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Facebook nixing 'Facebook Connect' branding

Company's product suite for third-party sites has grown far more sophisticated, and so its CEO confirms "Connect" as we know it will be no more.

SAN FRANCISCO--As part of its unveiling of its "Open Graph" product suite at the F8 developer conference here, Facebook is getting rid of the standalone "Facebook Connect" product that it unveiled at the last F8 two years ago.

"We are actually eliminating the Facebook Connect brand," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a press conference following his keynote address. "We figured that 'Connect' is not descriptive for users."

Facebook director of platform product Bret Taylor chimed in. "Facebook Connect was just an initiative to have [the] Facebook log-in work on external Web sites, but the underlying framework is the same," Taylor said. "Making that [Connect] distinction was actually causing some developer confusion."

For the first time, Facebook is adopting the open-source OAuth authentication standard to power user log-ins. But logging into your Facebook account on external sites is only a small part of the Open Graph package: sites will have access to a one-click "Like" button that connects to Facebook, more "social plug-ins" to pull an individual user's Facebook friends and their activity into third-party sites, and a toolbar that aggregates all these features as well as live chat.

Facebook has been unapologetic about the "iteration" of its products, launching new ones and cutting out other features that it's deemed defective or unsuccessful. Facebook Connect, by all accounts, had been a huge success with over 80,000 partner sites implementing the product and a quarter of Facebook's 400-million-plus users used it to log into third-party sites. But with the Open Graph rollout, Connect in its original form has been rendered more or less obsolete.

Logging in, at this point, is just a small part of Facebook's planned dominance of the Web.