Facebook’s new class of apps expand the social vocabulary
Now Facebook users will have a whole new vocabulary at their disposal so they can tell friends they “want” tickets to an upcoming rock concert, they are “cooking” a certain dish or that they “ran” five miles in the park after work.
On Wednesday evening, Facebook announced the availability of more than 60 third-party appsthat can be integrated directly into Facebook, including apps from Ticketmaster, Airbnb, Foodspotting and Pinterest. Facebook also said that any software developer can now create their own such specialized apps for Facebook integration and submit the app to Facebook for approval.
Once you begin using one of these apps, your interactions within the app – say clicking on a dish you see in Foodspotting to note that you have “tried” it – are broadcast to the Facebook “ticker” for all your friends to see. The apps are also integrated into each user’s Timeline – the revamped version of a user’s personal profile page that Facebook has been gradually rolling out to its more than 800 million users. Now when you visit a friend’s Timeline, for instance, you might see a special section showcasing the top movies they’ve indicated that they want to see on the Rotten Tomatoes app, or the latest hotel reviews they’ve written with the TripAdvisor app.
The new apps are part of the so-called open graph feature that Facebook rolled out at its developer conference in September. The initial open graph rollout focused on integrating media apps from partners such as Spotify and Yahoo into Facebook, allowing users to notify friends of the music they were listening to, the news articles they were reading and the videos they were watching.
With the latest move, Facebook has opened itself up to a broader world of activity that can relate to just about anything an app-maker can think of. Among the initial third-party apps are ones that involve travel, food, fashion and fitness.
It’s a good bet that there will soon be open graph apps in even more categories, now that Facebook has opened the doors and effectively given software developers carte blancheto go wild (so long as the apps adhere to Facebook’s basic terms of service, of course).
The only question is will Facebook’s users be ready to digitally chronicle and share so many facets of their lives.