Facebook still hasn’t completely rolled out its Chat feature, but it’s already working on other ways to keep your eyeballs on its site. It’s allowing users to update their “mini-feed” — the stream of information they generate everytime they change their status, add a friend, or do anything else on the site — with information from outside apps.
Tweak your Flickr or del.icio.us accounts (YHOO), your Yelp profile or your Picasa library (GOOG) and Facebook will let your friends know — if you want. Coming soon: Facebook will integrate Digg and “other sites”.
What does this mean? It means Facebook is definitely paying attention to the competition — particularly FriendFeed. FriendFeed allows you to create your own feed based on friends’ activities from 35 different sites — but not from Facebook. Though Facebook has allowed a trickle of info outside of its walled garden, it’s basically… kept the walls up. FriendFeed has gotten plenty of buzz lately, and Facebook continues to draw criticism for keeping its doors more or less locked.
And it seems just fine with that criticism. Despite parallels to (old) AOL, Facebook seems perfectly content to demand that Facebook users visit Facebook if they want to get the full benefit of Facebook. And right now, they seem to have the leverage to pull it off. None of the Web’s big brains like to hear this, but right now the only way to make money on the Internet is to show people ads, and you can’t do that if people aren’t visiting your site.
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