applications

Facebook [Next Generation] Open Graph Apps

Everyone has likely seen Spotify popping up in their News Feeds since last year, but Facebook continues to roll out new Open Graph apps – over 60 in just the last few weeks. With that in mind, I wanted to share a quick overview of how Open Graph apps are starting to (and can) be utilized.

Entertainment is the most robust category so far, with over 18 associated apps available. It is also important to note that Timeline, once optional, is now mandatory and is rumored to be available for businesses soon. With that in mind, OG apps should be developed with Timeline in mind to ensure the widest audience.

The general concept to embrace is frictionless sharing. Open Graph apps require users to allow continuous publishing permission and feature actions that can be automatically shared, rather than explicitly asking users to share individual actions (i.e. the Like button plugin).

A few high-level notes on who and what has rolled something out:

Brands:

  • Ford Mustang
  • Ford Grab-a-Badge (http://social.ford.com/grab-a-badge)
  • AutoTrader

Apps:

  • News – Washington Post, Yahoo! News, USA Today
  • Travel – Where I’ve Been, TripAdvisor
  • Giving – Causes
  • Food – Foodily, Foodspotting
  • Shopping & Fashion – Pinterest, LivingSocial (no Groupon!), GiftRocket
  • Fitness – MapMyFitness, RunKeeper
  • Entertainment – Hulu, TicketMaster, StubHub, DailyMotion,

Noticeably absent:

  • YouTube
  • Groupon

There is also a distinction to be make between how app activity appears in the News Feed/Ticker and users’ actual Timelines. In short, there are more aesthetic and functional options available now than ever before.

In terms of visibility, there are two algorithms at play in the News Feed: EdgeRank and Graph Rank. EdgeRank priority is mostly governed by an item’s affinity, weight and time, relevant to a user’s personal network. At this point, not much is known about the parameters for Graph Rank. In brief:

  1. EdgeRank dictates what “normal” status items appear in any given user’s feed.
  2. Graph Rank determines how Open Graph application activity is distributed.

Feel free to browse all 60 apps and watch some of FB’s ultra PR-friendly video overviews. Enjoy.

Zynga Rumors: Is The Farmville Application Leaving Facebook?

zynga-farmville-thumbZynga is one of the largest gaming platforms on the Facebook network right now. You may have heard of the game Farmville, one of the largest and longest running games thus far on Facebook. With millions of users, there is little doubt that Farmville alone could not be abandoned easily. Still, there are currently rumors that Zynga and Facebook are in somewhat of a war against each other.

Application developers are watching this rumor closely as it could signal a switch in the way that people interact with games on Facebook. Fox News recently picked up the rumor. According to Fox News, “Sources at Facebook described Zynga as a bad actor, which is putting profits before its users, and suggested that if the situation persisted it would be best if Zynga’s games left Facebook altogether.”

However, many people are not believing this. The fact is, it is unlikely that Facebook suggest that Zynga leave the Facebook Platform. It is unlikely that Facebook would want Zynga to just go away. The numbers speak of themselves. Consider the fact that Zynga’s Farmville sees some 24 million people every single day. If you compare this to the number of users who sign in to Facebook each day, it would amount to one tenth of all Facebook users.

Why would the two companies go to war? This is where there are even more rumors and speculation. With Facebook’s new payment methods it is requiring all games to collect money solely through the Facebook payment methods rather than through the individual games. In games like Farmville, the application is free to use but users can purchase additions to the game at minimal costs. Currently, they are making such purchases through the Farmville game, through the Facebook Platform. However, Facebook wants all of these funds channeled through their Facebook payment method which would standardize the process. However, Farmville users, like those of other games, are not happy about the switch. Estimates are that Facebook collects some 30 percent of every purchase made through their games, including through Zynga’s games.

In addition to this, keep in mind that Facebook’s security measures, including the way that security settings are ever changing and the way that “gifts” are able to be sent to and from users, have become more challenging for the game players. In addition, players have complained about the slow movement of Facebook in the game as well as lost gifts and other complications.

What has lead to additional speculation is the recent promotion that Zynga has done to encourage players to move to the Farmville.com platform. While it is likely that players will still sign in to Facebook through Farmville.com to access their current account, the move to its own platform like this could be some fuel behind the angry that Facebook is displaying toward Zynga.

Could this mean a break for the two companies? It is unlikely. Both are quite dependent on each other. It may mean some changes in the near future for game players and for Facebook users, though.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Facebook is making

Facebook Apps Can Now Ask For Your Email Address

According the the Facebook Developers blog, Facebook is now granting developers on Platform the ability to request (or require) users to hand over their email addresses. By doing so, developers can begin sending periodic messages directly to users.

This actually doesn’t come as a surprise: Facebook initially talked about e-mail requirements last October and has kept developers updated on the timing in its Developer Roadmap. All of that said, this is a big deal!

Up until now, Facebook applications have used the notifications window (that slide up panel in the bottom right hand side of the screen) to engage users on an ongoing basis. Facebook is removing that functionality in the next thirty days. Moving forward, Facebook will no longer be the gatekeeper for communications between developers and users.

In order to collect Email addresses, Facebook developers will prompt users through an extended permission box. For those concerned with potential spam, they can elect to only share a proxied Email address – similar to the ones you can get when posting items on Craigslist.