Facebook opens activity streams, offers API to developers

New Facebook app lets users see realtime streams running on desktops or cell phones

Facebook, Inc. Monday moved to virtually free the activity streams of its users.

Traditionally, Facebook users could only see the updates and postings of friends by logging onto their homepage. That's no longer the case.

Facebook has unveiled a new tool, called Facebook Desktop for Adobe AIR, that lets users see a running timeline, or stream, of the activities of their friends on a desktop computer or even on a cell phone, said Justin Bishop, a Facebook engineer, in a blog post Monday.

"Your stream will appear just as it does on Facebook.com and maintain the same privacy settings," wrote Bishop. "We believe that the ability to see more and more of what is happening around you will lead to greater openness and transparency."

And in a move aimed at enabling users to do even more with their flow of postings, Facebook is also opening the activity stream to third-party developers.

The new Facebook Open Stream API enables developers to write a slew of new applications that enable users to automatically do tasks like organizing and manipulating their postings.

"We think that working alongside our peers to create an open standard for accessing and consuming streams is the future," said Ray He, a member of the company's development team, in a separate Facebook blog post today. "With the Facebook Open Stream API, users will be able to use applications to read and interact with their stream. As a Facebook developer, you'll also be able to access the posts you've published into the stream and display them in your application, whether it's on a mobile device, Web site or desktop."

Bishop noted that Facebook has already been working with a few internal and third party developers to get an early start on the effort to create new applications, such as the one released by the company today. He said that other new programs will be available for review starting later today in the Facebook Application Directory under For Your Desktop.

"In the coming months, you'll be able to interact with your stream on even more web sites and through more applications, in ways we're only beginning to imagine," he added.

Just last week, Facebook announced that users' votes on its new governance rules had been tallied and it was clear that users want a new set of governing documents for the site.

The vote came about a few months after thousands of outraged Facebook users slammed the social networking site for taking too much control over their content. In a move to make amends, and to give the angry users more say in what happens to their content, Facebook late last week announced that it would let them choose between two terms-of-service options -- the current terms of use and a new set of rules called the Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags software developmentfacebook appsAPIFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?