Social.fm rolls out fancy looking Facebook app, DIY widgets for everyone else

Listen to music from people on your profile without touching a thing, using Social.fm's new player widget.

Social.fm (formerly Mercora) has a new music sharing widget for social networking users that's got a few tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, it'll scour your profile (on the Facebook version) to figure out your musical tastes, and then do its best to serve up a playlist of those same artists, or others that have been clumped in the same playlists by Social.FM's DJs. The great hope is that the player will adapt to your changing tastes.

Like Qloud's solution, which I took a look at earlier this month, the widget goes hand-in-hand with a desktop application that will link up to your library and do the same thing with your entire music collection. The weakness therein is the widget's UI, which borrows from Apple's CoverFlow sans actual player controls save a large stop button. While this works okay for a few songs, like the inherent weakness of CoverFlow as a navigation medium, the system falls apart if you're actually trying to browse a large music collection or use the right side of your brain for finding artists, albums, or genres.

Look familiar? Yeah Social.fm's social networking jukebox widget looks a lot like Apple's CoverFlow. CNET Networks

One thing Social.FM does really well (as it should) is serve up good music. There are some high-quality tracks on here, and a lot of it is surprisingly not just run-of-the-mill studio cuts, but radio appearances or professionally recorded live performances. One of my big beefs with Qloud was that the entirety of the content was coming from YouTube, and there was no way to really dig in to try to get better versions of a song. Facebook users get the added benefit of being able to share their listening habits with others, as listening to a track will publish to your mini feed, and music your friends are listening to will show up in the main news feed if they've got the app installed.

Social.FM is serving up two versions of the widget, one that's a Facebook app, and another that you can plug into any social networking service or site that can handle Adobe Flash embeds, like MySpace, Friendster, and Xanga. You can also stick it on your blog or Web site, which I've done after the break. The company tells me they're working on integrating better with Google's OpenSocial initiative to make their non-Facebook version a little more robust. They're also working on adding a recommendation feature that will let you share a song you're listening to with any user, similar to what some of the other Facebook music apps have done.

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