Thursday, May 1, 2014

Facebook Announces Slew of Tweaks for Smoother Mobile Music Experience

Paul Bonanos/Billboard

During its f8 developer conference Wednesday, Facebook introduced new tools designed to make mobile navigation, sharing, and advertising a smoother experience, while enabling seamless communication among third-party apps and Facebook itself. Music was featured often during the presentation, with app developers Spotify, Rdio, Vevo, iHeartRadio, Soundcloud, and Mixcloud among those namechecked.

Among the new introductions were:

- AppLinks, an open-source, open-standards kit that allows apps to link to each other directly using a bit of code. It’s designed to prevent the snags mobile users experience when linking from one app to another. (Goodbye, stopover in the default web browser.) All the music apps named above were featured in the demo, along with photo and video apps such as Flickr, Hulu and Vimeo, along with the likes of Pinterest, Dropbox, and Facebook itself. Presenter Ilya Sukhar also said Spotify is working with live-music events site Songkick to use AppLinks to sell concert tickets.


- A new mobile ‘Like’ button for third-party apps, knocking down a key barrier between the desktop and the on-the-go experience. The iOS version is ready now, and the company promised that an Android edition is on the way. Ime Archibong, a self-described “music guy” at Facebook, used Rdio as part of the demonstration.

- Facebook Audience Network, or FAN, a mobile advertising platform. As expected, third-party developers can now use FAN to sell ads rather than sell them on their own. Mobile advertising already accounts for 59 percent of Facebook’s overall ad revenue, according to its latest quarterly announcement; the new network figures to boost that number even further by extending its advertising reach further.

- Anonymous Login, a feature that will permit consumers to test apps without sharing their own Facebook credentials. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said Facebook will give users more privacy and sharing options to control what personal data app developers receive.

- New app-building tools on the Parse platform, which Facebook acquired last spring. Freshly unveiled were new tools for offline interactivity and an analytics kit. At the May 2013 SF MusicTech Summit, Archibong told an audience that music developers could use Parse as a back end for new apps.

A full list of Facebook’s newly introduced tools and services can be found here.

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