Facebook released its latest feature today: badges. The idea is that Facebook users who have blogs or websites often link to their Facebook profiles on their sites. Until now, a simple text link had to suffice but now, badges enable users to interactively post Facebook information on their own websites. Users choose what information to include in their badge: name, network (what place in the world you associate with), email, IM screen name, birthday, mobile number, websites, upcoming events, and/or pictures. Take a look at my example below:
To the blogging world, badges have already been in style and out of style far before today’s release. Bloggers have long displayed badges on their websites to show their affiliations with various groups or organizations they support. The other use of badges or at least a modification is its use as an email signature as well. The idea for Facebook is to extend their reach into other parts of users’ online lives. Essentially, it’s another branding exercise.
The photo badge freature, in particular, will give Flickr.com a run for its money. Currently, many people choose to display their pictures via a Flickr badge on their websites and blogs (see my Flickr badge on my sidebar). Now, photos from Facebook will find themselves on websites and blogs far more often.
This is a good move for Facebook to continue developing itself as an online directory. It needs to offer a few more customization options on its badges but overall, I see many young people adding these badges to their personal websites in order to unite their online worlds.