Facebook's F8 developer conference, and we're still talking about the social networking site's announcements and the repercussions for the Web. While users' privacy concerns continue to dominate much of the discussion, many developers and entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity to not only access the wealth of data that Facebook's Open Graph promises but to serve the needs of the site's disaffected users.It's been almost two weeks since
Yesterday VentureBeat quoted LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman as praising Facebook's Open Graph saying that "I think it's a great idea. It's very bold. It's a good poster to all entrepreneurs - 'here's how you can think big.'" Arguing that new companies will benefit from the social features the Open Graph will allow, Hoffman believes Facebook's changes will be a boon for Web 2.0 startups, particularly those that incorporate rather than challenge Facebook initiatives.
Indeed, Facebook has made the social plugins it introduced at F8 extremely easy to implement on websites. "Add social plugins to your site with just one line of html." And the impulse to link (via "like") to their social graph is compelling. With hundreds of millions of users who log in daily, Facebook is hard to ignore.
Some are calling this the end of the era of search and the beginning of an era of social recommendation. And while undoubtedly, this is a breakthrough for the semantic Web, it remains to be seen if the backlash from all the recent privacy concerns could be a reprisal of Facebook's missteps with its Beacon program.
And it remains to be seen how this will play out for startups as well. Arguing that Facebook's Open Graph will benefit startups, LinkedIn's Hoffman compared the social networking giant to a tanker ship. "Most companies will be able to pull their ships alongside the big Facebook vessel, but there are a few that will be destroyed, because they're directly in the tanker's path."
We have seen developers already quick to innovate around Facebook announcements - some incorporating the new data and some riding the wave of user distrust. What do you think about Facebook's Open Graph? Is it a vessel startups should pull up alongside? Or do you think startups should map a different route?