If the enthusiasm and creativity of Facebook’s developers are a big reason why the site continues its meteoric growth, maybe it should give something back.
Well, it has.
Facebook on Friday announced a partnership with Amazon to provide its developer community with a direct pipeline to build applications on Amazon’s Web Services architecture.
Facebook announced its developer platform last year to critical acclaim. In the months since, the APIs have set in motion an avalanche of widgets spreading across the Facebook ecosystem.
Generally oscillating somewhere between the strictly serious (branded ventures like National Geographic News) and the sublimely superfluous (Feed Cannibal Sue, Monkey Cliff Diving), the widget revolution has snowballed at least in some part because of the Facebook phenomenon.
They are engines of commerce and agents of distraction. And Facebook loves them.
With Friday’s announcement, Facebook creates an widely scalable conduit for its developers to use Amazon’s EC2 hosting service along with its S3 cloud-storage functionality to optimize the effectiveness of their apps.
Facebook developers have been able to use Amazon Web Services in the past, but this partnership introduces an adjustable pricing structure so that developers can scale back unpopular applications.
Amazon advertises that its infrastructure Web services enable Facebook applications to “reach Web-scale by scaling up and down seamlessly as demand dictates – with pay-as-you-go pricing and no upfront costs.”
Facebook and Amazon have created several resources for developers, including a calculator to estimate monthly costs, as well as plug-ins, command line tools and code samples.
Some of the popular applications already running on Facebook that are powered by Amazon include Booze Mail, iLike and SocialMoth Secrets.
The bottom line is that widgets drive engagement among Facebook users, translating to longer average stays on the site and deeper exploration of its bells and whistles – which in turn creates a more attractive environment for advertisers.
Amazon gets a pipeline of traffic to its hosting and storage services, as well as a branding opportunity (widgets can be stamped with a “Powered by Amazon Web Services” logo), and developers get reliable hosting with a fluid pricing model.
The Amazon Associates Web Service is not available for Facebook developers at this time.