Over the weekend Facebook posted on their Official Blog that they are in the process of removing ‘application boxes’ from the website, a move that will be completed on August 23rd. If you’re unfamiliar with boxes, they display third party content applications on a users profile so their friends can see what books they are reading, what games they are playing and what other applications they have downloaded and are currently using.
This news is nothing new for Facebook, in November they said the move was planned for user profiles. Facebook will now replace boxes with ‘applications tabs’ which are basically brand new pages that display the users third-party content.
Users third-party apps will still show in their real-time stream of information until it scrolls off their profile page, however if a third-party application was used to show the information friends will need to go to your third-party app page to read what you engaged in after it leaves your stream.
As Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb states, the move from boxes to tabs does offer Facebook a big change, it makes their pages look more like a browser platform, mimicking the likes of Firefox and Chrome. Since Facebook now sees their site as a platform for the rest of the web, the move makes sense in that respect. The move also helps Facebook avoid the downfall of MySpace in which they became overrun by third party widgets which made the site cluttered and unusable to many visitors.
Personally I see the move as a way for Facebook to target more ad dollars, months ago they announced that users would no longer receive as many updates in their mailboxes for popular products such as Zynga’s Farmville, unless those companies were willing to pay for mentions, now third-party developers may have to pay a premium to attract new users and keep their applications fresh in the mind of site visitors.
I personally don’t use that many third-party applications that need to be shared with friends with outright information, so to me it doesn’t affect how I use Facebook. What do you think about the move from ‘boxes’ to ‘tabs.’