Friendster Announces Developer Platform

As Techcrunch pointed out last night, Friendster has officially announced their developer platform. The primary differentiating factor between the Friendster and Facebook platforms is that the Friendster platform is for widgets, not for robust applications. Given that Friendster has received guidance from a number of widget providers on how to build their platform, it comes as no surprise that the platform is widget based.

There are four points of integration with the Friendster website for the new widgets:

  1. Widget Directory – A directory that displays widgets by category.
  2. Widget Install Page – My guess is that this is similar to the Facebook installation page
  3. User Profile – Just like Facebook, each widget gets its own piece of real estate within the user’s profile. Currently, widgets can only use Flash and HTML on the profile.
  4. Tracker – A similar conc

Friendster began working on this project soon after Facebook launched their platform. So who cares? Developers should. Friendster has over 50 million users which is larger than Facebook’s rapidly growing user base of over 46 million. I can guarantee you that all of the large widget providers (RockYou, Slide, iLike, etc) will be ready to go at launch time (supposedly November 30th). I have to disagree with Mark Hendrickson of Techcrunch who claims that this is little more than fluff.

The bottom line is that developers want to gain access to users and no matter what distribution channels they have available to them, they should seize as many of those opportunities as possible. The only issue here is that their widgets will need to be translated into a number of southeastern Asian languages. That shouldn’t be to difficult for a few smart developers though, right? There is no doubt about it, Facebook’s open platform has been a significant catalyst for change in this industry. The next few years are going to be exciting as we see the opening of both web and mobile platforms.