facebook app – Stay N Alive

FriendFeed Launches Status Update Sync to Auto-update Facebook

friendfeed-logo.jpgDespite all the “FriendFeed is dead” arguments the naysayers have been pushing, a new, pretty significant update was pushed by the FriendFeed team today into production.  The update belongs to FriendFeed’s App on Facebook, and now imports every update users post on status update services they import into FriendFeed as status updates on Facebook.  This means if you are importing your Twitter feed onto FriendFeed, and have installed the FriendFeed app on Facebook, all your Twitter updates will now automatically import as status updates onto Facebook.  Not only that, but it supports Google Chat status updates, Plurk updates, Identi.ca updates, and potentially any status update service supported by FriendFeed.

This move goes head-to-head with services like Twitter’s own Facebook app, which, as one of the very first Facebook Platform apps, automatically posts Twitter updates to users’ profiles.  The idea also, to me, suggests that the FriendFeed team will be releasing more updates around this in the future.  For instance, it now makes sense that FriendFeed begins to enable preferences around which services auto-populate into Facebook, and perhaps even a “post to Facebook” checkbox next to the already-existing “post to Twitter” checkbox when you post an update on the service.  FriendFeed also, very soon, needs to integrate Facebook Connect so that their Facebook integration (which is bound to happen) is much tighter and works better with the Facebook environment.  This is based on a Facebook app, which in my best guesses the FriendFeed team should be integrating into their existing FriendFeed app on Facebook – it’s inevitable at this point.  When this happens it makes sense to add even more updates to their Facebook integration, further growing the service.

The skeptics have all been pushing that FriendFeed won’t grow because the FriendFeed team is no longer working on the product.  I think this pretty much debunks that theory, even suggesting more updates are to come.  As I said before, FriendFeed’s just fine – it won’t be going away any time soon, and I think this proves my point even further.

This New Trend in Facebook Apps Looks Ugly

HuluI was tipped today onto Hulu’s new Facebook app, which seems to be aiming to bring the Hulu website into Facebook by including videos and a stream in the app itself.  The thing is, it’s hardly an app – it’s just the Hulu website in an HTML tag with an embeded stream widget inside. (Not sure what that is? Click the link to learn more about stream widgets) It’s something anyone (I would even argue you don’t even have to be a developer to do what they did) could do inside or outside Facebook, but they could do much better.  They took the easy way out, and it better have cost them just 2 hours of their developers’ time to implement or they just got ripped off.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this trend of Facebook app design.  I first saw it when a friend showed me the Hurley Pro Facebook app, also just a normal website, with a Facebook fan stream widget embedded inside, something that really barely even utilizes the Facebook API and the reasons you would integrate with Facebook in the first place.  I’m sure Facebook isn’t complaining – in the end it does bring more traffic to Facebook and helps to spread the Facebook brand, but for the brands in question, I just can’t see how this is helping them at all!

Here’s what they’re missing out on by not having deeper integration:

  • Deep tracking – they have the potential to know the exact demographics of everyone visiting their app or site by digging a little deeper
  • Notifications, Invites, and Requests – without some FBML and API integration (see my book to learn more about that) there is no way for users to spread word of the app.  The only way currently to do that via the means they’re doing it is to use the stream widget, which hardly does much to spread word of the app.
  • User tracking and customization – by using the Facebook API they could be knowing exactly who is visiting their app and customizing the experience to that user
  • Friend sharing – the most powerful feature of the Facebook API, there is no way currently to view what your friends are doing within the app.  Hulu, for instance, could be showing the videos your friends are watching and favoriting and subscribing to. They can’t do that the way they’re doing it right now.

If I were Hulu, I would be looking for ways to utilize Facebook Connect to bring Facebook to their own brand.  Look to integrate (see the “3 steps – that’s all!” part of this doc on the Facebook developers wiki) a simple one-click user login and registration button for Facebook on your site.  Use the API to get the user’s friends and share what their other friends on Facebook using Hulu are doing.  You can do all this on your own website.

Then allow your users to take action – share what your users are doing on Hulu with their friends on Facebook.  Their friends on Facebook will see the interaction on Hulu and want to interact with your site as well.  Hulu, you’re really missing out here, and it won’t be much work to just integrate a little more Facebook into your own brand.  It’s time we start creating farms on our own turf and stop going out to do the fishing ourselves.

Hulu, contact me if you want some help in this.