Facebook recently announced that they will make it possible for users who have signed in on Facebook to access other sites without having to sign in again.
The new system, called Facebook Connect, connects Facebook users to other websites. Through Connect, it is possible for a user to see what his contacts are doing on other sites. The contacts in turn can also see what that user is doing.
Connect is Facebook’s way of keeping up with other social sites like MySpace, which have already launched similar services. News of the service broke earlier this year, though this is the first official announcement from Facebook.
This new service will be able to ensure that Facebook is the only site its users have to be logged into in order to be able to access any other site of their choice.
To start with Facebook users will be able to connect with Discovery channel, Digg, video site Hulu and The San Francisco Chronicle. Gradually other sites will also be accessible through Connect after Facebook has verified how these sites will use the data collected about its users, thus taking care of the privacy concerns of users.
Details of the service are rather sketchy, and as CNet News points out, user privacy concerns have not been addressed in the announcement.
These new tools on Facebook and MySpace will eventually allow people to get together (without actually doing so), to do various things such as watch a videos or news and also chat about it at the same time.
Facebook executives hope that as more and more such facilities are offered through the social network, more users will use them and that in turn will attract advertisers, thus helping the site to earn good revenue. They might face some serious competition from Google, though, as their OpenSocial platform aims for the same objective, and seems likely to win as more people use Google and Google’s open policy might be more appealing in the long run than Facebook’s closed doors.