Of the 7 bookmarklets I have installed on my web browser, the Facebook Share one is the one I use the least. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of sharing stuff on Facebook, but the Share functionality is too slow and too clunky. Today, Facebook is trying to improve it — but it’s still won’t be as good as the functionality of the company it just bought, FriendFeed.
From what it has written on its Facebook Developers site today, it sounds like most of the Share changes will be happening functionality for buttons partners can install on their sites. If you have a Share button installed, for example, users should see a dialog box that pops up to post an item to their profile. The dialog box is said to be “more consistent with other forms of sharing on Facebook.”
The problem is that it’s still nowhere near as simple as it should be. For example, while it’s nice that it auto-pulls a thumbnail image, FriendFeed’s method of allowing you to click on any image on a page you are sharing is a much better way. Facebook’s thumbnail selector often pulls the wrong image and you’re stuck shuffling through random images on the page to find the one you want — as you can see in the preview image Facebook captured below, there are 17 possible images you can use.
Another nice feature of FriendFeed’s sharer is that it displays as an overlay on the web page you are on, rather than popping open a new small window (as Facebook’s does). FriendFeed’s functionality also makes it easy to send as a message to other users all from within the same screen, rather than having to click over to a separate window to send what you are sharing as a message to a user.
Facebook’s “What’s on your mind” comment area is also confusing. That would seem to imply that you should state what is on your mind (a status update) rather than comment on the item you are sharing. FriendFeed’s comment area simply has a comment icon and the note “Add a comment” — a subtle difference, but still nicer.
Finally, FriendFeed’s sharer gives you the ability to use it as a send-to-Twitter bookmarklet as well. Basically, if you select the “Cc: Twitter” box, it will send the item to both FriendFeed and Twitter (and it can link directly to the source rather than back to FriendFeed if you have that option set). Facebook, obviously, offers no such option.
The point is that if Facebook really wants to improve its Share functionality on sites outside of Facebook, it needs to make the process faster and cleaner. In other words, it needs to use its new acquired FriendFeed guys and get them to replicate their FriendFeed button. Facebook Connect is a very powerful pipeline from the web to Facebook, but that doesn’t matter if some of the pipes to and from it are clogged.