The notification is one of the best things to ever come out of Facebook. I don't know about you, but it feels pretty good to find a big list of notifications waiting for me after a prolonged absence. If your a Facebook gamer, your notification list will soon be even bigger after any prolonged absences.
Facebook announced the launch of the Notifications API beta today. They describe the API as letting developers "send short, custom messages to your existing users through the Facebook notifications jewel." The social network sees developers using it to inform users of "important events, invites from friends, or actions they need to take."
Giving developers access to the hallowed notification are obviously going to raise concern. Facebook already has that covered, however, as they have strict rules in place for developers who implement it. They require that developers use clean language and not spam users when using the API.
That being said, developers are given a lot of free reign when it comes to notifications. They can send pretty much anything they want without having to request additional permissions. To counter this new found developer power, Facebook will be giving even more power to the user. At any time, the user may choose to opt-out of receiving notifications from your app.
Facebook has already run extensive testing of the new Notifications API and found it to be successful. They said that users were actually five to 10 times more likely to click through on a Notification than the traditional request. That rate is a double edged sword, however, as lower quality notifications were more likely to be disabled.
Facebook will also set up a new Insights page for the Notifications API. It will include all relevant information, including turn-off rates. Facebook will monitor these as well and disable any notifications that they perceive as spam due to high turn-off rates.
Notifications are now in beta, but you can start brushing up on how to best implement the API with the documentation.