Brands talk a lot about integrating social into their Web site. Unfortunately more often than not it seems this inspiration results in simply the addition of sharing functionality and potentially Facebook, Twitter and YouTube icons linking out to other social channels. True social functionality facilitates content sharing and conversation - which transforms a brand website from a cathedral you can walk away from to a dynamic space requiring regular maintenance. Many brands aren't there yet, and may never be in some cases.
That being said, it's nice to see brands like Levi's leaning forward - in late April they launched their Friend's Store as an integrated part of their home page online shopping experience. When you arrive at the Levi's home page you can use Facebook Connect to tap into your friend's Likes and opinions on their styles. Likes, of course, appear in your stream, creating the oh-so important generational spread of your activity/WOM.
Like other friend-based social features (i.e. Twitter, FourSquare) I see Facebook Connect being as powerful as your network. If you have hundreds of social friends using Facebook Connect you are immediately going to realize the value of brands using Facebook Connect - if your network is more inactive, these changes won't impact you or your web experience and you'll wonder what all the fuss is about.
Facebook's hurdle will be rolling out these partnerships and Connect opportunities in a way that feels safe and secure to users. I Tweeted yesterday that I was tightening up my Facebook privacy settings and 4 people immediately tweeted that they were doing the same. Recent incidents, like the Yelp debacle, leave even the early adopters a little skittish on the true benefits of connecting their network to third party sites. I'm banking on Facebook clearing the hurdle, and consumers following suit.
EDIT - Literally minutes after posting this I saw on Twitter that Facebook has called an all-hands privacy meeting today to discuss their strategy on this topic... stay tuned.
PS - Hey Jason Falls, how those 501's fitting?