Facebook is already pretty open. Its developer platform enables developers to build applications that leverage Facebook users’ ‘social graphs‘ and its Connect API gives developers the means to ‘connect‘ their websites with Facebook.
But, perhaps in an effort to compete with the service Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can’t have (Twitter), the social network is set to become even more open.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook will announce today that developers are going to have even greater access to the wealth of user data that Facebook collects. This “means developers can build services that
access the photos, videos, notes and comments users upload to Facebook“.
By giving developers access to key parts of the Facebook service, namely photos, of which there are billions, it would clearly be hoping to attract even more developer interest than it has already seen. With more than 200m users, Facebook is already an appealing target for developers in search of a platform on which to build. But by giving developers access to the most coveted parts of the ‘social graph‘, the possibilities will be a lot more intriguing than, say, throwing sheep.
There is a caveat, however: as with existing applications, Facebook users will have to give applications permission before they can access the treasure trove of newly-available user data. This is a good thing, no doubt, for maintaining user privacy but the question is whether enough users will be willing to open up more of their data to applications, and whether they’ll be willing to do so with applications that go beyond the ‘novelty‘ category.
Photo credit: jimwhimpey via Flickr.