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Myspace and bebo fight back with “new” features….

Tanya Goodin
Tanya Goodin
CEO
1 November 2007

.. But just how ‘new’ are these additions?
by Henry Elliss

My curiosity was piqued this morning when I received the new monthly newsletters from MySpace and Bebo. Glossing over the fact that both went straight to my junk mail, and noting the coincidence that both arrived within an hour of each other, I was excited to see they promised some great "new" features on the two social networks.

However, my excitement was soon replaced by a nagging feeling of Deja Vu which I just couldn’t shake off for some reason. Perhaps you’ll get it too – let’s look at these "new" features in a bit more detail…

Bebo first

According to Bebo’s newsletter, they’ve added 5 great new features to the site recently, including:

* Photo Tagging – if you’ve got a photo on your profile with a friend in, you can now "tag" people, who will then receive an email telling them they’ve been tagged…. Hmm, now where have I seen that before on a social network….?

* Groups – got an interest you want to share or discuss with other bebo users? Create a group for it! Aside from the fact that groups have been going on bebo for ages, I could have sworn I read something about myspace and facebook doing something similar, didn’t I?

* Mini Events – having a party you want to invite your friends to? Set up a bebo mini event! Quite why they have stuck "mini" on the front is beyond me (what is a maxi event – the state opening of parliament?!)

Then there was Myspace….

Like bebo, myspace are also trumpetting their brand new features this month, amongst them:

* Online TV shows – myspace launch not one but two exclusive online TV shows, "dubplate drama" and "roommates". Obviously somebody forgot to tell them about bebo’s highly successful online tv drama Kate Modern? Even funnier is the fact that the same newsletter, within about an inch of screen space, calls BOTH shows "the first ever interactive online tv show"…. But which came first?!

* Status Updates – to be fair to myspace, this one is more hearsay than an actual announcement, but word on the proverbial street is that myspace are going to allow users to add status messages to show other users what they are up to. Expect an announcement about this "new" service any day now, along with the sound of hundreds of Myspace researchers wiping twitter and facebook from their web history….

* Applications – myspace also recently announced they were going to bow to public pressure and allow developers to make their own widgets and applications to the social network. I should probably reserve my judgement about this one though, since I haven’t actually seen it labeled as new yet. There’s still time though!

To be fair to both bebo and myspace however, they have actually added some PROPERLY new features too. Bebo’s "Profile Surfing" seems to do exactly what I have been wishing facebook would allow you to do for ages – find people with similar tastes to you based on your likes and dislikes; myspace’s allegiance to Fox and it’s subsidiaries means they have some very tempting tie ups with lots of very popular artists and musicians – kylie’s new album "Mash Up" is sure to cause a stir, as is Manchester United’s new official profile.

All in all it seems to be a busy month for the social networks at the moment – the rumour mill is full of stories about what Facebook are going to announce next, but speculation about that will have to wait for a while I guess…..

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