Facebook has just announced the launch of a new Create Application API, which makes it easier than ever for users to build secondary apps based off of another app. It sounds like a good idea at first, but it comes with one nasty consequence: those viral and sometimes incredibly annoying quiz applications are going to become more popular than ever. Fortunately Facebook has had the foresight to release the new API with a complimentary new feature — you’ll now be able to block the parent application of any of these quizzes, which means you can hide many of them from your News Feed with one click of the ‘Hide’ button.
For those who haven’t tried out one of these quiz apps, here’s a refresher. There are a number of very popular quiz generators on Facebook that let people create their own, secondary applications that they can share with their friends. But actually going through the process has been a bit tricky — users had to deal with Facebook’s developer app and API keys, which is hardly familiar territory for the vast majority of Facebook users (though many made it through the process anyway). The new API eliminates much of this hassle, allowing quiz makers to automate the application creation process. And that means we’re going to be seeing lots more quizzes.
Of course, many of us aren’t exactly keen on seeing countless quizzes filling up our News Feed. This wouldn’t be a problem if they acted the same way as most applications do — after all, you can hide any application from your News Feed. But because each quiz is treated as a unique app, you have to manually hide each new quiz that one of your friends makes. At least, until now.
Now you’ll be able to block all quizzes from the parent Quiz Generator applications, which means you’ll be able to hide many of them at once without having to deal with them again. It will be interesting to se what the net effect on the quiz makers will be: they’ll be easier to use than ever, but it’s also much easier to ignore them.
Aside from its importance to Quiz Makers, the new API has plenty of other uses. Developers on Facebook will now more easily be able to offer self-serve custom app generators (for example, you could build an application that sports teams could use to build their own branded applications). The API can also be used by services like Disqus to further streamline integrating Facebook Connect on sites outside of Facebook.
Photo by alexanderdrachmann.