Social Enterprise

MySpace launches Facebook-like app platform

In a bid to keep up with Facebook, social network behemoth MySpace launched its beta application platform to Australian developers last night.

In a bid to keep up with Facebook, social network behemoth MySpace launched its beta application platform to Australian developers last night.

Based on Google's OpenSocial platform, MySpace is allowing developers to create social applications integrated with users' profiles on the social networking site.

Applications like "What's your Stripper Name" which became popular on Facebook have already been ported to MySpace's platform. Creator of the application, Dr Markus Weichselbaum — who denies having tweaked the code to come up with his stripper name "Mecki Wunderschlong" — said OpenSocial will open applications to the younger demographic of users on MySpace.

MySpace's platform will be able to access publicly available information on users' profiles including friend's list, interests, photos, video, as well as status and moods. For example, users will be able to see what Kevin Rudd's stripper name is without being his friend.

According to MySpace Australia, over 600 applications have been launched on the platform around the world so far.

Part of the attraction of the new platform for developers like Weichselbaum is the potential advertising revenue: developers will be able to put advertising on their applications and keep 100 percent of the revenue. They will also be allowed to develop sponsored applications, sell products, and create special advertisement areas.

When asked if this will have the potential to canibalise MySpace's own advertising potential Allen Hurff, senior vice president of engineering at MySpace, said he believed it wouldn't harm advertising revenue but "complement it".

Under the hood developers can expect to be able to use two JavaScript libraries, one for OpenSocial, and another for specific MySpace-only extensions. This means developers using special MySpace-only extensions won't be able to port applications directly to other social networking sites such as Bebo or Hi5, although Hurff said he didn't think it will splinter the development on the OpenSocial platform.

The platform supports Flash, and includes a JavaScript to ActionScript 3.0 translator.

To protect users against malicious applications, MySpace, along with Google, is developing a JavaScript sanitiser. The purpose of this technology, dubbed Caja, is to make JavaScript safe for consumers to use but not restrict developers in terms of programming functionality of the scripting language.

Daniel Reyes, head of engineering at MySpace Australia, said users data would follow the same privacy controls and terms that are in place for current members.

"An application will never have access to information that cannot be found publicly on any member's profile page. Applications will also go through a rigorous safety review process before going live to our members", Ryes said in a statement.

Further information and documentation of the platform can be found at the Aussie developers MySpace page.

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