The release of Facebook API has unleashed a torrent of efforts to build applications which leverage it's social resources. "Since the launch of Facebook Platform in May, more than 2,000 applications have been made available on Facebook."
"Facebook is now a social operating system," says Salil Deshpande, a partner at Bay Partners, which is funding Facebook application developers through its AppFactory program. "There are going to be applications on top of [this and other] social platforms that we can't imagine yet," he says. Although so far many of the applications developed are simple, developers can use their access to the Facebook network to make heavily personalized applications that draw information from the activities of a given user's friends.
Of course, part of the reason for the explosive growth in the creation of these applications is that their target audience is, by its nature, viral and active. Facebook is made up of 30 million users who have frequent and meaningful contact with each other. When a user likes an application, she invites her friends, and these friends invite their friends in turn. The result is that an application can grow exponentially in popularity.
Yep, it ain't the 20th century any more.