Facing Heat From Facebook's Like Button, Glue Ramps Up Social Recommendations

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Facebook’s new Like button was announced last week, which allows users to “Like” any piece of content on an outside site with one click. Those likes are then transported back to Facebook and integrated into users’ profiles. This feature is expected to create a vast Facebook-centric recommendation network that transcends the social network, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg estimating over 1 billion likes on the first day of its launch. And it poses a serious threat to existing social recommendation services. One of these is Glue, a social browsing assistant that shows ratings and recommendations of movies, books, restaurants, stocks, and other things as you surf the Web (via a browser plug-in). Today, Glue is launching new personalization features that use your past likes to help you pick your next favorite movie, album or book.

Glue, which uses semantic technology to show related products and media across categories, will now scan new releases in movies, music, and books and will highlight the ones that are most relevant to you based on what you already like. Glue will also keep updating your recommendations in real-time. So as you like more on the system, the movies, music and books that are most relevant to you bubble up to the top of your recommendations.

Via its toolbar, Glue is also beginning to provide additional context to recommendations as you surf the web. Glue’s toolbar will show you similar things that you’ve already liked, reviews from your friends, allowing you to tap into your recommendations to decide if the movie, album, or book is for you.

Additionally, Glue has redesigned its homepage to display a summary of your messages, friend updates and new suggestions. New streams automatically collapse likes from a friend, making it easier to see updates from all friends. Suggestions can also be filtered by recency, relevancy and new releases.

Currently, Glue has over 400,000 registered users and receives over 1.5 million new ratings every month, which is impressive for the bootstrapped startup. But will these new feature updates be able to save Glue from Facebook’s potential takeover of the social recommendations space? Glue’s founder Alex Iskold says that he is “flattered” by Facebook’s move to extend their Like button beyond the social network. In fact, Iskold is very familiar with Facebook’s implementation of its Like button and Open Graph API. But Iskold believes that the Like button is more publisher-focused vs. user-centric. Iskold maintains that Glue’s plug-in allows users to interact with their recommendations wherever they browse and on the sites they visit. He adds that Glue will plan to integrate Facebook’s Like button in some way, but is not sure yet how it will be added to the platform.

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