Site Meter

December 01, 2008

Which Photo Site Will be First to Embrace Facebook Connect?

By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

The news of today has been the coming rollout of Facebook's 3rd party platform services, aka Facebook Connect, to sites like Digg and Hulu, and the opening of Facebook Connect to all. Facebook has provided its Facebook Connect services as an extension to the Facebook Platform for developers to now be able to integrate Facebook login, Feed posts, friend information, and more on their own websites. The service has already been integrated on sites such as CBSSports.com, MoveOn.org, and RedBull.com in very simple form.

One noted fact about Facebook is that they currently have the largest photo repository on the internet. I have covered this before on my personal blog, when they reached their 10 billionth photo. The service boasts over 10 billion photos now, with over 2-3 terabytes of storage space used, and near 300,000 images served per second. The social nature of Facebook just asks for social elements such as photo sharing to be very popular.

This begs the question then, now that 3rd party websites are now privy to integrate with the massive 100 million+ member network that Facebook provides, who will be the first 3rd party photo sharing site to integrate with the service? We know that Google and Facebook aren't friendly with each other - I would count on PicasaWeb to do this. However, what about Flickr, or SmugMug?

I am a firm user and fan of SmugMug.com, as is Louis. I love their beautiful interface, and especially the fact that I can automatically upload RAW photos I take and associate them with their .jpg counterparts on the site. The only reason I ever post to Flickr now is because of the social nature it brings. It also has more users. SmugMug's social features are quite simply, lacking.

However, what if SmugMug were to become the first photo sharing site to integrate Facebook Connect? What if SmugMug were to integrate the limitless potential of the Facebook network into its own site? Let's say I could log into SmugMug with my Facebook account, find all my friends on Facebook with SmugMug accounts, and immediately import them as friends into SmugMug. Then, imagine the potential of being able to now share all my SmugMug photos that I upload, directly into my Facebook news feed, for all my friends to see and comment on in Facebook, just like the Facebook Photos app is currently. What if I could also tag those Facebook friends in my SmugMug photos?

There is a huge void in the Photo sharing market right now for those that could be participating in Facebook Connect. I predict a huge boom when this happens, and they have the potential, with more features than Facebook can provide, to even overtake what Facebook's own photos app brings to the table. It's only a matter of time that we begin to see sites like SmugMug and Flickr integrate Facebook Connect. Who will be first?

Read more by Jesse Stay at Stay N' Alive.