Facebook Announces Open Graph API and 5 New Social Plugins at f8

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Today at f8 in San Francisco, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just announced new details of the Open Graph API and protocol, as well as several new plugins for websites to increase virality and engagement through Facebook services..

Facebook’s 5 New Social Plugins

1) The Like button is the simplest social plugin. No login is required, and it will run in an iframe. Even if you’ve never visited CNN before, you’ll get social context when you visit the site. Now, when users show up to sites that use it, you can see which of your friends like the site, or have engaged with it recently, without the site knowing anything about you. And when users like anything, it automatically gets added to the list of things they like on their profile.

2) The Activity Stream plugin is like a filtered view of the News Feed containing updates just from your site. It’s also just one line of code.

3) The Recommendations plugin provides suggestions for things your users might like. The algorithm is based on both the collective mutual interests of all your site’s users, as well as the user’s personal friends.

4) The Facebook Login plugin works like the existing Facebook Connect login button, but now also shows users photos of all their friends who have already joined the site.

5) The Social Bar plugin is a comprehensive toolbar that includes the Like button, friends who like the site, and Facebook Chat.

Open Graph Protocol

Facebook’s Bret Taylor also just announced the Open Graph protocol, a new way of structuring data on the web with semantic markup. For example,

<meta property=”ob:movie” value=”The Godfather”></meta>

represents the movie “The Godfather”. When that object is marked up on a website, Liking it will place it in the right place on the user’s profile, and mousing over it in the feed will show a hovercard that links to the source object off Facebook.com – for example, IMDB.

In addition, publishers who use the Open Graph markup will be able to publish updates to users after they Like the object on their site. More details on that shortly.

Graph API

Finally, with the Graph API, developers will able to get information on any object in the Facebook graph. With the Open Graph, each object has a unique ID. You can download the JSON representation of any object in the graph simply by going to:

http://graph.facebook.com/[ObjectName]/[ObjectType]

where ObjectName could be a user or Page ID (like justinsmith or Starbucks), and ObjectType could be photos, videos, notes, etc.

Facebook is also giving developers a new search API, and will be reimplementing authentication on the OAuth 2.0 standard. We’ll have more details shortly.