Last year, with the launch of the “Open Graph” API, Facebook gave some new life to the Info tab by automatically placing Liked pages and sites in the appropriate categorized list on the Info tab. For example, when a user Likes the Colbert Report page, it appears in the “Television” category of the “Arts and Entertainment” section of the Info tab on the profile page.
While the Info tab may seem pretty static, and perhaps boring, given how much traffic Facebook profile pages get, it is a powerful viral channel for content discovery on Facebook. In fact, so much so, that when Facebook originally launched the Platform and gave developers the opportunity to install profile boxes on the profile pages of application users, those profile boxes became the most powerful source of distribution for many applications. As a result, developers pushed the boundary of profile box design, making them as big and flashy as possible. Because this trend wasn’t consistent with the vision Facebook had for its service — these application boxes made the profile much less engaging for the average visitor — over time Facebook limited the size of application profile boxes and eventually kicked them off the profile page altogether (before subsequently removing application tabs as well).
Now that Facebook is going in the direction of integrating user Likes more deeply on the profile page with last year’s Open Graph launch, could the application boxes of 2008 have been a prelude to what could be richer, more sustainable profile integration coming this year? Given Facebook’s stated goals of driving more and more traffic to websites and pages, we think this is one area where, given the appropriate design and technical constraints, Facebook could deliver additional value to Platform partners, while simultaneously delivering additional user value.