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:
![Facebook Status](https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing2-images/Facebook Status.jpg)
I can update my status right on the profile page, i.e. it’s fully integrated:
![Facebook Status 2](https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing2-images/Facebook Status 2.jpg)
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.
![Facebook Twitter 2](https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing2-images/Facebook Twitter 2.jpg)
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?
![Facebook Twitter](https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing2-images/Facebook Twitter.jpg)
That problem is in sharp relief with Zoho’s new Facebook App:
![Facebook Zoho 2](https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing2-images/Facebook Zoho 2.jpg)
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:
![Facebook Zoho 3](https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing2-images/Facebook Zoho 3.jpg)
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?