June 5, 2007

last.fm continues to rock

despite recently being purchased by CBS, last.fm has been firing on all cylinders.

along with a recent redesign, last.fm has been cranking out "community" features left and right. they've improved their badges, event calendars, rss feeds, and have created a widgets site that can help even the newbest newb embed their song history in a blog, myspace, web page, or facebook. (more on facebook after the jump...)

i've embedded the "quilt" widget below -- a slick flash widget that displays a rotating array of album covers.

and speaking of facebook -- could their launch of f8 be any huger? (at least with all us web nerds -- the twitterverse has been all, well, er, a-twitter.) Newsweek has dubbed 2007 as the "Year of the Widget," which puts facebook in a pretty good position to take over where friendster and myspace have lacked. Redeye VC has some great thoughts on the potential dinosaur that is MySpace:

While the concept of a “widget” might seem trivial to many outside of Silicon Valley, the ability to automatically embed a rich flash application inside another site is very powerful. It has become a new vehicle for massively gaining viral distribution.
And this new opportunity has not gone unnoticed by the VC community. I'd estimate that over $250 million dollars has been invested in widget companies during the last 18 months. And just as every consumer-facing Internet company has developed a strategy to leverage Google (via organic or paid search), they have also developed strategies to “widgitize” a portion of their application for distribution via Myspace. While there are other sites which allow widget embedding, the vast majority of the growth has been on Myspace. In fact, I would argue that until last week, the term “widget” has been synonymous with “embedded Myspace application.”
Myspace’s lack of a clear “widget roadmap” created a big opportunity for their #1 competitor, Facebook.

Just last week, Facebook took advantage of that opportunity in a huge way. Specifically, Facebook announced their new development platform, F8. I won’t spend a lot of time describing their announcement (I'll leave that to others), but I agree with Paul Allen’s summary of the three key points:
  • Applications can be deeply integrated with Facebook
  • Distribution of the applications will occur through the network, and
  • The business opportunity Facebook is providing will give 100% of advertising revenue (for third party applications) and 100% of transaction revenue to the application developers.
By providing a clear roadmap – and business opportunity – for the widget makers, Facebook has just increased its virtual R&D budget by over $250 million dollars. By welcoming third-party innovation, Facebook will reap the benefit of hundreds of millions of dollars of venture investment – and the Facebook user will have a much richer experience. I'd wager that every widget maker who has previously relied on Myspace for traffic is hard at work this holiday weekend on migrating their application to support the Facebook API.
Facebook has recognized (and embraced) something that Myspace has not – that there is more value in owning a web platform then a web property. (my emphasis)

if you're a fan of 30 boxes, last.fm, twitter, box.net, iLike, picnik, and literally hundreds of other fun and successful web2.0 sites that have cropped up over the last year or two, then get on over to facebook and play around. chances are, you'll never have to visit any other site! ;)


Anonymous said...

what about virb.com?

hillary said...

fair point...

until facebook announced their app platform, i had stayed away from all of these sites except for friendster -- and that's only because i've been on it so long and have more "friends" there than anywhere else. i created accounts on myspace and facebook to see how it worked, and promptly never logged in again.

when virb launched i thought seriously about joining. it is definitely the "prettiest" of all the social networking sites, and as a web designer that goes a long way with me. honestly, the only reason i've stayed away is the reluctance to join yet another social network.

what excites me about the facebook apps is less about the social network, and more about their idea of wanting fb to be your "operating system" on the web. it's a little too sterile for my taste, but the idea is totally exciting and will hopefully push other sites in a similar direction.

perhaps virb should join up with netvibes. i love the idea of a "webtop," and netvibes is the only one i've tried that i actually use. if virb+netvibes could pull off what f8 has done, i'd be there in a heartbeat!

hillary said...

also (since i can't edit my comment), it's worth noting that by "prettiest" i also mean most usable. it's simple, clean, and nice to use -- unlike facebook, friendster, and myspace (in my opinion).

Jessi Hance said...

I agree, last.fm offers quite an array of features. I'm an enthusiastic user. I use twitter too, though I haven't tried fb or any of the other services/sites. Add in the great things you can do with your blog. The variety of things you can do on the web is pretty amazing.

I'm looking forward to Wordcamp (just the Saturday) and learning how to do even more with my blog. See you there!

hillary said...

hey jessi, thanks for the comment. feel free to add me at any of those sites... i'm "quepol" on most everything. if you come back this way, leave your blog address -- i'd love to check it out.