Thursday, September 22, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, September 22, 2011, 12:08 PM
Facebook's Music Service RevealedTechCrunch

Likely to shake the Facebook user-experience to its core, a company employee just revealed new details surrounding the social network's about-to-debut Music service.

Calling it the service's "killer feature," TechCrunch was one of the first to pick up on this "Listen with your friend" feature. As Ji Lee, creative director at Facebook, explained in a tweet on Wednesday, the feature will let users: "Listen to what your friends are listening [to]. LIVE."

"Not only will all music you're listening to appear in the just-launched right-side ticker, there will be a link to ‘Listen with your friend', that when clicked, will allow you to listen along to the same song at the same time," TechCruch explains. "We hope this idea is on the right track -- because it would give the much disliked new right-side ticker a purpose other than to rile up Facebook users," notes's Technolog.

"While speculation has long pointed to Facebook Music automatically sharing what people are listening to (just as does), this is the first time we've heard about any feature that would allow users to easily listen to tunes with each other, live -- something that's sure to draw many to the service," writes

Bigger picture, "A move to put a social skin around media consumption is part of Facebook's attempt to achieve an even 'stickier' user experience," explains Computerworld's Jonny Evans.

Meanwhile, "Facebook apparently continues to tweak its new music service, even as f8′s launch approaches," Slashgear reports. "The persistent music control bar, mentioned in initial leaks, has apparently been axed in favor of each app having its own controls."

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, September 22, 2011, 12:08 PM
  • Social Games Cut Into Consoles Leaving more time for the Web, social game players are spending less time and money on traditional console games, according to a survey conducted by Information Solutions Group on behalf of social game firm Kabam. And when say social gamers, we're not just talking about middle-aged women. On the contrary, the online survey of 1,412 gamers found that one of the rapidly growing segments on social platforms is the "hardcore social gamer," who plays titles such as strategy, role-playing, or other hardcore games.

    "The survey is very self-serving, but it points to little-known facts that show why Kabam, which focuses on hardcore gamers, has a real business on Facebook," VentureBeat points out. The research survey found that these hardcore social gamers are younger and mostly male -- "very much in line with traditional gamer demographics," according to VentureBeat.

    "By contrast, many of Zynga's players on Facebook are casual female players with little playing experience." Still, about 82% of the hardcore social gamers also play console games. Yet, as VentureBeat, "As the games get better on Facebook, social games ... are disrupting play on the traditional consoles." Read the whole story...
  • Takes On Shopping Q&A In the world of serial entrepreneurs, Steven Fruchter and Jake Gold just debuted a new shopping-centric question-and-answer site named " is simple in its execution, but that's part of the genius behind it," The Next Web writes. "Whereas most online reviews sites will give you in-depth details about a product, there's no ability to modify your searches semantically. That's where is highly different."

    Along with asking for specific products, users are also encouraged to seek out product recommendations built around specified desires. Users get their own profiles, about -- adding a bit of "gamification play," as The Next Web puts it - they can also earn points for answering questions. Fruchter -- who worked with Gold on live streaming video site Stickam -- tells The Next Web that the site has already received about $1 million from seed financing.

    Added Fruchter: "Initially we are launching a Q&A platform to begin helping users receive crowd-sourced product recommendations immediately." The Next Web, for its part, seems to believe that's only the beginning. Read the whole story...
  • Parker, Fanning Plan Live Video Venture Facebook founding president Sean Parker and Napster co-founder Sean Fanning are busy at work on some top-secret start-up, Forbes reports. Dubbed Airtime, Parker tells Forbes that it's a live video site that will meet the need for real-time sharing and communication by allowing users to post videos and react to them live. Airtime's working mission statement? Only to "eliminate loneliness," according to Parker.

    "Parker has been coy about the platform's specifics, but says it will offer communication and sharing in real time -- something he thinks is underserved on the Web," Forbes writes. "Airtime will likely be a site where friends can post videos and react to them -- and each other -- live."

    There's also a video chat function a la Chatroulette. In April TechCrunch reported Parker and Fanning were working on a video-focused product called SupYo, which sounds a lot like Airtime. Whether the partners rebranded their pet project, or someone has their wires crossed remains to be seen. As previously reported Techcrunch, founder and ex-editor Michael Arrington is also an investor. Read the whole story...
  • LivingSocial Rethinks IPO For Big Funding Rather than go public, LivingSocial could raise over $200 million at a valuation approaching $6 billion, Bloomberg reports. "The proposed funding round may include both equity and debt," Bloomberg reports, citing two sources. The daily deal site was reportedly in talks with banks earlier this year about raising $1 billion in an IPO, but is reconsidering the strategy given the volatile stock market.

    Rival and market leader Facing the same factors, Groupon recently reconsidered its own IPO, but is now reportedly back on track to go public. Across sectors, companies have sidelined U.S. public offerings at a faster rate in the past three months than the comparable period of any year since 2004, according to Bloomberg data.

    The private funding round would likely include some of the company's existing backers, as well as new investors, sources tell Bloomberg. LivingSocial raised $400 million in April, valuing the company at a reported $3.5 billion. It has raised a total of $627 million from investors, including Grotech Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Amazon. Read the whole story...