Today Yahoo-owned photo service Flickr hit 2 billion user-uploaded photos. The lucky uploader of photo number 2 billion isn't getting a free Flickr pro membership, but Yukesmook's picture of an Australian gum tree has already garnered more than 5,000 views and a slew of happy comments from Flickr users. Rival service Photobucket used to keep a live tracker of how many photos were being uploaded to the service before removing it shortly after the introduction of video hosting, however it was already well past the 2 billion mark in mid-February. In comparison, the latest published stats for … Read more
Social.fm (formerly Mercora) has a new music sharing widget for social networking users that's got a few tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, it'll scour your profile (on the Facebook version) to figure out your musical tastes, and then do its best to serve up a playlist of those same artists, or others that have been clumped in the same playlists by Social.FM's DJs. The great hope is that the player will adapt to your changing tastes.
Like Qloud's solution, which I took a look at earlier this month, the widget goes hand-in-hand with a desktop application that will link up to your library and do the same thing with your entire music collection. The weakness therein is the widget's UI, which borrows from Apple's CoverFlow sans actual player controls save a large stop button. While this works okay for a few songs, like the inherent weakness of CoverFlow as a navigation medium, the system falls apart if you're actually trying to browse a large music collection or use the right side of your brain for finding artists, albums, or genres.
One thing Social.FM does really well (as it should) is serve up good music. There are some high-quality tracks on here, and a lot of it is surprisingly not just run-of-the-mill studio cuts, but radio appearances or professionally recorded live performances. One of my big beefs with Qloud was that the entirety of the content was coming from YouTube, and there was no way to really dig in to try to get better versions of a song. Facebook users get the added benefit of being able to share their listening habits with others, as listening to a track will publish to your mini feed, and music your friends are listening to will show up in the main news feed if they've got the app installed.
Social.FM is serving up two versions of the widget, one that's a Facebook app, and another that you can plug into any social networking service or site that can handle Adobe Flash embeds, like MySpace, Friendster, and Xanga. You can also stick it on your blog or Web site, which I've done after the break. The company tells me they're working on integrating better with Google's OpenSocial initiative to make their non-Facebook version a little more robust. They're also working on adding a recommendation feature that will let you share a song you're listening to with any user, similar to what some of the other Facebook music apps have done.
This has felt like a heavy week all around, so I wanted to wrap it up with a little levity. My favorite article this week was Michelle Slatalla's New York Times piece, "These Naughty Gifts Don't Clutter a Closet." She put the utter absurdity of Facebook applications into perspective, as she described the various virtual Naughty Gifts that one can send to friends, "thigh-high black platform boots...foil-wrapped condoms, black thongs and cans of something called Mr. Whipped Cream."
You see, in real life I've been talking to mom-friends quite a bit about … Read more
Two aspects of Facebook Ads--the "Beacon" and friend-recommendation-equipped "Social Ads"--have already garnered some skepticism around the Web for being potentially invasive, annoying, or both. Many Facebook users, myself included, haven't even seen these advertisements yet, but code-savvy developers like Nathan Weiner of The Idea Shower have already decided that we might want out.
Facebook executives have recently been quoted as saying they want to take over the world, but something might already be getting in their way: the law.
The New York Times' Saul Hansell has linked to a blog post from William McGeveran, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, in which McGeveran asserts that an obscure, 100-year-old New York privacy law may put a damper on Facebook's new "Social Ads" program, which inserts "endorsements" from your friends on the social-networking site.
Just over a month after releasing Widgetbox's App Accelerator, a shortcut for turning blogs and other Widgetbox widgets into Facebook apps (review), Widgetbox announced an upgrade that enmeshes its apps more completely into Facebook profiles.
According to Widgetbox, creating a functional Flash widget that lives in and operates from the user's profile page was the top developer request. It was mine, too. I wrote that:
"Most Facebook applications launch in a separate window when you click them, taking interaction off the user's profile page (the Facebook-developed Wall is a notable exception). It is therefore tragironic that … Read more
Tomorrow Photobucket is finally rolling out smarter way to tag your photos. If you've ever used Facebook's system of tagging other people that lets users draw a box around their friends, Photobucket's new implementation isn't too far off. You simply need to draw a box around any people or objects in a photo and give it a tag. Users who see the photo can mouse over the shot and get little boxes that denote the tagged area--similar to Flickr's notes feature. You can also add URLs that will jump users off to someone's social … Read more