With its annual developers conference, f8, just around the corner, Facebook introduces major enhancements that are sure to capture the attention of fellow industry giants: Google, Twitter and Blackberry.
In the past week, Facebook has released several major innovations, positioning the company to become more than just another website on the internet. To help you stay up-to-date on these social media changes, here are some of the news items that caught Social Moms’ attention:
Facebook has now introduced Smart Lists that help you manage your friends more easily, very similar to Google+ ‘Circles’. What makes these lists so smart is that they are created and updated automatically based on the common profile information of your friends, like school, work, city, and family. And the timing couldn’t be better. This enhancement comes on the heels of news that Google+’s growth may be slowing down a bit, according to CNN.
Another new development for Facebook is the new Subscribe feature (similar to Twitter’s ‘Follow’) that now allows you to subscribe to other people’s updates even if you’re not friends. However, subscribers only see what you post publicly.
Stepping into Blackberry’s territory, Facebook has recently launched its own dedicated instant messaging mobile app. This app, launched just last month, lets members send instant messages on their mobile to anyone on their ‘friends’ list…for free. Said to rival Blackberry’s popular messenger service, BBM (Blackberry Messenger), Facebook’s new app will position the company to steal away some of the growing instant messaging market share.
But Facebook doesn’t stop there, at its f8 conference, scheduled for September 22 in California, founder and chief, Mark Zuckerberg, is expected to announce its entrance into music services. By partnering with established digital streaming companies such as Spotify, Rhapsody, and Mog, the company positions itself to take the place of MySpace as the social network of choice for accessing and sharing music.
Are these changes certain to place Facebook as the new leader in its industry? Well, not all of this giant’s innovations have been well-received. In November 2007, Facebook launched Beacon, an ad system which allowed companies to develop highly targeted ads using Facebook’s social platform. However, the new service created considerable controversy due to privacy concerns, becoming the target of a class action suit, and was shut down only two years later in September 2009.
Not all past Facebook innovations suffered this same fate. Last year’s reveal of 8 social plugins that allowed web developers to more easily integrate Facebook’s social data into any site has been well-received.
Web monitoring company, Nielsen, recently published its new social media report. According to this report, internet users in America spent a combined total of 53.5 billion minutes on Facebook during May 2011. This amounted to more time than was spent on the four next popular sites (Yahoo, Google, AOL’s Huffington Post, and Microsoft’s sites) combined. It appears that Facebook, with its more than 750 million members, is truly positioning itself to be the industry leader.