The biggest problem for Facebook’s app platform

No, it’s not Dave McClure. Heheh. Great post Dave that every Facebook app developer should read.

So, smartass Scoble, what is the biggest problem? So many of the apps I try simply don’t work as advertised.

I’ve just removed my Twitter, Pownce, and Jaiku app from Facebook. Why? They simply don’t work.

I just tried the Plazes application. One of the founders of Plazes was here talking about it today. It sounded very exciting. He told me that it’d show me where everyone who is in my Facebook contact list is. Problem is it doesn’t work.

So I remove it.

When these things all start working again, let me know. Until then they really need to test their applications a lot better.

So far I’m very unimpressed by the quality of Facebook apps. Anyone have a good one that actually adds some utility to Facebook? I’d love to add it. But make sure it works before giving me a call. The Kyte.tv app also is great.

One that does work? Google Reader app. It hasn’t failed yet and has earned an “above the fold” place on my Facebook profile.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. Agree with your comments on the lack of quality in FB apps. Most of them add zero value to people’s lives.

    Check out our Shelfari application for people who want to show off their books. We have a few more key features to release to improve it more, but it is starting to get pretty cool. It supports linking your account with the more full featured main website.

    Josh

  2. Agree with your comments on the lack of quality in FB apps. Most of them add zero value to people’s lives.

    Check out our Shelfari application for people who want to show off their books. We have a few more key features to release to improve it more, but it is starting to get pretty cool. It supports linking your account with the more full featured main website.

    Josh

  3. The Twitter Facebook app was indeed broken for quite a while, but as of last week is working again, at least for me.

  4. The Twitter Facebook app was indeed broken for quite a while, but as of last week is working again, at least for me.

  5. I haven’t really tried any of the Facebook Apps, so I can’t say whether or not I agree, but if you are right I think the reason is probably because a lot of the Apps probably weren’t written by people that are really in that field. I think they were probably written by college students (since that’s who most Facebook members are) using the development software in the campus labs. I admit that I have Visual Studio at home, but I couldn’t afford it before I graduated, and most other college students probably can’t either (and I doubt that people not in that field will ever buy it). So most of the people that write those apps probably don’t know how to write and test good code anyway. Just my theory, no offense to those of you that do know what you’re doing.

  6. I haven’t really tried any of the Facebook Apps, so I can’t say whether or not I agree, but if you are right I think the reason is probably because a lot of the Apps probably weren’t written by people that are really in that field. I think they were probably written by college students (since that’s who most Facebook members are) using the development software in the campus labs. I admit that I have Visual Studio at home, but I couldn’t afford it before I graduated, and most other college students probably can’t either (and I doubt that people not in that field will ever buy it). So most of the people that write those apps probably don’t know how to write and test good code anyway. Just my theory, no offense to those of you that do know what you’re doing.

  7. The biggest problems with facebook applications is that a) 99% of them are indeed rubbish (food fight…?) and b) it gets mighty tiring ignoring all the invites to use them and seeing the notifications of “Jim added the ‘this is b/s’ application.”

    Is there a way to turn all this crap off without losing the decent notifications from your friends? At the moment I feel like I’m getting spammed with application rubbish every time I log in.

  8. The biggest problems with facebook applications is that a) 99% of them are indeed rubbish (food fight…?) and b) it gets mighty tiring ignoring all the invites to use them and seeing the notifications of “Jim added the ‘this is b/s’ application.”

    Is there a way to turn all this crap off without losing the decent notifications from your friends? At the moment I feel like I’m getting spammed with application rubbish every time I log in.

  9. I added a flickr photo app today and it took 3 tries. Each time it went a little further in the process. It finally worked even though it stated there was an error. The appps developer blamed Facebook changing something in their app platform this morning. I find that hard to believe, but it may be true. There should b an approval process. Approved Facebbok Apps would be more appealing than installing and removing apps.

  10. I added a flickr photo app today and it took 3 tries. Each time it went a little further in the process. It finally worked even though it stated there was an error. The appps developer blamed Facebook changing something in their app platform this morning. I find that hard to believe, but it may be true. There should b an approval process. Approved Facebbok Apps would be more appealing than installing and removing apps.

  11. Actually, the Facebook applications platform has some stability issues – join the Developers group and read the discussion board and offical notices if you want a better flavor of this. Problems with apps might be 80% developers and 20% Facebook at this point. Also, Facebook is too busy rolling stuff out and fixing things to always notify developers of potential app breakers coming down the pike.

    They do basic testing of apps during the approval process required to be listed in the directory, but you can imagine what that misses.

    One problem is adapting your hosting plan to the viral growth rate. Developers are posting topics like “250,000 users – now what do I do?” That developer had nearly 700,000 one week later.

  12. Actually, the Facebook applications platform has some stability issues – join the Developers group and read the discussion board and offical notices if you want a better flavor of this. Problems with apps might be 80% developers and 20% Facebook at this point. Also, Facebook is too busy rolling stuff out and fixing things to always notify developers of potential app breakers coming down the pike.

