Socialthing Starts Spreading Across 75 AOL Sites

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A couple weeks ago, I spotted the reincarnation of Socialthing on AOL’s country-music Website TheBoot and speculated that it would potentially be rolled out across AOL’s other MediaGlow properties as well. Today, a press release from AOL in my inbox confirms that MediaGlow “is in the process of deploying Socialthing across its network of more than 75 sites.”

Socialthing started out as a Friendfeed competitor when AOL bought it last year. It never came out of private beta, but its lifestreaming service found its way into Bebo, the social network AOL purchased for $850 million. Now, with Socialthing for Websites, AOL is combining it with AIM to compete with Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect.

As I wrote in my last post, Socialthing for Websites offers a single sign-in for participating Websites. Right now it accepts your AIM or AOL username and password, but will soon add Bebo, Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo and OpenID using OAuth. In addition to single sign-in, Socialthing creates a toolbar along the bottom of a Website that brings both group chat and private AIM chat to the site in the form of pop-up boxes, as well as a content stream that shows the latest articles and comments on the site as well as your personal lifestream of activityies from other sites.

As we saw from Facebook’s announcement yesterday to open up its own stream to developers so that they can create applications around the stream of constant updates from people’s social network, there is a battle going on to control the conversation. AOL is entering this battle with AIM and Socialthing. After it rolls Socialthing out across its own Websites, it will make Socialthing available to partner sites as well. And when it revamps AIM later this year, you can expect the Socialthing lifestream to be a big part of it.

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