Hear it. Share it.
That’s the idea behind Facebook’s newest technology, an optional feature that will listen to a snippet of whatever media you’re consuming and share a 30-second preview of it on your timeline. Facebook says the technology, which was developed in-house though it mimics the functionality of music-recognition app Shazam, allows users to share information faster than before. This comes on the heels of several optional new features to the social media site that indicate Facebook is nudging its users to share in more ways than ever before.
“Today, we’re making [conversations] quicker and easier by introducing a new way to share and discover music, TV and movies,” writes Aryeh Selekman, product manager at Facebook, in a blog post.
“When writing a status update – if you choose to turn the feature on – you’ll have the option to use your phone’s microphone to identify what song is playing or what show or movie is on TV,” he continues. “That means if you want to share that you’re listening to your favorite Beyoncé track or watching the season premiere of Game of Thrones, you can do it quickly and easily, without typing.”
Here’s how it works. When you open the Facebook app on your mobile phone and go to create a status, you’ll see a small smiley face. Hit that and you’ll be able to enable or disable the feature. If you enable the feature, any time you go to create a status update, Facebook will automatically tune into your surroundings and listen for TV show or music audio to identify. Blue audio bars on the side of the status show what Facebook is picking up. Early tests of the service show that Facebook regularly can identify audio in less than 15 seconds, faster than many other music-recognition services.
Once it is on your status, friends can listen to a 30-second preview of the song on Spotify or watch a 30-second clip of a TV show or movie. This status update will show up in the same section as when you share feelings or activities alongside a typed message, such as “drinking a coffee” or “feeling excited,” a function Facebook says has been used more than 5 billion times.
What’s the difference between this and just typing out, “Watching: ‘Game of Thrones’ ” or “Listening to: Miley Cyrus”? Mr. Selekman told the Wall Street Journal it adds another interactive dimension, which in turn may motivate more sharing.
“We want to help people tell better stories,” he says. “I hope there are people who love the feature and post more.”
But with all of these applications, the trade off is sharing more data with a company that makes their money off targeted ads toward users based on data they have collected.
This move comes on the heels of several other initiatives that knit the digital and online world closer together on Facebook.
On Tuesday, Facebook released an “Ask” button that allows people to inquire about the relationship status of Facebook friends who have previously not divulged that information. It also released an "I Voted" button that will prompt users to share whether or not they voted in a regional election. Last month, Facebook rolled out an optional mobile feature called “Nearby Friends” that lets users see what friends are in a given radius based on GPS location.