It is sometimes hard to predict what developers will do when given a new platform to work with, but one thing seems certain: Opening Facebook to outside developers will make the service considerably more like Twitter.
"More like Twitter" seems to be the way Facebook has been headed for several months. Providing a programming interface to developers, expected to be announced today, is likely to speed the process.
It isn't clear what developers will be able to do with the information we post on Facebook and precisely what the privacy implications will be.
Published reports say privacy settings will be preserved, but that could mean different things depending on Facebook's attitude and what it believes its new Terms of Service really mean.
My guess is the timing of the TOS approval and this announcement are not just coincidence, but until more details are available, it seems wise to withhold comment.
As for the Twitterization of Facebook, I wonder if the new API will let developers build a third-party app, like TweetDeck for Twitter, that allows a Mac user to interact with Twitter without ever visiting the Twitter.com site.
Will Facebook allow developers to build apps that allow users to never visit the Facebook site? Should Facebook allow that, how will the company make money off users that never visit Facebook in person?
Providing a free API (application programming interface) is described as a big reversal for Facebook, which has maintained a tight rein over its service.
Still, today's announcement would be the second phase of letting developers build atop Facebook. Earlier this year, Facebook granted developers limited access to user data. Later today, they may be giving them much more.