As we’ve noted before, life is tough for a Facebook developer. The network is so ingrained that any change is met with violent disapproval from users, often involving (empty) threats to leave the site altogether.
However, in the fast-moving world of the internet things that don’t change at all go stale very, very quickly, and there are plenty of competitors – or, at least, one very big one – offering a fresh alternative.
So it is good to see users responding positively to a new music sharing feature introduced today called Listen With.
As Facebook product designer Alexandre Roche explain in a post on the Facebook blog, Listen With is a way for users to share the music they are listening to with friends who are also on the network, re-creating the experience of a car ride or concert when you could be on the other side of the world.
The feature runs through Facebook Chat, meaning you can share your thoughts on the song while you’re listening.
"You can listen to the same song, at the exact same time,” Roche says, "so when your favourite vocal part comes in you can experience it together, just like when you’re jamming out at a performance or dance club.”
Up to 50 people can join in, making the initial listener like a party DJ.
Although some commenters offered the predictable negative responses, including the ubiquitous ‘ughhh your making it too complicated,’ most have approved of the change, with comments like ‘I think I may actually like something that fb has actually done’.
The only downside is that both users have to be using the same online music player, and for now only two are supported: Spotify and Rdio. The latter is a paid service, and the former is not available in New Zealand (yet).
More are apparently on the way, but we won’t know until the service is finished rolling out how extensive the coverage will be. Keep an eye on your chat list, and if you see a musical note icon pop up next to a friend’s green dot, see if you can listen.
What do you think of Listen With? Are you keen, or does it sound like a silly gimmick? Post your comments below.