Facebook about to launch Actions, the final piece of its plan for frictionless sharing

January 6, 2012

Facebook’s ambitious plan to weave together the actions we take across the web and engineer a social network replete with frictionless sharing is finally ready to be deployed, VentureBeat has learned.

The remaining pieces of Facebook’s new Open Graph are in the final stages of testing and are nearing release, a source familiar with the matter told VentureBeat. The company is quickly working to validate partners and could enable Facebook Actions any day now or, at the most, in a few weeks, the source said.

The new Open Graph, unveiled at Facebook’s f8 developer conference in September, consists of three key elements: Timeline, Ticker and Actions. The first two pieces have all been successfully deployed — although they both were met with some user resistance. Now, its time for the world to be introduced to a whole new level of social sharing by way of Actions.

What are Actions, exactly? You already know what Actions are — you’ve been using them for months. Facebook previewed the new Open Graph capabilities with its own “Read,” “Listen” and “Watch” Actions (that’s why you’re always in the known when a Facebook friend listens to tracks on Spotify or reads an article from the Washington Post Social Reader).

You can think of them as the new “Like” button, but Actions are instead used to document the behaviors you take elsewhere on the web. Actions are created and defined by third-party developers, and soon you’ll start to see them everywhere: in Ticker, News Feed and Timeline on Facebook, and in the applications or on the sites you’ve already come to love.

So a cooking site, for instance, could create the “Cooked” action and associate that action with its collection of recipes. You’d then be able to click a button to indicate that you’ve cooked something and automatically share that update to Ticker. You’d also be able to add that same cooking application as a box to your Timeline, and in so doing show off all the recipes you’ve made in a small container on your Timeline.

Just how big of a deal is this? Facebook itself calls Actions (and their associated Objects) “the building blocks of Open Graph.”

Copyright 2012, VentureBeat

Facebook’s phenomenal rise: In seven years, the social networking site has grown from a project hatched in a college dorm to the largest social networking site in the world, well on its way to hitting its goal of having 1 billion users.

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