Facebook Launches Platform

Facebook PlatformFacebook is getting and giving a lot of attention this week, with the launch of Facebook Platform. It was announced Thursday night during a keynote given by Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s f8 event in the San Francisco Design Center.

Facebook Platform enables third-party companies and people to build applications that integrate directly into Facebook. It is a forward-thinking move that allows an unprecedented level of access into the technology that powers Facebook. In contrast, competitors such as MySpace maintain a tight lock, restricting what developers can build.

Social GraphZuckerberg is quoted as saying “we want to make Facebook into something of an operating system.” In many of the same ways that an OS provides file system and windowing APIs, Facebook is providing services such as the profile, dashboard, and news feed. These all leverage the “social graph” composed of the connections made to friends and family on Facebook.

Some people are critical of Facebook’s motives, claiming that they are creating a closed platform. They point out that any application built to run on the Facebook Platform could just as well be built to be run on the wider web.

While this is true, Facebook has already achieved a critical mass of users, and are now providing a set of components expected in social applications. Developers can build on top of these features, taking advantage of existing infrastructure.

This is a bold and exciting direction that Facebook has taken. As a developer, Facebook Platform looks very impressive. It will be interesting to watch as innovative new applications are developed and launched on Facebook.


Lonna Hanson
May 28, 2007 at 3:11 PM

That is so interesting, Jared! You, being a developer, have a lot of good insight into this whole process. Happy Memorial Day.

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