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May 24, 2008

Update Your Facebook Profile From More Websites

Ed: Facebook expanded the import feature to support more services. 

Initially, import worked with RSS feeds, typically from blogs. It connects the blog with my social profile; and the news feeds of my friends. (ed: this Facebook feature has been the most consistent feeder of readers to this blog.)

The extended feature has opened blogosphere controversy.
  • Does this compete with lifestreaming? Is lifestreaming relevant (narcissistic) or is the focus on the news feeds about your friends (shared)?
  • Is Facebook a walled garden? or will data portability release these streams to other venues? (Google's Friend Connect)
  • Do these features compete with Facebook applications that provide the same results? Facebook deploys the top sites; and leaves the Long Tail for application developers. 
  • Is Facebook an application platform like an operating system; or a community of college educated people?
Lots of change.

Update Your Profile From More Websites
A few weeks ago, we told you about the new ability to import stories into your Mini-Feed from other sites. Since then, we've been working on increasing the number of sites that work with this feature. We're happy to report that now, you can import activity from YouTube, StumbleUpon, Hulu, Pandora, Last.fm, and Google Reader in addition to Flickr, Picasa, Digg, Yelp and del.icio.us.

Look for the "Import" link in the corner of your Mini-Feed to connect your Facebook profile to your accounts on any of these websites. Your profile will automatically update when you upload a video to YouTube, rate last night's episode of The Office on Hulu, and so on. If you have a personal blog, you can enter the URL in and a Mini-Feed story will be published every time you write a new post. As your friends start importing activity, keep an eye on your News Feed, it will only become more interesting as Facebook opens up to more sites.

Peter, a Product Manager, created Lupe Fiasco Radio on Pandora and rated Goodbye, Toby (The Office) on Hulu.

Facebook's Lifestream Adds More Services

Last month, we reported the arrival of Facebook's version of a lifestream when they began offering you a way to import content from various online services into your Facebook Mini-Feed. At the time, the only services available were FlickrPicasaYelp, and del.icio.us. (Diggwas added later on). Today, a post on the Facebook blog announces that you can now import from several other services, including YouTubeStumbleUponHuluPandoraLast.fm, and Google Reader.

At the time of last month's Facebook's announcement, we dismissed Facebook's attempt at lifestreaming, saying there was "nothing to see here." Those same reasons still hold true today...to some extent. In comparison to current web darling FriendFeed, the Facebook Mini-Feed can't compare - there is no "liking" or commenting available, the number of services still pales in comparison to FriendFeed's (although that may change in time), but most importantly, the feed stays locked in Facebook with no RSS export option. You have to be logged into Facebook.com to view both the Mini-Feed or the News Feed.

However, with the number of services supported today - eleven plus a new option to enter in your blog URL, too - Facebook is clearly laying the groundwork to become the everyman's version of FriendFeed. And, for all we know, those features it lacks, like commenting and liking, might be just around the corner.

The Facebook post reminds us to "keep an eye on your News Feed, it will only become more interesting as Facebook opens up to more sites," so something tells us they aren't done yet.

Facebook Will Be the Mainstream Everything

Don't Look Now, But Facebook is Eating Your Lunch

Facebook has status updates that you can update via SMS (watch out Twitter), they have a news feed that now accepts 12 outside inputs (watch out FriendFeed), they have the biggest photo sharing site on the web (watch out Flickr), they have a built in chat application (watch out Meebo). These features were all added as an after thought. Facebook has taken the most buzzed about early adopter-targeted applications, and turned them into features for the mainstream...

Oh the heels of some of Facebook's missteps (ahem, Beacon) and the proliferation of a myriad of useless, silly, and time-wasting apps, some formerFacebook users decided to quit the site for good this year. However, a handful of early adopter angst doesn't have Facebook worried. Why is that? Because Facebook has a whole generation of users who grew up using their site for everything social back when it was just a way to network with their high school or college friends. So what are the everyday Facebook users doing that keeps them engaged in the service? It's not throwing sheep, apparently. For many Facebook users, there are still useful apps to be found and ways to use the service that the rest of us could learn from.

See also: Why There Should Be Web Search on Facebook and Facebook Censoring User Messaging: Spam Prevention or Unaccountable Control of Conversation?

Facebook Platform, One Year Later

Facebook Platform launched on May 24, 2007 to widespread acclaim. It was heralded as the “Anti-MySpace”, which had until then been notoriously closed and unhelpful to many application developers. Suddenly we had a platform that offered unprecedented access to a social network’s API, enough so that 3rd party developers could potentially create apps that would rival Facebook’s home-brewed offerings.

Only four days after the platform’s launch, iLike (then the leading 3rd party app) had accumulated 400,000 users - nearly 5% of all Facebook users had it installed. Initial results were promising enough that a number of venture capital funds were established solely for Facebook apps.

Hints of a Facebook Operating System In New Design


It’s become a common trope to say that Facebook and Google are vying to become the operating system of the Internet. But there are some very clear hints of that in Facebook’s upcoming new design, which it just opened up to today in a developer sandbox. (You can see it athttp://www.new.facebook.com, although you’ll need to download some libraries to start testing apps with it).

It appears that Facebook is moving closer to becoming a Webtop application, fusing elements of the desktop into the Web experience.


Eagle-eyed TechCrunch reader Ryan Merket (above) noticed something vaguely familiar about the new design. See the menu bar above his profile? Look closely. Its got some handy menus on the left that take him to his profile, his friends, applications, and inbox.

newfb-searchbar.pngAnd on the right of the menu bar is a search box. That is the same visual metaphor you find in the menu bar on desktop operating systems...

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