My Facebook lovefest continues. Late yesterday they announced the latest version of the Facebook Platform, which opens up the site (and its millions and millions of users) for 3rd parties to build on. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, just know this: It’s a very big deal.
TechCrunch calls Facebook the “Anti-MySpace”, and for good reason. MySpace gives users the appearance of openness by letting them make their pages look as crappy as they want, but does almost everything they can to prevent users from interacting with outside sites and services. For example, when it temporarily blocked Youtube videos back in 2005, and more recently, when it blocked Photobucket content before buying them a month later.
While Facebook doesn’t let users change the way pages look (one of its best features, in my opinion), it instead opens itself up to 3rd party developers with a really impressive API that’s got great documentation. Existing applications can now be integrated right into the platform so they look and feel like they’re part of the site, and entirely new apps and business ideas can (and will) be created to reach Facebook users.
I love how Zuckerberg is thinking long-term with Facebook. He could have easily sold the company and cashed out, or littered the site with tons of ads, but he didn’t. Instead, he’s building a platform that will make Facebook one of the most powerful (and money-making) sites for years to come. He’s doing everything right, as best I can tell. Pure genius.
Since Facebook/Twitter integration has already been done on the new platform (it’s one of the first 3rd party apps), next I’m hoping to see a Flickr application that will act as a drop-in replacement for the Facebook photo app. I’m sure someone is already working on it.
I’ve already got a few good Facebook app ideas in my head that could make a ton of cash if correctly executed. Of course, my lack of time will prevent me from starting anything, but that’s a different story…