Facebook is accepting applications from engineers to join a new desktop software team at its Seattle office. The responsibilities of the “Software Engineer, Desktop Software” position we noticed last week include creating Mac and/or Windows desktops apps and building server-side APIs.
Based on several trends and the company’s principles we believe the new team could be working to develop software that reports media usage, such as music listening or video watching habits, so that users could easily share this info with friends. It could also be working on a photo uploader, or less probably, a Facebook internet browser.
Turning Media Consumption Into Facebook Content
The social network is becoming an increasingly important part of entertainment consumption. There are reports that Facebook is working on a deep integration with music streaming service Spotify that could allow users to share music with friends, and even listen to the same song at the same time. Meanwhile, some third-party developers are experimenting with offering film rentals in exchange for Facebook Credits.
With a nearly half of the most popular Facebook Pages belonging to musicians and television shows, the service is already a key source of entertainment news. Since the entertainment people consume is a way they define their identity, desktop software that helps users publish this information could populate Facebook with compelling content without burdening users. The software could turn users into authors of entertainment content, allowing them to easily post what DVDs or video files they watch, or what songs and artists they’re listening to most.
It could function similarly to Last.fm’s scrobbler which reports listening habits from iTunes, iPods, Spotify, Winamp, VLC media player and many web music services. Desktop software could prompt users to Like the Pages of the content they consume, or persistently display there latest consumption habits on their profile. These types of posts or information could also help a user’s friends discover entertainment Pages to Like, which might help draw support for Facebook desktop software from content creators.
Other Potential Desktop Software Projects
The desktop software team could also build a photo uploader that could reduce drop off in the upload process, or allow users to automatically upload photos when they import them from their cameras.
Some third-parties have attempted to build Facebook-centric internet browsers such as Rockmelt and Wowd, but neither have managed to attain significant traction, which may indicate users aren’t in dire need of this type of solution. A browser project could require a lot of engineering resources, and with Facebook’s focus on HTML5, we don’t see this as a probable direction for the desktop software team.
Media usage scrobbling desktop software would align well with Facebook Pages for content creators, and turn entertainment into more of a two-way conversation. With users learning about music, TV, film and other content verticals from both official outlets and their friends, desktop software could make media consumption more social, and make Facebook an even more attractive place for media advertisers.