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Report: MySpace to launch developer platform

Social-networking site, rapidly losing ground to Facebook and its wildly popular developer platform, may be launching a platform of its own.

Have you gotten sick of the word "platform" yet? Sorry.

According to a post on TechCrunch, MySpace.com is planning to follow in Facebook's footsteps and open up a set of application program interfaces (APIs) so that developers can create "MySpace apps" in the vein of Facebook apps.

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, who apparently got the details from developers who have been consulted on the project, wrote that we may be seeing this as early as next week--potentially at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

More specifically, this is allegedly going to be a "set of APIs and a new markup language that will allow third-party developers to create applications that run within MySpace."

It's puzzling because MySpace has allowed members to insert HTML code--and hence, embeddable widget code--into their profiles for years now. As a result, it's not yet clear exactly how much a "MySpace platform" could add to the site's experience. A TechCrunch commenter noted that the most popular widget creators on the Facebook platform--Slide and RockYou--already create embeddable content for MySpace profiles.

Presumably, however, APIs will give developers access to a deeper level of MySpace's code, which will allow them to create more advanced apps so they can actually network with other members rather than simply cover their profiles in slide shows and virtual glitter.

And here's one interesting tidbit. The TechCrunch post also says that like Facebook developers, MySpace developers will be able to advertise on their apps and keep all the revenue. This is a big change for MySpace, considering that the company has been known to block content from unofficial third-party widgets that included "advertising."

Several other smaller social media sites, like Tagged and Hi5, have already announced plans to open up their code in the form of developer platforms.