Yesterday Facebook announced a fairly large update to their API making it possible to access the messages inbox from outside of Facebook AND receive notifications of the activity taking place on the site (comments, new friends etc.).
So what does this all mean?
Messages closer to Email
Since Facebook still does not let you use Facebook messages like email, the new API is supposedly a step towards this. Disappointingly, Facebook still won’t allow for users to reply from outside Facebook, BUT developers will be able to let users read their messages without needing to log in to the site.
Another disappointment means this feature works only with the new inbox, which a number of users have been testing. The updated Inbox will launch to all users in the coming weeks.
The new API will make integrating notifications a breeze, letting developers create applications with built in notifications for new comments, likes, messages, friend requests and more.
And there’s a little more…
The best way to check out the new API features is by downloading the official Facebook desktop application, Facebook for Adobe AIR, which runs across multiple platforms. You won’t be able to recieve new messages just yet (unless you already have the new Facebook inbox), but you will see the slick new notifications and should notice that for the first time, your various friend lists have been made available in a desktop application. Pretty significant considering up until now, friend lists for your news feed have only really been available on Facebook.com.