All posts tagged ‘myspace’

File Under: APIs, Multimedia, Social

Could MySpace’s New Real Time Stream Lead to Better Music Sharing?

MySpace has thrown open its doors to app developers, giving them real time access to all MySpace users’ activities via a new suite of APIs.

Now, every time Jenny friends somebody, posts a photo or writes a blog post, you’ll be able to make that notification show up in your app mere seconds after it happens.

The company announced the new Real Time Stream API, along with two other social APIs, Wednesday morning at the Le Web conference in Paris, France. It posted all the details on its developer website and kicked off a contest to see who can create the best apps. The new APIs offer access to every MySpace user’s stream in real time. MySpace publishes its user activities using the format, and it’s using PubSubHubbub to push the streams out in real time.

Wednesday’s announcement comes during a big week for MySpace. Only a day before, the company completed its acquisition of iMeem, the music sharing service, which also published data about its users’ actions. It also comes the same day that Facebook announced it was making status updates from its users publicly available to the web at large — previously, the default setting was to only publish status updates to Facebook’s own platform or approved Facebook apps. The new APIs at MySpace will allow its developers to post users’ updates with the same frequency as Facebook and other services.

So, what’s going to happen next?

MySpace has long been eclipsed by Facebook as the hottest social network for individuals, but bands and musicians of all levels remain incredibly active on MySpace. Lots of musicians don’t even have a website anymore, they just have a MySpace page, and maybe a Twitter account. A handful of major clubs in every city book all of their shows using MySpace. If you’re in a band, you pretty much have to be on MySpace — like it or not. It’s one of the key web tools driving the music industry right now.

However, one big thing missing from MySpace’s music experience (well, one of the big things) is the ability for people to easily share a song they like. When an artist uploads a song, their status update provides a link to that song. But for fans, all music sharing happens through playlists, which are clunky.

If you are listening to a song and you want to tell all your friends about it, you add it to your profile playlist. That action shows up in your stream, and the song shows up in the player widget on your MySpace profile, (Here’s what it looks like). It’s only there as long as you decide to keep it there, and since MySpace only get 10 songs at a time, if you’re an avid music lover, chances are it won’t be there for longer than a day or a few hours.

Compare this to other popular music sharing services, like LaLa, Mog, and iMeem, or even smaller ones like TheSixtyOne, and you’ll notice that it’s much easier for users to send a Facebook update or a Tweet about a particular song they like (and as many songs as they like) complete with a short link leading back to the page where their friends can listen to the song right away. They don’t have to deal with playlists or anything similar, they just share a link to that song.

It’s an elegant and direct way to spread music, which is why it’s become the standard for song sharing on every social network except for MySpace.

This open sharing, along with direct short URL links, is one of the most powerful forces for artist exposure, and for fans to express enthusiasm, driving the music business. For evidence of this, see Ted Greenwald’s post on our Epicenter blog, “Geeks to Music Industry: APIs Can Set You Free

,” about how open song sharing is changing the way people engage with and encounter new music.

MySpace’s music sharing system works, but it feels backwards and weird when compared to the rest of these tools. But with the purchase of iMeem and with the launch of these new APIs, we’ll probably see some positive changes quickly.

For MySpace’s sake, we hope so. The only reason for most of us to visit MySpace these days is to interact with bands. So, anything at all that makes it easier for users to like, link to and comment on songs, and to publish those activities out onto the web in real time would be a boon for the old beast of a social network.

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File Under: Software & Tools

Where is the OpenSocial Revolution?

OpenSocialYahoo points out that OpenSocial is a year old. The collection of APIs is a write-once approach to bringing the Facebook platform to any social website. Developers have not clamoured to develop OpenSocial apps. What’s the deal?

While Google was the instigator of OpenSocial, it found many supporters in fellow Facebook competitors: MySpace, Orkut, Friendster, Hi5, and more.

According to OpenSocial’s site, there are many who have rolled out developer implementations. Still, real life examples a year later seem to be minimal, especially in comparison to the land grab that came with Facebook’s platform launch.

