Facebook’s music plans involve Spotify, others, revealed Om Malik, thus setting the tone for this week’s conversation about online music.

Last week’s conversation was more about Spotify itself, with $100M in new funding giving a bump to the long-running rumor that the US launch really is near. A deal with Facebook was often mentioned (although sometimes with a note that Facebook was probably not interested in teaming up).

I have more curiosity than enthusiasm about Spotify’s arrival, music on Facebook, and the intersection of the two. I miss Lala, which was acquired by Apple back in 2009, and haven’t enjoyed any other service nearly as much since. Amazon, Apple, and Google have of course each launched a music locker, each with different features above and beyond the basic locker. None of them gives me the control that Lala did.

I’ll try Spotify when it launches, but I fear that its US launch will come too late, and in the shadow of Facebook.

So, Facebook “hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy.” I am rather late to the party in using that quote from Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast.

But I can’t resist jumping on this rather lovely insight into how low Facebook will stoop. And I can’t resist adding further quotes, this time from Michael Arrington’s account of the story:

  • “it’s not an exaggeration to say they’re changing the world’s notions on what privacy is.” They are Facebook. I hope that they are not changing the world’s notion of privacy. But they are certainly demonstrating how much of it people are willing to trade for being part of a large online herd.
  • “secretly paying a PR firm to pitch bloggers on stories going after Google, even offering to help write those stories and then get them published elsewhere, is not just offensive, dishonest and cowardly. It’s also really, really dumb.” Yes, and that’s the feel-good aspect of the story: the stupidity of Facebook.
  • “Google is probably engaging in some somewhat borderline behavior by scraping Facebook content… But many people argue… that the key data, the social graph, really should belong to the users, not Facebook.” Yes it should. But Facebook users should by now understand that they are the product, not the customer.
  • “Does anyone not see the irony of having to sign in via Facebook to leave a comment on this Techcrunch article?” That’s the first comment on Michael’s article (as of right now), and several other comments make a similar point. If TechCrunch knows Facebook to be dishonest, cowardly, and dumb, why is it inflicting Facebook’s comment system on the TC community?

Three years ago, I was pretty enthusiastic about OpenID.

Those of us who use (or at least try) too many web services tend to regard OpenID as good news: it means that each of us can sign in to one service in order to access multiple services… Now we get to the bad news. Most of the services I use don’t accept OpenID.

The bad news never went away, and is in some ways getting worse. 37signals will cease to support OpenID on May 1.

There are at least three other strikes against OpenID, besides the fact that many sites don’t accept it. Your ID is a URI, which might seem a little weird unless you are actually a web page. That URI can seem like one more thing to keep track of, bookmark, etc: the OpenID as well as the sites you use it to access. And what do you do when your OpenID provider is down?

So, more and more, we see web services inviting us to sign in using our credentials from one of the big sites, often Facebook. This may seem a little like using the one ring forged in, and always owned by, Mordor.

But we do have our choice of lords of the login. Mike at RWW recently noted that LinkedIn is growing as the login of choice for business-to-business (B2B) sites. He deduces from this that “users prefer certain identities for certain online activities.” So maybe Jekyll and Hyde is a better literary reference than Lord of the Rings when it comes to logins.

Mashable Ben’s recent op-ed on Facebook, Twitter and The Two Branches of Social Media prompted me to ask two of my favorite questions. How does this fit in with what I’ve posted? How does WordPress fit in?

Ben’s two branches are social networks and information networks. They correspond respectively to connection and content. The correspondence isn’t exact: for example, I see connection and content as two elements of that mix in different ways in different social media tools, rather than as separate branches. I agree with Ben that the distinction between social networks (which emphasize connection) and information networks (which emphasize content) illustrates a fundamental difference between Facebook and Twitter.

WordPress is more about content than about connection in that it’s more for building information networks than for building social networks. But of course, WordPress is a platform on which you can build pretty much what you want, and social networking has already been built on top of it, in the form of BuddyPress.

Books are sadly limited things once they are wrapped in DRM (see previous). Now even the word book may be limited.

Facebook has filed suit against Teachbook.com, an online community for teachers. The lawsuit accuses Teachbook of “misappropriating the distinctive BOOK portion of Facebook’s trademark.”

