Facebook has a new tool currently in development that will profoundly influence Web content, as TechCrunch suggested Thursday that it would be announced at the F8 Developer Conference in April. The "Like Button," a concept fami

liar to Facebook users from the "Like" link that appears next to news and shared content.

What began as a local site's method of friends indicating approval in their friends' general direction, can soon be embedded into Web sites across the Internet, all ushering individuals back to Facebook.

The Open Graph API is due to deploy in the second quarter of this year and will allow "any page on the Web to have all the features of a Facebook Page – users will be able to become a Fan of the page, it will show up on that user’s profile and in search results, and that page will be able to publish stories to the stream of its fans," as described by the Facebook Developers Wiki in the Developer Roadmap category. The Fanbox Widget can be used on any Web site.

The Like Button is the next logical step after the success of Facebook Connect - the login system that enables quick sign-up at blogs or other member sites, while sharing user and friends information in one streamlined package. It also has the potential to be more pervasive than the "Share" button that is also visible on many blog posts like this one (ours is in the ShareThis widget).

This function will compete with other Web-wide social promotion tools, such as the old standards Digg and StumbleUpon, as well as more recent conventions such as abbreviated links on Twitter or posting on Google Buzz. The Like Button seems to share functionality particularly with Twitter's new @anywhere, CMSWire notes, though the blog had previously likened @anywhere to Facebook Connect.

Just as this button threatens the Internet as we know it, or would believe to read early impressions, so will eSarcasm's "Indifferent Button," coming sooner.