Facebook Launches Experimental “Prototype” Apps (Updated)

Update: In fact, Facebook has just launched Prototypes. It’s not live for everyone yet (including us), but once it is, you’ll be able to see it as an option in the left-hand navigation menu in the application directory. As we wrote below, Prototypes is a way to find experimental projects built by solo Facebook engineers.

Facebook’s engineering team has a tradition of hackathons — everyone hangs out together and builds experimental features for the site. Those features are sometimes live. And we may have a much easier way to find them, via a new directory that appears close to launch, called “Prototypes.”

The first screenshot about the section appeared last week. But the actual directory wasn’t live. Today, though, Facebook’s official Twitter account accidentally tweeted about the feature, and screenshots escaped into the wild. It looks like there are some really useful in-house apps coming. One is a desktop notifications app, another is a way to find similar posts from your homepage, and the one I want the most is a way to integrate iCal notifications into email.

Facebook has a developer garage planned today at the TechCrunch50 conference. Perhaps we will have an update about these prototypes later today?