As rumored, eBay this week announced the integration of Facebook's new Open Graph functionality into its Magento and GSI global commerce platforms. At its X.commerce Innovate Developer Conference 2011, the company said the move will allow developers to build new social shopping experiences for millions of consumers and retailers of all sizes.
Facebook functionality is now integrated into eBay's X.commerce open commerce ecosystem so that third-party developers can access eBay's global commerce technology, including the Magento open commerce platform. More than 100,000 retailers worldwide who use Magento can seamlessly enable their customers to use new sharing options including Want and Own buttons.
eBay also plans to integrate Open Graph functionality into its GSI business unit's Social Media Services framework. This will enable large merchants worldwide to offer their customers similar ways to connect with their friends through shopping, using GSI's existing Open Graph-enabled content management system, which currently supports more than 180 retailers globally.
"Technology is changing the way consumers shop, and eBay Inc.'s integration with Facebook will make shopping social for consumers and retailers worldwide," Matthew Mengerink, Vice President and General Manager of X.commerce, said in a statement. "Retailers and developers need a technology-driven global commerce partner to help them engage and connect with consumers anytime, anywhere. By making eBay’s technology and global commerce platforms available to developers and retailers through X.commerce, we are that partner, enabling commerce, changing the way people shop."
"Integrating Facebook Open Graph technology across eBay's global commerce platforms represents a powerful way to bring people together across an inherently social activity – shopping," Katie Mitic, Director of Platform and Mobile Marketing at Facebook, said in a statement. "We're just starting to see what's possible with social commerce, and look forward to the new experiences developers create."
Last month, a rumor suggested PayPal and Facebook are going to announce something bigger than they've ever made before. This rumor was quickly followed by Mitic joining eBay's Board of Directors. Some 48 hours ago, another rumor suggested the two companies will deepen their relationship at the online auction and shopping website's developer conference this week.
Unsurprisingly, all this fueled the fire that was suggesting the two companies were working on a new tie-up. To further cement the speculation, Mitic was scheduled to be one of the keynote speakers at the X.commerce conference. Here's what I predicted at the time: "Since we're taking about a Facebook executive joining eBay's Board of Directors, and not the other way around, I would think eBay is interested in leveraging Facebook to bolster its services, as opposed to launching a Facebook app."
The duo was arguably not very close until eBay acquired PayPal. Prior to this week's announcement, Facebook already supported PayPal's micropayments product and allowed developers to use PayPal to purchase Facebook Credits. Earlier this year, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin said Facebook could become the "most valuable company in the world." Few people know this, but back in June 2004, Facebook received its first investment from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
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