Breaking: Facebook Connect Goes Live for All, the Identity Race is On

-Facebook Connect Button-The day has finally arrived, Facebook Connect is now live for all who wish to integrate it into their sites. Just over a year and a half after Facebook announced the launch of the Facebook Platform, the company is rolling out a service which lets any site integrate Facebook’s native social features directly into their site. While integration requires programming know-how, we will soon see the release of plugins which make Facebook Connect integration a whole lot easier.

Facebook has lifted the embargo due to Google announcing that their Friend Conenct service is live as I just published on Social Times. This reminds me of a few months ago when Google, MySpace, and Facebook each announced their services at the same time because MySpace decided to announce their Data Availability initiative prior to Facebook announcing Connect.

One thing lacking from the launch of Facebook Connect is the ability to easily integrate the service into your site. Google in contrast, has provided a simple widget for all sites to easily embed a basic community on their site immediately after registering for the Friend Connect service. This afternoon I spoke with one Facebook employee who suggested that plugins will be rolled out in the near future.

For now, you will have to figure out how to program using the new, live for all, Facebook Connect. You can learn more about the service by visiting Facebook’s Connect overview page. A number of partners have been listed and were already announced at f8 earlier this year but many of the partners have yet to implement the service.

According to Facebook, implementing Facebook Connect on the existing sites has resulted in “50 percent more engagement when compared to non-Facebook Connect users of a website.” Additionally “for several of these sites […] two out of three new registrations are generated through Facebook Connect.” We’re not quite sure what these statistics are based on but the real test will be how much publicity each live Connect site gets out of implementing the service.

Only time will tell but for now, the race is officially on between Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect.