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Facebook grows up as a software firm, though some developers are wary

Zach Miners | May 2, 2014
Facebook is not your scrappy startup anymore. It's providing a host of tools for third-party developers aimed at catching bugs swiftly, more toolkit options and lending a big helping hand in app development.

Moldavsky said she views Facebook as a strong strategic partner in their efforts to build exposure for the company's flagship "Cut the Rope" games.

Others, while they can't deny the power of Facebook given its billion-plus users and the data it holds, aren't sure whether the company is over-extending itself or encroaching on others' turf.

"There's too many choices," said Nikolai Chowdhury [cq], a mobile developer and technology consultant. There are other companies out there that do some of what Facebook is now trying to do, such as Appboy, which helps developers monetize their apps and provides data around user engagement.

So for developers, the question is, do you go with those specialized shops, or Facebook, or some combination thereof? It's surely a question more developers are asking themselves now.

Facebook has become enormously successful at getting its users to download others' mobile apps, by placing ads for them in users' streams. These "mobile app install ads" have come to drive the download of over 60 percent of the top-grossing apps in Apple's App Store, according to Facebook.

And with all the data Facebook has amassed on its users, many developers probably can't resist now to leverage that data and partner in some way with the social network.

In the area of user data, Facebook announced some new privacy tools at F8, partly aimed at giving users better controls over what information they give to apps.

But Facebook's privacy controls are not always easy to understand or find, said Kat Hagan [cq], a developer at Automattic.

A big challenge, she said, is as Facebook continues to scale out its platform, "Can they follow through on all their promises?"

 

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