As promised, MySpace users can now get their hands on the first fruits of the social network's official Developer Platform -- the means by which outside developers can create official applications that integrate with the site.
Having surprised us back in November by announcing that MySpace would be signing up to Google's OpenSocial APIs (aka OpenGadget) in favor of building out its own third-party developer platform from scratch, last month, the News Corp.-owned social networking site gave further details on the MySpace Developer Platform. Of note is that applications are being given direct access to users’ public MySpace profile data (interests, region, friends’ list etc.), although they'll have to be approved by MySpace first before going live.
So what has the MySpace Developer Platform produced so far? And how do they differ from the mix bag of third-party applications that exist for Facebook?
Looking through the official MySpace Apps gallery, from which users can browse and install applications onto their profile pages, the most installed applications so far include:
- Playlist.com - "The Social Music Experiment - discover new music and broadcast it on your MySpace profile!"
- Ace Texas Hold'em Poker - "Compete in the biggest free Texas Hold'Em Poker game on the net with over 7 million players.
- "DrinkingSocial - "Organize your own personal drinking history and send beers to your friends!"
- Top Pics - "Show off your favorite images and photos from MySpace and Photobucket."
- Honesty Box - "Honesty Box lets your friends send you anonymous messages. Find out the truth!"
- Metachat - "Chat live with your friends, throw snowballs, and even watch movies together. Come join the party!"
- Pokey - "Meet Pokey, the cute, interactive 3D puppy who fetches frisbees and loves belly rubs!"
- Picnik - "Make your photos fabulous with Picnik's easy to use and powerful editing tools. It's fun!"
- PhotoFX - "Make your pics stand out with glitter and more."
- Shelfari books - "Find out what your friends are reading, and show off your books on a cool shelf."
Most of the applications in the top list have only been installed a few hundred times - at the time of posting - and also high up in the list are applications from heavyweights iLike and Flixster. Straightaway we can see quite a few trivial gaming or play time apps, such as the Nintendo DS Lite-esqe "Pokey" and "Ace Texas Hold'em Poker". We also get more social but equally trivial offerings such as drinking "games" or anonymous messaging. Three of the top ten apps so far are to do with photo sharing or photo editing, and we have a music app and book recommendations. All in all, no real differentiation from Facebook, on the surface at least, although the user experience may differ over time based on the kind of APIs that each site offers.
On that note, Mike Berkley of SpashCast (one of the chosen first companies to build a Facebook app, and now MySpace) says of the MySpace Developer Platform:
The lack of fanfare for MySpace is likely due to the fact that the MySpace Platform is still very much vapor-ware. The skeleton of an API exists, but guts are missing. For Flash application developers, there is very little social graph interaction & messaging enabled at this point. It’s a bit disappointing that even after 10 months of watching and learning from Facebook, MySpace couldn’t even bring a fully-implemented product to market - much less a game-changing product. There is no leap-frogging here, folks.