Facebook Eliminates Connect Brand Due to Market Confusion

One important note for developers, publishers, and marketers from yesterday’s announcements at f8 is that Facebook has officially retired the “Connect” brand. The name and the service officially launched at the last f8 in 2008, and the term was used to collectively describe the company’s off-Facebook.com Platform services.

Why the name retirement? Facebook basically says the term was confusing people into thinking the data and privacy models for Facebook apps were substantially different when implemented on Facebook.com canvas pages versus third party websites.

Another reason for the change was likely that Facebook Connect was so multi-tiered in its implementation options, from the very simple to the complex, that it was too hard to explain as any one product to most publishers and brands.

So, it took the opportunity yesterday, simultaneous with the launch of many relatively easy-to-implement website plugins/widgets, to officially retire the Connect branding. In fact, FBML and FQL are now relegated to the “Advanced APIs” section of Facebook’s new developer site. For example, according to Facebook,

We don’t recommend FBML for new developers. If you aren’t already using FBML, you should instead implement your application within an iframe, using the JavaScript SDK and social plugins for client-side integration with Facebook services.

Now, Facebook just has a bunch of different plugins, APIs, and SDKs . The new developer site pushes visitors to the simplest options as much as possible, including getting started guides for websites, apps on Facebook.com, and mobile apps.

While there’s still a variety of different Platform products out there (see below), Facebook’s Platform product marketing team is hoping the removal of the “Connect” brand will make it easier to communicate the value proposition of the Facebook Platform to potential partners without getting so caught up in explaining the difference between apps on Facebook and the rest of the web, and what exactly “Connect” means.

For reference, here’s the current set of Facebook’s API and SDK products for developers:

Core APIs

Facebook SDKs

Advanced APIs