Yesterday Facebook launched its first social widget for Facebook Connect. There has been a lot of chatter about this around the web, mostly debating whether the comment service it provides is any better or worse than existing services like Disqus, intensedebate and JS-Kit, but for me the more important point is the way Facebook is rapidly extending it’s tentacles outside the walled garden to potentially everywhere else on the social web. As a result Facebook integration has now become one of the most important criteria when I’m thinking about social features for this blog.
As a case in point I’ve been using Disqus for a while now and whilst I love the email approval and threading it has been a little bit unsatisfactory overall (commenters aren’t told when their comments are being moderated leaving them unsure what is going on, plus I am getting a much larger number of very low value comments that I suspect are coming direct from the Disqus site). So I have been looking around for an alternative and as I do so integration with Facebook Connect is on my list of must have features. (For those of you with an interest in blogging tools I am now part way through installing IntenseDebate having failed to get JS-Kit working – both of these and Disqus work with FB Connect.)
Similarly there is now a MyBlogLog equivalent which I think will show last visitors to my blog based on their Facebook accounts rather than their MyBlogLog accounts. The extra reach of Facebook makes that sound much more attractive to me and I will be trying out their widget shortly (probably alongside MyBlogLog to start with).
I think Facebook Connect could substantially increase the reach and appeal of Facebook – if all of a sudden the easiest way to be visible across the social web is to stay logged into Facebook then I think people will do just that. Then the added bonus of having your activity pop up in your FB feed (offering similar benefits to FriendFeed) will drive more people back to Facebook and the whole thing could become self re-enforcing.