Yahoo ends Social Bar, cutting off Facebook integration

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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.

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Facebook adds Open Graph actions for publishers

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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 Time.com 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.

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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.

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Facebook brings business object type to Open Graph

developer-iosLast week, Facebook updated open graph developer tools with the introduction of the business object for Open Graph. The feature will help convey local business information better in the news feed, Graph Search, Check-ins and Pages. Developers that have already found their own solutions for their businesses through Open Graph objects will still be able to use them, but Facebook encourages adopting this new object type going forward.

For developers that want to begin using this object type, this can be done by updating the object properties in the object type settings. Developers can also include additional properties for the object such as operating hours and contact data.

Simply put, this update will make it easier for local business discoverability. For example, in Graph Search, if a user were to search the phrase, “Restaurants in San Francisco my friends have visited”, Graph Search will be able to provide more accurate results. With more information from the business and accurate object types, users will be able to query search such as “Bakeries my friends have visited that are open on Sundays.”

Earlier this month, Facebook introduced Aciion Spec Targeting which allows advertisers to target users by the recency of their activity. By introducing a new local business object type, Facebook provides advertisers the ability to improve their targeting helping them create hyper-relevant ads. For example, an advertiser will be able to better target a person that has checked into the restaurant recently or made a purchase.

6 years since Facebook Platform launch, company looks to provide new app services

platformToday marks the six-year anniversary of the Facebook Platform, something that has been defining for Facebook as a company and already influenced a number of industries.

Now, Facebook is making its next big moves for the platform by introducing app services — new tools for developers that make it easier to build applications that span different devices and put users at the forefront. This is seen most clearly with the acquisition of Parse, a mobile backend as a service company, which will continue as a separate brand with a freemium services model for the time being. Facebook also recently hired the team behind Spaceport, a cross-platform development framework, and stealth software startup Osmeta, which was reportedly working on something related to enabling simpler development across devices.

“We’ve been thinking about how we can provide tools to developers to enable a more cross-platform world,” Facebook Director of Developer Products Doug Purdy said at a media “whiteboard” session Thursday. “We’re trying to create a platform that developers can build something that spans over devices and makes people the center. Regardless of the device that you or your friends are on, everyone can have a rich experience.”
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Advertisers can now target Facebook ads by recency of activity

ads logoFacebook has created a new way for businesses and developers to target ads to users who have taken an action on Facebook or in an app within a more specific time range.

Using the “action spec” targeting capability, which allows advertisers to reach users by the actions they take in Open Graph apps and on Facebook directly, an advertiser could designate a time range shorter than 14 days. The default is still 14 days, but previously there was no option to set a shorter window.

This change gives advertisers more accuracy in reaching the most relevant users for a particular message. For instance, a local business might want to reach users who checked into their store within the past week. A developer might want to target users who installed their app in the past three days. A page owner might want to retarget users who viewed one of their page tabs the day before.

Action spec targeting is still a beta feature limited to advertisers working with Preferred Marketing Developers with the Ads API, so it isn’t widely known or understood. However, the feature offers developers unique opportunities to reach users who have taken specific in-app actions, including in their competitor’s apps. It also gives brands ways to segment and target their fans by the actions they take on their page or a competitor’s page.
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Q&A with Facebook Strategic Partnerships Manager Ime Archibong

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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.
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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.

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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.

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Facebook brings ‘watched,’ ‘want to read’ and other buttons to mobile feed

open graph actionsWith the new Timeline, Facebook users can share richer stories about the books, movies, TV shows and music in their lives.

The social network is beginning to get to the vision it set out at the expansion of Open Graph in 2011. Users don’t have to Like a book, they can read it. Similarly, they can watch a movie or listen to an artist. The latest profile redesign helps users list what they’ve read, watched or listened to, but also what they want to read, watch and listen to.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a number of new ways Facebook is helping users fill out these sections of their About page, including through desktop News Feed stories and Timeline modules. Now we’ve seen options on mobile, too. In the past, it hasn’t been very easy for users to update their profiles from mobile besides Liking things in the feed. Now, it’s easier to add a range of new information just by browsing News Feed and tapping a few buttons.

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