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:
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.
- 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.
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! ;)