Imagine if Amazon integrated Facebook Connect

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There's been a lot of talk about Facebook Connect lately as more websites integrate it. In fact, just today Techcrunch announced that they were integrating Facebook Connect and rumor has it that Digg and Hulu will be adding the functionality too. 

Here at Razorfish we're big believers in the potential of portable social graphs and with Facebook Connect out of the gate first, we've been playing around with it quite a bit. In fact, its been a really hot topic on our voluminous internal social media list for six months now. So we thought we'd brainstorm some provocative uses of Facebook Connect. Here's what we came up with. Tell us what you think and whether as a digital marketer or web product manager you'd think of implementing ideas like these.

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10 Comments

William said:

Hail to the Thieves

So interesting that a short time ago Microsoft (A closed source company) wanted to push forward a standard (Passport) that would have give users the ability to have one log in that worked for many sites. At the time many in the tech and development community saw this as just another Microsoft Land Grab for our Identity and our Content. Many people saw Passport as a Microsoft effort to finally gain control of the internet by becoming the standard for digital identity.

Today we have no less than 3 closed source companies in a race to become the "Standard" for holding or Identity and therefore having access to the content that we read and the content that we creates.

All of this at a time when there are many Open Source standards that could be used (Openid is just one that comes to mind) that if properly deployed would do the right thing by putting the user/member in charge of their log in as well as their relationships across many sites.

Have we forgotten the lesson of the not so distance past ?

Why do we not see a problem with the big 3 trying to become the proprietary standard in this very important area ?

Why do developers especially Open Source developers continue to build and extend applications for closed source companies that under mind open source standards and ideals ?

Why do users continue to view giving control of their identity and content to these companies as a win, when in fact the win is clearly on the side of the company that you have allowed to take control of your identity and to generate value and revenue from your content. In return for our compliance we do not even have a right to take our identity and our content where we want.

At adelph.us we believe in members freedom to control their accounts, and their content. We also believe that any revenue model should always put the members in the equation first. We believe in the Open Source community and ideals. We know we are not the smartest guys in the room and trust the our community of members and developers.

Break the chains of the old web 2.0 model. Do not give your content or your software development work to closed source old world companies they only seek to profit from you

Richard said:

Ironically I couldn't elect to login with my Facebook account to leave a comment!

Take a look at Friendvox (http://www.friendvox.com/friendvox). Developed and released in private beta some 14 months ago, we (techlightenment.com) never released it publicly, but it still demonstrates the data available once a user logs in to a service outside of facebook.

Friendvox is a browser-based IM, but because it utilises your facebook login, your buddy list is automatically populated (on the fly) and we have embedded affiliate links relating to the top TV, Movie, Music and Book interests of your network of friends (also generated on the fly - none of this data is stored)

Get in touch if you want to chat more. We're about to launch projects for a couple of clients using Facebook Connect too

Shaun Dakin Author Profile Page said:

Great post and slide show.

Unfortunately I was part of the 90's internet boom (as one of the managers of FedEx.com) and was at the epicenter of many of the promise of that time.

Like the post above, I remember MSFT Passport and the promise that it offered consumers and the peril that it promised companies.

Why would an Amazon.com go with FB Connect? I just don't see it.

But it would be cool for the consumer.

OH.. I Forgot, perhaps the consumer really wants privacy, sometimes (privacy when I want it, where I want it, and how I want it).

Shaun Dakin
CEO and Founder
StopPoliticalCalls.org
@EndTheRobocalls

Kevin Marks said:

You can be sure how Google, Yahoo and MySpace will implement their versions, as they are building them on a common foundation, based on the Open Stack protocols of OpenID, OAuth, PortableContacts and OpenSocial. To answer William's comment, there are Open Source implementations of these.

Have a look at http://opensocial.org for more information.

Nathaniel Perez said:

We can talk OpenID, Passport, OAuth (which is a protocol only, by the way), Facebook, OpenSocial (which uses OAuth) and even Live until we're blue in the face.

The real question to ask is which ones will users adopt and why? And the answer is clear. Whether it holds forever no one knows, but users will adopt the mechanism used by the social graph they identify most strongly to. It can be Facebook, MySpace (OpenSocial/OpenID/OAuth), Google/Orkut (OpenID/OAuth), MSN (Live), etc., etc., etc.

It doesn't matter whether you think there's an approach that's more "pure" and for the good of humanity. The reality is that 160M users give up their very private information to a company (FB) that aims to make a ton of money with it...

How about a profile aggregator, wouldn't that be nifty, with the ability to log in once to ALL your social networks and then use a single session after that. Pluggable, resistant to changes, has your Gmail, MSN, FB, MySpace contacts/friends ALL in one list, integrates communications the way you like it (wall posts, emails, SMS messages, Tweets, etc.) That would make the whole world happy.

Cheers.

Noah Carter said:

Simply Brilliant.

Shiv Singh Author Profile Page said:

Yes, whether Amazon will implement something like Facebook Connect is an open question. They wouldn't want to lose control over their user info and they would still need to define the ROI for implementing Facebook Connect. But for retailers not as big as Amazon its an easier decision.

Ben Kunz Author Profile Page said:

Shiv, I greatly admire your enthusiasm, truly, but I think portable social graphs are a loooong ways off. Nathaniel Perez above alludes correctly to two *huge* barriers:

1. Fragmentation: Social media is still evolving and users prefer different systems. I love Twitter and hate Facebook, for example. Commerce entities would have to adopt numerous standards to give a majority of consumers social-graph access.

2. Selfishness: Every commerce site in your slide show has an incentive to try to build a walled garden that is 180 degrees opposed to sharing the social graph with an outside source such as Facebook.

With users stuck in different social systems, and businesses each trying to make themselves sticky by not sharing with others, we have almost insurmountable obstacles to creating a universal, portable social graph.

Sad, but true. For evidence I invite you to consult your personal electronic medical records that work seamlessly at every hospital and doctor's office ... oh, wait, the U.S. doesn't have those yet, either ;)

Auston said:

You cant make iPhone apps with facebook connect!

ALl websites today now supporting facebook connect. So its good if Amazon also integrated facebook. It will be great for Amazon and facebook both.

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