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This article was published on April 21, 2010

Facebook: What They Announced At F8

Facebook: What They Announced At F8
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

It’s been a busy day at F8, Facebook’s third developer conference, and there is much to talk about. To stem the confusion, we have compiled a list of the top, most important announcements that have come so far.

To be sure, this was a developer event. Facebook has thrown open the gates to most of the roadblocks that were annoying developers. Happy developers are busy developers, and Facebook knows it.

The four areas that we are going to focus on are the Open Graph protocol, new Social Plugins, Search, and OAuth 2.0. Hit the jump and let’s get into it.

Open Graph Protocol/Permissions

There is data outside of Facebook that the company wants to be brought in and made relevant inside of the Facebook platform. Enter the Open Graph protocol, Facebook’s way to say, in the common tongue “all your graph are belong to Zuck.”

The product combines graphs, be they music graphs from Pandora or what have you, into the Facebook wider social graph. You can think of it has a “knit-up” with Facebook for other websites that are not Facebook affiliated.

In short, all of your external graphs are to be combined into the single “open graph,” which will be useable on Facebook itself.

Two other short hits, Facebook is revamping the amount of time that developers can store data that they received from Facebook. There was a previous 24 hour limit, Facebook is doing away with it like yesterday’s news. Keep the data as long as you need. Developers literally cheered.

Finally, giving permission to a third-party applications will become a one-click action, meaning that applications can get more data more quickly, and then keep it. Privacy concerns from users aside, this is the developers’ dream.

Social Plugins

Not to be outdone by Twitter and their @Anywhere platform, Facebook will be rolling out new plugins to spread the Facebook love all across the internet. The Open Graph is all about bringing information into Facebook, these plugins do the opposite.

In the words of Bret Taylor, of FriendFeed fame, “Social plugins are a way you can provide an instantly personal experience with one line of HTML.” Does that sound familiar?

Among the new plugins are a tool to import an activity feed into a website, to show what a user’s friends have done on that specific website, and recommendations. The best plugin announced is a new Like button, that Facebook expects to veritably take over the internet, and give Facebook a direct look into which websites are hot, which are not, and what impact they have on Facebook. This is what on CNN:


Continuing with the developer theme, Facebook is opening to doors on the data vault and letting people look in at everything not marked private.

Developers will be able to search all data that is public, and with the new rules on storage, they will be able to keep it for more than a day. This is going to make Facebook applications both deeper, and wider. To refrain, Facebook wants happy developers.

Of course, given the hundreds of millions of Facebook users, the data sets we are discussing are nearly infinite. The sky is the limit.

OAuth 2.0

Facebook will adopt the OAuth 2.0 authentication standard, in partnership with Yahoo and Twitter. While the average user will hardly notice the change, having Facebook comply to more normal, open standards is a boon for developers looking for easy to port and replicate code.

Facebook has never been a quick company to jump on standards, this is a big step. Even more, the company partnered with Twitter? More evidence it seems that Facebook has to now view Twitter as a company to be reckoned with.


Facebook has been hard at work with legions of employees, and it shows. The releases today are going to go a long way to making Facebook the social destination over the next few years, not that it ever ceased to be.

Facebook gets it, data wants to be open, wants to move around, and by giving developers the tools they want, they will shock you with what they come up.

What is next? Aside from Facebook crossing 500 million users in the new future, who wants to bet that they hit one billion before next years F8?

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