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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Facebook moves closer to conquering the web

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...
Image by via CrunchBase
The data portability wars may now be in full swing, and Facebook has taken an early lead with the launch of Facebook Connect, a service that lets users log onto other websites through Facebook and view their friends' activities on those sites.
Some of the third-party websites partnering with the social network include Digg, Twitter, Citisearch and CBS, with the Discovery Channel, San Francisco Chronicle, Hulu and the genealogy network Geni expected to join soon, according to The New York Times.
There is no financial agreement between Facebook and the websites using Facebook Connect, with the only benefit being increased traffic. There are currently no plans to explore advertising potential with Connect, but of course Facebook will now have even more information about which websites its users visit, creating the possibility for better-targeted ads.
The launch of Facebook Connect is the latest chapter in the growing war between Facebook, Google and MySpace as all three companies vie to become a digital hub of sorts, where users update and manage their profiles and information across the web. 
All three web giants announced their initiatives in May, and Facebook fired the first shot in the war shortly after when it said it would not participate in Google's Friend Connect because of privacy concerns. MySpace, meanwhile, is working closely with Google to make sure its services are compatible.
The battle for third-party partners is intense as well. When MySpace announced its own data portability project, it named Twitter as a partner. But according to TechCrunch, the micro-blogging service will actually integrate with Facebook first.
Facebook has also taken the utmost caution in launching Connect, largely because of the criticism it received for its Beacon program a year ago. This time around, the social network put its users' privacy at the forefront.
"We want to make the experience as lightweight and easy to use as possible," said Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg. "But we also have to make sure that people understand what�s going on and have control over it."
By Rich Cherecwich

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