Welcome to the first in a new series of regular blog posts by the Acknowledgement team that will cover the past weeks' developments within the world of Facebook.
Like it or not, Facebook is now a part of everyone's lives and it's changing at a rapid pace. This blog aims to be an active timeline, documenting major developments that are relevant to our clients and Acknowledgement as an agency.
As this is the first post we will also cover a few more extra interesting stories from the past few weeks to get the ball rolling!
Auntie is on Facebook
The BBC has begun streaming live sporting events on Facebook, the biggest tie-up to date between the social-networking site and an international broadcaster.
It will be interesting to see where the BBC will take this. I think 2012's big summer of sports will be a test platform for the BBC to see how the public embraces it. If it takes off it could well lead to BBC iPlayer featuring on Facebook in the near future. Much like Sky Player on XBOX Live, it would be nice to see real-time commenting on shows along with post programme debates, plot line discussions, etc.
Meanwhile, the BBC also report that Facebook is to invest in a 10,000km underwater cable project. The cable will run between Malaysia, South Korea and Japan with links to other countries in the area. The Asia Pacific Gateway is planned to improve internet speeds in the area. It is thought that this will help Facebook boost its user-base in one of the fastest growing markets following on from news that its growth has rapidly slowed recently in the U.S.
Facebook investigated by the OFT
The Guardian reports that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate Facebook's $1bn bid for Instagram. The OFT is worried that eventually Facebook will stop the Instagram app from being able to share photographs with other web services like Twitter and Tumblr.
Facebook appears to be testing a new "Want" button, similar to its popular Like button. Facebook developer Tom Waddington has discovered a tag <fb:wants>, which would suggest Facebook aims to socialise the Amazon Wishlist experience, potentially monetising it.
To date, Facebook's intentions for the "Want" button are unknown as it hasn't officially been announced. Perhaps it is simply a way to share desirable items with friends? I think Facebook has bigger plans for this than just sharing things you "want" with friends.
Longer term, I see Facebook potentially becoming a one-stop-shop - catch up with friends, read the news and do all of your Christmas shopping, without ever having to navigate to another website. This could be big news financially for Facebook, following on from the now infamous Facebook IPO flop and major advertisers reluctant to spend big money on the platform. Facebook ultimately are looking for ways to bring in a steady income that doesn't depend on display ads.
Enable Followers in your App
Facebook has rolled out a new feature in Open Graph that lets you follow users of an app. Why might this be useful? For a long time now you have been able to subscribe to users' Facebook profiles without having to be a friend of theirs. This is particularly useful if you are interested in a celebrity or other notable person.
The 'App follow' takes this idea one step further, enabling you to follow specific activity a user makes on an app.
An example of how this could be implemented:
I'm a keen runner and use the Nike+ App. I am also a fan of Paula Radcliffe, using the follow functionality within the app. I would then be able to keep track on Paula's training ahead of a marathon, without having to subscribe to her entire profile.
I think this could be a great development as it gives users the chance to engage with people on a more bespoke level with content tailored to their interests, whilst also giving greater exposure to apps and brands within news feeds, where most advertising opportunities lie.
Facebook now lets you edit comments
Facebook now allows you to change embarrassing autocorrect incidents, or maybe that heat of the moment comment that you now regret. This is functionality that has been on Google+ for a while now, so the Facebook community will be glad to hear it has been implemented. To edit, simply rollover the Edit or Delete button, make your change and click save - it's worth bearing in mind that the comment will be marked as 'edited' and anyone can see the full comment history if they choose too!
Facebook App Center launches
As expected, Facebook has today launched its own App Center. The App Center will feature on iOS devices, Android handsets, the full desktop Facebook website and its mobile site. It aims to showcase native and web apps that integrate with Facebook. The App Center will also recommend Apps based on previous "likes" and installs.
At the moment, the App Center doesn't appear to be a rival to Apple's App Store or Google Play - it merely acts as a companion to showcase Apps that compatible with Facebook. If rumours are to be believed, Facebook are however interested in entering the mobile phone market with a handset of their own. This could potentially be seen as an opportunity for Facebook to make an impact on the mobile app marketplace before launching their own dedicated service.
Currently you can't buy mobile apps directly from the App Center as this would conflict with Apple's App Store policy to take a 30% commission of all sales. For now it looks like a great opportunity to gain more exposure for your app in a crowded space and getting it seen and used by the right people.
App of the week
As we still continue to wait for the British summer to emerge (10 more days of continuous rain forecast), maybe its time to plan that much needed getaway? My App of the week is Trip Advisor - with over 32 Million active monthly users it is the go-to guide for real travel reviews.
Trip Advistor lets you share the countries, cities and landmarks you have been, compete with friends to gamify your travels and also provide inspiration for planning your next break.
We are all Foursquare addicts at Acknowledgement and I would love it if Trip Advisor could integrate with Foursquare as this would make it much easier to add to my travel map whilst I am on the move.
As you can see, I'm not well travelled!