The discussion about Facebook Platform being the new AOL, i.e. redundant to the platform we already have called the Internet, has rung true for me, despite my initial enthusiasm. I finally figured out exactly why — Facebook Platform applications are appended, not integrated.
For example — why can’t I use Twitter IN PLACE OF the Facebook Status application? They serve essentially the same function — if I already use Twitter, why should I be forced to double post in order to update my friends?
Here’s Facebook’s status application at the top of my profile page:
I can update my status right on the profile page, i.e. it’s fully integrated:
And here’s the Twitter application buried at the bottom of my profile page, next to the message wall, which doesn’t inter-operate with Twitter either.
If I try to move the twitter app up the page, it doesn’t let me put it above the Mini-Feed. To use Twitter, unlike Facebook Status, I have to go to another page which feels like a frame circa 1997 — why not just go to Twitter to use Twitter?
That problem is in sharp relief with Zoho’s new Facebook App:
Every link takes you off of Facebook to the Zoho site — so the app is just links to Zoho inside of Facebook — what’s the point? I went to share a document on those separate Zoho pages, assuming that would be wired into the Facebook share feature, but it’s not — it just asks for email addresses:
True integration would be allowing me to REPLACE the Facebook Notes application with Zoho.
Here are the key questions that Facebook developers and users should be asking themselves:
- Does my application actually integrate with Facebook, or is it effectively just a link ad for my app on Facebook — or sticking my app in a Facebook frame?
- Am I deriving as much value from having my application in the walled garden as Facebook is by keeping its users in the walled garden to use my app?
- Is life better/easier/more productive using/accessing an app inside of Facebook rather than going to the app directly?
- What’s the advantage of Facebook applications over tabbed browsing?