Facebook Extends Platform to the Web

I surely did not see this coming anytime soon but Facebook just released their JavaScript client library than enables developers to extend their applications to their own websites. Rather than building your applications strictly within Facebook you can now extend the full functionality of the platform to your own website and leverage Facebook as the tool for managing members and their relationships. Somehow nobody has seemed to take note of this significant step.

Want to build your own social gaming platform that resides on your own website but leverages the power of users’ Facebook relationships? Now you can! There had previously been applications that could leverage the Facebook API prior to the launch of the platform but there are some significant differences now versus before. The first significant difference is the broader access to Facebook’s core features that the platform provides.

The second difference is that Facebook has now implemented the ability to leverage cookies to access a user’s data even when they are not at your application. Since this just launched last night, I have yet to see any applications (or websites) take advantage of this new feature. This is a huge step in Facebook extending their platform beyond the Facebook.com domain and letting people leverage the power of the “social graph” (I hate to use that phrase in this context but oh well).

Debate has surfaced as to whether or not new functionality is being offered. In essence this is just the client facing version of what you could already accomplish via an iFrame on the platform. I would argue that what’s significant here is that Facebook has publicly released something that is intended to extend the platform to the outside. See Dan Farber’s post for more. The public is now aware of the possibilities to leverage Facebook outside of the main site and that is big news.

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