Updated: Facebook announced the new Open Stream API, which gives developers the ability to pull in data from users’ status updates, or the “stream.” Built on an open standard, developers using Facebook’s Open Stream API will ultimately be able to pull status updates from other social media properties into their applications; video blogging company Seesmic and *Adobe* are two of the first developers that are incorporating the new data into their apps.
Original Post: Facebook is slated to give third-party developers like Playdom and LivingSocial greater access to its data — loosening the restrictions on the kinds of data they can pull into their applications, as well as what the apps can do with that info. Making it easier for developers to create better apps is in Facebook’s best interest, since people are increasingly using apps to interact with and control their social media experiences. (Twitter’s explosive growth has also been fueled by its compatibility with a variety of apps — and Facebook has admittedly been influenced by Twitter as of late).
Full details on just what new access developers will be getting aren’t clear — since the company plans to announce the news at a developer event later today — but there’s plenty of speculation:
According to the WSJ, Facebook will likely make it easier to access its data through an “open technology standard” like OAuth (the network joined the board behind OpenID, another service that makes it easier for internet users to maintain a single profile and login across multiple sites, in February). Right now, developers need to use Facebook’s designated API or work through Facebook Connect to build apps.
Meanwhile, Inside Facebook suggests that Facebook will let developers piggyback off of members’ “shared items,” or the articles, videos and other content that they post to their profiles; access to this info would give developers a better read on when and where specific content like videos and news articles started to “go viral,” and could help them create apps with more longevity.
Then there’s the Facebook stream — or the constant flow of status updates that the network put front-and-center during its most recent redesign. Media companies like CNN and Variety incorporated the Facebook “stream” into their coverage of events like the inauguration and the Oscars; the consensus is that Facebook will begin to allow developers across the board to build apps around the status updates. Of course, Facebook isn’t charging developers for this new, improved data platform, since the idea is that better apps increase user engagement; the app-makers will also need users’ permission to pull in and syndicate their status updates and other info.
Photo Credit: danhowlett