Q&A: Cat Lee, Facebook platform manager

We discuss Facebook apps and their possible use in the business world, as well as how constant innovation sometimes clashes with what users want.

Facebook has released Translations for Facebook Connect, a tool that developers can use to translate websites, apps or social widgets.

It has the potential to allow businesses of all sizes to translate their websites for free, offering the opportunity for them to have a presence in international markets.

However, Google has also released a translation tool for websites at virtually the same time, so it remains to be seen which option (both offered for free) organisations will go for.

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IT PRO got the chance to speak to Cat Lee, a platform manager at Facebook, to ask for more details about the Facebook Connect tool, Facebook Connect, as well as discuss how its new offerings stack up to Google and probe the great privacy debate.

Can you explain Facebook Connect and what businesses can get out of it?

It's a technology that has three basic building blocks. It allows businesses and developers to access a user's identity, which is who they are, their profile picture, their photos and their hobbies. Everything you can find on a Facebook profile.

Secondly there are their connections - their friends, their pages and the things they care about. Finally there is activity what they do on a site and what they choose to share back on the site. That's what we often call the news feed or the stream. A business benefits [from] traffic, engagement and [increased] registrations.

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Can you give us examples of businesses using it?

Since its launch we have over 15,000 Connect sites and applications. We've seen news sites like Huffingdon Post, CNN.com, the Guardian, BBC and Channel 4 use it, and we will also soon be announcing stuff with Chelsea football club.

It's not only websites. It's also mobile devices. Applications on the iPhone and the desktop like Tweetdeck. It's a cross-platform technology where we are integrating identity, connections and activity.

We think that Facebook Connect helps businesses monetise. We want the technology to be able to let users take the core values of Facebook and take it to other websites, enabling social experiences.

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