Bloomberg News

Facebook Expands Service That Lets Users Share Online Activities

January 19, 2012

Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is adding more than 60 partners to a service that lets users tell friends what they’re currently doing online, from listening to music to reading news.

The company is working with Pinterest, Ticketmaster, Rotten Tomatoes and other applications to let users publish their activities on their Facebook pages, Carl Sjogreen, director of platform products, said yesterday at an event in San Francisco. For instance, if someone is researching a travel spot on TripAdvisor, they could post the details to Facebook.

Facebook, the most popular social-networking service, wants to open up new opportunities for advertising and get people to spend more time using its features. The new partnerships also help make Facebook more of a media hub, ramping up competition with Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

“We believe this is the beginning of a new wave of apps,” Sjogreen said. “We’re really excited about the potential.”

With the so-called open-graph system, which was updated last year, users have already been able to use Spotify Ltd.’s service to show the songs they’re playing and Washington Post Co.’s sites to share news items.

The platform is now being opened up to all developers, Sjogreen said. The activities can be seen on three parts of Facebook’s site: the Ticker, News Feed and Timeline. Other partners include Foodspotting, the Kobo electronic-book service and the Gogobot travel site.

‘Evolution of Facebook’

The service lets Facebook developers create applications that are better customized to their users, said Andrew Dreskin, chief executive officer of San Francisco startup Ticketfly Inc., another partner.

“They are looking to make the platform more flexible and have it all make more sense in terms of the actions consumers are taking and how they describe those actions,” Dreskin said. “It’s the evolution of Facebook.”

Ticketfly, which sells tickets to music concerts and other events, has added new buttons to its website to let users “Like” specific artists on Facebook after they purchase tickets. Visitors to the site also can click on new buttons to indicate “I’m Seeing” a band to their friends on Facebook, Dreskin said.

--Editors: Nick Turner, Stephen West

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net; Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco at dmacmillan3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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