MySpace to launch developer platform next week

MySpace will launch its application development platform next week.

MySpace Wednesday will begin letting programmers pre-register for its developer platform program, which will open for business next week.

Interested developers will be able to sign up on the site to receive information about the MySpace Developer Platform, announced in October. Then next Tuesday, the developer site will become fully operational and feature documentation and API tools to build and test applications for MySpace, the world's most popular social networking service.

Although over the years MySpace has allowed, on a case-by-case basis, some external developers to put their widgets on the social networking site, the upcoming program potentially opens the door to any coder by providing open APIs and makes it possible for developers to generate revenue from those applications.

"This gives developers deeper access to our community through APIs so they'll be able to build richer applications and also gives them an opportunity to build their business directly on MySpace. It's a natural step in the evolution of how we've worked with third party developers," said Amit Kapur, who has just been appointed chief operating officer after being in charge of business development for several years.

In October, the move was widely seen as a competitive response to rival Facebook's successful opening of its platform to outside developers in May, which has resulted in the creation of about 14,000 applications and widgets for that social networking site.

Other social networking companies have also followed suit and decided to let external developers create applications for their sites. Moreover, in November, Google launched its OpenSocial initiative to promote industry-wide adoption of common APIs for social applications, so that developers can more easily port their applications to different sites. MySpace, along with others, has indicated it supports OpenSocial.

As it gears up for the launch of the application development platform, MySpace has taken special care to put safeguards in place to prevent security and privacy breaches from third-party applications, Kapur said.

"A key interest we have as we launch this platform is to protect the user experience against things like application spam and security holes, so that'll be a major part of our launch. We're extremely committed to safety and security," he said.

Facebook has been dealing with this problem, as some over-eager developers have built self-promotion features into their applications to spur their adoption. Since its platform launch, Facebook has tweaked its tools and APIs several times to address the problem of applications that annoy users with intrusive displays and unsolicited messages, and seems to have the issue well under control now.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service

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