Facebook Unveils Platform for Developers of Social Applications
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook f8 Event, May 24, 2007 — Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg today unveiled Facebook Platform, calling on all developers to build the next-generation of applications with deep integration into Facebook, distribution across its “social graph” and an opportunity to build new businesses.
“Until now, social networks have been closed platforms. Today, we’re going to end that,” Zuckerberg told an audience of more than 750 developers and partners. “With this evolution of Facebook Platform, any developer worldwide can build full social applications on top of the social graph, inside of Facebook.”
The keynote opened the Facebook f8 event, named to reflect the developer hackathon that ends 8 hours after the address during which new applications will be created for Facebook. Today, Facebook Platform launched with more than 65 developer partners and 85 applications and with the introduction of an example application called Video.
Video allows for the simple sharing of personal videos between friends within Facebook, as well as the creation and sending of video messages directly to and from the Facebook Inbox. To allow users to better share the increasing amount of video being shot from mobile devices, Video supports mobile uploading of video directly into the application.
Deep Integration Into Facebook Website
Zuckerberg detailed how any developer can build an application that is as integrated into the site’s information flow and connections of relationships as Facebook’s own applications. Facebook users decide which applications to add and can control their order and appearance within their profiles, all with the familiar Facebook design. Users can always remove applications, including those built by Facebook, and will have their granular privacy controls maintained across applications.
Facebook introduced a new markup language, Facebook Markup, which along with its previously released APIs allows developers to build applications fully integrated into the site. Facebook Markup includes features, such as dynamic information tags, conditional privacy tags, image caching and Flash. Developers can build anything they want in full, unlimited application pages on Facebook, called the “canvas pages,” and applications also can have a box in users’ profiles and navigation.
Mass Distribution through the Social Graph
Applications will gain distribution through what Zuckerberg called the “social graph,” the network of real connections through which people communicate and share information. Facebook and all social networks have two core elements: the social graph and the applications that run on it. Because of the efficient spreading of information through the social graph, existing Facebook applications, such as Photos, have grown to leaders in their categories. “The social graph is the changing the way the world works,” Zuckerberg said. “We are at a time in history when more information is available and people are more connected than they ever have been before, and the social graph is at the center of that.”
As with existing applications on Facebook, new third-party applications will be able to notify users about relevant information through News Feed and profile Mini Feeds, helping to spur mass distribution. For example, a friend adding an application could lead to a notification in a user’s News Feed. Within profiles, applications will have an “Add” button so any user can easily install the application for themselves.
“The social graph is our base, and we’ve built a framework that is completely optimized for developing social applications within our environment,” Zuckerberg added. “We believe that there is more value for everyone in letting other people develop applications on top of the base we’ve built than we could ever possibly provide on our own.”
New Business Opportunity
As users benefit from new choices in the applications available through Facebook, developers can build their business at the same time. Applications within profiles will remain free of advertising, but Facebook is allowing developers to make money within their canvas pages, through advertising, or transactions that they control.
“This is good for us because if developers build great applications then they’re providing a service to our users and strengthening the social graph,” Zuckerberg said. “This is a big opportunity. We provide the integration and distribution and developers provide the applications. We help users share more information and together we benefit.”