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Facebook API to open up to other social networks

And the open developer platform war has just become a little more interesting. OK, that's a lie. It still isn't all that interesting, but it has now become a tad more complex. Just hours after social networking site Bebo announced that their Open Application Developer Platform (which goes live tonight) would be "100 percent compatible with the Facebook platform", Facebook has pulled out a trump card of sorts, by announcing in their developers blog, plans to share the Facebook API with other social networking sites. Details are sparse right now (a bit more information is available on the Facebook Developers Wiki), but the potential is both promising for application developers and detrimental to competing open development platforms. As the blog entry states:

Now we also want to share the benefits of our work by enabling other social sites to use our platform architecture as a model. In fact, we'll even license the Facebook Platform methods and tags to other platforms.

This announcement comes six weeks after Google, in what many saw as little more than a bid to take some of the attention away from Facebook, announced its still developing OpenSocial API framework. In the interim, other social networking sites have either signed on with OpenSocial or announced their own attempts at an open developer platform (or more commonly, as with the perpetually late-to-the-party Friendster, both). This has quickly changed the context in the war among social networking sites from one about footprint and user base, into one about Web 2.0 developer platforms.

Frankly, as much as we appreciate some of the more cool and ingenious social networking applications, we really wish that the network developers themselves would get back to focusing on us, the users, and our overall site experience -- rather than how many corporations they can coax into infiltrating our networks. The whole Facebook Beacon scandal didn't affect us much because we didn't use many of the more egregious applications in the first place (we didn't really see the benefit in installing an application from Blockbuster or Overstock.com or another e-tailer on our Facebook page, simply because we could), but we still think it was just a foreshadowing of the future of social networking spheres, if the focus continues to be on the development platform of the site, rather than actual site development.

[via Webware]

Tags: facebook, open developer api, OpenDeveloperApi, opensocial

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