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Facebook Extends Status Update Features to Third-Party Apps

March 21, 2012  - By
Image: GPS World


Facebook is opening new APIs and documentation to developers, enabling the creation of third-party applications that allow consumers to add friends and location data directly from whichever app they’re currently using. “We’re introducing several improvements to the Facebook Platform that allow people to do all of the things they can do in a status update,” software engineer Alex Wyler writes on the Facebook Developer Blog.

Location and friends information can now be added as properties to any photo, link, or status written from an app, which Wyler calls “similar to the functionality a user has when they add a photo or updates their status.” To enable the new features, Facebook is issuing APIs and documentation to set location and tag friends on posts via Open Graph social discovery loop actions or with stream publish stories; apps can also leverage improved search for places, including optional latitude, longitude and distance parameters as well as support for finding posts from friends around a place.

“We have added familiar controls for managing tags,” Wyler adds. “New users select the audience they would like to share their app activity within the app permissions dialog. Users can choose to feature, hide, or route these stories for tag review.”

In addition, developers working with Facebook Open Graph can now build apps that display large, user-generated photos and playback video in a user’s Newsfeed and Timeline.

Since the Facebook Platform developer toolset expanded to mobile devices late last year, recommendation tools and Newsfeed updates are responsible for sending more than 60 million visitors every month to apps and games. Mobile visitors were responsible for more than 320 million visits to mobile apps in January 2012, Facebook adds. At February’s Mobile World Congress 2012 event, Facebook CTO Bret Taylor announced the social networking giant is now partnering with mobile operators across the globe to introduce streamlined billing practices enabling users to charge mobile web application transactions to their monthly wireless bill.

“Facebook and mobile phones were made for each other,” Taylor said. “At Facebook, we don’t think of our mobile products as an alternative interface. We think of [mobile] as the natural Facebook experience.” Taylor added that Facebook’s mobile experience is “the platform [co-founder and CEO] Mark Zuckerberg would have built” if today’s devices and networks had been available when Zuckerberg began constructing the social network in his Harvard University dorm room eight years ago.

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