There are a few examples trickling out. LinkedIn announced its platform, but is not making it open to all. Yahoo itself released its “open strategy” platform recently, which contains a piece for OpenSocial.

The revolution, it appears, is slow-moving. In the long term, I think open wins. But for now, it’s hard to beat the momentum and focus of Facebook.

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File Under: Software & Tools

Cloning Facebook Working Nicely For MySpace

Did you get this email? If not, you might have to check your old email address, the one you used to sign up for MySpace back in 2005.

We’ve added a great new feature to MySpace! Just click the link below, and you’ll be able to automatically find people you may know, and easily add them as friends:

People you may know on MySpaceThe new feature looks for people who you share two or more friends with, but who you aren’t already friends with. The tool is similar to Facebook’s Friend Finder.

This is another step toward MySpace becoming more useful. It’s connecting what used to be islands of profiles, where you had to click from user to user, hoping to stumble into someone you know. The “People You May Know” feature follows other Facebook-esque features like a feed of friend updates and status messages.

MySpace has claimed to be “a place for friends,” but it may finally helping people really connect to each other. It just may all be thanks to Facebook.

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File Under: Software & Tools

MySpace HTML Evidence Suggests OpenID Coming Soon

Wanna know how we know MySpace is going to support OpenID soon? Dig into the HTML of your account page and you’ll find a URL that references “”.

One of OpenID’s own evangelists, Chris Messina, was the first to display this detective work. The link is hidden in MySpace profiles and it currently leads to an error page for now. The mere fact it is there and wasn’t the last time code-snoopers checked means some OpenID action is percolating to the MySpace surface. Messina says we should expect it soon.

“I don’t have any insider information, but I’d expect to see this lit up by the end of the month. Right now you can’t use your MySpace OpenID for anything (I tried) but it’s promising to see this development,” Messina wrote on FriendFeed. “All I want to know is when the eff is Facebook gonna flip the switch? Ah, but I’ve stopped holding my breath, just like Digg’s pledged support for OpenID. I mean, if MySpace can pull this off, what’s the hold up?!”

OpenID supporters believe getting MySpace to support OpenID will be a very influential motivation for moving other sites onto the standard. In fact, it will be a game changer.

It’s unclear whether MySpace aims to be an OpenID provider, or supporter, or both. If the site becomes an OpenID host, it means your personal MySpace URL (ex: becomes your OpenID login, which would mean everyone who has a MySpace account — roughly 120 million users — will instantly have an OpenID login overnight. Enter it in on an OpenID-supporting site and you’re logged in quicker than saying “open sesame.”

However, many are still befuddled by OpenID. It presents a significant change to the way you log in to websites on the internet, and it may prove too jarring to be adopted en masse. In fact, two recent studies (one from Google and one from Yahoo) have shown there’s a huge user experience hurdle to overcome before OpenID catches on.

Were MySpace to push out broad support for OpenID, which this evidence shows it almost certainly will, the sheer size of its audience will be a huge factor towards speeding adoption.

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File Under: Software & Tools

Searching for Value in Facebook’s ‘Internet Lite’

Social networks tend to draw either hot or cold reactions from people. I’ve always been in the latter camp.

Until my wife and I were on an extended trip around the world and we were forced, for the first time, to take Facebook seriously.

“I’ll find you on Facebook,” said some fellow travelers, new friends we had met, as we exited a hostel.

“Umm, we’re not really into those online social networks. We don’t have an account on Facebook.”

“Oh, by the end of your trip you definitely will.”

It was an ominous prophecy. And it wasn’t the last time we heard it. We would increasingly meet more and more people who would ask for our Facebook accounts before we ultimately succumbed to creating one.

The non-conformist in me sees these social networks as being in conflict with the notion of an open web. Sites like Facebook are jealously protective of keeping you, and your data, in house. Once you enter your information, you can’t get it out. And what an odd place to be forced to spend your time — everyone’s preoccupied with pyramid scheme-themed games involving zombies, playing online Scrabble or throwing virtual sheep at each other to get one another’s attention. Are these apps actually useful?

