It has been less than a year since I first suggested that Facebook’s Status API would be the death of Twitter. Almost 11 months later, Twitter is still around and much more popular than before. While Twitter hasn’t disappeared, Facebook has spent the past year doing everything in their power to duplicate the functionality of the popular “micro-blogging” platform.
The Year Of Facebook’s Twitterfication
In January, the first step of taking on Twitter was the opening of the Status API. Developers could now instantly bring in user status updates into their applications. Within weeks, TweetDeck used the Status API to integrate functionality into the service which was previously exclusively for Twitter users. Seesmic and others followed suit, however Facebook was still missing plenty of features that would enable them to fully compete with Twitter.
In April, Facebook launched a service which enabled users to subscribe to their friends and Pages and receive their status updates via text message. In September Facebook released one of the more important features which duplicates the functionality of Twitter “at replies”: tagging. It was a long time coming and for many users it has become an important part of communicating with each other.
More recently, Facebook’s ongoing drive to replace Twitter has become clear as Facebook has officially encouraged users to make their status updates public by default. The immediate result has been a dramatic increase in the number of public status updates. With all of these features rolled out, Facebook has essentially developed everything I previously described in my “Blueprint For The Facebook Twitter Killer“.
It has take almost a year to duplicate all the features of Twitter and while it’s unknown whether or not users will prefer a more public version of Facebook, the 2009 Twitterfication of Facebook is now almost complete.
Search API Is The Final Component
With the majority of Twitter’s features now integrated into Facebook, and the volume of public status updates now dramatically increased, the only step left in the “Twitterfication” process is the opening of a search API. Most Twitter developers know that the Twitter Search API has become a key component of most third-party Twitter applications. Many companies now use the Twitter Search API for building brand monitoring tools as well as meme-trackers which tell users the most popular articles at any given time.
While the new share button and the RESTful share counting API lets developers tract the popularity of various articles, there’s still no way to determine how often users are talking about a specific topic. That’s where a public search API would help. Once released, the Facebook Search API will officially complete Facebook’s rapid Twitterfication. While Twitter’s growth has appeared to slow in recent months, there’s no doubt that the company has had a significant impact on Facebook’s product roadmap.
When we look back on 2009 and the numerous changes at Facebook, it will be remembered as the year that Facebook was officially Twitterfied. Whenever Facebook chooses to roll-out a search API, there’s no doubt that we’ll see developers jump at the opportunity to create more robust applications which integrate publicly shared Facebook content.