Facebook announced yesterday that they would be rolling out their “Like” button to the rest of the internet. Within a few weeks, website owners will be able to embed this button on their website and users will be able to share webpages they like with their friends on Facebook.
If you’re savvy about these things you may wonder what the difference between this new Like button and the old Share-on-Facebook button is. Fair point: both allow users to post links from the web that their friends see on their Facebook pages. To be honest the difference is not huge on the surface, but Facebook say it will make content sharing more social and the few little tweaks they’ve made could ensure that it works quite differently
Basically webpages you “Like” will be logged on a special “Like” page on your Facebook profile, so while your friends will see them immediately, they will also be stored for you to browse through later becoming a kind of curated links collection rather like a Digg account. By contrast, “Shares” are more fleeting and get buried quickly in the News feed and other Facebook activity.
From a corporate point of view, Facebook stores these links for their own purposes too: using them to gain more information about what users like on the internet and what sort of things they like to share – useful for web publishers and for generating relevant or interesting content. Useful, arguably for advertisers too.
Facebook is producing their own widgets including a simplified Facebook Connect toolbar but they are also collaborating with a widget-maker called Meebo which works in conjunction which works with other companies to let you share stuff: MySpace, Google and Twitter.