Yahoo ends Social Bar, cutting off Facebook integration


Yahoo is cutting off Facebook integration through its social reader, the Yahoo Social Bar, an app that has declined precipitously in popularity. The company claims that it is sunsetting the Yahoo Social Bar in order to work on more Yahoo-centric features for current users.

The Yahoo Social Bar will no longer be available as of today the company announced.


Facebook adds Open Graph actions for publishers


Facebook on Thursday announced that it has updated its Open Graph tags, allowing publishers and authors to have a link back to their Facebook page whenever someone shares content from their website. For instance, if someone shares to Facebook a story from written by Fareed Zakaria, users who engage with the post can see a prompt to follow Zakaria’s Facebook page.

Publishers can choose to either have the like prompt be for the publisher or the author, using the HTML tags article:publisher or article:author. The follow (for someone like Zakaria) or like prompt will only appear for users who have not already done so. However, if a story has multiple authors, the publisher will have to choose one.

Facebook also improved the flow for developers to have their Open Graph actions approved, making it clearer what Facebook needs to review.


Facebook-connected fitness apps translate into real life success

Running300Fitness applications are growing in popularity — largely because they work well, especially when a user connects the app to their Facebook account. While it’s difficult to measure Facebook-connected fitness apps’ success in terms of pounds lost, developers are claiming that users who sign into the app through Facebook tend to keep using it.

For instance, on RunKeeper, when users share their fitness activities on Facebook, there is a 40 percent chance that they will continue to use the app. Whether it’s peer pressure or the positive engagement from friends, users of Facebook-connected fitness apps tend to keep going on runs, walks, and bike excursions when they sign in through the social network.

Jackie Chang, a partner manager for fitness apps at Facebook, recently spoke with Inside Facebook about how people use fitness apps such as Endomondo and Nike, as well as what’s ahead for the platform — including improvements in timeline and Graph Search.


Facebook adds option for star ratings on content in Timeline sections and apps

celebrityFacebook today completed its global rollout of the new Timeline design with sections for music, movies, books, fitness and more. Now, it will begin letting users rate content from those sections or from third-party apps.

Facebook says users have added nearly 200 million items to their sections daily. Since Timeline sections launched in March, more than 17 billion songs have been added to people’s music sections through Likes and listening activity from apps. With the option for star ratings on books, movies and TV shows, users will have even more ways to engage with content and add to Facebook’s burgeoning entertainment platform.

The data could improve Graph Search results, News Feed relevancy, ad targeting and other components of Facebook, while allowing third-party apps to be even more personalized and offer users better recommendations. Developers can also build in features to allow users to rate content through their apps using the “rate” action, which was recently added to Open Graph.



Q&A with Facebook Strategic Partnerships Manager Ime Archibong


In the first half of 2013, Facebook has made a number of moves to improve its platform for entertainment and lifestyle applications.

New Timeline sections give users a place to save and display their favorite books, movies, TV shows and music. Developers can use new common Open Graph actions like “want to watch” and “want to read.” Users can share what they’re listening to, eating, feeling and more through structured status updates. Graph Search lets them find content and recommendations through friends and others. And a deal with Rovi gives Facebook a detailed database of information about movies, TV shows and celebrities

We spoke to Facebook Manager, Strategic Partnerships Ime Archibong about the new opportunities for entertainment apps on the platform, Facebook’s expanding role in content discovery, and how Open Graph can represent our offline activities and memories. The following is an edited transcript from that interview.

Inside Facebook: So it seems like a good time to talk to you now with the the new Timeline sections, News Feed and Graph Search all launched. Let’s start by talking about the state of Facebook’s entertainment platform.

Ime Archibong: I’m really excited about the suite of assets that are available for apps right now, in the entertainment space particularly and in the music space, which is one of the things I’m most excited about. You have things that are great for users. Take sections in the Timeline redesign that came out. Users now have a home for where their music consumption goes, and I’m pretty excited about that.

News Feed continues to be an important piece of distribution property for apps. With the redesign and the prominence of the music section coming out, that’s another huge asset. Graph Search. I think we’re still a ways away from where we’re going to go with Graph Search, but there’s no mystery that Open Graph actions will be showing up in Graph Search at some point, and that’s going to be a good source of traffic for these entertainment apps.

And I like what we’re doing in mobile right now. The new pages redesign is slick, it’s user-centric. If you think of that as a music artist’s home base in the Facebook ecosystem, and as we make it more engaging for users, it’s a good piece of real estate for artists themselves. I look at all these assets starting to stack up and how they come together and make us a meaningful distribution platform for these apps.

