Facebook Inc. is expected to announce momentous plans today

Facebook Inc. is expected to announce momentous plans to open up core parts of its sites. This will likely trigger a wave of third-party integration of Facebook streams with other popular feeds, most notably that of Twitter.

The announcement, predictable Monday, means developers can access the photos, videos, notes and upload the comments to Facebook, with the permission of the users. It introduces a great change in the social networking site, which controls over the look and feel of its service.

We will be a major step closer to a single stream of realtime events. This in turn will rapidly accelerate a convergence around micromessaging similar to the one around email when it achieved a critical mass following AOL’s opening up of the limited educational and government mail systems to average users.

Developers could build a Web site that aggregates just the articles certain friends upload to the site or build a service that associates the photos a user had uploaded to Facebook with their account on another Web site, like an email service. To take advantage of the new services, users would have to allow the companies to receive access to their Facebook data, according to people familiar with the matter, and users' privacy settings on Facebook will extend to any new services built.

FriendFeed’s realtime direct messages will likely be duplicated in short order by Facebook, and the opportunity for meshing Facebook and Twitter together will prove irresistible to the hot Twitter client market, what with Tweetie for the Mac synchronizing with its leading iPhone app.

The plans are expected to be discussed at a developer event in Palo Alto on Monday. The announcement suggests something between those two views, with a single aggregated feed managed by two or more of the players in a distributed cross-licensing model.

Still, Facebook, which has around 200 million users world-wide, has been heavily criticized for not doing more and for requiring developers to write some services using a customized Facebook programming language. Other companies like micro-blogging service Twitter have generated buzz by opening up more of their core features to developers.


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