I don’t think that’s satire. I think that Jennifer Van Grove wrote it for Mashable with a straight keyboard.

The hounds of “intellectual property” have made enough toothmarks on enough books. Now their foul fangs slaver for the word book itself.

As of today, I have a Facebook account, but not a Lala account. That seems like the wrong way round, given that yesterday was Quit Facebook Day, and that I liked Lala.

But Lala did indeed close as yesterday turned into today,so it really is time to look at alternatives to Lala. I’ll probably start with MOG, since its free trial does not require a credit card; on the other hand, that trial only lasts three days.

A few weeks ago, I grudgingly acknowledged that we might be in the decade of Facebook. Since then there has been backlash of various forms, defense of Zuck and his firm against said backlash. None of it has changed my mind about FB.

A couple of snappy canine remarks caught my attention recently: hence this post. First is dabitch’s observation. Facebook – you are not the customer. You are the product. The point, of course, is that what you might think of as your data is FB’s product.

Second is Rob Cottingham’s brilliant update to the classic On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

While I’m not barking mad at FB, but I do appreciate a well-phrased growl at it.

Yes, say Mike Arrington (at TechCrunch) and Sarah Perez (at ReadWriteWeb). They say it in rather different ways. Mike is all grand and sweeping and historical.

Microsoft dominated the technology world in the 90s… Google was the champion for the last decade…

But all the momentum is behind Facebook and how they are changing the Web, and our culture…

Facebook is permeating the Web. Publishers, us included, are clamoring to organize our websites in ways that please Facebook…

Their vision of an open graph of people and things (with Facebook at the center) is becoming reality… Facebook is taking over our identity and we are going along with that happily.

Sarah’s account is more personal, relating her usage of the new instant personalization feature, and her doubts about Facebook.

By giving into Facebook’s vision for the Web, we’re ceding control of our data, our likes, our interests, our “social graph” (a.k.a who we know, who we friend) – everything – to one company. Historically, one very, very closed company. We’re definitely worried about the implications of that. You should be too.

But in the meantime, like that calorie-rich dessert we know we shouldn’t eat, we’re sampling Facebook’s Web and secretly savoring its deliciousness. Why does everything that’s so wrong have to feel so good?

I’m disturbed by the notion that the 201* years will belong to Facebook. It’s not the first time I’ve been disturbed by the pervasiveness of Facebook, and it probably won’t be the last.

The FB201* prophecy helps to bring about its own fulfillment. First, there’s the argument that: lots of people I know are on Facebook, so I need to be. That is one reason for my Facebooking. Another is my daughter’s enthusiasm for Farmville – but Farmville deserves its own post.

The second way in which FB201* is self-fulfilling is illustrated in Mike’s post: TechCrunch will be FB-friendly, as will many other sites.

I’d like a world wide web of choice and interoperability. I don’t think that the FB201* prophecy bodes well for such a web. That said, I’m not going to ignore Facebook: it is a convenient way of keeping touch, or promoting things, etc.

If we think in decades, we might turn to the questions such as: Who will be taking over the web in 2020?

Has social networking taken over from email as king of communication? Fred Wilson proclaims that it has, and adds: long live the king. (Fred draws on a Morgan Stanley report, available as a pdf.)

Fred focuses on one particular trend: social net overtakes email. I’d like to point out a couple of related trends. Neither is new, but each is interestingly related to the trend Fred emphasizes.

  • Facebook is the new AOL. Some people live inside Facebook, popping out onto the wider web when they have to. Sound familiar? It should to those old enough to remember when millions used AOL for email, chat, games, etc. Well, for Fred’s kids, and, I think, for millions of others, FB is the main inbox.
  • Connection trumps content. To quote Fred (although the emphasis is mine):

    Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or some other social networking service, I believe the lighter weight communication paradigm (say less, reach more) is superior to email for many things and I’m certainly moving more of my communications away from email.

I think that each of the above points is a reasonable translation of Fred’s proclamation that social networking has deposed email. Of course, there are other translations, and of course, I’d be delighted if you would provide more in comments. I’m not delighted with the points I make, in that neither is a particularly good thing: again, that seems like a good place to stop posting and start hoping for comments.

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