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Facebook's Recently Used Apps Module & The Larger Relationship with App Ecosystem

Last week I wrote about Facebook's newsfeed clustering of posts published by the same applications. While it is interesting as a signal of the newsfeed's evolution - it is represents the larger theme of Facebook relationship, promotion, and integration of applications (and the larger application ecosystem). Obviously Facebook has always been supportive of the ecosystem - from Zynga & LOLapps (gaming) to Spotify & Pinterest (content) to Wantful & ShoeDazzle (off-Facebook commerce), etc. In fact, yesterday's news was that "visitors from Facebook accounted for 1.1 billion visits to iOS and HTML5 apps, meaning an average of more than 6 visits per user."

The emergence of Facebook's Timeline, Open Graph and the proliferation of applications atop the platform (mobile, newsfeed, ticker, etc) - Facebook relationship with applications is evolving:

- How do they cluster by type and by shared users? (example here)

- How do they cluster by recency (example below with "Recent Used Apps")

- How do they cluster by popularity (example of trending here)

- How do they prevent the Ticker and newsfeed from being overwhelmed by content? (more here)

- What role does Timeline and off-Facebook play here?

- And ultimately, what does this mean for Facebook's strategy: promotion, monetization, mobile, etc?

Facebook "Use App Now" Prompt is Really Interesting, Potentially Important

When Facebook for iPad launched over a year ago, I surmised that the "Apps" section would be its most disruptive move. The Apps section essentially highlighted Facebook Connected mobile applications and allowed you to quickly access / search them. While not a prominent feature of the iPhone / iPad experience - I still believe this is a big opportunity... particularly should Facebook decide to own their own mobile experience / platform. It is worth noting that a similar experience exists - and is being promoted - on the web. Here is an example from a Facebook post I crafted about Wantful and 'tagged' it using @Wantful.

That of course hyperlinks Wantful - but Facebook allows you to choose whether you prefer to link to the page, the app or other content (ie location). I am not entirely sure why Facebook chooses to default to different formats at different times... but they do. And that alone is interesting because in this example, the @Wantful link goes directly to as a Facebook Connected App ("Use Now") rather than the fanpage. Big shift. The word "Use" is alone a big idea and shift.

Separately - if you have not yet tried Wantful, give it a spin. It is a better way to give gifts - it's social, fun, personal and thoughtful. I have given a couple dozen of them and, without fail, people love receiving them... the reaction and response is really enjoyable. I am excited to be involved!

Learn more here: Wantful, Gift-Giving Start-Up, Announces Funding (New York Times)