Is Facebook Feeling the Burden of Establishing Its Platform?

fbplatformSome upcoming changes on Facebook have raised a few concerns from developers, but users will probably give a sigh of relief. Not only is Facebook moving towards a more dictator-like policy with developer apps, but the company is also placing more limitations on application alerts.

The changes themselves will restrict applications’ ability to post in Facebook users’ notifications, which appear in the bottom left corner of your Facebook profile. Additionally, Facebook is reportedly tired of constantly updating its application policies and regulations, hence the move to a more subjective form of dealing with applications.

For developers, this means that they have less access to users. Several developers find that notifications are great ways to bring traffic back to their application, which is probably because notifications used to be restricted to Facebook alerts only, and they contain all of the important activity updates that pertain directly to you.

It’s understandable why users would be relieved with the updated terms, yet it’s easy to see why developers are worried about the ever-changing rules surrounding application interaction options within Facebook’s network. Changes on Facebook’s end typically means that developers are being further limited in some way, presenting new challenges at every turn of their Facebook-specific campaign.

What I found particularly interesting about these changes is the fact that Facebook is ultimately asking developers to seek other ways in which to interact with their users. Facebook’s decision to take a more subjective approach to developer apps coupled with the latest limitations for app alerts, I’m wondering if Facebook is starting to feel the burden of establishing a major platform standard.

As a company with a first mover advantage for socially integrated platforms, Facebook has been key in establishing standards for how similar platforms will work across the board. It’s platform has introduced a great deal of opportunity for the company as well as third party developers and marketers, as applications presented a new way in which to connect with users.

While the hope is that the recent Facebok changes will encourage developers to focus on quality interactions with users instead of the quantity of interactions, the fact remains that Facebook’s decisions ultimately have an effect on the monetization potential behind applications. This will trickle right back up to Facebook, as its ability to monetize its platform will be somewhat effected by this in the end. But the dedication to the users’ experience is a necessity for Facebook, and will likely help platform standards in the end.

Time will tell whether or not Facebook is handling its relationships with developers in the most ideal sense. Even as testing has gone on around a performance-based regulatory system surrounding an app’s ability to potentially spam users, spam always seems to sneak through anyway. Regardless of how Facebook feels about being a leader in the market, it will have to deal with its position one way or another. The ongoing tit-for-tat dance between spammier apps and Facebook won’t go away anytime soon.

Will Businesses Get Rid of their Servers Anytime Soon?

servers.pngThere’s been a lot of development by way of DaaS an other business applications that are, in some way, hosted solutions for SMBs to take advantage of for a variety of purposes. From LongJump to Egnyte, the hope here is that they can provide additional value in the form of server space. For all intents and purposes, this is the next step for web-based services to offer options to businesses to trim down their own costs by not having to buy their own servers. That’s what the cloud space is for.

So far, what I’ve seen on a personal level is more specific implementations of how this can eventually come to be. Salesforce is very much concerned (obviously) with the way in which businesses interact with their customers, and LongJump is tackling both ends of the spectrum with specific tools for internal and customer interaction. By providing hosted server space for the development of applications that work towards these ends, Salesforce and LongJump are making it easier for businesses to ease the IT process.

While this approach is still directed towards the developer end, Egnyte has just launched some business-centric tools that also look to minimize the need for a business to buy its own servers. It’s approach is in providing a space for file-storage, file-backup and file-sharing in an effort to support the collaborative efforts of a team. Businesses have typically been slower to adopt web-based services to power aspects of their every day business tasks.

But with all the current development going on, it’s becoming easier for businesses to further adopt web-based services, especially when they do so much as to replace a company’s servers? I think the task-specific way in which these emerging services makes it easier for adoption rates to be successful, given the approach that each service has taken by offering value for very different reasons to help out with different areas of a business. An all-encompassing approach would indeed be too much ti win over the majority of SMBs out there.

But the three companies aren’t the only ones providing such virtual services for business use. Microsoft has been expanding its own cloud (and other) services for some time, and poses a seemingly immediate threat more so to a tool like Egnyte’s than those of Salesforce or LongJump. That’s not to say that the new guys won’t succeed, but it does put into focus the potential for Microsoft to maintain its hold on the business sector if SMBs do in deed begin to adopt such web-based solutions for their own purposes. For now, it looks like the fragmented application model, addressing needs on an as-need basis is almost better for the current climate. Do you think this will help with the adoption rate of such applications and business tools?