A Reuters article earlier today gave a few details on MySpace’s upcoming “new feeds” product (which is what Facebook calls their similar product launched a year ago. We spoke to MySpace and got a much deeper look at the product, as well as screenshots of how it will look.
The new product, to be called “Friends Updates,” will begin to roll out to users this Thursday, says MySpace. Users from New Zealand and Ireland, where Friends Updates is being beta tested, can already use it.
The new product will give users a steady stream of event information from their friends. Profile updates, blog posts and photo/video uploads are all noted. See screenshot to right (click for larger view) for a visual.
MySpace VP Products Steve Pearman told me that the product that launches on Thursday is just the first iteration; they have additional features slated for release over the next 18 months.
Key differences With Facebook News Feeds
There are a number of key differences between Facebook News Feeds and MySpace Friends Updates. A key focus of the product appears to be not pissing off users. Other differences allow more granular control of news distribution.
MySpace will only begin gathering information about a user once they’ve logged in and have viewed an interstitial page that notifies them of the change – until they see and click on that interstitial page, no information is gathered for the Friends Updates. Users are also given a link to a setting area where default options can be changed, or opted out entirely. This will hopefully help MySpace avoid the user backlash that Facebook faced shortly after launching News Feeds.
Users are also given much more granular control over who can see data. Specific friends can be selected to not receive updates. Pearman gave an example of not necessarily wanting your girlfriend to know when you change your status to “single” (although a quick look at the profile would let her know anyway). Users can also select from one or more categories of information to share.
The process distills down to a requiring a double positive – you must agree to share with specific friends, and they must agree to subscribe. Without both sides agreeing, the information doesn’t appear.
Pearman says to expect third party application access to the news feed in the near future. In fact it was one of the key reasons they built the product, he says.