Up until now, mobile apps haven’t been able to integrate Facebook’s like button, which is practically ubiquitous on the web and enables high levels of content sharing. Now, Facebook’s Open Graph has grown to include likes from mobile apps – though users may not even notice the change.
The new Open Graph built-in like action can be used to implement a like button in any mobile app, sharing likes from all sorts of services in Facebook news feeds.
Instagram and Foursquare have already taken up the cause and now, when you like an image or check in using one of these apps, this will appear on your Timeline. Also, if you liked an activity from a Facebook friend (eg, an image posted by a friend on Instagram), this friend will receive a Facebook notification, just as they would with status updates and comments.
What’s most interesting about this update is the subtlety with which it will appear in mobile apps. Many apps already use ‘likes’ within their interfaces, often denoted by a love heart. These icons – or whatever indication of liking an app chooses to use – do not have to be switched out to represent Facebook’s iconic thumbs up. The original icons remain, and users may be none the wiser to this change until they realise their feed has been populated with a dozen likes from various apps.
However, sharing likes from mobile apps must be authorised by users first, so users can opt out of broadcasting every like on Facebook.