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Facebook integrated real time media challenges Google

Mark Sullivan | Sept. 22, 2011
Facebook fired a major blow against social networking rival Google+ today, announcing the integration of streaming music and video to the service.

When Can You Use Facebook's New Features?

So when does this all become available? The “open graph” (real-time) music, movies, and TV apps will launch today, although Facebook didn’t say which ones. The Timeline tool goes into a beta period today: developers can start using the tool now, but everybody else will have to sign up and wait while the tool rolls out over the next “couple of weeks,” Zuckerberg says.

Zuckerberg and Facebook want to apply the social media approach to many things that we do online -- from news reading to search to business. But dropping an app with the content breadth and flexibility of Spotify into the middle of the social graph could have a profound impact on the way we listen to music and watch video.

Apple's iPod made listening to music a completely closed-off, private experience. Facebook--with big content partners like Spotify and Netflix--could truly make music and video a much more social experience. Imagine a person walking down the street or on a job listening to music with the Facebook app on a smartphone. That person might very well click on a song or a string of songs that a friend was listening to simultaneously while working out at a gym across town. This is a new way to listen to music--it takes the experience out solitary confinement and makes it mobile and social.

“The new open graph apps are all about self expression and serendipity, " Facebook Chief Technical Officer Bret Taylor said in today's keynote.

Today’s event was a noticeably splashier event than recent Facebook developer's conferences. There seemed to be a buzz in the air about the growing battle between Facebook and Google+, which some are already calling the biggest corporate rivalry of this decade. The event was held at the San Francisco Design Center, and the large hall was nearly full, mostly with Facebook developers and media.

What Has Google+ Done Lately?

Google earlier this week announced that its Google+ service, which had been in trial mode, is now open to the general public. It also announced a number of improvements to existing features.

Google+, which is only a little more than three months old, already has about 21 million users, compared with Facebook's more than 800 million. Now that Google+ is open to everyone, Google hopes the non-nerd crowd will sign up in big numbers.

It appears that Google hopes that users will open a Google+ account and later adopt it as their go-to social network because of its convenient integration with other Google services such as Google Docs and Google search. Time will tell.

There is a lot at stake here. The online advertising community is increasingly convinced that the web is becoming an inherently social place, and that ad dollars will flow to the platform that hosts the most users for the longest periods of time. Google made its fortunes on search advertising, but the paradigm appears to be shifting to social advertising, and right now, Facebook has a clear inside track.


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