January 24, 2012
With the launch of 60 new applications using the Timeline and Open Graph, Facebook is about to expand beyond the Like. The new functionality will allow users to share perpetual actions (‘love’, ‘want’, ‘need’) via applications through the Open Graph. There are obvious benefits for brands, especially given the buying signals of user actions such as wanting and needing.
But beyond brands and their products, publishers also have a unique opportunity to create content that can be ‘watched’, ‘listened’ and ‘read’. Many Facebook users will be familiar with the Guardian’s integration, which creates a ticker stream of stories that have been ‘read’ or ‘watched’ via the application, as well as providing the opportunity to share and recommend stories to friends.
It won’t be long before other publishers take their lead and leverage the social searching benefits of reading content this way. This will undoubtedly be welcomed by Facebook and draw yet more content into the platform, further enhancing the user experience.
As always with Facebook developments there are drawbacks and this time, it boils down to privacy and the potential vulnerability for users of sharing this level of data with the platform. Once you have granted access to the application it does not require any further permission to post to your Timeline and a number of applications seek extensive access to your settings, preferences and the pages you Like. For example, the Ticketmaster application combines events you and your friends are attending, your location, the artists and teams you Like, and the music you have listened to on apps such as Spotify, to pre-empt events you will love.
While the Ticketmaster app is innovative, it is still only in beta format and seems to have its flaws. Since beginning this post, the app has been trying to access my data, but appears to be stuck on the same loading screen. This could well be because it is fishing for so much of my data!
Here are a few other examples to watch out for amongst the new launch applications…
Where I’ve Been – tell the world places you have been
Rotten Tomatoes – share reviews and create a ‘want to see’ list
Turntable.fm – listen with your friends and host virtual ‘DJ’ events
Foodspotting – users can share recipes, dishes they have eaten and dishes they want to try
Pinterest – this social network is expected to arrive in the UK this year after jumping into the top 10 US sites of 2011 with over 31 million visits