Top 10 Facebook Apps

By Curtis Dicken

Introduction

Recently we did an article on the top 10 Twitter apps. Well, in order to be fair to all you Facebook addicts, we thought we would offer up the top 10 Facebook apps which we decided to break up into two categories, Entertainment and Utilities. We'll also explore how to go about creating your own Facebook application.

Entertainment

Slots – Now who doesn’t love the one-armed bandit? This little application is a gambler's joy without the risk of losing serious money. Now, that doesn't mean you miss out on the gambler high because there's no risk/reward. You earn credits instead cash that you can use to play other games (like Scratch and Win) written by the same developer. You get 20 tokens just for showing up each day with the option of buying more in 1000 increments. There are even multiple popular variations on the machine including Lucky Sevens, Crazy Eights and Runaway Jacks. Tons of fun and you probably won't have to hand over the title for your car to Guido.

Scratch and Win – This is a lottery lover's dream, nothing but scratch and win cards. Spend a credit and get a card to scratch. It's animated so that you can use your virtual coin to scratch or just use the lightning bolt to auto-scratch. If you win you get prize tokens that you can spend on virtual prizes such as images and animations. You can also transfer credits between other games this developer has created as well as purchase additional credits and tokens.

Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures – This one is my personal favorite. Create a character from one of about 20 options and give it a name. From there you can go shopping for equipment, check your stats and then head out for an adventure. You don't really have to understand the rules of D&D because the game handles all of the rolls and checks for you. All you really have to do is select an adventure and check your character's progress from time to time.

Unlike the two games above, this game does not directly hit you up for money to buy tokens and the like. Instead it lures you in to buying the complete Dungeons & Dragons game books and accessories through ads placed in the game area. Despite the ads, it's just plain fun being someone else for a while.

Super Slot Machines – Are you picking up on a theme here with 3 out of the first 4 being gambling games? It seems Facebook fans like their gambling. As with the Slots game in the top spot this game also works on credits and prize tokens. You can select different slot machines to play and redeem prize tokens for virtual prizes. You also get a small number of credits just for visiting each day along with the ever present option for purchasing more.

Wordscraper – This game is very similar to Scrabble™ and is probably the most engaging of all of the Facebook games. You get tiles and spell words on the board. Successful words get you points along with any bonuses you earn for tiles that end up on special squares. You can play against 1 to 3 of your Facebook friends over the course of an afternoon or a little bit at a time over several days (it saves the game as you go in case a player goes offline or needs to leave play). Sound familiar? This is probably the most frequently visited of all the games available on Facebook. After all, who doesn't love word games?

Utilities

Digsby – Digsby is an instant messaging system that has integrated Facebook along with many other social networking APIs. This application is reliable and has been around for quite some time. If you Twitter or use one of any number of other social networking sites, you may already be using Digsby. Unlike the Entertainment section, this application as well as others in the Utilities category has to be downloaded and installed on your computer.

Facebook Toolbar for Firefox – This is a handy little toolbar that makes it easy to keep up-to-date with Facebook. You can quickly search Facebook from the toolbar. There are icons on the toolbar tell you how many new pokes, friend requests, messages, event invitations and group invitations you have. It has a sidebar button to make it easy to keep up with friends as well as a button for sharing content. Very handy if you are a Firefox user.

Facebook for BlackBerry Smartphones – Have BlackBerry … will Facebook. This one is perfect for all BlackBerry owners. It allows you to update or view your status, receive instant notifications, post and tag photos, sync your Facebook friends, organize Facebook events, use news feed filters and more.

Facebook for iPhone – Similar to its BlackBerry counterpart, this iPhone app let’s you manage photos, chat, manage Facebook events, keep up with friends and more.

Facebook for Palm – And yet another trend emerges, mobile access to Facebook. With literally millions mobile users on Facebook each day it's not surprising that mobile applications are among the most frequently used. Like the similar iPhone and BlackBerry applications, this too allows you to manage photos, manage Facebook events, keep up with friends and more.

Writing Your Own App

Facebook, like Twitter, has built an API to allow developers to easily interface with Facebook. There is a wealth of documentation, examples and suggestions on how to integrate Facebook into applications from websites to toolbars to iPhone apps. They even give you tips for promoting your applications on Facebook. You can find the Facebook developer section of their website at http://developers.facebook.com/?ref=pf. However, I would suggest you begin with the Facebook Developer Wiki.

Conclusion

The applications listed in this article are but a fraction of the thousands of applications that are available. Obviously I did not go through and test each application available to Facebook users. Instead I reviewed statistics to see which applications people tended to come back to each day. The applications here reflect more how engaging the applications are as opposed to the sheer number of downloads. They are not listed in any particular order. So, all you Mafia Wars fans please don't send a hitman after me.

Have fun!



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