Monday, April 27, 2009

Facebook Opening Up to Developers

In the Wall Street Journal this morning, there is this:

Facebook Inc. is expected to announce significant plans to open up core parts of its sites — namely the information that appears in the stream of updates on users’ homepages and profiles — to third-party developers so that they can build new services on top of it, people familiar with the matter say.

The announcement, expected Monday, means developers can build services that access the photos, videos, notes and comments users upload to Facebook, with users’ permission. That’s a big change for the social-networking site, which has exercised tight control over the look and feel of its service and how developers can interact with it.

Facebook isn’t charging for the feature, instead hoping that developing new ways to access the information it houses will build user loyalty and get people to engage more often with the site, say people familiar with the matter.

You knew this was coming. Opening up the source for development is a core component of the internet overall, and everyone is doing it in this web 2.0 world, so facebook recognizes that it needed to give a little bit otherwise it could find itself as inconsequential as it seems Myspace has become. Believing your system unaltered can stay #1 is a foolhardy assumption in a constantly changing landscape housing short attention spans. They seem to see this and now it will be a mad scramble for developers and then a wait-and-see on how it all plays out.

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