Anonymity, for good or bad, has always been a cornerstone of the web. But, with the rise of power bloggers and social networks, name recognition is becoming more and more important (an idea we briefly discussed in Check please).
Facebook is banking on this fact with the unveiling of Facebook Connect – a new arm of the popular social platform, which gives users the ability to take their Facebook identity and friends with them as they explore outside sites and applications. An interesting concept, and one that is dependent on third-party sites adopting a portion of the Facebook API (there have already been rumblings of partnerships with Digg, StumbleUpon, and Loopt).
So what exactly does this all mean? Well, for starters, users would be able to take all their Facebook information – username, friends, privacy settings, profile, images, groups, etc – to other sites, eliminating the need for multiple site identities and the leg work associated with sharing data across these sites. For example, you could send a friend a CitySearch restaurant review via Facebook (as I did below) or publish a comment on TechCrunch under your Facebook username. For marketers and cult of personality figures, Facebook Connect could be a valuable tool in online brand building. Consider how audiences track activities across the different sites and applications a person frequents (like Guy Kawasaki or Robert Scoble or, heck, even Tila Tequila).
The success of Facebook Connect lies in its widespread adoption and fending off competitors like Google, which has its own data portability offering, Google Friend Connect, hitting the market. It will be interesting to see the evolution of both Facebook and Facebook Connect as more partners climb on board.