With its new Open Graph initiative, Facebook is positioning itself to become THE network that circulates the vast majority of web traffic - and for Google, that is very, very threatening indeed.
Facebook's Open Graph allows users to ‘Like’ a topic or article, thereby sharing it with their Facebook friends. It also allows site visitors to see who among their network of friends also liked the content and any comments that have been left. Going further, Facebook can use this passive browsing behavior data on partner websites to recommend content to its users.
The collected data will then be used by Facebook to tailor a streamlined online experience for its 400 million user base. In essence providing each individual and their friends a unique way of navigating the web and finding interesting content – in turn cutting out the middle man (Google).
For example, if I were looking at content around construction and then went to a job site, the jobs advertised would be for various construction positions – giving me the content that is deemed most relevant. Similarly if a ‘friend’ of mine with similar interests and found a particular website useful and ‘Liked’ it, then I would be presented with this as content relevant to me.
However, to get the benefits (if any) of Facebook’s Open Graph you firstly must have a Facebook profile, something which not everyone has! If Open Graph becomes successful, this could be the very thing that will make having a Facebook profile a necessity. On the other hand this could be where Open Graph fails as those without a profile will just use conventional search methods instead.
Although early days, this is something that will most certainly have to be monitored as the internet as we know it seems to be changing.....