That Pesky Facebook Query Thing

05 Feb 2008

Facebook Wiki LogoA few days back, I mentioned that I wanted to query my Facebook social graph in order to pull out a list of my friends’ websites. Why? To put the in my blog roll. Anyway, I was doing a little light reading today and came across some interesting posts centering around a topic I’ve read of before (but somehow forgot to put two and two together): The Open-ness of our social graphs.

Apparently the desire to get some data out of Facebook and into other apps has been around for a while. In fact, Google has created an open graph API to address just such a problem, and there are several other people who have been trying to devise a solution.

Robert Scoble, a rather well known technologist (for lack of another term), recently had his facebook account shut down for attempting to collect and export his social graph to another service. In a later post on his site, an interesting point is made during an interview with Mark Zuckerberg:

They are still thinking about data portability and just how that will work to both protect users as well as to encourage new kinds of applications to be built. He explained to me that the kind of script that I was running is often used by spammers to send tons of messages to users and that’s something they are really working to protect their users against. On the other hand, he understood the kinds of apps that I wanted to have as a user. When Rosedale was sitting with us, I pointed out that I’d love to see when Facebook users are active on Second Life. That would require opening up the social graph to new kinds of data sharing that Facebook isn’t yet allowing. But he didn’t yet have answers as to just what Facebook will allow in the future.

Perhaps my Facebook Query dream will become a reality eventually. Of course there’s much more I want to do with Facebook… I think it would be awesome if the “social graph” could be pulled out and tied into other sites (imagine: you are logged into Facebook and you can visit my site, leaving a comment using your Facebook identity. Then it could show up in your feed that you left a comment here, just as if you left one on someone’s page… or all sorts of other cool stuff!)