the social web together (you and me and Mark)

Yet, there is this little voice in my head that keeps saying “history has a tendency to repeat itself”.

I don’t want to be paranoid or anything, but you know, once upon a time, there was a company called Google and it had a search engine. Next the people who started the cool search engine started launching dozens of services, toolbars, online sharing tools, online document tools, things called Wave and Buzz, mobile operating systems, a browser, libraries, video services, a web-based email service, a chat service, analytics, ad platforms and so many other things. And now they are the king of search engines and even the WWW.

People liked it and they used it, and they shared data and stuff and then suddenly some people started realizing that Google maybe did no evil but that it was a big business, just like arch rival Microsoft, who was perceived as evil. And some people got concerned about that much power and so many data in one company.

And then came a social networking site called Facebook, and it gathered user data and then it announced the launch of a web based email service and now a toolbar and new sharing possibilities whereby all kinds of connections can be made. And Facebook is the king of social networks.

And they create all these great things for us, the “people”. Because the people rule, remember? It’s the social media age! Customer is king. We can do what we want online. We can use Twitter and have friends on Facebook, and we can even blog.

That’s nice. But the last time I checked, the world was ruled by money, not by you and me.

I don’t know about you but I do get a bit uncomfortable when online businesses are conquering the world.

They ask me to trust them but in the end, who are they? Who funds them? What do they talk about in their board rooms? Call me paranoid (you can: I have a comment box) but don’t you ever wonder?

There is an old saying: “power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It has always been like that in human history.

I don’t say that the nice people at small and user-friendly little companies with smart and young people working there who care about our online experiences and really mean well, like Google and Facebook, are corrupt but I don’t like to see too much power and data concentrated in one spot.

Anyway, who cares, right? Let’s have fun on Facebook!

Read Mark Zuckerberg’s post called “Building the Social Web Together” on the Facebook blog.

Yes, really, Mark Zuckerberg wants you, me and him to build the social web together. Ain’t that cool?

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