Multiply Relaunch Competing with Facebook News Feeds and Photos?

Multiply, the social network for families, has completely relaunched its website this week. And at the center of the relaunch is a new take on the news feed, which was already a key component in Multiply’s feature set.

Reformatted to function much like your desktop email client (i.e. Outlook), the news feed is your central point of information-sharing within your Multiply network. There are folders on the left-hand side, which act as filters for the type of information displayed in your news feed. Custom filters are also a new option for your Multiply news feed, in order to ensure you’re receiving the content you want to see.

There’s also an option to view updates from friends of friends, which offers a way to see content coming from people within your social graph though they aren’t direct contacts. According to Multiply CEO Peter Pezaris, the ability to access certain content from the friends of friends takes the pressure of adding people as contacts, while still allowing you to see what’s going on in their lives.

This particular take on accessing others’ news feeds is a new take on the concepts surrounding information dissemination, and it combines certain aspects of Facebook and Twitter that we find most beneficial. The semi-public aspect of the updated Multiply news feed is reminiscent of Twitter streams, and the filtering options are a step up from what Facebook has recently incorporated into its own news feeds.

Staying one step ahead of Facebook news feeds is important for Multiply, as the activity feed is a feature the Multiply network had before Facebook launched its own. So the ability to both filter and access certain activity of friends of friends is somewhat like Multiply’s answer to Facebook’s privacy settings, which are the most effective ways to modify your own news feed content on Facebook.

In addition to all the news feed updates, filters and broadened access to your social graph, Multiply has also updated its Media Locker in order to improve the photo-sharing capabilities of its service. In an effort to simplify the photo upload process, there’s now an auto-upload application that pulls newly added photos and videos to your Multiply Media Locker when you add them to your computer via your digital camera. From your Media Locker you can then select which photos and videos you’d like to add to your Multiply profile.

For Multiply, this makes the network competitive with Facebook in another way, as the auto-upload feature will encourage users to upload even more content at a more frequent rate. As Facebook is the largest photo-sharing site out there, one way to get a leg up on Facebook is to get users to automatically add their content to your site.

In addition to the auto-uploader, there are enhanced photo-editing tools directly within Multiply, along with an expanded catalog of photo-printing and scrapbook creation, and Picasa and Windows photo gallery plugins for even easier media-sharing both within Multiply and across the web.

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