Facebook has confirmed that it is preparing to open up its platform to make life easier on third-party developers creating applications. Its announcement follows a flood of similar ones from other companies, including rival MySpace, which joined the Google-founded OpenSocial open source standards initiative.
Obviously, it’s not opening up the entire machinations of its site for anyone to poke around in, but it’s fair to assume that this will include many of the tools used on the Facebook Platform, which just celebrated its first birthday.
“We’re working on an open-source initiative that is meant to help application developers better understand Facebook Platform and more easily build applications, whether it’s by running their own test servers, building tools, or optimizing their applications. As Facebook Platform continues to mature, open-sourcing the infrastructure behind it is a natural step so developers can build richer social applications and share what they’ve learned with the ecosystem. Additional details will be released soon,” a spokesperson said.
Facebook’s move is also made more significant coming in the wake of its decision to deny access to Google’s Friend Connect earlier in the month. Clearly Facebook took criticisms of not being open enough on board, however, it might not be going far enough.
Many experts believe that initiatives like Friend Connect are paving the way to getting social network out of its current closed systems and providing far-reaching social tools to any website that wants them. Open development platforms might be the least of its problems as the core concept of social destination websites comes under threat.