Facebook: the sandbox is too crowded

Facebook apps: the sandbox just got crowded
Do you appreciate the new apps?

The release of 60 new apps for Facebook this week is a major win for developers but not so much the people that really count: the users of Facebook.

There have been countless redesigns of the Facebook homepage of late and all of these have been to make sure that the site returns to the clutter-free experience it once was. Why? Well, this was essentially Facebook's USP when it looked to take on the garishness of MySpace – it used the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) approach and users loved its clean yet functional layout.

Facebook's designers have tried their hardest to make the current info-heavy Facebook layout clean but what they have really done is tidied up the homepage like a teenager tidies his bedroom – stuff the clutter in the corner of the room and hope the parents don't notice when they eventually muster up the courage to inspect their hovel.

One more wafer-thin app?

And now with the launch of 60 more apps for users to sign up to, there's a distinct Mr Creosote feeling about Facebook and its app overload – something's got to go and it won't be the apps but the users themselves.

I completely understand why Facebook wants more and more apps to tap into the social network and why devs are clambering over themselves to get on to Zuckerberg's site. It's a win-win situation: the more sites and services that offer their content on Facebook, the more chance Facebook has of becoming everyone's homepage – it wants you to access and find content through its low-walled garden and for you to turn your back on Google.

From a development point of view, if devs and brands can get hold of Facebook's user data then they have hit data-mining gold.

But, for the humble social networker more people signing up to apps means sifting through more white noise mundanity about what other people are doing.

Information overload

For instance, FoodSpotting allows you to tell all about your food habits, Rotten Tomatoes about your movie habits and TicketMaster allows you to tell all about your gigging habits.

Times this by (potentially) 60, then times it by the number of Facebook friends and what you have is data overload.

Personally I can't wait until someone launches a Facebook app within Facebook Inception-style which emulates the Facebook of yore without all this app shenanigans.

Then all you'll get from me is an update or two about the people I poked.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.