A Directory of Facebook Apps from Boston-Area Web Startups
In May, Facebook opened up its site so that outside software developers could build applications that Facebook users can add to their profiles. Since then, more than 4,600 applications have been released, ranging from comical, viral apps such as Vampire and games such as Scrabulous (a version of Scrabble) to useful and serious apps such as Cambridge startup GoLoco’s ride-finding service.
There’s now tremendous pressure on Web companies to create branded Facebook apps, for one simple reason: traffic. (More about that here.) Facebook has 40 million users, including 85 percent of all U.S. college students. “If you want to reach that demographic, you’re crazy not to leverage that as a resource,” says Peter Glyman, co-founder of personal finance site Geezeo.
Just for fun, here’s our list of local companies that have released, or are known to be working on, Facebook apps. (We’ve provided links to the Facebook summary pages for most of these apps, but be aware that to view these pages you’ll need to be a registered Facebook member.)
CoreBlox is a provider of software that enables people to easily locate and exchange information. The company offers two Facebook applications: “I Have Kids,” which lets users create mini-profiles to update friends about their children’s lives, and “Locate Friends,” which shows the locations of people with similar interests on a map. (Added 11/12/07)
EveryScape is developing a site where users can annotate 360-degree photos of key locations in big cities with information about the landmarks or businesss shown in those photos. The company confirms that it’s working on a Facebook app, but no details are available.
Fafarazzi, profiled here earlier this month, is like an online fantasy sports league, but for celebrities. The company’s Facebook app, called Fafarazzi Celeb Heads, allows Facebook friends to gift one another with thumbnail photos of celebrities with captions that “mark a mood, attitude, event, trait, or feature of your friend.”
Finetune’s core service lets users build playlists of 45 songs from its catalog of 2 million songs from major and independent labels. The songs are then played in random order; doing so reduces the licensing cost to the point that Finetune can offer the service for free. The Finetune Facebook app includes an embedded Finetune player as well as a feature that allows Facebook friends to collaborate on playlists.
Geezeo offers online personal financial management tools similar to Intuit’s Quickent or Microsoft Money but aimed at a younger, Web-savvy crowd. Its Facebook app, iWant, lets a user set goals such as saving up for a vacation or paying off a credit card; their friends can track their progress and issue “boosts” in the form of encouraging words or even cash (transferred through Paypal).
Going (formerly HeyLetsGo.com) offers public event calendars for Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as social-networking features such as profiles, groups, and photo albums. The company’s Facebook app, Naughty Gifts, has nothing to do with Going’s service. It’s a takeoff on Gifts, one of the earliest and most popular Facebook apps, which lets people reward their friends with small graphical icons that stack up on their profile pages. Going’s gifts bear racy pictures and sayings as well as the company’s logo. (Added 9/28/07)
GoLoco, founded by the creator of Zipcar, is a service that matches people planning car trips with people needing rides . So far, the service exists entirely as a Facebook application. It not only shows users where other Facebook users are going (or need to go) but will help them pay one another for gas and count up the amount of carbon dioxide not emitted due to the carpooling.
Concord, MA and Norwalk, CT
Kayak is a travel meta-search engine, started by founders of Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia, that searches more than 100 other travel sites for deals on flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and other travel products. Its Facebook app, Spin the Globe, is a geography trivia game with the added element of time pressure. (Added 10/2/07)
Matchmine lets users create a mathematical summary of their preferences in areas such as music, movies, online videos, and blogs; the summaries, called MatchKeys, are used by Matchmine’s partner sites to pull up items matching the users’ tastes. Matchmine’s face book app, called MatchMeter, generates a visual comparison of the information in friends’ MatchKeys.
MyPunchBowl is a party-planning site that helps users create guest lists, send out invitations, locate party-supply stores, share after-party photos and videos, and the like. The company’s Facebook app, Party Animal, lets Facebook users vote for which “party animal” character, such as “Monkey,” “Glam Rocker,” or “Party Pooper,” best represent their friends: “Tell your friends how they act at parties by voting for their Party Animal, then ask them how you act at parties.”
Nimbit offers a range of online services to independent musicians, including the Nimbit Online Merch Table or OMT, a software widget designed to be embedded in blogs or other sites, where it functions as an online storefront and information kiosk. Artists can use the OMT to upload MP3s, album art, and performance schedules, well as sell MP3s directly to listeners (with Nimbit taking a 20 percent cut). The Facebook app allows Facebook users to install the OMT widget right in their Facebook profiles, so they can manage their online stores without leaving Facebook. (Added 10/5/07)
At OurStage, artists upload songs and videos and compete for a monthly $5,000 prizes, with fans choosing the winners. The company’s Facebook app is a music and video player that can be embedded in a Facebook member’s profile, where it plays the member’s favorite OurStage entries.
Lincoln, MA and San Francisco, CA
Plum is a free service that lets users organize, annotate, and share resources such as Web pages, PDFs, Word documents, Flickr photos, and YouTube videos. Plum has two Facebook apps: Dropbox, which allows a Facebook user’s friends to drag-and-drop items they want to share into an “open inbox” owned by that user, and Shoebox, a way for users to collect and display their own finds on the Web. (Added 10/2/07)
Calling itself a “personal shopping engine,” StyleFeeder allows users to share recommendations about products they like. The Facebook version lets users show what types of items they’re shopping for and survey recommendations from other Facebook users.
At TourFilter’s website, users can sign up for e-mail notifications when their favorite bands are performing in one of 24 cities and regions around the world. The TourFilter Facebook app lets Facebook members put a concert calendar on their proflie page, showing schedules for their own favorite bands and their friends’. (Added 9/28/07)
TripAdvisor is known for its huge collection of user reviews of hotels, restaurants, and landmarks at various U.S. and international destinations. Its Facebook app, called Cities I’ve Visited, lets users show friends where they’ve been by attaching pushpins to a world map.
Utterz is a voice-blogging service (reviewed here) that makes it easy to record audio clips over your cell phone and post the clips automatically to your blog or social-networking profile, along with photos and videos. The Facebook version embeds an Utterz player in your profile, allowing your friends to see and hear what you’ve been up to. When you record and upload a new “Utterz,” that fact will be broadcast to your friends via the Facebook mini-feed. (Added 10/5/07)
If you know of Boston-area Web companies with Facebook apps that should be added to this list, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
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