Facebook engineer leaks Listen feature
Streaming service could be music to users' ears
TechLife | 22 Sep 2011 :
Today's Facebook F8 developer conference has promised a number of new features that could 'revolutionise' the world's biggest social network, some of which proved too much for one engineer to keep quiet about. According to a report in Business Insider
, engineer Ji Lee broke tweeted about Listen, a new feature that allows users to share music with their friends the same time they are listening themselves. Though deleted, the tweet was picked up by technology blog TechCrunch and reported to its global audience.
While the role of music in the future of Facebook had been scheduled part of the conference, along with sessions on mobile, casual gaming and app building, no specific plans had been released.
If Listen is to the the shape of Facebook's music strategy the questions it raises is how it would work from a commercial perspective? Current streaming services like Muzu.tv offer a revenue share agreement based on clickthroughs for ads on band pages. A pay-per-stream option might work, but it's hard to see how Facebook would benefit, especially as it has no hardware to push and its smartphone applications are currently free.
Facebook has already attracted criticism over the past week following a radical overhaul, changing the presentation of news stories based on potential interest to the user (as defined by their viewing history) over a simpler chronological order. Status updates are now displayed in real time in a panel on the top right corner of the page above a list of online friends. Posts of particular interest are highlights with a blue corner, which can be added or removed as the user wishes.
A more controversial inclusion is the 'subscribe' function that allows users add public individuals they might ordinarily not be allowed to connect to as friends. The feature effectively turns status updates into twitter posts whle preserving the users right to share personal infomation with their contacts only - potentially removing the need for separating fan pages from personal pages.