Facebook today launched Action Links, a new way for users of its service to interact with Timeline apps. The customizable links provide another way for your Facebook friends or Subscribers to do something within your app when your Open Graph stories appear on your Timeline, or in their Ticker and News Feed.
Here's how the company explained the new feature (see the above screenshots):
For example, when someone checks in on foursquare and shares it on their timeline, friends can already like or comment on the resulting post through the links that appear as part of the story. Now with action links, foursquare added another link – "Save this Place" – that enables people to save a place to their foursquare to-do list directly from Facebook. Fab.com allows people to add a product to their own Fab.com favorites with the "Fave this Product" action link.
Action links tie one action to another, and can be part of any Open Graph story that appears on Facebook. Third-party developers can designate an action link for any action they define on the social network.
For more information, check out the documentation on Facebook Developers: Action Links.
Frankly, I think this move is a mistake. Adding a Listen button is a good thing because Facebook users can quickly learn what to expect when they click such a button. Just like the Like button, they can guess the behavior before they click it.
Allowing developers to add all sorts of different types of links is just too much. I think it will cause confusion, and Facebook users certainly don't need more of that. It is certainly possible to pull off eventually, but I think Facebook needs more unification than differentiation right now.
- Facebook has 3,000 Timeline apps
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- Facebook starts rolling out Timeline to everyone
- How to get started with Facebook Timeline
- A closer look at the Facebook Timeline and the Open Graph
- Facebook: "We're going to become a mobile company"