By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 28, 2012 12:15 PM EDT
Facebook has launched a new feature called the Recommendations Bar, designed to help website owners. More specifically, the new social plug-in allows website owners to tap into the social network's huge database of what users and their friends read, share, and like. For users, it means that you will now easily find new articles based on what your Facebook friends like and share on the same website you're currently browsing.
The new Recommendations Bar is located at the bottom right of your browser window. It appears as a pop-up, similar to the Facebook Chat feature, and can be minimized. It also includes a Like button for the web page, as well as relevant article recommendations. Basically, when you read an article on a website that has activated the Recommendations Bar you will see pop-up windows in the bottom right corner of the page. Those windows will contain stories that your Facebook friends have shared or "liked" on the respective website. As the Like button is included, you can "like" the story without having to leave the website.
When you "like" an article using this Recommendations Bar, a story will be automatically published on your Timeline, as well as on your friends' News Feed. Simply put, the new feature is a similar, but more invasive version of the Recommendations Box and Like button.
Several sites are already using this feature and display it as a little rectangular section with a list of articles sorted by Likes - the stories your Facebook friends have "liked" will appear at the top, followed by stories with lots of "likes" in general. Websites using the new feature reportedly see three times as many clicks on stories that are recommended through this Recommendations Bar compared to the Recommendations Box.
While this new feature seems useful for website owners, it really doesn't bring much benefit to the user and eventually may raise some privacy concerns.
It always seems to go badly when Facebook debuts services that share what users are doing online without their specific permission.
If you want to add the Recommendations Bar to your website, you will need to configure it, copy some line of code, and paste it into the source of your site. The Recommendations Bar documentation on Facebook Developers offers more information on how to enable this feature. The social networking giant also offers the Facebook for Wordpress plug-in, which now contains this functionality as well.
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