Facebook has launched its new Actions initiative, evolving its "Like" functionality to allow for more nuanced user updates on its site, and offering a new viral channel for social gaming partners to reach players.
Actions enables Facebook's partners to automatically post more descriptive updates to users' social graphs about their everyday activities -- and gives game makers a new tool for advertising their titles to pick up new users, and retain existing players by keeping them engaged.
Users who add Actions-enabled apps like eBay or Spotify, and then visit their sites, will have their activities relayed to Facebook, and automatically shared on their Timelines and on their friends' Ticker sidebar (e.g. "user has purchased this item," "user has listened to this song").
Along with enabling developers and brands to better advertise their offerings, Facebook Actions gives partners more granular metrics and insight on how consumers are interacting with their products or services, compared to the social network's generic "Like" function.
Facebook worked with over 60 partners to launch Actions-enabled apps last night, including two titles apiece from two of the biggest social game developers on its site, Zynga (Words With Friends, CastleVille) and Wooga (Diamond Dash, Bubble Island).
Starting today, any developer that wants to integrate their app or game with Facebook Actions can apply and potentially receive an approval in the coming weeks/months, according to a report from technology business site VentureBeat.