This Week in Social (Week of June 24)

This Week in Social is a weekly digest of some of the biggest stories in social media marketing news. These stories are the show notes for the Brave Ad World Podcast. Each story is discussed at a deeper level on the podcast.

Facebook Working on Reader News Service (Read more at The Wall Street Journal)

Facebook is reportedly working on a mobile news reading service called Reader, which will display content from Facebook users and publishers in a newspaper-like layout resembling Flipboard. The service has been in the works for more than a year, but no plans for an unveiling have been revealed

The service would be just another way to keep users within the Facebook ecosystem. Facebook’s already taken steps to get journalists used to the platform as a means of news and information distribution, something that Twitter has become very well-known for. Facebook also introduced #hashtags allowing users to aggregate posts related to a topic and participate in a shared experience. This, in addition, to new newsfeed filters that allow users to sort newsfeed content by source and type show how Facebook is trying to help users tailor their experience for what they want to get out of it.

Creating a sticky experience like this makes sense for Facebook, particularly because of the network’s mobile focus.  But it will have challenges to overcome in terms of proving itself as a go-to news source for users.

Google Testing Mine to Track Belongings (Read more at Digital Trends)

Google has no problem adding, tweaking and trying new features within Google+, but this next one may be a head scratcher at least at first. Google is internally testing Google Mine, a Google+ add-on that lets users track items they own and would like to own. The list is shared with Google+ contacts who can comment on items and request to borrow them, and Google will provide recommendations on products you might want. Users can even select objects and mark them as available for give away.

The service does not have a launch date at this time.

On the surface, it seems to be a data grab for Google to learn about user intentions and product preferences. But services like gdgt show the potential for people to congregate on shared passions for things like electronics. For example, people could talk about and share video games they’ve purchased and love and what they’d like to purchase in the future. Products that people are particularly passionate about could be an opportunity for community on the Google+ platform.

Square Launches Online Store (Read more at USA Today)

Square, the mobile commerce service allowing businesses to take credit cards from their smartphones, has launched an online shopping service called Square Market. Square Market allows businesses typically working offline to have an online store as well by having them input their inventories with information like descriptions, photos and prices into the app. Square hosts the shopping site, which is simple and displays the bare minimum amount of information, showcasing the product itself.

Merchants can tweet products from the storefront and have their tweet take the format of an interactive Twitter card, which allows people to buy within the tweet. Posts to Facebook and Pinterest are similar in nature.

Square takes the same 2.5% from online purchases as it does offline.

Square is doing something very special, and that’s empowering small businesses with big business resources. Today, anyone can use Square as a platform for selling offline and online very easily. In addition, Square’s founders started working on social platforms, so the integration of a marketplace and awareness drivers through social channels is an important feature to help businesses be successful.

News Quick Hits

  • The FTC is investigating Google’s acquisition of Waze for $1.1 billion after consumer groups argued that the acquisition would remove the most viable competitor to Google Maps. (Read more at VentureBeat)
  • Foursquare introduced a feature that allows users to mention and check-in friends who are with them at a location. Users are notified when someone checks them in and asked to approve the action the first time. After that, the friend can check them in without approval in the future. The feature benefits users because it leverages a behavior they’re already exhibiting, which is mentioning who they are with in a check-in. It also allows Foursquare to generate additional data from people who might not check-in unless someone does it for them. (Read more at Foursquare)
  • Potluck, a new service that allows users to post links, launched this week. The service is different in that people aren’t able to see who posted a link until they visit the discussion thread related to it. This is to emphasize people sharing around their interests vs. feeling pressure around what they share. (Read more at SocialTimes)
  • The death of Google Reader came on July 1. Digg launched Digg Reader an RSS reading service, and other services including Feedly, Flipboard and even AOL’s brand new AOL Reader launched to fill the hole.
  • LinkedIn added an update this week that allows users to see who among their connections, second degree connections and third degree connections have read their status updates, like them and made comments. This is available in the “Who’s Viewed Your Updates” module.  Users also have access to a new “You Recently Visited” section that shows profiles you’ve recently viewed, searches you’ve made and discussions you’ve participated in. (Read more at Mashable)