Facebook Connect: Integrating Facebook into any website or application

Facebook Connect: Integrating Facebook into any website or application

Facebook for Businesses!

Everyone knows Facebook. But not everyone knows Facebook’s API. Businesses (and their marketing department) have spent years trying to make use of social networks. They know they want to use social networks–because the people are there–but they have no idea how to make use of them!!

Until now.

The Facebook API opens up a world of opportunities for businesses and this project we wanted to showcase all that is possible. This was a fun project where the prototype often shocked people at what was possible.

Imagine seeing images of your wife displayed on a phone you’re considering buying at Amazon!!

Watch the images below to see how an ordinary Amazon-like website transforms with the simple push of a (Facebook Connect) button!!


The Facebook API

A visitor of a website merely has to click on the Facebook Connect button after which the site (or application) can retrieve any information the user has, including and not limited to:

  • User’s profile
  • User’s uploaded pictures
  • Wall information
  • Profile information of friends
  • Pictures of/from friends

In other words, anyone can recreate the user’s Facebook site within their own site, AND do anything with the information (some legal restrictions apply though).

Facebook integration everywhere – Implications for businesses

What this implies is that Facebook on the one hand, and company websites, phone applications and desktop application on the other hand are no longer independent silos, but can be completely merged together.

The new capabilities for website and applications :

  • Targeted advertisement : With the Facebook profile of the user it becomes easy to specifically target the user with the most appropriate advertisement. In the past only IP, browser, and geographic data. Now we have a name, hobbies, history, and user activity.
  • Data mining the Facebook profiles & missing data : The wealth of information given by is undeniably enormous. Even if user data is not known, the information from friends can be used to fill in the missing data (for example, determine your age, hobbies and education based on the majority of your friends).
  • A wall of activity : Why not present a Facebook-like wall on a retail website showing birthdays of friends, reviews left by friends, or who in your circle of acquaintances have bought the latest iPhone that you’re interested in?
  • Loyalty points : Each profile picture (of you or of a friend) displayed contains the number of loyalty points that person owns.
    Collecting points then becomes a conscious activity (competition?) and information on how points are acquired becomes more transparent to the users.
  • Who are the influencers? : Whenever a review or purchase is made on the site, the user has the option to post this to their social networks. If after that other users follow the reviews or the purchases onto the site it can be tracked back to the original reviewer / purchaser. Thus an analysis can be made of who the influencers are and perhaps also why they are more successful than others. A successful influencer can be rewarded loyalty points.
  • Trust for conversions : Sort reviews and average ratings according to people who share part of your profile or a network with you. For example, see that people in your company rate the first generation of iPhones lower (because it did not support company emails).

Conclusions

This work and the ideas caused quite a stir amongst companies as they had to reconsider their web and social media strategies. Having people logging in and seeing images from their Facebook on the site shocks a lot of people. In particular big companies are very hesitant towards this kind of development as media could destroy their image. On the other hand, from experience it actually becomes a pleasurable and fun shopping experience having Facebook integrated into a website or application. The first company to launch this kind of capability will receive a huge boost and instant media fame (positive or negative, depending on how well it’s presented…). Most likely it’s just a matter of time until people start accepting this. It will happen, but it just needs some time.

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