Facebook is about to take a big leap out into the wider cybersphere. The Facebook Connect service allows you to log in to other websites using your Facebook account, and goes live today.

You can now log in to CBS's online celebrity rag, The Insider with one click (if you're already logged on to Facebook).

This allows you to invite your friends to join you browsing stories about a truly scary-looking Gary Colemans' driving problems or Jada Pinkett Smith's fabulous parenting skills. It also lets you easily post any bitchy comments you make on other sites back on your Facebook feed.

Insider job

To be honest, there's little on The Insider to detain any sane adult for long but it does reveal how Web 2.0 sites have to continually expand to survive. Expect more interesting sites soon that extract (with your permission) info and photos from your Facebook page and use it at other online destinations.

TechCrunch speculates that Facebook Connect with eventually replace the controversial and advert-heavy Beacon service that was widely criticised for helping itself to Facebook users' personal information at every opportunity.

Connect certainly promises a lot but one glance at the dreadfully designed profile pages on The Insider, for example, shows just how quickly things can go wrong once you let your social networking genie out of its bottle.