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Facebook Quietly Offers Storage to Developers 35

Lucas123 writes "Facebook has quietly started offering beta testers access to the latest version of a new storage service, according to Computerworld's Brian Fonseca. The wiki does warn users that the page is still in development and that users should make sure that data used in testing the service is properly backed up. Nick O'Neill, creator of the blogsite, said it would be "revolutionary" if the service is free."
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Facebook Quietly Offers Storage to Developers

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  • What, like Google offering Picasa users 1gb of free storage for their digital photos, or web hosting companies offering free sites to developers? I think they'll need to try a bit harder than that!
    • Re:Revolutionary? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @06:23PM (#20661001)
      It opens the door to more developers. Today if you write a facebook application that holds user data, then you'd better be ready to build out a large infrastructure to store that data if your application becomes popular. In a world where facebook will store end user application data the little guy developers have a chance.
  • What, you mean like S3 was?

    Or the "Unlimited" storage, or multi-terabyte storage, offered by budget hosts for $3.00 / mth?

    It will only take a few thousand users to store their mp3/movie collection on this thing to make the provider cry uncle. The last time I checked, storage costs $$$$$$$$.
  • by veganboyjosh ( 896761 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:50PM (#20660607)
    ...and slashdot quietly announces it to the world.
  • by Idaho ( 12907 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:54PM (#20660665)
    A problem with all these online services (no matter who hosts them), is that you (the user) no longer control your own data. This is problematic from both a privacy perspective, as well as an ownership perspective. For example, what if $nicecompany is taken over/bought out/etc. by $evilcompany and they decide not to let me access my data anymore? Even more if it goes bankrupt..

    Privacy is a problem that would be even more important to anyone running (a/their own) company.

    So I would not say it's going to be revolutionary. It might be a nice place to store well-encrypted backups, and maybe to copy/paste really unimportant files. But for anything else, no thanks, I'll use my own slow server (hosted on my home ADSL line).

    That is a possible solution, if google etc. would start selling appliances that even an idiot could install, and offer the same service so I could host it myself, that'd be great. I know they are already doing this to some extent, but this is where I can imagine some real growth....
    • by centinall ( 868713 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:19PM (#20662213)
      I think that we have to differentiate between the kinds of data that we're talking about Facebook controlling here. Hopefully, we're not talking about credit card info, social security numbers, etc, but more likely how many times your "Pinky the pig" widget has been feed that day, by whom and how much he now weighs. Hopefully, none of these widgets/apps will be collecting sensitive personal information, and even though widgets/apps using storage will perhaps have to be approved by Facebook, hopefully no one is stupid enough to entrust these disparate widget/app developers with their data in the first place.

      An additional threat is really to the widget/app developers who can now have "their" data taken away at any time, perhaps for any reason by Facebook. Perhaps Facebook will want to give exclusive and preferential privilege to a particular widget/app developer because of some behind-the-scenes deal and pretty much wipe the completion out at the flick of a switch. They could pick up a widget from where a "discontinued service left off" and the end user wouldn't even notice.

      BTW, I don't have a myspace, facebook, etc account, and only imagining what might/could happen.
    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @10:45PM (#20663227)
      Personally, I wouldn't trust facebook to begin with. I haven't read their policy in regards to this storage, but almost anything else that you put on facebook, whether it's pictures, a blog, or anything else that you could they claim that they own it. You're still allowed to repost that material on other websites, but only for non-commercial purposes. So in other words, if you or I were to write the next great American novel and post chapters of it on facebook, they now own it.

      I don't care whether they offer ulimited storage or offer any storage for free. If they maintain that storing my data on their servers grants them some form of ownership over that data, then I will never use their service and won't encourage that anyone else use it either. This kind of thinking and corporate greed disgusts me, but there's no law requiring me to use it. Caveat emptor, I suppose.
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:56PM (#20660689) Homepage
    Facebook Quietly Offers Storage to Developers

    isn't any announcement made in text format [], by definition, quiet?

    I mean, unless you're using the Sam Kinison text-to-speech plugin for firefox.
  • Got my attention (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Creamsickle ( 792801 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:59PM (#20660733)
    I use Amazon S3 through Jungle Disk. I can also access it directly with Perl, Python, and Ruby. At $0.15/gb/month, S3 is very affordable - especially considering you only pay for what you use with no need to pre-pay for a bunch of storage in advance. I like Amazon (in this case) - the cost is low and is dynamically obtained.

    I'm actually thinking about starting a small hosting company. S3 is what I'll probably go with, but Facebook has definitely got my attention with this announcement (my kids are on the damn thing all the time). If they can indeed hit that "free" mark, or even just make it low, this could be a big success.
    • How will S3 work for storing anything other than static media?
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's all the world needs - another two bit internet monetiser. Just face it, someone got there before you, and someone will do it better. Once you'd sold services to the wife, kids, map, pa, neighbours, and that woman down the corridor whose eyes are too far apart, you're a spent force. But, hey, it's cool to join some brandname ponzi scheme and all the buh-buh-buh-brothers are do-do-do-doing it aren't they? Old get rich quick, meet the new get rich quick. Or are you doing it for the luuuurve? Yeah, right
  • Hardware? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LSD-OBS ( 183415 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @06:13PM (#20660885)
    Not sure why this is in the Hardware section, unless they mean Facebook will actually be sending flash drives and the like to their lucky users.

    Actually, that would be a nice way to go one-up the current horde of online storage providers.
  • Blogsite is an odd portmanteau. I would have gone with blagoblag [].
  • woah there (Score:3, Informative)

    by radiatingeyes ( 1021043 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:49PM (#20661935)
    i really think this story is missing the point...this doesn't look like an API for file storage, i think it's just going to enable devs creating applications for facebook to store any info in db's on facebooks servers rather than their own. my guess is just that it's been taken out of context. facebook won't be offering file storage at all, because that's not what this API is for
  • Inaccurate Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lance Cooper ( 977401 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @10:00PM (#20662967) Homepage
    TFA doesn't really reflect what the new API is meant to do. Having done some work on Facebook applications, one of the major issues that tends to come up is the storage of user data. Previously, you would need to store any information you needed in your own database. For significantly popular applications, this presents a major load issue. With the new API, it looks like developing applications with a high level of persistent information should be simpler, and require less load on the applications server.

    I'd also strongly suspect that Facebook would crack down hard on anyone trying to use this API to store large quantities of data.
  • Is this supposed to be better than those crappy $1 gifts they offer to users?

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.