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RAIN 5/27: Users can sever Facebook/Pandora interaction with new controls

Posted on: 05/27/2010


As we’ve reported over the past few weeks in RAIN, Facebook has been a lightning rod of criticism since it unveiled new tools that provide user information to third-party sites like Pandora. Facebook has responded to the complaints with updated privacy controls and among the new options is the ability to turn off such “instant personalization” with outside sites.

“Instant personalization” can both be deactivated from Facebook and switched off at partner sites. “When you arrive at one of these sites,” says Facebook, “a blue notification bar will appear at the top of the page. Click ‘No Thanks’ if you don’t want to have a personalized experience on that site.” Facebook also said this is the last change to privacy controls they’ll be making for “a long time.” The New York Times has more on Facebook’s privacy updates here.

Facebook’s “instant personalization” feature, which utilized the networks’ Open Graph API, offers interesting potential to Net music services. The idea is that users click Facebook’s “Like” buttons, now sprinkled across the Net, and services like Pandora could access that information and use it to improve users’ personalized stations. So, for instance, if I “Liked” a review about the band Future Islands on Pitchfork, Pandora could update my channels accordingly. Wired‘s Eliot Van Buskirk wrote (here) that combining Facebook and Pandora in this way would “solidify both companies’ dominance.” It will be interesting to see how many users opt-out of “instant personalization” — if too many flee, a potentially game-changing feature could be handicapped.


An iPad-friendly version of BBC’s iPlayer radio and video media center will be available when Apple’s device arrives in the UK tomorrow, Mark Prigg of the Evening Standard reports. The BBC may also release a dedicated iPlayer app in the future, though as GigaOM reports (here), that decision has already been delayed “due to concerns by newspaper rivals that allege such apps would undermine their ability to create commercial services on those devices.” For now, a Safari-based version of the iPlayer may be better for radio listening, as the streams could continue to play while users access other applications.

The BBC also just unveiled a new version of their iPlayer site (here), which separates the video and radio content and tweaks the radio console. Other new features includes social networking integrations. PaidContent has more on the changes here.


An update to to Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio mobile applications includes ad-free content through a subscription plan. Shows from national personalities like Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura, Jim Rome and Bob & Tom are available to subscribers without commercials. Users can stream the shows or access past programs on-demand.

iHeartRadio now accesses 750 local radio stations. Clear Channel says the app has been downloaded over 7 million times. “Mobile listening supplements computer streaming and already adds more than 10 percent to a station’s total streaming audience, which itself adds up to 15 percent to terrestrial listening,” the company states in their press release (here).


Emmis Communications has named Angie May Cook to the newly-created position of Vice President of Emmis Digital. Cook will “be responsible for driving digital revenue growth and innovation,” Emmis stated. She has 13 years of experience in media sales and management, most recently working at WTMX-FM in Chicago. Cook has also spent time at Yahoo! and Infinity/CBS Radio. Find Emiss’ press release here.


Users of Roku’s streaming media set-top box will be able to access RadioTime’s 20,000 radio streams through a free channel starting June 1. Users can also link to their RadioTime accounts to manage their favorite station and program presets on the Roku player. Radio Paradise and Pandora are also currently available on Roku, which also streams Netflix videos, MLB games and video podcasts to attached TVs. You can find RadioTime’s press release here.

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