Facebook to tick social boxes with live content ticker

In a move to ward off attack from Google’s G+ service, Facebook is expected to launch a new live-stream ticker service on Thursday which will show what users are watching and listening to on the web.

The news comes just ahead of the planned Facebook F8 conference in San Francisco on September 22, with reports CEO Mark Zuckerberg will unveil a new strategy for the social site dubbed “read, watch and listen.”

Early whispers indicate some sort of a partnership with music video provider Vevo and music streaming services like Spotify, which would be able to play directly from inside one’s profile and post live streams to friends who wanted to see what content one was consuming. TV and film streaming has emerged as a possibility too.

There are also rumors of deals with content sites and publishing groups to better integrate content within the site, as opposed to taking people off site to view shared posts.

A live feed of friends’ content consumption would apparently be available in the form of a ticker, though it’s thought this will be separate from the regular news feed on the site.

Several small changes like subscribing to user feeds and changing what information users share with different levels of acquaintances have already been introduced to the social network, seemingly in response to Google’s fledgling social sharing service.

Google had previously said it felt social networking was “broken” and intended to fix it by introducing various friendship circles, allowing people to separate contacts into spheres of closeness. The service generated plenty of buzz in the first few weeks, with over 20 million sign ups in the first month, but levels of engagement on the service seem to have waned.

Feeling the pressure, however, Facebook’s Zuckerberg is rapidly having to face up to the fact that if he doesn’t provide his 750 million users with a better experience, the site could end up losing a lot of them to other services. 

The CEO is even reportedly on the cusp of announcing long requested changes to the Facebook “Like” button, with rumors developers will be given the chance to change the wording to other verbs such as “need”, “want” and more.