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Whether you’re expressing your approval that a friend is going on vacation, saying that a picture of a crazy looking kitten with a case of the Mondays made your day more bearable, or throwing your two cents in on a cousin’s wedding pic, people share content on the web every day using Facebook’s “Like” button. We all do it…sometimes we even “like” things that aren’t good at all, just because we love clicking that little thumbs-up. But while this has been a key part of how people share, mobile apps have not been able to get in on the fun…until now.
Facebook announced today that mobile developers using the company’s programming interface will now be able to cleanly integrate Facebook’s iconic like button into their own design, allowing users to perform the equivalent of a “like” within another app, and then cross-posting that action to Facebook.
This latest development in the ever-evolving Facebook world makes sense, considering the company has grown and begun acquiring other mobile apps such as Instagram, and mobile is pretty much the most exciting area of growth in social technology at the moment.
According to Facebook, the new built-in-like action makes it easier for people to share content from your app. While the Like button is a great way to let friends share content from the web to Facebook, the like action enables you to build your own like buttons for your mobile or web app and drive it across Facebook.
When a person likes their friend’s story via the new like action, a notification is sent to the friend. For example, if a person likes the photo their friend posts on Instagram, the friend will get a notification. As with the traditional Like button, stories of what you favored will now be presented in News Feed.
Unlike the Like button, people must authorize their apps to publish like stories. Continue to use the Like button to make it easy for anyone who visits your website to share content back to Facebook. Similarly, use the Like button when you want to make it easy for anyone to like your Facebook Page.
Apps that require a user to rate something — like a five-star rating for a restaurant, for example — will not be able to transform those actions into likes. And apps that do take advantage of the “like” feature will require a user’s permission to post that news to the person’s Facebook news feed, Facebook explained.
Is all of this really necessary? Probably not (I was fine with the original Facebook that didn’t even have Like buttons!), but the development represents just another step in Facebook’s continuing effort to eventually dominate both the mobile and social technology spheres. Just recently, Apple announced that Facebook would see integration with the iPhone in iOS 6, allowing users to more easily cross-post items to Facebook from their iPhones.