Facebook Launches First Public Connect-Enabled Widget

Tonight Facebook has announced that the launch of their “first social widget” for Facebook Connect. It’s a comment box which enables blogs, photo galleries, or other sites, to add comments to their site quickly. This is surprisingly the first public widget we’ve seen Facebook release. Contrast that with Google Friend Connect which immediately launched a community widget for user’s sidebars.

This comment widget theoretically competes with numerous blog widgets that are already out there. Unlike traditional Facebook comments, this widget enables developers to customize the background color, text color, and other attributes via CSS. Developers can theoretically integrate this service directly into their own system by using the comments.get API call.

Those that choose to enable the comments widget also have access privacy settings for each widget on an individual or global basis. The company has also stated that this is “just one of many social widgets” that will integrate with Connect. Does that mean we should expect the company to release more widgets in the coming weeks and months?

Not necessarily as they were referring to existing widget services but I would bet that we’ll see more regardless of what third-parties (or as Facebook calls “fourth parties”) have to offer. If you want more details, go check out Facebook’s post from tonight about the new service.

One huge feature of this widget is that comments posted on your profile in reference to a given comment thread will also show up on your site. This is a huge advantage, mimicking much of the functionality provided by a couple FriendFeed and Twitter plugins that are scattered around the web. On this site in particular, I’ll receive comments here as well as comments on my profile. It would be great if that information was made accessible on my site.

There are some inherent privacy issues with this feature though. I’ll be exploring that in another post but this is definitely a much welcomed feature.

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