Since Web 2.0 exploded, I’ve noticed that there aren’t many websites you can’t sign into anymore. Want to review that hotel you stayed in? Sign in! Want to rate the digital camera you bought? Sign in! Want to discuss Obama’s experience (or lack thereof)? Sign in! It’s the age of the digitally social, and we’re all invited to sign in.
Frankly, it gets confusing. You forget if you’ve already signed up at a site you last visited a year ago. Your passwords become muddled in a memory of account numbers, pins, and everything else in your hectic life. And when you finally do sign in, you’re encouraged to find your friends, even though you’re already friends with your friends on ten other sites. And sometimes it’s so frustrating that you just give up. That’s where Facebook Connect comes in.
What is Facebook Connect?
Similar to OpenID, Facebook Connect allows you to sign in to other Web sites using your Facebook login info. Once logged in, you can use the site like any other registered user. You are automatically connected with your Facebook friends, and you can see their activity on the site. And you can broadcast your actions on the site to your Facebook newsfeed, so your Facebook friends not on the other site can still see what you’re up to.
Major websites are starting to partner with Facebook, and will share your information. This is great news for users who resent having to submit the same information again and again on different websites. It still benefits companies because they’ll get more traffic from people who weren’t willing to sign up before, and because of the newsfeeds users will publish on Facebook. The major upside for users is that these websites will no longer “own” you. You can break the connection whenever you want, and since you never gave them your email address, they have no way to spam you into coming back.
Facebook Connect Partners
The first wave of Facebook Connect partners announced in July include: Amiando, CBS.com, CNET, CollegeHumor, Disney-ABC Television Group, Evite, Flock, Hulu, Kongregate, Loopt, Plaxo, Radar, Red Bull, Seesmic, Socialthing!, StumbleUpon, The Insider, Twitter, Uber, Vimeo and Xobni. But adoption is slow so far. So far, you can check out CBS, CNET, CNN, Govit, Indie GoGo, Moveon.org, and Red Bull. CitySearch is in beta if you want to try it out. But with the launce date of November 30 having come and gone, it looks like these companies are waiting to use each other as the guinea pigs before going launching the platform themselves.
How Facebook Connect can help you stand out
Facebook Connect can help you stand out the same way that having a universal avatar can help you. Being consistent across all these networks will eventually help you get recognized. It will also be easier to build a network of friends because you can keep them all in one place, instead of having to keep several different networks updated on your activities.
You can still keep it separated
If you don’t want to participate in Facebook Connect, you don’t have to. You can still register at these sites normally and have separate accounts all over the place. I like how some sites like Blog Catalog and MyBlogLog let you link your accounts with other networking sites without connecting them, so you still give each website limited information if you choose to.
I’m a bit hesitant because I use Facebook for connecting with friends, and friends only. I never accept friendship requests from strangers. So why would I want to expose all of my Facebook information to the rest of the Internet? I don’t have anything scandalous on my profile because I happen to not be a very scandalous person, but it’s still a friends-only network, so it’s the same concept as “whatever is said in this room stays in this room.”
Until Facebook Connect becomes a success and proves that my photos won’t end up plastered on CollegeHumor, I think I’ll limit my usage to networking sites I alread trust, like Twitter, Stumbleupon, Citysearch, and Evite. But honestly, there is no reason for me to give my personal information to Red Bull.
What do you think of Facebook Connect? Do you think sharing your profile information with the rest of the Web is going too far? Or do you like the convenience this platform offers?