Facebook is the most popular social network in the world, but that’s not quite enough for them. Finally ready to venture outside their walled garden, Facebook may be unveiling a decentralized version of their site that allows Facebook users to interact on on other sites around the web. But does this mean Facebook’s ready to cede control of its users, or is it just extending its greedy grasp further?
Says the New York Times:
Details of Facebook’s plans — which involve a variation on its “Share” button, already prevalent on many sites — are expected to be introduced by Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, on Wednesday during its conference here for third-party developers. But even before Facebook makes its plans public, its aim to become a social networking force across the Web is facing competition.
The NYT notes that Google and MySpace are part of a coalition led by Meebo to standardized data portability, and Twitter’s @anywhere platform shows a similar move to decentralization.
The New York Times predicts more about Facebook’s coming changes (Facebook declines to comment):
For instance, Facebook will introduce a universal “Like” button that Web publishers will be able to put on their pages. Similar to the Facebook “Share” buttons that are already popular with many Web sites, the “Like” buttons will make it easier for Web publishers to offer more social experiences, in essence allowing Facebook friends to enjoy those sites together.
While “Share” buttons allow users to post links that their friends see on their Facebook pages, those links are fleeting. The Like button will allow Facebook to keep a record of what a user linked to, providing the company with ever more data about people’s preferences. Facebook, in turn, plans to share that data with Web publishers, so that a magazine Web site, for instance, may be able to show users all the articles that their friends like. A site like Yelp may show reviews from a user’s friends, rather than those from strangers.
Facebook may also be planning to bring its toolbar to other sites as well—a potential bone of contention with the other major coalition, since Meebo’s main offering is also a toolbar.
I like the idea of showing your friends’ reviews on Yelp above random strangers’, but the privacy concessions required to make the NYT’s predictions a reality are sure to be met with strong opposition.
What do you think? Will Facebook try to take over the web this week? Or is that yet to come?