Facebook set for music and video facelift, Zuckerberg tells summit
Facebook unveiled new ways for users to listen to music and watch TV, offering tie-ups with the likes of Spotify and Hulu, as it attempts to make media an integral part of its social networking service.
The features, which Facebook unveiled at its annual f8 developers' conference in San Francisco on Thursday, will vastly expand the types of activities that users of the social networking service can notify their friends about, from the news articles they read to the title of each song they listen to throughout the day.
Users will also be able to listen along to whatever song a friend is listening to, provided they both subscribe to the supported third-party streaming music services, such as Spotify.
The media push comes as Facebook faces fresh competition from Google, which in June launched a rival social networking service, Google+.
In recent weeks, Facebook, which has more than 750 million users, has rolled out a bevy of changes to its service.
"Facebook is positioning itself as not just your social graph online, but your life online," said Forrester Research analyst Sean Corcoran.
"These changes not only help trump rival Google but will open up new opportunities. But concerns around privacy and immaturity in how to do these things effectively will make it a slow go," he said.
Dressed in a grey T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the music companies partnering with Facebook were reinventing the music industry and the business models that underlie the industry.
"They believe that the key to making the music business work isn't trying to block you from listening to songs you haven't bought," Mr Zuckerberg said. "It's trying to help you discover so many songs that you end up buying even more content than you ever would have otherwise."
Joining Mr Zuckerberg on stage was Netflix chief executive and Facebook board member Reed Hastings, who said he was excited to offer tighter integration with Facebook but did not give details.
The Washington Post Co unveiled its Social Reader, which lets people read and share stories from the newspaper within Facebook.
For Facebook, a deeper integration of music, movies and other media into its service makes it more likely that users will spend more time on its site, enabling the company to generate more advertising revenue.