Facebook launched two cool new features today: an import feature for the mini-feed and Facebook Lexicon
The import feature for the mini-feed is very cool. Basically, if you have an account with another supported web service, updates from those services can be included in your mini-feed by simply specifying your username. At launch, only Flickr, Picasa, Yelp! and del.icio.us are supported, but they’ve promised Digg and other sites in the future. I’ve set my mini-feed to import from my del.icio.us account, to track websites that I’ve bookmarked.
This would be really cool for other web services I use, like YouTube or Twitter, or maybe Last.fm. Which gets me thinking… this is competing directly with some Facebook applications which essentially provide this function to interface with other web services. I think that’s great, because this is a much more efficient way to provide simple updates. I wonder if they’ll give access to developers in some way, so that developers can create “import modules” for their own favourite web services. That would be cool.
There’s still room for Facebook apps though. I’m not sure I’d want Last.fm to publish every single song I listen to on my mini-feed, yet the What I’m Listening To app by Last.fm places a separate feed on your profile. The choice between a simple import and a Facebook app would depend on the nature of the service in question.
The second announcement was Facebook Lexicon. Facebook Lexicon is to wall posts what Google Trends is to search queries. It lets you enter up to five terms and view the frequency that those terms are mentioned by users over a basic timeline. This is the successor to Facebook Pulse, which was “temporarily pulled for revamping” last year. Given the nature of wall posts compared to search queries, it provides some insight into different types of trends, examining what people (mostly younger people) talk about rather than what people are seeking information about.