Facebook Timeline and New Apps screen shot

New Facebook Part 3: Entertainment Zone

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Raise your hand if you stream via Netflix, listen to music on Spotify, or read the Washington Post. Now, raise your hand if you’re busy. Facebook’s new streaming apps are going to give you one central access location for all of your favorite entertainment services.

According to Zuckerberg, “We are making it so you can connect to anything you want. Now you don’t have to like a book, you can just read a book. You don’t have to like a movie; you can just watch a movie.”

Facebook is positioning itself as a destination, where users can record their own history via the new Timeline, share with their friends via the Open Graph, and now users can watch films, listen to music, and read newspapers without leaving the site.

Clearly, Facebook wants us to stay on the site for as long as possible – the longer we stay, the more ads we can click on! Also, Facebook will be capturing vital information about what movies or tv shows its users are discussing, creating a huge opportunity for services like Hulu and Netflix.

But, Zuckerberg has been pretty clear that the goal of the site is to be a “distribution platform” to other media companies and that these apps will help users stay more closely connected to their friends. Once users have opted in to open graph, these new apps will be able to automatically share activity such as viewing, listening and reading in the new “ticker” stream to the right. Now, without ever leaving Facebook, I can listen to what my friend is listening to or cook something my friend is cooking.

So, what are the apps you can look forward to?

  1. Spotify: If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a free music streaming company much like Pandora. With the new app, you can see what your friends are listening to, and hit play to hear their tracks instantly. So let’s introduce music to your social life.
  2. Foodily: This is one of my favorite recipe search engines. Their app gives you a dedicated, real-time feed of the recipes your friends save on the site and allows you to see your friends’ recipe boxes. When you save a recipe, the friend who initially shared the dish is notified.
  3. Kobo: I hadn’t heard of Kobo until the Open Graph (I guess this just shows you the power of the new tool). Kobo is a Borders-backed company that was the first of the major e-readers to add a social element to reading. This app will point out of two friends are reading the same book or post interesting facts about a reader’s activity on his or her wall.
  4. Washington Post: The Washington Post and the Daily, News Corp.’s national digital publication are pioneers for social news and will allow readers to instantly share the stories they find interesting with their friends. I assume many publications will follow.
  5. Netflix: Netflix said subscribers outside the United States will be able to share what they’re watching with friends on Facebook. Now it will be easier to find new television series or movies. Unfortunately the Netflix app won’t be available for the US, because of privacy laws around movie rentals. But, I’m sure another company will figure this out.
  6. Nike+: Facebook is also rolling out “lifestyle” apps that let users share routes they are running, or going to events (Eventbrite). The Nike+ app can show your running route to friends.

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