Friendster set to open its platform to developers

Social network to let third parties start building new widgets in November

Social networking site Friendster announced Thursday that it will launch a developer program in November that will provide developers with more access to its network.

Until the Friendster Developer Program launches November 30, developers can access an initial set of application programming interfaces and test applications to build and integrate their widgets with Friendster, the company said.

"We're basically adding ... APIs to extract information on users and our friend list and enable many more things to be done. Now it is much easier for developers to build new widgets," said David Jones, vice president of marketing at Friendster Inc.

Under the program, the company will not restrict the revenue model or require developers to share revenue gained from their Friendster applications, he added.

The developer program will let developers access data and seamless integration points within the social networking site, allowing them to build rich sets of widgets.

Developers can also continue using older Flash and HTML widgets on Friendster without modification, the company said.

Users can browse, discover, preview and add widgets via a new Widget Directory that will be available in November. Additional APIs will be added to the developer program over time, with strong preference given to those requested by developers.

Friendster is the latest social network to expand access to developers. Facebook made its platform available to developers earlier this year and MySpace last week announced plans to do the same.

This is the third stage of Friendster opening its network. In August 2006, it began allowing users to add HTML and Flash widgets to their profiles and to share content with their friends. And last month, it announced plans to allow music artists and others to build fan profiles on the site.

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
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