In June, I posted a proof of concept which allowed you to log in to an external website using your Facebook identity: in effect taking it around the web with you. The proof of concept worked by utilising Facebook’s Applications system to pull certain pieces of information (e.g. User ID, name, profile pic) passing it on to an external webpage.
There is a more elegant solution which has now opened up to developers called Facebook Connect. It promises to allow you to seamlessly integrate Facebook identity into your website, manage your privacy and to be able to take your friends list with you around the web.
The fantastic thing about this is you no longer need to create a Facebook application and to rewrite and “force” your webpage into a Facebook application in order to utilise Facebook’s range of viral promotional channels.
I’ve downloaded the sample application (view a live demo here) and it certainly doesn’t seem too tricky to integrate and build social features around.
Unfortunately you can’t launch your websites with Facebook Connect just yet. It’s just for developers at the moment, but Facebook claim that you can open your social websites up to the public some time late summer.
As I’ve blogged before, I’ve had some considerable results building Facebook-based communities. Facebook Connect is a very exciting product launch and I believe will be a significant milestone in building the social “web 2.0”. Well worth playing with!