Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Beta Recommendations Bar on Facebook

A Recommendations Bar on Facebook is in beta. The bar is a new social plugin that integrates social reading and sharing capabilities of OpenGraph allowing any website implementation of the same social reading and recommending features found in social reader style apps from the big news outlets like the Washington Post and USA Today.

The Recommendations Bar enables three essential social functions:

Social recommendations

The Recommendations Bar prompts readers with other articles when they finish the one they’re reading, using Social Graph data to recommend the most relevant articles. This includes articles that a user’s friends have liked or articles that have received a high volume of likes and comments. Essentially, the same “secret sauce” that goes into ranking News Feed posts and Comments is leveraged in the Recommendations Bar, ensuring that readers are recommended articles that are relevant to their interests and social connections.

Like Button that “follows” the user

The Recommendations Bar creates a Like button that doesn’t move, even when users scrolls or resize their browser windows. The Recommendations bar is a much more elegant solution, as it eliminates the need to place a Like button in a particular location on a given page — its position is relative to the user’s browser window, not relative to site content. While this can be done using relatively simple HTML and CSS, Facebook’s solution is even simpler to implement, and the sizing and display has been thought through down to the pixel.

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Social reading through frictionless sharing

The Recommendations Bar allows users to like content, get recommendations, and share what they’re reading with their friends.

The Recommendations Bar is always docked to the lower right (or left) of the screen. When the page loads the Recommendations bar will be collapsed and the user will have the option to ‘like’ your page.

As the user nears the end of your page, the plugin will expand. The expanded view will show the user a social recommendation of the next article to read on your site.