Facebook had two totally separate announcements recently that did not sounds like a huge deal. First, there was the multi-query capability or batch queries for database people. That is a nice little feature, but it does not sound like big news.
We’ve just released a new Platform API method, fql.multiquery, which lets you send a batch of queries that Facebook processes all at once. What’s more, you can use the results from query A, for example, in query B, even when both queries are included within the same fql.multiquery call. Simply specify the name of query A as if it were a virtual table when you formulate query B.
With the test, you will be able to search your News Feed for the most recent status updates, photos, links, videos and notes being shared by your friends and the Facebook Pages of which you’re a fan. You will also be able to search for status updates, posted links and notes in Search from people who have chosen to make their profile and content available to everyone.
Of course, these are not huge changes, but it is the type of incremental change that Facebook has continued to implement on its platform. Some people may complain that “Facebook is too closed” or “walled gardens will fail”. There was even a good conversation on FriendFeed about this. There is a very strong feeling from developers that a closed system like Facebook can not succeed. While I tend to agree that a completely closed system will have difficulties, Facebook has slowly opened up little by little to a decently open system. They still have some work to do before they become as open as Twitter, but the foundation has been started.
Because of the FriendFeed conversation, I had both posts up at the same time. That is when it hit me. Facebook has seen the problems developers have had with API rate limits on Twitter and various other sites. In two separate posts, they just made the possible search applications very viable. Even if there is a rate limit, you can batch queries together to help avoid this problem. Again, it is an incremental change, this being an improvement over what other APIs currently implement.
Because of these incremental changes, people may not see that Facebook keeps leaping over other competing applications. Because of their original “closed nature”, people have not noticed that Facebook is just as open as many other platforms. As I said before, they still have some work to do, but they are positioning themselves as a giant platform. Fairly soon it will be very hard not to notice.