Facebook Updates APIs, Canvas, Home Page to Improve the Games Experience

Facebook posted updates to its developer blog today detailing changes to the Canvas Page, Graph APIs and bookmarking, and games stores in the news feed. The changes are designed to improve game discovery, retention, and user experience. features that better surface games stories.

Home Page Changes

As promised, Facebook is also improving its automated systems behind surfacing games stories and making it easier to locate games in a centralized location. The homepage bookmarks panel has been updated so that the number and order of bookmarks in the groups and apps section changes based on a user’s habits, presumably so users who actively play more games will see more bookmarks. Users can also manually add bookmarks to a “Favorites” section, which appears at the top of all bookmarks if they want to keep a game handy despite engagement with other games.

Facebook is also changing how game stories appear in the news feed. This could improve discovery for all Facebook users after nearly a year of non-gamers only seeing the occasional story about a friend installing a new game. “We’ve begun rolling out a new ranking system that better surfaces app stories to the people who will most likely to engage with it, including those who don’t already use the app.

Games that publish stories that receive high volumes of Likes and comments will be more likely to have their stories appear in the news feed, while those whose stories are often hidden from the feed or marked as spam will be less likely to appear. Depending on how the system is tuned, it could reduce the reliance of developers on paid marketing channels.

Canvas Page Changes

As you can see from the screenshot below, game discovery is now available through Bookmarks that appear at the top of the right-hand corner of Facebook while users are playing games. The Bookmarks with red numbers indicate apps without outstanding requests, prompting the user to click on the Bookmark for quicker re-engagement with games requests.

> Continue reading about the changes to the Canvas page, including information on the new dedicated games ticker on Inside Social Games.

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