Research In Motion (RIM) has announced the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) Social Platform, giving developers the tools to build applications that take advantage of the  social aspects of the popular BBM service.

“The BlackBerry developer community has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to integrate BlackBerry Messenger with their apps,” says Alan Brenner, senior vice-president: BlackBerry Platform at RIM. “BBM is a very popular service with over 28 million users and opening its real-time social connectivity to third party applications presents incredible opportunities.
“Access to BBM services from within apps will revolutionize gaming, enhance multimedia experiences, and add a new dimension to location based applications.”
Developers will be able to integrate various functions of the BBM service into their applications including chat capabilities, content sharing, and invitations. For example, users will be able to invite their BBM friends to join them in a game and then chat with one another while the game is being played.
Other BBM functionality accessible to developers through the BBM Social Platform includes:
* Contact list – allows users to choose from their BBM contacts from within another application in order to initiate social interactions such as chatting or initiating game play;
* BBM user profile – an application can insert application status updates into the user's BBM profile allowing it to be launched or downloaded from BBM by the user’s friends;
* Application-specific communities – users can create BBM friend groups specific to an application;
* Data transfer – allows users to transfer pictures, audio, video and other content directly from an application to their BBM contacts or groups; and
* Invitations – allows users to invite new friends to BBM, invite their friends to interact within or download an application, and accept invitations, all from within an application.
Through the BBM Social Platform, RIM is providing the BlackBerry developer community with the opportunity to leverage the power of BBM in their own applications in order to help drive loyalty to their applications through social and community interactions, as well as increase discoverability of their applications through peer communications and referrals.
Several BlackBerry Alliance members are already testing the BBM Social Platform as part of an early access programme.