At Facebook, we focus on providing our developer community with simple building blocks to speed innovation and create an environment where small teams quickly push new products that can rapidly disrupt industries.
As part of our commitment to enable you to easily build on Facebook Platform, today we are announcing a roadmap which includes a series of changes and improvements that will roll out over the next two quarters.
These updates are designed to simplify communication for users and developers, improve app discovery and engagement, and provide you with more comprehensive tools for building or expanding your business with Facebook.
Through these new APIs and tools, we are giving all developers building with Facebook and those in our largest application category — gaming — new ways to attract and engage users.
Direct and Simplified Communication with Users
- 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.
Improved Application Discovery and Engagement
- Simplified navigation. To make it easier for users to quickly find and engage with applications, their favorite apps will be featured on their home page with bookmarks and new dashboards. Applications will also be represented on canvas pages with a format that increases brand association with users. In addition, users will be able to better represent applications on their profile following short-term changes that include focusing profile integration on application tabs, as well as removing profile boxes, the info section of boxes, and the Boxes tab.
- Prominent new Dashboards. With default placement on the home page, an all-new Apps Dashboard and Games Dashboard will ensure users can easily find and return to their favorite apps and discover new ones; the Games Dashboard will be a dedicated place for users to interact with games and will provide an additional communication channel, called "News", where you can personalize text updates for users.
- New Counter channel. Re-engaging users is an important part of delivering a high quality experience. We are introducing the Counter, a simple number to the right of your application's home page bookmark. The Counter is your own channel where you can prompt users when they need to perform an action within your application.
New Developer Products and Clear Policies
- Open Graph API. 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.
- Improved Application Insights Page and new Analytics API. We will provide improved tools with more robust data to better adjust and manage applications and Facebook Connect-enabled websites.
- New Facebook Connect Libraries. Our libraries will be smaller, clearer, and faster.
- New developer website, Platform Live Status, and public roadmap. Developers.facebook.com will include a central dashboard to view the health of various integration points, bugs and Platform uptime as well as detail about upcoming changes and improvements to Platform. You will also be able to subscribe to the Developer Blog and Status Feed via email.
- New principles, simplified policies, Verification standards for all. We have streamlined our policies and principles and will be proactively applying them widely across Platform. In addition, we're retiring the formerly optional Application Verification brand, submission process, fees and badge; the program's higher standards will be required and applications will be subject to review at any time.
You can find details and estimated timing for all of these items on our Developer Wiki and view initial screenshots in this photo album.
Where We Go From Here
Our goal is to increase the opportunities to innovate on Facebook Platform and reduce its complexity for both established and new developers.
Application communication in channels like notifications and requests aren't effectively serving their original purpose. 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.
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. The underlying technologies are the same regardless of whether your application appears inside Facebook or on an external website.
We're in This Together
We'll keep you posted about the progress of these changes and what they mean to you
over the next two quarters. For the first time in this level of detail, we will provide a roadmap to help you anticipate future changes and opportunities. Like all roadmaps, it may shift slightly but we will share insight into what is happening as these details are available.
As part of these initiatives, we are focused on designing Platform in a way that we can run core Facebook applications on the same set of APIs you're building on. If our technologies aren't fast, robust, and simple, we will feel the same pains that you do.
We have a lot of work to do between now and the next f8 conference in the first half of 2010 in San Francisco. Our third f8 will bring us back to our roots - building great technology and spurring innovation. We couldn't be more excited about where we are going together. Facebook is a technology company and we want to provide you with the building blocks to start and change industries.
Ethan is excited to be sharing a view into the future of Facebook Platform.