Tag Archives | MySpace

Yep, I’m Too Old for the New MySpace

From what I can tell, the new MySpace is absolutely nutty. Just look at the screenshots and footage of the site’s ground-up reboot, as posted at All Things D. At a glance, it’s a vaguely decipherable mess of pop culture, status updates, thumbnail photos and usage data. I’m terrified by the mere thought of hanging out there.

Presumably, there’s a generation of users who won’t be. The new MySpace is aiming strictly for a young crowd, ages 13 to 35, Bloomberg reports. It’ll give users the choice of three interfaces, only one of which resembles the old style of personal user pages. The other two options are filled with recommendations for music, videos, games and people you might like, either as a patchwork of thumbnails (pictured) or a slideshow of content.

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MySpace User Data For Sale

Social networking just became a little riskier to your privacy. Information from MySpace is now for sale to third parties ranging from academics and analysts to marketers.

The data will include any activity or information that is attached to an account. That includes blog posts, location, photos, reviews, and status updates–among others. InfoChimps, an Austin Texas company that collects and sells structured data, is selling the data.

Of course, MySpace is perfectly within its rights to work with Infochimps, because it legally owns the data and the server logs. Users wave their right to privacy in exchange for free Web hosting and access to its social features. “Free” comes at a cost. Here’s snippet of what “they” know about you.

This is exactly the type of scenario that Eben Moglen, a Columbia University law professor and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center warned of at a seminar about privacy in cloud computing last month. Except I wouldn’t have imagined that MySpace would be one of the really aggressive purveyors of personal data.

In his talk, Moglen advocated for the development of peer-to-peer social networks where users retain ownership of their data. His suggestion is looking more appealing (and prophetic) now that one of the biggest names in social networking has sold out its users’ privacy.

[NOTE: The original version of this story stated that MySpace was selling data; in fact, Infochimps is the seller, through a revenue-sharing agreement with MySpace. MySpace has released the following statement:

MySpace is not selling user data to Infochimps. MySpace provides developers, including companies such as Infochimps, with free access to publicly available real-time data (such as status updates, music, photos, videos) using our Real Time Stream feed. We have identified the need for third-party developers who can’t handle the size of our full feed to still have access to the data in a different format.  For this reason Infochimps is offering developers a pre-packaged version of our Real Time Stream, as a value-added service.

More information is available at Infochimps’ blog.]


Google Search Goes Real Time

Google announced several interesting things at its press event today, including Google Goggles, a vision-assisted search app for Android phones that lets you snap a photo of a real-world item, then get information about it. But the big news turned out to be Google Real-Time Search, a new search feature that gives you the very latest results for your search queries. As in ones that are seconds old.

It’s not a replacement for Google search as we know it–in fact, it’ll be embedded within standard Google search results, in a scrolling window that updates automatically and lets you backtrack to see what you might have missed. You’ll also be able to view real-time results all by themselves, via a new “Latest” option in Google’s Search Options menu. That gets you a page that mashes up items from Twitter, news sites, blogs, and other sources–and Google announced today that it’s struck deals with Facebook and MySpace to bring public information from their users into Google Real-Time Search.

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MySpace Looks Past Social Networking

myspaceMySpace has been especially busy it seems in recent weeks to recast itself as an entertainment destination as it cedes the social networking space to Facebook. In fact, the two sides are talking about ways they could work together, according to comments made to the Telegraph newspaper.

Facebook is apparently interested in MySpace’s content, which they suggest could be incorporated into Facebook through its Connect feature. Both sides have confirmed that talks are indeed ongoing, but haven’t really specified how far the talks may be.

One thing is working in Facebook’s favor: MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta is a Facebook alum. So I don’t think its a far stretch to say that Natta himself probably is leading MySpace into the willing arms of its now larger rival.

I’m not saying this was his plan all along — but when you’re getting to the point that MySpace is, everything should be on the table.

This isn’t the only partnership that MySpace is apparently working on. Next up, Microsoft. Kara Swisher reports that Redmond is looking at MySpace Music to beef up its music offering on MSN, another potentially lucrative move. With MSN Music struggling, teaming up with a market-leading service like MySpace’s just makes good business sense.

In the end, it looks like MySpace has just about given up on social networking from recent news that’s coming out of the company. I guess we’ll find out soon if that was a smart idea or not, no?


Facebook to Implement User Names

Facebook LogoFacebook announced today that user names will become available at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 13. Save the time and date: Legions of homebodies with nothing better to do will be the first in line for the land grab.

If someone wants to find out what I’m up to on Facebook, they have to log in and search for me unless they know the random string of numbers that represents me. Whereas Twitter already has easy to remember user names that people can type into their browser (I’m twitter.com/dcworthington).

