What is Facebook Connect?

If you have a Facebook account, Facebook Connect allows you to stroll the web and interact with sites using your Facebook account as your identifier.  In August 2006, Facebook opened its code to allow programmers to develop applications using their API (for more on APIs, check this blog).  In May 2008, Facebook rolled out Facebook Connect as the latest version of their platform that allows users to connect to other popular sites using their Facebook account identity.  This allows users to use a secure connection to comment on blogs, share photos from other sites, and much more with their Facebook friends.

What's the advantage?  Most importantly, security.  Facebook requires the sites that utilize Facebook Connect to authenticate using their trusted method.  The user has complete control over their privacy settings and permissions, all through their existing Facebook account.  Secondly, it eliminates the need to create yet another account for various popular third party sites to enable the interactive content such as posting comments or sharing articles.   Third, Facebook users are already using their real names and identities, and Facebook Connect allows these users to share content with their friends through Facebook instantly.

Facebook Connect is a huge asset to both users and site owners, as it is a step in the direction of data portability.  Facebook elaborates on this point, "We believe the next evolution of data portability is about much more than data. It's about giving users the ability to take their identity and friends with them around the Web, while being able to trust that their information is always up to date and always protected by their privacy settings."  This data portability means that if a user changes their profile picture, removes a friend, or updates their privacy settings, the changes will be reflected automatically in the third party site.

We have recently integrated Facebook Connect with Allen Theatres' site, allowing users to instantly rate movies they've seen and publish their ratings and comments to their walls, announcing it to their friends.  Check out Allen Theatres' site to see Facebook Connect in action.  Some other popular sites using Facebook connect include CNET, Digg, Gawker Media sites, and Vimeo.  As always, if you don't have a Facebook account, click here to create one

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