Facebook has opened key parts of its social networking platform to third party developers in a bid to expand the array of services the website offers to its users.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook plans to complement its Connect service and its API with a data plug service which will deliver shared content and newsfeed, possibly through an open protocol like OAuth.
Furthermore, even websites outside Facebook ecosystem will be able to interact with the system and cross-platform content mashed up in a whole new way, with the users' permission, in real time.
For example, web-based IM system Meebo currently allows some of your Facebook details to be exchanged, although currently, these are pretty rudimentary. In the future, this could expand to include comments, photos and more.
Facebook plans to unleash a completely new structure to allow user generated content to circulate across the social networking website and will put the site on collision course with Twitter.
More than 660,000 developers from more than 180 countries have registered to use the platform. Furthermore, Facebook stats show that nearly three quarters of its users engage with Facebook applications every month.
More than 52,000 such applications are available in the Facebook Application directory with 10 percent of those having a userbase of 10,000 or more users.
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Facebook's announcement (soon) could well spell a major evolution in the world of social networking. Gone the days of Myspace with its rather sedate pace; with real time updates, Facebook has clearly been influence by Twitter. Now see what Google is doing with Google Profiles and expect 2009 to be a very exciting year for the SN industry.
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