Hot on the heels of last month’s launch of Facebook Platform, which enables developers to build apps which make direct use of Facebook member data, both MySpace and LinkedIn appear to have plans to open their platforms too.
The additional functionality offered by the 1,000+ new apps made available in just the few weeks since Facebook Platform was launched has apparently led to a surge in Facebook member numbers, fuelled to some extent by people abandoning MySpace.
MySpace still remains far ahead in terms of overall user numbers and traffic – actually fighting with Bebo for top social networking site in the UK. But Facebook’s success seems to have pushed them into an about face on their previous stance of blocking third party apps. that enabled direct transactions with MySpace members.
Chris DeWolfe, one of the founders of MySpace, admitted in an interview with the Financial Times that “The [Facebook] Platform is interesting”. While arguing that MySpace’s current technology gave its users many of the same benefits, he said that MySpace would probably offer users the choice of both in future. No API release date was mentioned, but you can read more of the FT interview here.
This news came just after rumours surfaced that LinkedIn, the social networking site designed specifically to facilitate business networking, may also be planning to open its platform to developers.
With around 11m members, LinkedIn is a bit of a minnow compared to the 100m-strong MySpace, or even the 25m member Facebook. However its founder, Reid Hoffman, certainly doesn’t lack confidence – claiming that in the future people will maintain one profile for their personal life and another for their professional life and, of course, that LinkedIn will provide the latter.
Interestingly, there’s also talk of LinkedIn possibly integrating directly with Facebook through its own Facebook Platform-based application. If true, this could well be the first step in the move towards the consolidation which is widely expected to begin within the social networking space in the not too distant future.