This evening Facebook released a new PHP library for developers and included in that library are a number of payments methods. Also included are two gift APIs which includes a method for retrieving gifts and one for updating the gifts stored by an application. I would assume that this means Facebook’s release of their payments API and gift shop API is right around the corner. We’ve been anticipating this for a while but these are the first signs we’ve seen.
Currently there is no documentation in the developer wiki about how these new methods are intended to function and the developer tools have yet to be updated with these methods. However given that Facebook chose to include these methods (or “functions” … whichever you term you prefer) in the latest library, I’d assume that they are signaling the imminent launch of their services.
It’s interesting to see that gifts are also being released in this new library. Given that virtual gifts are expected to surpass $1 billion in the U.S. this year, it’s not surprising that Facebook wants to be an integral component of this ecosystem, aside from providing the largest platform for transactions to occur. With the ecosystem booming, Facebook wants to provide developers with a much more efficient way of interacting with the gift shop and with Facebook payments.
This has been a monetization model discussed in depth by numerous developers and industry pundits for the past couple years, and tests have been ongoing for the past few months. This is one of the first signs though that both platforms are just about ready to for public release. For those developers curious as to what methods are referenced in the latest PHP library, here are the new API methods:
- gifts – Update gifts stored by an app
- facebook.gifts.get – Get gifts associated with an application
I’ve reached out to Facebook for some clarification on these new methods but given that it’s so late, I’m not sure if we’ll hear back or not. I’ll be sure to post something if we do in fact get a response. My guess is that we could be hearing an official announcement from Facebook in the near future.
Facebook has reached back out to us to state that, “The payments methods have been available since we started looking at extending our virtual currency – Facebook Credits – via a very small alpha test with a handful of developers in May. The gifts methods have been available since we started a similar alpha test in August that allows third party developers to offer virtual gifts in the Facebook Gift Shop. Both methods can only being used by developers that are part of these tests.”