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Friday, September 23, 2011

What They Mean for Gigya and For Your Business

F8 Announcements: What They Mean for Gigya and For Your Business
As many of you know, the tech industry has been buzzing over the last few weeks in anticipation of Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8. Mark Zuckerberg and Co. (including a hilarious bit from SNL’s Andy Samberg) did not disappoint – to say the least! While there has been no shortage of news coverage about the various announcements from the show we wanted to make sure you all know not just what the new changes are, but how they affect Gigya and the social functionality on your site.
Here’s a summary of the announcements made at F8 and how they will affect your site:
Enhanced Sharing
Facebook now encourages sites and apps to share most or all user activities into Facebook. For example, if a user listens to music, Facebook encourages the music app to share each and every song the user listens to. If the user reads news on a website, then every article the user reads could be shared too.
Facebook is also enabling activity sharing which broadcasts the different kinds of actions a user takes on apps and sites. Actions are shared using their respective relevant verbs – David listened to Nirvana, Tom read Catching Fire. This adds a new dimension to Facebook’s Open Graph. Now Facebook shows not only that a user is engaging with a piece of content but how that user is engaging with that content.
Easy Access to the Massively Shared Data
Facebook has addressed issues with News Feed overflow, and therefore, to mitigate the problem of placing every update from every user in the News Feed, they created a new area on the News Feed page (called “The Ticker”) which reflects every new shared activity from users. This is designed to enhance the user experience by presenting important shares in the main News Feed area while presenting real time activities on the right-hand side of the Facebook page. The News Feed items enable users to participate in the actions their friends posted about with a single click.
Additionally, any type of share, whether a standard share or an activity share is presented in the user’s Timeline, the new Facebook profile page which encompasses the user’s entire Facebook history. Facebook took it a step further, enabling the data to be represented in various ways on the Timeline using apps. Developers can now create an embeddable window in the user’s Timeline and customize the way it represents the data captured about the user. For example, a news website can create a post in the Timeline that shows the articles the user read. These posts are like small widgets designed to increase referral traffic to the site that created the widget.
How Will Gigya Clients Benefit?
The Facebook platform has always been about two-way traffic – providing information to sites/apps from Facebook, and sharing information into Facebook. The same principle abides with the new Graph APIs as sites will now be able to broadcast any action their users take to Facebook. This kind of reciprocal relationship between sites and Facebook brings major benefits to your sites like increasing shares to Facebook as well as clicks back to the site. All reported activities will now be part of the new Open Graph which is also accessible to sites, creating a richer set of data that sites can leverage to gain a better understanding of their user-base. Gigya is now integrating Facebook’s new APIs into our plugins as well as into our Super API. Gigya plugins, including Share, Activity Feed, Reactions and Game Mechanics, will take full advantage of these new APIs and Open Graph.
Gigya will also work with clients to strategize and configure unique Timeline posts to work in conjunction with the new Open Graph sharing.
At this point, most of the new Facebook features are not accessible to public users. Gigya is currently integrating the new Facebook APIs, and will release the new features as Facebook rolls out the upgraded experience to its entire user base.
What Are The Implications For Sites That Are Not Using Gigya?
Social technology constantly evolves, bringing new opportunities through new APIs. Before instantly integrating updated APIs, businesses need to master the respective technology and best practices to take full advantage of them. Technology integrators at businesses not working with Gigya will need to familiarize themselves with a new set of API calls and replace their existing implementation with new code. The new APIs also enable different types of implementations which will require constant optimization. While Gigya’s tools are constantly upgraded and optimized, sites that do not use Gigya and that choose to implement on their own will need to constantly make changes to their social network implementation to achieve the best results with the new APIs.
I know that with all the changes Facebook made in the last few days, there’s a lot to digest. I hope this clarifies what is changing on Facebook and how this will affect how your users interact with Facebook on your site. Facebook’s innovations throughout the years continue to amaze me and ultimately, these changes are going to be great not only for Gigya, but for you, our clients, who will benefit as we bring Facebook’s enhancements to your site.
If you have any questions about Facebook’s revamped user experience and developer tools, please feel free to get in touch with your Client Services Manager or send me a note: patrick@gigya.com.
Patrick Salyer, CEO
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Gigya, Inc. 1975 Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043. +1 650.353.7230
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