Vibes: Facebook's Upcoming Music Feature?
It’s long been rumored that Facebook is working on adding some kind of music product to its feature set. The details about this service remain murky, but enterprising developer Jeff Rose just discovered some interesting code in the application Facebook uses to distribute its new video chat plugin. In this code, he found a reference to an unannounced downloadable plugin called “Facebook Vibes.” While it’s not clear what exactly Vibes will do, the name and the fact that it will be a downloadable piece of software points toward a music locker experience that will be similar to Google Music or iTunes in the Cloud (assuming, of course, that “Vibes” is really a music product).
What Vibes Could Look Like
When it comes to music lockers, there are two basic ways of getting your music into the cloud. The Google Music and Amazon CloudPlayer approach is to make users upload every single song from their library to the cloud. This takes a long time, but has also allowed these companies to argue that they don’t need a license to host the files, as they basically just replicate a hard drive. In return, though, these apps don’t feature any real social component, as sharing songs would obviously necessitate some kind of license.
Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud, on the other hand, doesn’t force you to upload all your songs. Thanks to having licensing agreements with all the major players, Apple can just look at what’s in your library and then replicate your catalog online (often by replacing your old, low bit rate MP3s with better quality files). Chances are, Facebook will go the same route as well, given that it would definitely want to add a social component to its software.
There have also been rumors that Facebook plans to partner with European music streaming service Spotify, which is about to launch in the U.S. soon. Spotify, conveniently, also has the ability to import your local music library. It still remains to be seen, though, if Facebook will actually partner with Spotify (or another music service) or if the company decides to start its own service.
Facebook’s Launch Season Just Started…
This, of course, is only speculation so far. Unless Facebook’s developers just put the code in there to taunt us, however, we’ll likely see Vibes sometime in the near future. At yesterday’s launch event with Skype, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook is now in its “launch season” for 2011. Maybe Vibes will be among the next features to launch?