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Friendster to Add Facebook App Compatibility

friendsterI have a little song for you today. It’s to the tune of “Oh Shenandoah.”

O-pen Social, you long to give us
A-a-apps, all open source
O-pen Social, you long to serve us
A-a-away you’re bound to go
‘Cause Facebook’s stealing your lunch

Okay, the last line might not fit so well in the song, but it looks to be happening in the real world. Yet another social network that had pledged its support to Open Social is adding compatibility with Facebook’s application language. Yes, first it was Bebo (in December) and now it’s Friendster.

Announced a year ago, Open Social is Google’s answer to Facebook’s then-proprietary social network app markup language. Designed as a cross-platform, open source language and set of standards, Open Social seemed pretty awesome at first.

Google Blog Search Adds Meme Tracking; Puts Techmeme on Notice

Just because Google suddenly enters your playground, that doesn’t automatically mean you need to pack-up your toys and go home. Still, Techmeme has every reason to be just a little nervous that Google has launched a new homepage for Google Blog Search.

From the Google announcement:

Adapting some of the technology pioneered by Google News, we’re now showing categories on the left side of the website and organizing the blog posts within those categories into clusters, which are groupings of posts about the same story or event. Grouping them in clusters lets you see the best posts on a story or get a variety of perspectives. When you look within a cluster, you’ll find a collection of the most interesting and recent posts on the topic, along with a timeline graph that shows you how the story is gaining momentum in the blogosphere.

StumbleUpon Changes: No Toolbar, Partners, Better Ads

Maybe the big change coming for StumbleUpon last month wasn’t a change in ownership after all. While rumors of eBay’s planned sale of the website-discovery toolbar have yet to be confirmed, StumbleUpon has come out with a few big changes this week.

Originally designed as a toolbar that delivers recommended pages in your specified areas of interest, StumbleUpon has seen great popularity. It even had a decent revenue model: selling some of those pageviews for a nickel a pop. ClickZ reports that one out of every 20 to 30 pages stumbled is a paid inclusion. But the toolbar may soon be a thing of the past for all users.

Facebook Redesigns Homepage

Last night, my husband was logging in to Facebook when he noticed something was different. He asked me if I’d seen this before:

new facebook homepage

Nope. Conspicuously absent from the redesign, of course, is the phrase “social utility,” Facebook’s high-falutin’ euphemism for “social network.” (I swear I noticed that before I read the TechCrunch post, too.)

I’m guessing the new homepage is not the harbinger of major changes at Facebook—rather, it’s probably the last step in the extremely long roll out of their latest redesign.

It looks cooler, it matches with the new interior design better, and it loses the pretentious autonym—that is, it explains what it’s for more simply. Not bad.

Consumers Want Businesses on Social Networks

I have to say that this one came as a bit of a shocker for me: apparently 93% of American consumers want businesses on social media sites, according to the aptly-named 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study. Odd, I thought when most Facebook users rebelled against Beacon, this was exactly what they didn’t want.

When asked whether businesses should interact with consumers on social media sites, 85% said yes (I guess the other 8% either subscribed to a “seen and not heard” school of thought).

Specifically, Americans believe:

  • Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)

  • Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)

  • Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%)

Facebook Grows 50%; MySpace Still #1; Social Networking Traffic Declines 17% Overall

OK, Facebook, what do you want first? The good news, or the bad news?

The good news? Well, the good news is that, according to Hitwise, you’ve grown your US share of social networking sites by a massive 50%, in the past year. w00t!

Now for the bad news. MySpace still has a 67.54% market share, compared to your relatively meager 20.56% slice.

Oh, and there’s some bad, bad news. Total traffic to social networking sites declined 17% year-over-year. I guess there’s just only so much sheep-throwing and whale-failing we can handle.

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger! And, even if you do want to shoot the messenger, it’s Hitwise–not this Pilgrim.

MySpace Music Launches

myspace music logoIncredible, I know, but for the third time in two days, MySpace does something newsworthy. Today, they topped them all, and they just might have revolutionized music online—little, if any, exaggeration.

How do you listen to music online now? A dollar a download? A limited number of song plays a month? A stream of music with a limited number of “skip this track”s? And your music videos—YouTube, maybe even bootlegs, right?

Just shy of six months after the announcement of an iTunes rival, MySpace Music launches, falling into none of the above categories. Add tracks to your profile, public, and private playlists and play them as many times as you want for free. (Okay, the dollar download, this time from Amazon, is still in effect.)