Home Facebook May Launch Recommendation Service For Other Websites

Facebook May Launch Recommendation Service For Other Websites

Facebook appears to be preparing to launch a recommendation service that will be used on sites around the web. On the day before the F8 developers’ conference, independent developer Jesse Stay has posted code found on Facebook’s GitHub open source code repository account.

Facebook is already very practiced at offering recommendations on-site: its News Feed technology pulls the items out of its Live Feed based on who and what you’ve shown is most important to you among all your friends and their activities. Facebook knows more about you than probably any other consumer service online, probably more even than Google. Recommendation could in fact become bigger than search, and so this feature could become one of Facebook’s biggest moves.

Stay believes the feature will function like Google SideWiki, the sidebar of running commentary about a page that website owners have no control over but that hasn’t really caught on with users, either. Two things you can be sure of: Facebook recommendations will make use of a website visitor’s Facebook friend connections and the feature will almost definitely make publishers happier than the uncontrollable Google SideWiki did.

recommendations site=”abc.com” height=”300″ width=”400″ />
should be replaced by an iframe showing recommendations for
the abc website (pending checkin on the server side).

Recommendation would be huge for Facebook. Beyond just being cool for users, recommendation is compelling for site publishers because it’s like pre-emptive search.

The language

in that code

implies to me that the feature will display content recommended to a user because of interest by friends in certain content on the site. Presumably if any of your friends have shared links to the site you’re visiting, you’ll be encouraged to visit those pages in particular. Perhaps recommendation will go further than that. It’s really hard to know, but we’ll probably find out tomorrow. That’s the question: is this a way for you to recommend content or to have content recommended to you? If it’s primarily one, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Make no mistake: recommendation could be a huge addition to Facebook’s arsenal. Recommendation technologies are something we’ve covered for years here at ReadWriteWeb. We asked a year ago if Facebook was secretly working on a recommendation technology, though the feature we saw then turned out to be something else.

Beyond just being cool for users, recommendation is compelling for site publishers because it’s like pre-emptive search. Everyone wants to give their site owners an opportunity to search for the content they want to find, but even better is prompting them with what’s effectively personalized search results as soon as they land on a page. Opt-out/opt-in? This essential question of privacy will be put to the test in many ways, as Facebook continues to extend its system of identity across the web.

Facebook knows enough about you, your interests, your friends, their interests, their friends and their interests too that it should be able to nail recommendations fairly well.

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