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This article was published on April 21, 2010

Facebook Announces Policy Changes, Social Graph

Facebook Announces Policy Changes, Social Graph

Facebook has just announced a series of platform policy changes to make developers’ lives much easier.

First, Facebook has announced that they will allow data to be cached on their site for more than 24 hours, a new fundamental change from their previous policies. Second, Facebook has announced a unified permission prompt for Facebook Connect to make Facebook integration easier for users and developers.

Most importantly, Facebook introduced a new policy to help knit Facebook together with other online services.

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg observed, Facebook is connected with other services like Yelp at only a few points. By allowing for data-sharing between these services through their new Graph API, Facebook hopes to knit social media sites together. In addition, Facebook has introduced plugins to allow developers to introduce these features to their sites without writing any code.

Facebook also will present a toolbar, which is implementable with “one line of HTML” including all sorts of new ways to interact with existing pages. This toolbar, which will sit at the bottom of the page, can include everything from like buttons to Facebook chat.

Facebook is also rolling out their Open Graph protocol, which allows the aforementioned sites on the Social Graph to knit up with Facebook. Starting today, 30 Facebook partners (including ESPN and IMDB) will feature like buttons on all of their pages. For example, every movie on IMDB will have a like button powered by Facebook Meta Tags. These tags will allow these off-site likes to tie up with Facebook Fan and Community Pages.

Facebook is also introducing a new server-side API called Graph API. This will allow for universal search of public posts for developers. In addition, the API is significantly simpler to implement than Facebook’s existing APIs. This is largely because of the adoption of the new OAUTH 2.o standard, which Facebook says is infinitely simpler than their existing API.

Zuckerberg also introduced Facebook’s brand new integration with Microsoft’s newly announced service. This collaborative online version of the Office suite will allow users to chat and edit documents through Facebook. This will likely form the bulk of Microsoft’s attempt to wrest marketshare away from Google Docs.

This new announcement hopes to knit together something that Zuckerberg called the “open graph.” This, Zuckerberg hopes, will essentially put Facebook everywhere. This could be a huge coup for the site.