Facebook will announce later today Facebook Connect, which has similar functionality to MySpace Data Availability, announced just yesterday. The actual product won’t be released for at least a few weeks, so the timing on this, coming immediately after MySpace, is somewhat suspicious.
It is essentially a new version of their API for third party websites, which was first launched in August 2006.
It will allow users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any website. Third party websites will be able to implement and offer more features of the Facebook Platform off of Facebook – the same features available to third party applications today on Facebook.
To make data portable, Facebook believes it’s about giving users the ability to take their identity and friends with them around the Web, while being able to trust that their information is always up to date and always protected by their privacy settings. The next iteration will be available publicly within the next several weeks.
One of their initial launch partners will be Digg.
I spoke with Ben Ling, Director Platform Product Marketing, and Ruchi Sanghai, Product Manager for Facebook Platform, this afternoon about the upcoming changes.
Facebook Connect has four primary features:
Facebook connect is Facebook’s first honest attempt to allow access to Facebook user data outside of Facebook itself. The company is describing it as giving third party applications access to much of the same data as Facebook applications have today. We’ll know more in a couple of weeks when it formally launches.
Update: Facebook has announced Facebook Connect on its developer blog.