The company is giving developers greater access to Facebook's user networks and better tools to monetize the Facebook audience.
Earlier this month, at the Software 2007 Conference, Slide CEO and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin predicted that "MySpace is what's going to take on Microsoft." He might as well have fingered Facebook.
Facebook plans to grant third-party developers greater access to its social network, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, with an announcement expected to come Thursday at the company's developer conference. In so doing, Facebook continues its transition from social network to social platform.
"We do not comment on speculation and rumors about our future product plans," said a Facebook spokesperson.
As a development and growth tool, the Facebook Platform debuted in beta in August and was officially released in February. That same month, the company also released its own database query language, called Facebook Query Language, to help developers access Facebook data.
Developers are currently able to create Web widgets or desktop applications that integrate with Facebook and make use of relationship and profile information, events, photos, and other data. As a consequence of Thursday's expected announcement, developers will gain greater access to Facebook's user networks and better tools to monetize the Facebook audience.
"Facebook is taking a very aggressive, open approach, which is what we have been saying all along is the key for a social network to remain relevant to its audience over a long period of time," said Alex Blum, CEO of KickApps, a company that makes online applications that can be added to any Web site.
By way of contrast, MySpace recently showed itself to be less accommodating to outside companies looking to profit from its user base when it blocked Photobucket slideshows from its pages.
Facebook reportedly spurned a purchase offer for close to $1 billion from Yahoo last year and has been closely watched following News Corp.'s 2005 acquisition of Intermix Media, owner of MySpace, for $580 million.
One reason for the interest in social networking sites is that users spend a lot of time within the network and view many pages there. Facebook, for instance, had the most pages viewed per U.K. visitor (466) of any Web site, according to figures released by Nielsen//NetRatings last month, and came in fourth in terms of average hours spent per visitor (2 hours, 28 minutes).
The other reason is that social networking sites have a lot of user data, as Levchin pointed out. That data is much coveted by advertisers. And with few ways for users to export their personal profiles and network of friends, social sites become the beneficiaries of user lock-in.
That may be changing, however. Blum sees generic social networking sites being challenged by niche-oriented ones, perhaps because that future bodes well for his company's business. "I think you've got to vote with the consumer because the consumer can move on very easily," said Blum, discounting the power of the large social sites. "The cost to change is becoming less and less every day."
The Agile ArchiveWhen it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
2014 Analytics, BI, and Information Management SurveyITís tried for years to simplify data analytics and business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
InformationWeek Tech Digest August 03, 2015The networking industry agrees that software-defined networking is the way of the future. So where are all the deployments? We take a look at where SDN is being deployed and what's getting in the way of deployments.