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Facebook Announces Major Changes at F8: Here Are All the Announcements

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Facebook kicked off its F8 developer conference with a large number of product announcements by the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives and developers today. Here is a rundown of all the major announcements.

New From Facebook: Timeline, Music Apps, Lightweight Status Updates

As Zuckerberg noted at the beginning of his keynote, the early years of social networking were about getting people signed up and connecting them. According to him, the next era of social network is about social apps and other products that these connections make possible. To do so, Facebook introduced new ways to share more lightweight updates and also announced a completely redesigned profile page today. Instead of just “linking” content, Facebook is shifting more towards sharing everything you do. Apps can now automatically share everything you do in them automatically to Facebook – assuming you allow them to do so.

Judging from today’s announcements, Facebook really, really wants you to share everything you do – and by making more and more of these updates automatic (like the songs you listen to on Spotify), it will soon be aggregating far more information about its users than ever before. It remains to be seen how its users will react to this.
[list]

  • Timeline: Timeline is, according to Zuckerberg, “the story of your life.” Timeline is basically a wider, more visual version of your old profile. It will give users access to all of their apps, stories and a better way to express “who you are.” Split into multiple columns, the timeline basically shows all of your updates in one place and on an endlessly scrolling page. Timeline will also be available for mobile devices. Timeline will be in beta for a while. Developers will get access today and everybody else can sign up for it today. Facebook hopes to roll it out to all users over the “next few weeks.”

    For Facebook, the timelines is all about giving people a way to tell “the story of their lives.” It’s somewhat similar to the old wall, but with a stronger focus on all the important things you did in the past. As you go back in time, Facebook will summarize more of your events, though it’s not quite clear how the company decides which events were really important to you in the past.More from Zuckerberg: “People feel an intense ownership over their profile. Millions of people have spent a ton of time telling the story of their life on their profile. Timeline is an important next step in telling the story of your life.”
  • Reports: instead of just showing you everything you have done, these new reports will summarize how you use apps over time (think reports for your RunKeep updates).
  • Next Version of OpenGraph and a New Class of Apps: “Connect to anything in any way you want.” With the new lightweight sharing feature, Facebook wants to give its users the ability to share more things without annoying their friends by putting all of these updates in their newsfeed. All your media, news and book updates from web and mobile apps will go into the recently launched ticker feature but not into the newsfeed. This new class of apps will also automatically share your updates to the ticker without prompting you to share things every time it does so.
    • Music/Movies: Facebook has partnered with a number of music and online video companies to allow users to listen to music and watch movies together on Facebook. Among these are Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, Rhapsody, turntable.fm, MOG and others. Thanks to the new lightweight updates, you can now see what your friends are watching or listening to right now.
      The fundamental shift  these updates really show best is the move from just “liking” things to participating in events together.
    • Social News Apps: besides these media companies, Facebook also partnered with publishers like the Guardian, digg, The Daily, Slate, TPM, Yahoo, Flipboard and others to allow their users to easily share everything they read in their respective Facebook apps. One interesting announcement here is that The Daily, which until now was an iPad-only publication, is bringing its app to Facebook.
    • Social Games: Unsurprisingly, Facebook game developers will also be able to hook into these lightweight updates that will automatically push content to the ticker.
    • Lifestyle Apps: Facebook worked with companies like AirBnB, Byliner, Color, Foodspotting and others to bring lifestyle updates to the ticker as well. This means you can now share every recipe you cooked from your favorite recipe app automatically to Facebook and then see everything you cooked in your Timeline and the new reports feature later on.[/list]


4:56 pm


A Day With Google+: They Finally Got it Right

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Yesterday was a big day for Google. The company launched a wave of new and updated products, but the focus was clearly on the (unexpected) launch of Google+. Until now, Google forays into social networking were generally lackluster (except for in Brazil, where Orkut continues to be popular). After the failure of Buzz, Google+ is the company’s most ambitious social networking play yet. After spending a day with the product, it’s clear that Google’s teams learned from the mistakes they made with Buzz and finally put together a social networking service that can compete.

Google put a massive amount of effort behind this tool, but many of its parts still remain unconnected and scattered across Google’s various properties (the +1 buttons, for example, aren’t connected to your stream yet). Google+, however, gives us a first glimpse at what a lot of these parts could look like once they become integrated into one cohesive unit. What exactly this final product will look like still remains to be seen, but the basic building blocks are now in place. (more…)



5:43 pm


Trover: The Best Location-Based Discovery App You’re Not Using (Yet)

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We all got our fair share of laughs out of the failed launch of the over-hyped photo-sharing/social networking service Color. While the idea behind the service was smart, the execution was abysmally bad. Trover, which quietly launched earlier this month, takes some of Color’s most basic ideas and puts them into an easy to use free iOS app (iTunes link). The app is based around the idea that you want to share photos of cool places around you with the rest of the world. There is also a location-based social networking aspect to the app, but you could easily ignore this aspect of the service without losing it’s basic functionality.

Location-based social networking based on photo sharing sounds like a complete buzzword overload, but oddly enough, it actually works out very well in Trover. In some ways, it’s the kind of app you would expect Flickr to make if Flickr still had an ounce of innovation left in it.

trover_screenshots

How it Works

The idea behind Trover is very simple: it allows you to publicly share geotagged images with anybody else on the service. That is, admittedly, nothing too original, but it’s very well implemented. The main view of the app shows you all of the images around you, organized by distance. By default, you will see all the images around you, but you can also filter this down to seeing just the images of the people in your social network on Trover (you sign in with your Facebook account, but the app won’t automatically add your Facebook friends to your network).

Share Your Discoveries – Whatever They May Be

Because of the app’s open approach, you can virtually share anything you want. The people around me have shared anything from photos of restaurant menus and food to pictures of local sights, interesting stores and weird stuff they found while walking down the street (no dearth of that here in Portland). Of course, this also means that some people just take pictures of the food they made at home, but so far, I’ve seen surprisingly little of this.

Trover’s Currency: A Simple ‘Thank You’

Unlike other apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, where the focus is more on amassing virtual badges and collecting digital flotsam, the currency on Trover is a simple ‘thank you.’ To thank others, you don’t have to be part of their social network. This makes it easy to thank other and it’s surprisingly rewarding to be thanked by others.

For the most part, the service has been flying under the radar. Hopefully this will change soon. You can download the app here.



10:29 am