    They do basic testing of apps during the approval process required to be listed in the directory, but you can imagine what that misses.

    One problem is adapting your hosting plan to the viral growth rate. Developers are posting topics like “250,000 users – now what do I do?” That developer had nearly 700,000 one week later.

  13. Couldn’t agree more – that’s why I made the comment on mcclure’s post that it reminds of the 1995 and the explosion of shareware after win95 was launched most of which was crap. It’s early, early, early in the development of FB apps but what’s interesting is how much more polished myspace widgets were a year ago.

  14. Couldn’t agree more – that’s why I made the comment on mcclure’s post that it reminds of the 1995 and the explosion of shareware after win95 was launched most of which was crap. It’s early, early, early in the development of FB apps but what’s interesting is how much more polished myspace widgets were a year ago.

  15. By far and away the most useful application I have found is myTV. It gives you full YouTube search functionality within Facebook inside an amazing interface – really sleek, all in flash.

    You can add an unlimited number of YouTube videos to your profile, see what videos your friends have added etc.

    They just launched a Hot Videos section that’s pretty useful, it shows all the videos being watched on the myTV application in a live feed, top in 24 hours, top in the week – kind of like Digg.

    Never had any problems with it, everything works quite well.

  16. By far and away the most useful application I have found is myTV. It gives you full YouTube search functionality within Facebook inside an amazing interface – really sleek, all in flash.

    You can add an unlimited number of YouTube videos to your profile, see what videos your friends have added etc.

    They just launched a Hot Videos section that’s pretty useful, it shows all the videos being watched on the myTV application in a live feed, top in 24 hours, top in the week – kind of like Digg.

    Never had any problems with it, everything works quite well.

  17. The Jaxtr app seems to work properly, as do the kyte.tv and splashcast apps. Of course the native Facebook apps are just fine. Picnick has worked for me thus far. I would say the Twitter and Pownce apps have been the biggest disappointments, and the last.fm app rocks, but is not yet 100% stable.

  18. The Jaxtr app seems to work properly, as do the kyte.tv and splashcast apps. Of course the native Facebook apps are just fine. Picnick has worked for me thus far. I would say the Twitter and Pownce apps have been the biggest disappointments, and the last.fm app rocks, but is not yet 100% stable.

  19. Not really having the same problems here Robert, I like the Dopplr app quite a lot and its always pretty ok, The new Jangl app Phonebook is really good also. Lets give everyone time to bed this in.
    Gave up on Twitter and Pownce appears not to be going to happen unfortunately.

  20. Not really having the same problems here Robert, I like the Dopplr app quite a lot and its always pretty ok, The new Jangl app Phonebook is really good also. Lets give everyone time to bed this in.
    Gave up on Twitter and Pownce appears not to be going to happen unfortunately.

  21. I had to install the Notes application a couple of times to get my blog feed to display. Notes would install, but the blog feed just would not import. Finally on about the third try, it just worked.

    I haven’t spent a lot of time looking, but the only application that installed and worked well for me was the Zoho integration.

  22. I had to install the Notes application a couple of times to get my blog feed to display. Notes would install, but the blog feed just would not import. Finally on about the third try, it just worked.

    I haven’t spent a lot of time looking, but the only application that installed and worked well for me was the Zoho integration.

  23. Agreed – and really, with all the JaiTwiPownce apps, can’t *anyone* talk to the Facebook folks and find out a way to fully integrate with the site’s own status updates (eg. “Jonathan is…”)?

    Having a load of random application stuck on your profile is one thing. But fully integrating them will be the key.

  24. Agreed – and really, with all the JaiTwiPownce apps, can’t *anyone* talk to the Facebook folks and find out a way to fully integrate with the site’s own status updates (eg. “Jonathan is…”)?

    Having a load of random application stuck on your profile is one thing. But fully integrating them will be the key.

  25. Reading all these kind of makes me change my mind about creating a facebook app for our site http://www.peopleperhour.com.

    I’m just taking a high-level view; with so many apps already out there, and some stability issues it just sounds like unless we manage to create the mother of all apps, the commercial gain for us might not be much at this point in time.

    @Jonathan – I think you are absolutely right, full integration will be key and that’s why I’m getting a bit nervous embarking on the FB apps path right now.

  26. Reading all these kind of makes me change my mind about creating a facebook app for our site http://www.peopleperhour.com.

    I’m just taking a high-level view; with so many apps already out there, and some stability issues it just sounds like unless we manage to create the mother of all apps, the commercial gain for us might not be much at this point in time.

    @Jonathan – I think you are absolutely right, full integration will be key and that’s why I’m getting a bit nervous embarking on the FB apps path right now.

