2014: the year the internet saves you the bother of sharing

2014: the year the internet saves you the bother of sharing

This is our first prediction for 2014. Keep up to date with the next ones here.

Dave likes unicycles. Sandra likes Dave. Dave likes Sandra's new unicycle. Sandra is in a relationship with Dave. Dave quit Facebook.

Sharing things on Facebook is great, but it's a lot of effort. And that's a problem for marketing folks. Wouldn't it be better if Facebook just knew when Dave or Sandra did something, then it could go and tell all their friends about it without either of them having to lift a finger? (All within acceptable, opt-in-and-out-able privacy settings, naturally.) Well, that's now possible thanks to Facebook's Custom Open Graph and the arguably-dark-art of "frictionless sharing".

And it's going to be massive in 2014.

We're already seeing it to some degree - whenever one of our friends reads something on The Guardian or plays some music on Spotify, they're not usually sharing that with us manually, there's just been some nifty development behind the scenes and it happens automagically. And that's going to increase exponentially in 2014, as developers realise that the triggers which generate these frictionless shares can be embedded on any website. That means a user just has to accept an app one time and then, within acceptable parameters, everything they do can be shared with their friends.

And the market where this will impact big-time? E-commerce (Sandra browsed unicycles at Halfords. Dave checked out intruder alarms at Maplin).

But the market which really stands to go stellar as open-graph integration catches on? Not just e-commerce but Social-Commerce, where people actually shop together and bring their friends into transactions (Sandra needs five friends to buy bridesmaids dresses at a discount, Dave needs another 56 people to charter a plane out of the country). By its very nature, Social-Commerce requires people to join forces to buy things (ideally at unique prices) - but, for that to explode, we all need to know what our friends would like to buy, together, with us, for less. Frictionless sharing will make that happen and it's going to change the world in 2014.

Robin Bresnark