Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, September 20, 2011, 12:26 PM
'Listen' To Facebook InitiativeAll Things Digital

Exactly what Facebook plans to debut later this week at its f8 conference isn't clear, but it's reportedly big, and will likely reshape the site's core experience with new "read," "watch," and "listen" buttons.

With the new battle cry, "Read. Watch. Listen.," Facebook is expected to "unveil its next massive initiative to socialize the Web," reports All Things D. "A key focus of this year's annual event has been well reported: Content."

The supposed "motto excites me because of the promise it holds that Facebook will fully embrace multimedia," ReadWriteWeb's Richard MacManus writes. "But that has some major implications, which will affect many in the Web ecosystem."

 "As the New York Times conveyed this past weekend, Facebook is planning for ways to surface personal content better," writes TechCrunch. "And we've heard from a source that Facebook will introduce new buttons on the wall that will begin introducing some granularity to the ‘Like' concept."

"The granular feedback could also power the quietly launched Broad Category Interest targeting available in Facebook Ads, which lets advertisers target anyone with interests related to a selected subject rather than targeting those with specific Likes," Inside Facebook suggests. In addition to "Read," "Listened," and "Watched" buttons, Facebook is also reportedly testing new social commerce buttons like "Want," TechCrunch adds.

"This ties in with murmurings CNET has heard about Facebook's desire to help its users find others who like what they like and then discover additional songs and other content based on that," CNet writes.

"The upshot of all of this is that Facebook is embracing sharing media on its platform, after a long time largely focused on people interactions," ReadWriteWeb's MacManus adds. "The social networking aspect won't go away of course, it's simply being extended to enable people to share what they're consuming."

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  • Gavin O'Malley, September 20, 2011, 12:26 PM
  • After establishing a number of ecommerce verticals -- including Soap.com, for health and beauty products, and Wag.com for pet supplies -- Amazon-owned Quidsi just got into the toy business. ("Took you long enough!" we imagine kids saying.) YoYo, at yoyo.com, just debuted with some 20,000 toys, video games, books and other kid-appropriate products. Quidsi has already had success in other verticals.

    "It's been quite good at what it does," Softpedia writes. "So much so that Amazon was forced to acquire the company [for $545 million last November], after putting some pricing pressure on it since Amazon carried some of the same items as Diapers.com, for example." Regarding its latest foray, Marc Lore, CEO of Quidsi, says: "We've heard again and again that toy shopping can be totally overwhelming, which is why we wanted to create a toy destination that makes the experience as simple and efficient as possible, and hopefully even a little fun."

    The site boasts a wide selection of toys, but, so as not to overwhelm shoppers, it uses personalized recommendations as well as guided toy-finder tools. Read the whole story...
  • Addressing persistent privacy concerns, Foursquare is in the process of rolling out a new option to prevent users from inadvertently sharing home addresses with strangers. "The update ... enables the user to designate a Foursquare locale as a private residence by selecting 'Home' as the venue's primary category," reports Mashable. Applying the "Home" category will apparently keep the actual address of the venue private to just users and their friends, while also letting user edit the venue or delete it altogether.

    "Doing this will ensure that only you and your friends can see the address on the venue page; everyone else sees a zoomed out map with no map pin (rather than the real location)," a Foursquare support entry explains. "If a Mayorship, badge unlock or check-in is shared to Twitter or Facebook, the venue URL will include a map without a specific location for everyone."

    Foursquare users can also flag venues as their home or have it removed, even if they didn't create it, according to Foursquare's support site. "Go to the venue page on the website and click "Report a Problem" for a list of flagging options, Mashable adds. Read the whole story...
  • What has huge name recognition, tons of potential, but -- at least in its current state -- the chilly feel of a ghost town? Google+, says PBS.org contributor Dan Reimold. "As it stands, my Circles are sparse," writes Reimold, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Tampa, and blogger. Just one man's opinion, sure, but he's not the only one calling Google+ barren.

    As Reimold notes, it was actually Omaha World-Herald columnist Rainbow Russell who recently said: "It's a not-vicious-enough-to-be-interesting circle: Nobody posts on Google+ because nobody posts on Google+. My Google+ home page is worse than a ghost town. It doesn't even feel haunted."

    So, what's Google+'s problem? So far as Reimold sees it, "There are a few things that are slightly better [than Facebook and other existing social media platforms], but what's really making a huge difference? You know, that's the problem. There's nothing really groundbreaking [about Google+]." Echoing a recent critique by Forbes.com contributor Paul Tassi, Reimold just doesn't think there's room in most people's lives for another social network. Read the whole story...
  • Responding to readers' increasingly social habits, The Wall Street Journal has launched a new platform that filters content through the so-called social graph and lives entirely within Facebook. Regarding WSJ Social, "the fundamental idea of it is super simple," Alisa Bowen, general manager of the WSJ Digital Network, tells Forbes. "It's about making [WSJ content] available where people are."

    According to Forbes, "It's also about reimagining newspaper reading as an inherently social experience." On the new platform, visitors choose streams they want to follow -- from those produced by the paper's editors to friends' streams -- which then appear on their news feed.

    Encouraging amateur editors to compete against WSJ's paid staff, the most-followed users can compare their rankings on a leader-board, and earn prizes, including their own WSJ-style stipple portraits. "It's really about the users being elevated to editors," says Maya Baratz, the WSJ's head of new products, tells Forbes. Read the whole story...