And that’s the big question — what’s the value of Facebook? Why are developers scrambling to create apps for a site that people apparently only use to waste time? What does Facebook bring to the internet today? How should developers and users look to these web applications, and its emerging development platforms, with respect to the open web?

There are certainly better ways to spend your energy than hanging out on a sort of a secular mini-internet. It’s puzzling.

Maybe it’s the fact that Facebook (and, let us not forget, MySpace) has become a communication vehicle for your address book.

Put simply, it’s today’s AOL. It’s an argument that’s been made before, and it’s becoming more clear as the site grows more ambitious.

What AOL was trying to do was replace the internet — or be the internet — for its users. It provided an online social space with multimedia, forums, e-mail and chat. Once you were in the site, you were subjected to ads, invitations and promotions. Sound familiar?

Of course, there are other, arguably better, ways to do these things online.

Despite AOL’s best efforts (and millions of sign-up CDs) it lost favor with the internet community. It’s still around although it is a specter of its former self. But what hasn’t disappeared is the social network space. Perhaps we can look to AOL as the progenitor of a series of online social hang outs. AOL begets Friendster which begets MySpace which begets Facebook and so on.

My teenage sister-in-law was looking for a summer job on Craigslist. Together, we ran down the list and joked about the listings obviously not tailored for her skillset. When I offered to send her some good ones, she told me not to e-mail her. To my shock, she said the best way to reach her (and her friends) was through her MySpace and Facebook accounts. She typically never checked her email account. I’m not sure she even has a dedicated e-mail account.

This is a peek into the mind of the ardent social network user. It’s also an increasing trend among students and those new to the internet.

Of course, Facebook only works as a communication service when all of your friends, family and colleagues are in the same service. There are benefits to social network messaging; namely, status updates and pictures. However, to an advanced internet user, these benefits can be provided by other services like Twitter and Flickr.

Besides, contacting people professionally by Facebook seems childish. (I’m sure once my sister in law gets online at her first job, she’ll slowly migrate to an e-mail account.) But if Facebook had its way, it would supplant your personal email address, and in so doing, become your online address book on steroids. When you sign up, it scours your e-mail contacts and provides links to and from each and every person you communicate with on a regular basis also on the Facebook network. We buy into the system with the promise that those communications will be enhanced.

Even with that promise, the real value of Facebook for users who maintain an identity outside of its walls lies within its most novel utility — friend updates. At a glance, you’re kept informed of what your friends and colleagues are up to.

Sure, we all know Twitter, but there isn’t as much personal accountability on Twitter as there is on Facebook. Since your Facebook account is tied to your full name instead of a nickname, your lies become transparent. Your best friend, your boss, your sisters — everyone’s watching more closely.

This is why users are far more honest on Facebook, and why adherents use the service in a more personal capacity. It’s a place where people instill trust — more so than on any other web service.

It’s also why Facebook is a breeding ground for gratuitous time-wasting applications — and why developers are clamoring for a way to monetize them. It’s also because Facebook and MySpace are fast becoming the entry point of internet usage among the youth. It’s the after-work or after-school internet, a closer reflection of the real you.

Facebook has a niche on the web, but it has a battle ahead of it to prove to professionals that it deserves a place in their lives. As a Rolodex perhaps? Your personal e-mail address? Whatever it is, Facebook has to make the case it is more than a place to play Scrabble. It needs to become a place to safeguard your personal network and maintain connections.

Perhaps this is why Facebook recently switched-up its interface to segregate applications from your “home” page. Applications are now in tabs, and more difficult to get to.

As for developers looking to Facebook platforms and wondering “why,” they need to think of it as very high potential to get firehose-like traffic from entry-level internet users. Those who are more willing to put down their guard, for once, in a small but growing corner of the internet.

What do you think? What is Facebook’s purpose on the open internet? Put your thoughts in the comments below.

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