Facebook has created its own Google Labs equivalent, dubbed “Facebook Prototypes,” according to Mashable. The division released its first product last week, a desktop notifier for Mac OS X. The company has two more little apps available: one is called “Similar Posts,” that offers users “an easy, one-click way to find similar posts right from their homepage.”
Another new applet, Enhanced Event Emails, will add iCal files to Facebook invitations, so users can integrate their Facebook calendars with Outlook and Google Calendar.
While Facebook has had plenty of good news and improvements lately–today it also added Twitter-style @replies, and last week it rolled out Facebook Lite to U.S. users–the improvements don’t address one glaring problem with the platform: Its API is buggy, confusing and difficult for third-party developers to work with.
Some developers have made good use of the platform; Vivox, for example, is set to release a voice chat application for Facebook chat in the next few weeks. But for a network with 250 million active users, there is a real dearth of quality apps. Rather than launch its own app team, the company should improve its platform to draw developers to innovate for them.CD