MySpace Initial Applications Launch

by

Threeminds

by Marta Strickland

MySpace launched their Application Gallery (beta) late last week to pretty quiet fanfare. Beyond the tech community, many probably don’t even know of its existence. MySpace Apps is not yet included in the overall navigation, and with no messaging API that feeds application interaction into a user’s “Friend Subscriptions”, it is going to be a long while before MySpace Apps adoption numbers reach those comparable to Facebook, if ever.

But, it’s early… and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to consider the initial burying of MySpace Apps is on purpose. They still need to work the bugs out and get some proof points under their belt to attract skeptical developers, who have recently feared social network fatigue and application clutter. Having spent an hour or so testing out some of the initial offerings, I think that is probably a very wise strategy. There was equal amount that got me frustrated as there was getting me excited, and to win over the new MySpace audience, they are going to have to improve that ratio.

What Got Me Frustrated
At first I was wooed by Shelfari, due to its pretty interface and mention on Mashable. It has a very engaging interface that makes it fun to search and add books, but after a few bugs in the application flow and the need to sign into a third party site to leave a comment on the book, my hopes fell a bit. Then, add that to a pretty obnoxiously big widget that gets put on my profile, with no way for me to move it down or customize it, leaving only the option to remove it. I was disappointed.

myspace_shelfari_settings.gif

What Got Me Excited Again
I took a peak at what the most popular apps are currently on MySpace. And even know the numbers are small (top app under 12K), I could see a few familiar themes running through the list. I had to smile at the Facebook-ness of an app called “DrinkSocial” which involved cataloging your drinking history and sending beers to your friends. Out of curiosity, I clicked and was very presently surprised at what I found.

Turns out that Hungry Machine has decided to pool together some of their Facebook applications (Beer!, Movies!, Restaurants, Visual Bookshelf, Video Game Rack, and Music!) under a larger umbrella called LivingSocial. All categories work pretty much the same way, which is like Netflix in its ability to rate, review, recommend, and add to your wishlist. Another thing that really impressed me about the series of applications was the ability to truly customize what information gets displayed on your profile.

myspace_drinksocial_sm.jpg

The interesting twist is that the social contributed content is not just coming from MySpace users, but from wherever else the application is installed (Bebo, Orkut, Facebook). Since there has been some MySpace integration from social content apps, such as Flixter, LivingSocial has the opportunity to dominate against competing app offerings in a new space. And with such openness and integration across many social networks, LivingSocial is certainly putting themselves in an exciting position not only in the social sphere, but to compete with big recommendation engines such as Yelp and even Amazon.

If they could just add WineSocial, then I could seriously get hooked…

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