Facebook Platform Dashboard News API Sandbox Now Open

As part of the Developer Roadmap Facebook announced in October, Facebook announced new Applications and Games “dashboards” all users will soon see by default in their home page bookmark menu. The dashboards contain new ways for developers to publish content to users that don’t fit into the exact concepts of feed stories, notifications, or invitations.

Today, Facebook has officially turned on the dashboard API sandbox so that developers can begin testing them, but hasn’t set a specific date for when the new dashboard will go live beyond “the coming weeks.”

The Dashboard News API

With the new dashboard, Facebook is introducing the concept of “dashboard news.” By default, the dashboard will show the 3 games or apps you used most recently, as well as 3 games or apps your friends are playing. Within each of these listings, Facebook says it will show the 2 most recent “dashboard news items,” in addition to the counter for that app.

What’s a “dashboard news item?” Good question. According to Facebook, there will be 2 types of dashboard news items: global and personal.

In other words, it sounds like Facebook is intending that application developers use “personal news items” as a partial substitute for user-to-user notifications, as these are indeed a new app-to-user channel. However, unlike notifications, 1) there is no unified inbox, and 2) only the two most recent news items are shown, meaning the read rate and conversion rates could be lower. For example, if you send a user two “personal” news items, and then publish a “global” news item, the first personal news item you sent will apparently be lost forever.

In addition to the Dashboard News API, the new games and application dashboards will include counters, allow user mentions, and show friends’ recent activity in games and other apps. We’ll keep tracking all the changes on Facebook’s developer roadmap over the coming weeks and months.