Facebook expands support for third-party apps

Third-party applications can now provide location and friend information to externally submitted Facebook updates

Facebook has expanded the number of ways third-party applications can update Facebook users' timelines, the company announced Wednesday.

The social networking giant will now allow third-party applications to include location and friend information with any photo, link or update submitted by that application. It also has provided more ways for third-party applications to post photos and videos on the Facebook platform.

"The most engaging stories often capture where you are, who you're with, and a photo to show what happened," said Facebook engineer Alex Wyler, in a blog post announcing the additional APIs (application programming interfaces). The new APIs will "give developers the tools to build more robust apps that help people to fill out their timelines with more detailed moments."

As an example, with these new APIs a Yelp user, for instance, who posts about a delicious meal could also include a list of Facebook friends and the location of the restaurant, assuming Yelp incorporates the APIs into its mobile application.

Specifically, Facebook has released APIs for setting the location on posts and for tagging friends in posts, using the company's Open Graph protocol. Locations can even be tagged with optional latitude, longitude and distance parameters. Users can also select the groups of friends they can share this information with.

In addition to these APIs, Facebook has also expanded the ways photos can be submitted from third-party applications. Photos submitted through a third-party application can now appear as a full-size photo on the user's timeline. Users will need to set privacy controls and grant permissions before an application uses this new feature. Users can also now embed in-line videos to their Facebook timelines, using a third-party application.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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