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What is Facebook's Open Graph?


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Above is a photo of Mike Vernal, the man who leads Facebook's Open Graph effort.

So what is Open Graph? It's arguably the most important thing Facebook owns:

Open Graph is a means of grabbing all sorts of information Facebook users generate on third-party services and feeding it back into the Facebook machine. It’s a way of sharing this all this information with your network of online friends — and it’s what Zuckerberg was referring to when he said the company seeks to change how the world listens to music and watches movies.

Through Open Graph, Facebook can know what all of its users are doing on any website or app that is integrated with Open Graph.

And it's Facebook's way of owning the Interest Graph:

“One problem is understanding globally how people interact with this content,” Vernal says. “The secondary problem is trying to understand on a per user basis what is most interesting to them. If you prefer music, we show you more music. If you prefer games, we show you more games. “Then we merge those two sets of scores together, to influence what Newsfeed shows and what Timeline shows and what some other systems show.” As those 900 million people use Facebook, clicking on objects here and there, Vernal and company record this behavior in a software platform called Scribe, a technology specifically designed to log large amount of data in realtime. Then a second (unnamed) platform taps into Scribe and does a kind of on-the-fly analysis of this data, determining what’s the most popular and what’s the least. These tallies are then stored in a third system based on Hbase, the open source distributed database. According to Vernal, data moves from one end of the system to another in about 20 to 30 seconds, and about a billion actions are processed each hour. The tallies stored in Hbase are then shuttled to Facebook’s Newsfeed and Timeline platforms, and there — in tandem with a similar analysis of your personal behavior — they’re used to determine what Open Graph data you see and what you don’t.

As far as I know, no other company is doing this.

Twitter sniffs cookies and Google+ is still learning demographics.

I think we have to give Facebook the clear lead in owning the Interest Graph right now.

Why do third parties integrate with Facebook Open Graph even though it sucks in their data?

Engagement.

Vevo doubled its user base:

Vevo gained as many registered users in 60 days as it had previously taken two years to acquire. Although Caraeff won’t reveal the exact total of registered users, he says it is in the single-digit millions. Vevo has also seen a 150 percent increase in referrals to its website from Facebook and a threefold increase from Facebook mobile to Vevo’s mobile apps since March.

And don't get us started on Socicalcam, Viddy, and Chill using the Open Graph to get to 10 million users apiece.

At least the social reader apps are dying.

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