Facebook is starting to offer a navigation toolbar that appears whenever you click to another site from within Facebook. It’s an easy new way to comment on items that your friends share on the site — and it’s a way for Facebook to get more people commenting within its domain without relying on the participation of other sites.
The use case is this: A friend on Facebook shares a link to, say, a news article, and leaves a comment on it. Let’s say the article is about something you have a strong opinion on, like the Detroit auto bailout. You know you want to leave a comment. The toolbar lets you go to the site, read the article, then click on a button to leave a comment that appears on your friend’s shared item. You can also share the story yourself, with your friends.
Facebook already lets you easily share web site links from other sites, using either the company’s bookmarklet, the “share” feature integrated into another site, or the option to share a link within Facebook. You can see the share option on many news sites, including our own. Facebook also recently launched a new service, called Connect, that intends to get users sharing more information back to Facebook. Connect lets a user sign into other sites using their Facebook identity, see which Facebook friends are using those sites, and send information about their actions on the other site back to Facebook. But using Connect requires some back-end coding work by web site developers.
And Facebook wants to be the easiest way to share information on the web.
The new toolbar, in other words, is an aggressive new move by Facebook to get users sharing information, without having to bother with the bookmarklet, the other sharing options, or Connect — the company wants to see more sharing happen, no matter the method.
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