Facebook outlines its future to developers

Facebook - changes
Facebook - changes afoot

The near-future of Facebook has been laid out, with third-party developers being handed the option to ask for user emails and the potential for embedded Facebook content in other websites.

The timeline has been rolled out for Facebook's developer community, but hold some interesting information as to what we can expect from the social networking behemoth.

As well as tweaks like simplified navigation and more prominent dashboards for applications, we can also look forward to seeing 'many' Facebook features hosted on websites outside of the main site.

Open Graph API

The Open Graph API apparently brings functionality so that 'any page on the web can have many of the features of a Facebook Page – users can become a fan of the page, it will show up on that user's profile and in search results, and that page will be able to publish stories to the stream of its fans.'

Some of the most fascinating changes revolve around allowing developers of apps to request users' emails, ostensibly to 'reduce friction and empower… developers'.

Here's how Facebook says the new changes will unfold:

Access to user email addresses.To reduce friction and empower application and Facebook Connect developers to manage their relationship with users, for the first time, we're providing a simple and safe way for users to share their email addresses with you.

Focusing Facebook communication on the stream and Inbox. This consolidates developer and user communication into the two most powerful channels — stream and Inbox — and provides new features to help users stay engaged with applications. User-to-user communications commonly in the notifications and requests channels will be moved to the Inbox.

So why the changes?

Facebook explains in the posting that it is keen to increase innovation on the Facebook platform and simplify things for developers.

Which of course means that they want to keep up with the social network Joneses and try to increase the revenue opportunities for their third party developers.

"Application communication in channels like notifications and requests aren't effectively serving their original purpose," adds Facebook's post.

"There is a significant opportunity to improve the user experience and reduce spam by replacing them with better features and moving most communication to the stream and Inbox.

"We believe these steps, combined with providing users with a way to share their email address with applications they trust, will simplify the site and create new long term opportunities for developers.

Creating a brand

"With simplified communication channels and unified integration points, the decision to build an application on Facebook or on a separate website with Facebook Connect becomes only a question of the goals of the developer creating a brand," it goes on.

"The underlying technologies are the same regardless of whether your application appears inside Facebook or on an external website."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.