Myspace facebook logoTrailing after Facebook, MySpace will announce the launch of its Developer platform today, by opening the MySpace Developer Site to app creators around the world. Applications will be available to the users one month from today. This move could level the application development arena, given the fact that MySpace is the largest social network with over 300 million registered profiles. Although Facbook saw meteoric growth and despite the fact that it pioneered the application space, MySpace’s platform might be the tipping point of the app Industry.

What’s the devlopers angle?

In the Web 2.0 Summit back in October 2007, I attended a panel titled “Facebook as a Platform”. In the panel, moderator Dave McClure asked the top app creators on Facebook to answer the a simple question: ”what percentage of your company’s efforts are now devoted to Facebook versus other social networks?” Panel members Seth Goldstein of Social Media, Ali Partovi of iLike, Keth Rabois of Slide, and Lance Tokuda of RockYou were almost unanymous. Apart from iLike, all of them reduced their Facebook efforts to less than 35% in favor of “other things” openning up, referring to MySpace and LinkedIn. Have no mistake, MySpace’s announcement is no suprise for the big players. They’ve been preparing for this moment for months. 

What’s MySpace’s Angle?

MySpace had almost a year to learn from every move made by Facebook. Unlike Facebook that used to be a closed network before apps were made available, MySpace has allowed users to embed external programs (widgets) into their profile pages from the start, but it required seeking for it out of the MySpace framework. Now, MySpace plans to build a social economy around it, by allowing people to browse and install apps from within the site and more importantly let the developers cash in from the ad revenue generated through their app pages.In an interview with the New York Times, Amit Kapur, MySpace’s COO said:“They are doing a great job at Facebook. They have a really cool set of tools and a really cool offering. But we have a legacy of doing this. We were the first social network to really open up to developers, and I see this as a natural extension of that. This is really just the beginning.”

How is Facebook reacting?

 Facebook anticipated the move as the internet industry moves towards open platforms. It started with Google’s Open Social, continued with MySpace and will probably exponentially grow as the Data Portability project comes to life. However, Facebook has deep pockets, with over $300 million to spend on acquisitions and growth. To gain yet another advantage, Facebook announced its JavaScript client library, which allows users to create Facebook applications on any web site that serves static HTML. In addition, Facebook is planning to expand its international precense, currently representing over half of Facebook’s user base, by localizing the social network. Facebook will soon be available in Spanish, Frech and German, using a “collaborative translation tool” through the application Translations. TheMarker reports that Hebrew version might be on its way as well.  This is a neck-to-neck race with MySpace, that recently opened its Russia and Turkey versions of the site. 

Finally, what about Israel?

I’m predicting that many of the Israeli Facebook app developers will make the shift to the MySpace platform in a quest for revenue. If Facebook is quality, MySpace is quantity and being first to market has a huge impact on the rate of success., a small Israel blog covering the Israeli news related to Facebook, recently held a Facebook app competition for Israeli developers, offering the winner an iPhone and assitance launching the app and marketing it. Dozens of applications were submitted, showing the potential of the Israeli development community. Just for fun, here are the eight finalists: Voice MessengerHebrew Chat,  Time CounterSpaceBookDays to My BirthdayTzitutaitionMemory Game and Mills and Clouds. You can see more in this wiki page.  

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Eze Vidra

Head of Google for Entrepreneurs Europe and Campus London at Google
Eze is the Head of Google for Entrepreneurs Europe and Campus London. In 2005, he started VC Cafe to shine a spotlight on startups and Venture Capital in Israel, and in 2012, Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for-profit that supports education through cycling challenges for techies.
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