This week was another busy one for Facebook who made a number of large announcements on Thursday. Facebook has been pretty consistent with rolling out relatively significant updates and announcements on a weekly basis over the past month. With Facebook beyond 275 million users, based on our internal numbers, Facebook continues the march toward 300 million. Hopefully Facebook continues pushing out weekly news stories so our job of chronicling the company’s activities can stay exciting!
Facebook for Android Launches
As we expected, Facebook for Android officially launched on Tuesday afternoon around the time of Facebook’s mobile press event. Initial reviews have been extremely positive. While there has been rumors of the application for over a month, it was finally rolled out soon after Facebook’s other mobile announcements, including surpassing 65 million mobile users.
iTunes Adds “Share on Facebook”
iTunes announced the launch of an upgraded version of their application which includes a new “Share on Facebook” feature. While we were hoping for a more integrated version of the feature, this new version simply enables users to post a link to albums and songs with iTunes with the title of the song or album, album cover photo, and description. Honestly we weren’t very impressed and hope that iTunes adds a support for Facebook Connect.
This may never happen though if Apple’s rumored ambitions of a one-click payment solution for the web are accurate. One additional note: Our initial analysis that this new “Share on Facebook” feature was an attack on iLike was inaccurate since it doesn’t enable the sharing of song samples (something we think would help iTunes increase dramatically).
Facebook Lite Goes Live
Facebook Lite went live for the United States and India, however we received reports from users in a few other countries that they were able to access the service. Facebook claims that the new site is a simplified version of the site which caters to countries with slower internet access, however the fact that Facebook Lite was first released to the Unites States makes us a little bit suspicious of this rationale. We’ll post more about that soon though. If you want to access Facebook Lite you can view it here.
Facebook Adds City Filter Back To Friends Page
We had been wondering why Facebook had disabled the ability to view friends based on their network, particularly their geographic network. As of Thursday, the city filter was added back to the friends page. Now whenever you are headed to another city, you’ll be able to sort through all of your friends that live there.
The one downside of this new feature is that you can’t filter by metro area. Instead, users are broken down by the exact city they live in. Here in Washington, D.C. I have a number of contacts that live in Washington, DC, Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA, and Bethesda, MD, which makes it difficult to sort through everybody that’s local.
Facebook Introduces Story Tags
Facebook has decided to use the “@” symbol for tagging users in status updates and general feed stories. The story was one of the many announcements that the company made on Thursday. The new feature, which will be rolled out over the coming weeks, improves general communication functionality on the site. Without having to post one someone else’s wall, you can immediately tag content which is relevant to them.
We previously wrote that users should be able to tag brands within photos, and it appears that this new functionality is a step in that direction. Facebook Pages and applications will all be able to be tagged in feed stories. Global tagging functionality presents a huge opportunity especially when combined with Facebook Connect. It will be interesting to see how this functions was rolled out for everybody.
Facebook Open Sources FriendFeed’s Tornado
Another one of Facebook’s major announcements on Thursday, was the open-sourcing of FriendFeed’s core development framework: Tornado. The new service is a python-based real-time web development framework which appears to perform quicker than the most popular python development framework: Django. Features include third-party authentication, an Amazon S3 testing module, among others. You can learn more on the Tornado website.
Facebook Kills Advanced Search
The last story which we thought would be important to highlight was the removal of Facebook’s advanced search. Facebook has been shifting the layout of the site to emphasize on users’ friends for sometime now but as of last week, the site is completely for friends. While users can visit third party applications to meet other people, Facebook no longer natively supports browsing through users.