After reading articles in The New York Times, Wired and GQ it’s becoming clear that Facebook Connect will transcend and surely be a huge step in the direction of blurring the barriers to entry and access that currently stand in the way of users’ seamless experience with the web. The best by-product of this new development could be, in my opinion, simplicity and what can be achieved when things not only fall into place but when they so in harmony.
Alex French mentioned in his article for GQ – and I agree – that the way Facebook came into our lives was unique in that its users trusted the site and felt safe sharing personal information on it for friends and family to see. Clearly, Facebook has opened up and although it’s not as exclusive as it started out to be, the trust that dictates the way in which people engage and participate still remains. Sure, when the news feed came about legions of people rose against it, but 120 million users are still online and we love it. Can’t get enough of it.
As long as people are willing to share themselves (their true selves for the most part, which is more than MySpace can say for itself) online, Facebook will hold the greatest social database on the web. By harnessing the potential and power of this database, Facebook Connect will not only help by opening up Web sites’ doors so that we can browse and share content easily but it can also be a significant leap towards customizing people’s experiences online, knowing us to help us navigate better, etc. Sure, advertisers will gain some edge in having the ability to target us better but, as a realist, advertising revenue is inevitable; however, some good might result in that I might see an advertisement for penis enlargement if, and only if, I happen to share via my personal profile that I’m looking for or am interested in anything related to that product.
There is so much out there. It indeed does need to connect. Much like the theory of homeostasis and the way in which nature regains balance after a state of entropy, randomness, chaos, complexity … so can we develop and engage in the means that introduce simplicity into the way we exist online.
Google often gets kudos for keeping things simple, in spite of the fact that the collective knowledge of its database and utilities is the epitome of complex. I know… that’s off topic… I just felt like shamelessly plugging it because I loves me my Google.
UPDATE (Dec. 9, 2008) – The day Facebook Connect rolled out, Google Friend Connect followed suit. Nice Google – It’s almost like they read my mind (or that las bit on my post) This article on Mashable did a little bit of comparison and concluded that although Facebook’s service is not as user friendly as Google’s yet (emphasis on yet), it’s advantage is the fact that with Facebook, you have a central place to take data back to.
Again, Facebook’s database of willingly shared information seems to be providing it with a safe haven as it rolls out services and new developments at it’s own pace, while everywhere else on the web seems to be caught in a frenzy of start-ups and a slightly greater sense of urgency.