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Facebook Launches Lab-like Prototypes



Remember back, years ago, when we had something to report about Facebook almost every day? I guess they’ve moved along the hype cycle now, so tit’s only natural that we see fewer stories about them—but every once in a while, two in a day can’t hurt. Especially not when Facebook’s out there launching something like Facebook Prototypes.

Product Designer Lee Byron says on the Facebook blog:

Facebook Prototypes let us share the experimentation going on inside the walls of Facebook with the rest of the world. You'll be able to test any of the products and features we launch as Facebook Prototypes and then provide feedback directly to those of us who built them. To access Prototypes, visit the Application Directory and filter by "Prototypes." From there, you can activate or download any of the Prototypes listed.

facebook prototypes
Byron notes that these prototypes are “unfinished versions of products we’re testing that may have some kinks to work out.” Additionally, successful prototypes may eventually be added to Facebook as full-fledged features.

Let’s see. A place where users can test new, experimental features and enhancements which might not be totally ready for primetime. That doesn’t sound familiar at all. (*cough*Google Labs*cough*)

Seriously, though, whether or not Facebook is a copycat, this is pretty cool. Some of the first prototypes include a desktop notifier/status client (for Mac), a filter to sort your news feed by most recent comments, a search for photos by people tagged in them, and additions to event emails to let you add the event to Google Calendar, Outlook and other calendars.

At present, it appears that only Facebook programmers will be creating prototypes. I understand the reasoning there, but it’d be cool to see this opened up to Facebook developers, too (with a reasonable app testing/vetting process before adding to Prototypes).

What do you think? Will you be adding any new prototypes—or what features would you want from a prototype? Would you like to see Prototypes open to developers, and if so, how would you recommend that working?

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  • Rev. Michael O’Connor Sr

    Face Book may very well be in the positive now, however, they are not very popular with many of their members.

    They have a very unfair practice about disabling accounts of their members and do not give a reason, they are refereed to a general Q&A with no direct reason given.

    I have been a faithful Face Book fan for almost a year now, I started getting more involved with Face Boook when I started playing an online game called “CVampire Wars” and mae alot of friends, over 4000 to be exact

    I started and ran 2 groups on Face Book and chatted with hundreds of people when they have had personal issues and needed someone to listen to hem.

    My Face Book / Vampire Wars accounts were apparently hacked and bot of my groups nearly wiped out.

    Face Book disabled my account over a week ago and did not give me reason for such, it takes you back to the general Q&A with no reason, Now they want a copy of my drivers license to prove that I own the account.

    They did not request this when I signed up but now they do? for what reason???

    There are many other players / members that have been disabled as well.

    So, has Face Book reached the positive by stepping on the little people, and does Face Book really care about their members?

    I wonder what Mike thinks about such unfair practices?

    Even though it was a free service, it has bordered infringment. Next step: “Seek Legal Council”