Facebook Timeline gets new Open Graph apps

Facebook today started rolling out the new Open Graph apps for its Timeline profile. There are now 60 to 80 Open Graph apps available; the exact number depends on which ones you're counting.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

As expected, Facebook today launched new Open Graph apps (the timing of the new Auth Dialog for apps was no accident). The social networking giant wants each user's activity, both online and offline, to be documented on their Facebook Timeline, and these apps will play a big part in that: adding an app means it will update your Timeline for you whenever you do a given activity.

The company today announced 60 new partners and that it will begin approving apps that integrate with Timeline today. The social networking giant says it plans to have all actions previously submitted approved "within the next month."

Facebook first announced the Open Graph apps at its f8 developer conference in September 2011: the third-party mini applications "frictionlessly" and continuously share users' actions on Facebook after a user has given permission once.

If you're wondering about these new social apps, here's a quick refresher. They are designed to help you discover what your friends are currently doing, beyond the fact that they just Like something. Facebook wants developers to do more than just use the Liked verb (and the Read, Watched, and Listened verbs aren't enough either).

During his keynote, Facebook co-founder and CEO Zuckerberg showed Cooked and Ran as possible examples of Open Graph Actions. The Open Graph is "a completely new class of social apps" Zuckerberg said at the time. Today, Facebook mentioned "eating, traveling, shopping, running, or taking pictures" as actions the apps can share on your Timeline.

Some of these apps have already launched over the past few months, as I'm sure you've already seen on your Ticker, your News Feed, and maybe even other people's Timelines. These are just apps from Facebook's 17 launch partners though, however, and again only encompass news, music, and videos (Read, Watched, and Listened). Today, Facebook added 60 new partners – including Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot, TripAdvisor, and others. I asked the company for a complete list, and here's the answer I got back:

  • Giving: Causes, Fundrazr, and Artez.com
  • Travel: Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Where I've Been, Wipolo, and Gogobot
  • Food / Drink: Cookpad, Snooth, Urbanspoon, Yummly, Foodspotting, and Foodily
  • Shopping / Fashion: Pose, Pinterest, Polyvore, Oodle, Fab.com, eBay, Giftrocket, Payvment, and Livingsocial
  • Fitness: MapMyRun, Runkeeper, and Nike GPS+
  • Entertainment: Dailymotion (France), Cinemur (France), Metacafe, Ford, EA, Wooga (German), and OMGPOP (Draw My Thing)
  • More: BranchOut, Color, Courserank, Foursquare, Goodreads, Monster, StubHub, Ticketfly, Afisha, Appsfire, Artfinder, Autotrader, and Grockit
  • Music: Spotify (Swedish-founded), Rdio, Earbits, MOG, iHeartRadio, Slacker, Rhapsody, Jelli, Earbits, Songza, Soundcloud (German), and Turntable.fm
  • News: Washington Post Social Reader, The Guardian (UK), The Independent (UK), Yahoo! News, The Daily (UK), The Huffington Post, Digg, and Buzz Feed
  • Video: Hulu and Netflix

Not all of these are available at facebook.com/about/timeline/apps quite yet, but a significant number of them are. In total, 68 companies are listed above. On its website though, Facebook features 79 apps, but that's because some partners have more than one app and other apps are built by the company itself.

Developers have been furiously coding apps that leverage Open Graph Actions over the last four months. Some of them have been done for a while, and have simply been waiting for Facebook to give them the green light. Now it finally has.

When they first started out, the company told developers their Actions must be "simple, genuine, and non-abusive." Here are the details:

  • Simple. Actions must correspond to single verbs and objects must correspond to single nouns. We will reject apps that corrupt the structure of graph by adding poorly named actions and objects as well as apps publishing activity that appear to be Requests.
  • Genuine. Your app must publish Open Graph actions that are based on actions that users take in your app.
  • Non-abusive. Do not mislead, confuse, or surprise users with unexpected posts. Action and objects must be well-formed and not violate our content policies.

Facebook is going to face a huge backlash (again) in regards to these new apps. If this launch goes anything like the last one though, millions are still going to embrace them. Let's just hope there won't be any serious problems, like exposing user data.

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