Is Facebook Opening Beacon?

Last night Mike Arrington posted news that Facebook is opening up their newsfeed. In other words, Beacon is going live. Arrington suggests that this new feature will be competition to FriendFeed. News flash: Facebook is already competition to Friend Feed!

The Newsfeed is Already Open
When Facebook launched their platform last May, thousands of websites jumped at the opportunity to increase their reach by building new Facebook applications. In a matter of months, building a Facebook application became a standard practice for anyone with a “web 2.0” site or anybody with an already popular website. There are already applications from Digg, Twitter, YouTube, eBay and virtually every other large social website.

If you take a look at my mini-feed you will see updates from Twitter already as well as a beacon notification that I was playing a game on Kongregate. Thanks to applications being granted the ability to create newsfeed stories, you can view what I’m doing across the web. If I choose not to install a website’s application, my friends will not be able to see what I’m up to on the other sites.

Has Facebook Conceded That the Web Is Not and Won’t Be Blue and White?
Opening up the newsfeed to enable other sites to post items makes sense only if Facebook has determined that applications aren’t for everybody. Currently there are Facebook applications that exist to extend the functionality of other websites. The sole purpose of these applications is to extend functionality to your Facebook profile.

The del.icio.us application for example is described as creating “a bridge between your del.icio.us and Facebook accounts allowing you to display your recent bookmarks on your profile. You can also display recently saved bookmarks in the News Feed.” The sole purpose of the application is to get the bookmarks into your friends’ newsfeeds in turn extending the del.icio.us brand and bringing more data into your social profile.

The Newsfeed Is Becoming More Competitive
When Facebook opens up Beacon to other websites, applications are going to face even more competition. If you thought Facebook placed a squeeze on application developers by cutting back on notifications and requests, wait until they are competing for newsfeed space with other websites!

If Mike Arrington’s sources are correct, it appears that Facebook will be pushing Beacon live to the world in the near future. This is going to completely change the platform. I would argue that when Facebook opens up Beacon it may suddenly become too expensive for application developers to build applications instead of websites outside of Facebook’s “social graph.”

In turn, an application that becomes viral on Facebook is just as likely to become viral outside of Facebook. This could have significant implications. How do you think beacon will impact applications?