This is a welcome improvement, and it complements Facebook’s strategy of focusing more on its users’ stream of events. I’m equally happy that it still requires people to use their full names when they register for an account. That protection adds a measure of trust, which many be one of the reasons why I am not spammed on Facebook. I get spammed on Twitter, and now to a lesser extent, Myspace. Adding user names is that latest of many smart decisions Facebook has made to evolve itself.


MySpace Music Reinventing Itself After Foul-ups

myspaceWired has an interesting feature on MySpace Music, which was supposed to be a boon for the music industry when it launched a half year ago. Free streaming music from all four major record labels and support for playlists seemed like a good idea.

Unfortunately, the service had some serious usability issues, such as limits on playlist size and a slow music player, and the song selection wasn’t comprehensive. Courtney Holt, who stepped in to lead MySpace Music in January, three months after launch, is candid about the problems in his chat with Wired, calling the original service “plumbing and a playlist.” He covers similar ground as he did in a New York Times Bits interview from March, when the service started adding new features and improving the interface. Perhaps Holt is trying to get the word out that MySpace Music isn’t all bad anymore.

And for a free service, it could be worse. The ability to search for bands and build playlists directly from the results is nice, and I like the pop-out player. I’m wondering why playlist management is stunted — it can’t be done in real-time and new songs add themselves to the top of the list, rather than the bottom — but as a tool for discovering new music, it’s functional enough. Links to the Amazon MP3 download for each song are enticing, too.

Holt is also looking to “bring back the album,” as Wired puts it. Entire pages will be dedicated to individual albums, packed with bonus features and a forum for fans to discuss the music. With greater support for indie bands, MySpace Music is starting to look pretty robust.

If I were the record labels, I’d be looking to duplicate this service on other social networks. Design-wise, I’ve always found MySpace to be sloppy, and that’s keeping me away more than the content or the way it’s managed. Obviously adding streaming music to my network of choice (Facebook) can’t happen overnight, but I’d much rather get two dozen streaming track recommendations from friends than read 25 of their obscure personal details.

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MySpace Developing Free E-Mail Service

Rumors are swirling about social networking giant MySpace’s next possible move: a free e-mail service for its users. TechCrunch reported Thursday that sources told it the company has such a service in development, and at its launch it would already be the third largest e-mail provider without having to lift a finger.

Essentially, your MySpace ID would become your email@myspace.com. It’s not far-fetched to expect MySpace to integrate the e-mail functionality right in to the current messaging product, although I’d venture to guess they’d have to rejigger it a bit to make it work for non MySpace messages a bit better.

Is this smart for the social networking giant? You bet your bottom it is. MySpace is already trying hard to keep users on its pages longer, and nothing would do that more than e-mail. People check their e-mail several times a day — some several times an hour — and each time there is the opportunity to sell another ad impression.

MySpace is neither confirming nor denying the reports.


Yahoo Rolls Out “Open” Strategy

yahoologoCycles of innovation on the Web happen rapidly, and even Yahoo fans might concede that the company has failed to keep pace with change. That’s contributed to its well-publicized recent woes. Now the company is being forced to reinvent itself by doing more to appeal to developers and embedding social networking features in its heavily-trafficked Web services.

The latest phase of that transition is an extension of its Yahoo Open Strategy (YOS) to some of its most popular Web properties, including My Yahoo, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Toolbar, and across the company’s media Web sites.

Mostly notably, today Yahoo announced an upgrade to Yahoo Mail that serves up information that might be of interest to subscribers. The Mail site now resembles an e-mail inbox with elements of Facebook; applications and notifications surround e-mails. It keeps people in touch and looped in at a glance.

Yahoo is offering six initial Web services, including ones from third parties: Family Journal, Flixster Movies, Flickr, Photos by Xoopit, WordPress, and Yahoo Greetings. The company said in its blog that it is working to safeguard the sensitivity of users’ personal e-mail, and it will refine its application security model before opening the door to developers.

When I think of how much of my day is spent on Facebook (more than I care to admit), it makes perfect sense to follow that model. I usually have two separate browser windows open: one for Facebook and one for Gmail. Combining that functionality makes perfect sense–it’s just a shame that Yahoo had to be prodded to do it.

The Yahoo home page now has an applications sidebar that is open to third party developers, and the company has published a new theme API. Notifications about contacts’ activities across Yahoo Web properties is displayed when the user is logged in. Some notifications are pulled from Yahoo TV and Yahoo Music.

Yahoo announced its YOS strategy in October, and introduced its development platform, including Yahoo Application Platform (YAP), Yahoo Social Platform (YSP), and Yahoo Query Language (YQL), at that time. From the looks of what it has accomplished to date, Yahoo should manage to stop the hemorrhaging and retain many of its millions of users. It may even attract some new ones.