Saturday, April 7, 2012

Interactivity - New Possibilities with Facebook Technology

In our ongoing 'Interactivity - New Possibilities'  series of posts, we reviewed the key recent technologies from Amazon, Apple and Google that impact the world of interactivity. One company on the technology scene that's on everyone's mind these days is Facebook.  Here are the top 3 nifty Facebook  technologies I am excited about: Timeline, Open Graph and iFrame Page Tab.

1. Timeline: Going Down the Memory Lane
As many of you who spend time on Facebook probably already know, the Facebook Timeline is a great way to re-organize the look of your profile page. It presents an easy way to share your updates with your network, telling your story as it happened.

Timeline-integrated apps make the trip down the memory lane more interesting. A case in point is TripAdvisor, a timeline-integrated app. Say you go on TripAdvisor and post a review of a winery there. TripAdvisor will ask if you want to share your review on Facebook. That part is not novel. The fun starts when you allow the review to be shared: it not only appears on your friends' news feeds, and tickers but  also becomes part of your Timeline.

The aggregation and reporting that Timeline-integrated apps provide make the information more relevant. Seemingly inconsequential events such as travel to a city become interesting when an app connects the dots as it were, and shows interesting information such as the farthest you have travelled, distance travelled and so on.

2. Open Graph : Create Timeline-Integrated Apps

Open Graph stands to take the Facebook 'Like' to a whole new level by diversifying Like. Here is how it works.  If you’ve charted a jogging course in a fitness application, you can click a button that indicates you “Ran this!” Your workout will reflect in your ticker, newsfeed and timeline. This adds diversity to the monolithic 'Like' response, giving it a greater human touch.

App designers who use Facebook API can now develop timeline-friendly apps using Open Graph. The new apps give users a way to share more than just “likes.”

3. iFrame Page Tab: Goodbye FBML
Facebook’s newly announced support of iFrames in Page tabs, and the phasing out of its popular Static FBML application, is an exciting step towards more happening Facebook pages.

The iFrames allow developers to write HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other Web programming code, to create highly customized and potentially interactive pages. For example, fans can see one version of your messaging and others see another.  The support for iFrames has been greeted enthusiastically by developers who found FBML constraining. From June the FBML support will be stopped completely.

Social interactions can be successfully harnessed for spreading the word and exploiting network effects. With Open Graph, app developers now have a powerful platform to provide novel ways for people to connect and do things online with friends. Facebook pages can leverage the interactive capabilities of web programming through iFrame tabs.

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