Facebook Releases New Inbox, Notification APIs

facebook-logoFacebook released two new APIs aimed at spurring developers to create new features around its messaging and notifications systems, and also introduced a simplified way for developers to let users attach application content to messages, the company said in a blog post this afternoon. This is a big opportunity for developers, Facebook’s Platform Manager Dave Morin points out, as the freshly released APIs, “Inbox API” and “notifications API,” enable developers to build innovative features on core Facebook product experiences that haven’t been open to third-parties before.

Now developers can create features within applications that allow Facebook users to read their messages and be alerted of notifications without logging into the actual Facebook site or their email. Because of this new capability, Nick O’Neill over at AllFacebook predicts that by the end of this year, “we could soon see just about all of our Facebook interactions being made accessible through 3rd party applications.” The Inbox API lets developers display users’ Facebook messages within an application. For example, Morin said developers could create applications that stream a user’s Facebook messages alongside their email client program, such as Outlook. The Inbox API is read-only, so developers can access users’ Facebook messages with their permission, but can’t send messages via this API just yet. Similar to the Inbox API, the notifications API lets Facebook users access their notifications outside of the social network’s site or email. Facebook for Adobe AIR currently uses the two APIs to show message alerts and notifications alongside its application window. The release of these new APIs continue Facebook’s support of developing more creative and useful applications into its platform rather than time-wasting, frivolous ones.