  27. Hi Robert,

    I just met with Dave Morin from Facebook the mastermind behind platform. He says that the problems you had with the Plazes app is a problem that many apps will have right now if you have thousands of friends. The Facebook API cannot handle status request for thousands of friends at the same time right now. So I hate to say it, but you´re a border case ;)

    Talk to Dave about it.

    We will however do everything necessary to ensure quality from our side.

  28. Hi Robert,

    I just met with Dave Morin from Facebook the mastermind behind platform. He says that the problems you had with the Plazes app is a problem that many apps will have right now if you have thousands of friends. The Facebook API cannot handle status request for thousands of friends at the same time right now. So I hate to say it, but you´re a border case ;)

    Talk to Dave about it.

    We will however do everything necessary to ensure quality from our side.

  29. I started using Facebook a week ago, after much resistance to the new culture of technologists. So, my bias in the comment is that I’m not a big Facebook fan. The Facebook apps are interesting to me though. The integration could be better (often times it’s hard to figure out how they are accessed after installed).

    I added “Feed invasion” to my site to show the feeds of my personal blogs on my Facebook site. It’s working well enough, but I’d like more… like to be able to change the number of items shown, to change the order of the blogs, to show a summary of the posts, etc.

    There is also a lot of noise with the Facebook app search, looks like a lot of junk to me.

  30. I started using Facebook a week ago, after much resistance to the new culture of technologists. So, my bias in the comment is that I’m not a big Facebook fan. The Facebook apps are interesting to me though. The integration could be better (often times it’s hard to figure out how they are accessed after installed).

    I added “Feed invasion” to my site to show the feeds of my personal blogs on my Facebook site. It’s working well enough, but I’d like more… like to be able to change the number of items shown, to change the order of the blogs, to show a summary of the posts, etc.

    There is also a lot of noise with the Facebook app search, looks like a lot of junk to me.

  31. I share in your FB app miseries. Seems like all the stable apps are of no interest to me and the intriguing ones never work. I’ve decided to give up on the platform until the kinks are worked out.

  32. I share in your FB app miseries. Seems like all the stable apps are of no interest to me and the intriguing ones never work. I’ve decided to give up on the platform until the kinks are worked out.

  33. I had high hopes for the Box.net Files app (file storage & sharing) and have so far been unimpressed. It allowed me to upload files, but so far the only thing that displays on my profile is a message that reads “Box.net Files App Loading…”

    These entities are really shooting themselves in the foot with poor quality apps- as soon as someone gets frustrated with an app, it only takes about two seconds to complain publicly about it in the forum on the app’s main page.

    In the case of the Box.net app, I responded to a post in a discussion titled “Files sucks so far” which resulted in an entry in my mini-feed that reads “Larry discussed Files sucks so far on the Files application discussion board.”

    Talk about viral bad PR…

  34. I had high hopes for the Box.net Files app (file storage & sharing) and have so far been unimpressed. It allowed me to upload files, but so far the only thing that displays on my profile is a message that reads “Box.net Files App Loading…”

    These entities are really shooting themselves in the foot with poor quality apps- as soon as someone gets frustrated with an app, it only takes about two seconds to complain publicly about it in the forum on the app’s main page.

    In the case of the Box.net app, I responded to a post in a discussion titled “Files sucks so far” which resulted in an entry in my mini-feed that reads “Larry discussed Files sucks so far on the Files application discussion board.”

    Talk about viral bad PR…

  35. I think you nailed the problem, but you left out part of the causation. Sure a lot of Apps don’t work. But its mostly because companies are trying to produce their Apps with speed and not quality.

  36. I think you nailed the problem, but you left out part of the causation. Sure a lot of Apps don’t work. But its mostly because companies are trying to produce their Apps with speed and not quality.

  37. I totally agree with you Robert… filtering through all the crappy applications is pretty annoying. The only useful ones I use that I highly recommend are

    – Catbook or Dogbook (if you have pets)
    – Xbox Live (shows your gamercard)
    – Google Reader (I agree with you there!)
    – Mobile… who needs Twitter when this application does such similar things? ;)

  38. I totally agree with you Robert… filtering through all the crappy applications is pretty annoying. The only useful ones I use that I highly recommend are

    – Catbook or Dogbook (if you have pets)
    – Xbox Live (shows your gamercard)
    – Google Reader (I agree with you there!)
    – Mobile… who needs Twitter when this application does such similar things? ;)

  39. Some of the apps may be quite useful, but there’s so much that is either useless, or doesn’t work. It’ll take time to sort the good from the worthless.

    And the next person to give me a zombie bite or invite me to a food fight will be in serious trouble…

  40. Some of the apps may be quite useful, but there’s so much that is either useless, or doesn’t work. It’ll take time to sort the good from the worthless.

    And the next person to give me a zombie bite or invite me to a food fight will be in serious trouble…

  41. Try 30boxes.com it works
    Also you should do an interview with 83 degrees, the team behind 30boxes.com

  42. Try 30boxes.com it works
    Also you should do an interview with 83 degrees, the team behind 30boxes.com