Facebook announces new mobile platform features to give app developers better tools

mobile devFacebook today announced a number of changes meant to improve the experience and increase the possibilities for mobile developers building apps that integrate with the social network. This includes new Open Graph APIs, a standard mobile share dialog, faster login and a Technology Partners program to help developers find third-party solutions that suit their needs.

One of the most significant developments announced today is the Object API, which allows mobile developers to create Open Graph objects without having to host corresponding webpages. Previously, applications had to serve data into Open Graph through web endpoints, so native iOS and Android apps weren’t able to build the same types of experiences or gain the same opportunities for distribution and discovery as web-basedd apps, unless they have the resources to build a web backend. Now this won’t be necessary and mobile or web apps can use the Object API for easier object creation.

Facebook is also introducing an object privacy model to allow objects that have custom or non-public privacy settings. This is especially important for some of the user generated content that comes from mobile apps. Web-hosted objects, on the other hand, have always had to be public. To help developers manage all their objects now, Facebook created a new “object browser” interface — seen below — that aims to organize developers’ objects in a more visual and intuitive way.


Facebook simplifies process for apps to incorporate Open Graph actions

open graph symbolFacebook today announced some changes to make it easier for developers to add Open Graph actions to their apps, including making it possible for apps to publish common actions without any configuration.

Facebook made it so that actions such as read, watch, listen and run — known as “common” or “built-in” actions — can be implemented directly using code it provides. Developers no longer have to configure these actions in the platform’s Open Graph tools. Developers can simply choose the action they want to include and the SDK their app uses, and Facebook will generate the appropriate code in the API reference section of its developer site. However, all app actions, including common ones, will need to be reviewed and approved by Facebook before going live.



Facebook gives developers more ways to have their apps featured on user Timelines

facebook developer updateAlong with a Timeline redesign, Facebook today announced new features for developers to get their apps more prominently featured on users’ profiles.

Timeline includes new app and activity-driven sections that users can customize to highlight the categories and apps that are most important to them. Developers can configure “collections,” which showcase a user’s activity in their app. For example, Foursquare displays a user’s check-ins, badges, top places, saved places and map. These app sections will replace Timeline “aggregations,” which didn’t necessarily include all Open Graph stories and were not easily discoverable in the old UI. However, developers who previously configured aggregations will need to now create collections, which must be approved by Facebook.


When users add an app section, they can choose where it appears among their other sections, and it will remain there until they edit the order or visibility of the section. Previously, app modules would appear sporadically on Timeline. Users couldn’t control which apps were displayed or in what order. App sections also weren’t available on mobile before, but are in the latest update.


Facebook adds run, walk, rate, want to read and more actions to Open Graph

open graph globeFacebook today announced new ways for lifestyle apps to tap into Open Graph with verbs:  run, walk, bike, rate, quote, want to read and want to watch.

These will be known as “built-in” or “common” actions, making them similar to how read, watch and listen can be incorporated into third-party applications. Although developers have been able to create their own custom actions with Open Graph, built-in actions help Facebook better understand the relationship between objects so that it can properly organize them in News Feed, Timeline aggregations and eventually search.

For example, if three of a user’s friends rate the same movie, Facebook can group those actions into a single News Feed story. Those stories can also include elements like star ratings or a fitness app could show stats from a user’s workout. Facebook says these features have improved the clickthrough rates for developers who have been testing them, such as Rotten Tomatoes and MapMyFitness. Other apps that have already added these actions include Nike, Runkeeper, GoodReads, Hulu and more. new-book-action (more…)

Facebook tests new ‘rated’ action for books and other content in Open Graph apps

impactFacebook is testing new built-in Open Graph actions for lifestyle apps, including a “rated” action for books, movies and other content.

The new actions, which were pointed out to us by developer Tom Waddington, can be found in Facebook’s Open Graph action schemas for books and videos. There are new actions for “rate” and “quote,” along with “wants to read” and “wants to watch.” “Review” seems to be a new built-in object type, which can apply to reviews for books, movies, TV shows and episodes or other forms of content. There also seems to be a new way for users to share the percentage of a book they’ve completed. “Quote” is likely a way to share a particular passage.

Facebook tells us it has nothing to announce at this time, but it appears book app Goodreads is already testing some of these new Open Graph features. It has implemented the “rated” action and allowed users to share their star rating. According to Facebook’s Open Graph schemas, it seems developers could also enable users to share a number rating or a link to a review page instead of stars.

rate book

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