Facebook F8: Spotify, Hulu, Netflix get deeper Facebook integration
After unveiling the Timeline profile redesign at Facebook's F8 conference on Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a "new class of apps" that will make use of Timeline.
The central idea here is that users will be able to share what they're doing in Facebook-connected apps as they're doing it. If your Spotify account is connected to Facebook, a message will show up in your Timeline and in the Ticker stating the song you're listening to. If a friend wants to listen to the same song, he or she just hovers over the song in the Timeline or Ticker, and if they want, they can launch that song in Spotify too.
Spotify doesn't launch inside of Facebook, but rather the Spotify desktop app launches, and a new message will pop up in that user's Timeline and Ticker as well.
Photos: The many faces of Facebook
Zuckerberg said these changes were made to get rid of the pop-up boxes that ask users if they want to share to their walls what they're doing on Facebook.
"People have things they want to sharek but they don't want to annoy their friends by putting stuff in their friends' news feeds," he said. "Ticker is a lightweight stream of everything that's going on around you. ... We think that this is going to make it so that people can express on an order of magnitude more things than they could before."
Until Timeline, and the upcoming apps that take advantage of Timeline, this sort of "open graph" sharing wasn't possible on Facebook, Zuckerberg said.
"We believe that eventually all apps that you use will be social," he said. "Facebook's mission is to make the world more open and connected, and the way that we do this is to map out all of the things that you're connected to."
More changes will come with this new class of apps that will change the language of sharing, Zuckerberg said.
"You can connect to anything by liking it," he said. "This year, were taking the next step; we're going to make it so you can connect to anything you want, the way you want."
"You don't have to like a book, you can read a book," Zuckerberg said. "You don't have to like a movie, but you can watch a movie. You can just eat a meal, you can hike a trail, you can listen to a song."
Zuckerberg did say that "building this language is pretty important , so were doing it carefully and slowly," he said, not yet revealing when the Timeline or these new apps would roll out to users.
The CEO also said that the two categories of apps will be especially able to take advantage of the new Facebook media apps (music, movies, TV, news, books) and lifestyle apps (exercise, food, fashion, travel and more).
"The new class of apps will help you post stuff to your Timeline but also find new things you might like," he said. "It's a frictionless experience. If your goal is to just add lightweight activity, you'll never have to see one of these prompts ever again. So to make this work, we completely redesigned the permissions dialogue so that the entire reason you're adding an app, you're doing so to get that activity on your wall."
Mog, Vevo, Rhapsody, Turntable.fm, Songza, Spotify, DirecTV, IMDb, DailyMotion, Metacafe, Hulu, Netflix and other apps will make use of this new, more open sharing permissions change, Zuckerberg said.
Hulu and Netflix will be among apps that will make use of what he called a "canvas app" that will allow users to watch movies and TV from Hulu or Netflix right on top of Facebook itself, popping up in a video player in the same way that the prompt boxes -- which Facebook wants to get rid of -- do now.
Reed Hastings then took the stage to talk about what Netflix was doing with Facebook's "open graph." He said he hadn't started watching "Breaking Bad" even though the TV show had been recommended to him by both Netflix itself and friends. Once he saw on Facebook's new Timeline feature that a friend of his was watching "Breaking Bad" too, he finally got to watching it after more than a year of recommendations.
"Watching content my friend did really trumped watching content because of an algorithm," Hastings said.
However, Netflix will be one of the few apps that won't be able to list on Facebook in the U.S. what a person is watching in Timeline or Ticker. That's because the U.S. has a law, which Hastings described as outdated, that forbids the disclosing video rental information. Companies that violate the law are liable up to $2,500 for each infraction. Netflix is looking to get the law overturned, and Hastings promised Netflix would publish a blog post about the issue later in the day.
News agencies will launch canvas apps as well, such as News Corp.'s the Daily (which launched as an iPad-only news magazine), as well as the Washington Post. Games will also take advantage of canvas apps.
Photo: Mark Zuckerberg shows off a running app at F8. Credit: Screengrab from Facebook.com