10 worthy apps for the MySpace user

Facebook applications get most of the attention in the social-networking space, but rival MySpace has some good ones as well. These 10 are worth giving a whirl.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
5 min read

MySpace is in some trouble. The social network announced on Tuesday that it has been forced to reduce its workforce by 30 percent amid a decline in advertising revenue and outside pressure from competitors. It's a problem, but MySpace does have at least a few things going for it.

Those include some cool applications. Apps developed for Facebook tend to get more attention in the social-networking space, but these 10, ranging from music- to game-centric, are all worth trying out.

10 MySpace apps

Causes: Like its Facebook counterpart, Causes is one of the best apps in this roundup for one reason: it helps you help others.

After you sign up, the app lets you pick a "cause" about which you care. From animal rights to protecting children, you can join any cause and try to increase its awareness. You can donate to the cause and post bulletins on MySpace, so all your friends know what you're supporting. It's a really great app.

Causes is a great app that makes you feel better about yourself. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Family Guy Picture Hunt: The Family Guy Picture Hunt might not be as useful as some of the other apps in this roundup, but it's extremely fun. Simply look at a picture from one of your favorite scenes from the television show Family Guy, and try to find the different areas on the picture that match the blocks to the right of the image. At first glance, it seems like a simple game, but you'll quickly realize that it's difficult and fun. The game is timed, so you can play with friends and see who is the superior searcher.

Family Guy
Find the right photo chunks with Stewie's help. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Family Tree: Like its Facebook counterpart, Family Tree is a really great app. When you access it, the app lists all your MySpace friends and asks you to find family members. It then sends confirmation requests to make sure that they're really family members.

Once complete, you can input your relationship to those people, and the app will create a family tree. The app's best feature is the option to see which people might be in your family. It does that by analyzing your friends list to see if there are any matches you might have missed. The app even has a family news feed, so you can be kept abreast of what's going on in each other's lives.

Family Tree
Family Tree lets you connect with your loved ones. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Flixster: If you're a film fan and you already love Flixster, the Flixster app for MySpace is for you. Just like the site (and its Facebook counterpart), the app allows you to rate movies, see what your Flixster friends are up to, and determine what movies you'd like based on your ratings. The app even lets you play games, take quizzes, and share your results with friends.

Flixster lets you rate movies and take quizzes. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

GoMix: GoMix is a really neat app. It lets you pick from a few dozen tracks and listen to a song. You've probably never heard of most of the tracks, but they all have a nice beat.

Once you pick the song you want to check out, GoMix lets you mix it any way you see fit. So if you want to ditch the vocals in one section of the song, go for it. If you don't like the way the guitar sounds and you want to get rid of it, you can. After you're done mixing the song, you can listen to your newly created track to see how you did at improving it. You can then share your mix with other MySpace users.

GoMix lets you mix songs to fit your musical taste. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

iTwitter: iTwitter displays your Twitter updates on your MySpace profile. It's extremely customizable. You can pick how many tweets to display at a time, choose your username, font, and background colors, and you can even decide if you want to display your avatar. Once you figure out what you want, you'll find your fully customized iTwitter widget displayed in your profile.

iTwitter gives you a variety of customization options. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

News Merger: News Merger is a must-have for any news junkie on MySpace. When you access the app, you have the option of adding prominent news feeds to your profile, so you can always be kept abreast about what's going on in the world.

Those feeds range from Reuters news to CNET News to the top 25 downloads on iTunes. You can even access major sports news from the leagues' respective Web sites. Once you pick the feeds you want to track, you can modify the design of your widget and place it on your MySpace profile.

News Merger
News Merger gives you your quick news fix. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Picnik: Once you sign up for a Picnik account and add it to your profile, you can edit photos, create a collage, or make greeting cards. The Picnik app, like its Facebook counterpart, lets you open photos from a variety of sites, including Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, and Photobucket. You can also upload images from your desktop. The app's editing tools aren't as advanced as those in Photoshop, but they will do the trick when you need to quickly modify an image. The MySpace Picnik app is responsive, well-designed, and a fine alternative to most other image-editing tools.

Picnik lets you edit photos quickly and easily. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Playlist: Playlist.com's MySpace app is worth trying out. You can search for practically any artist or song, and have access to videos of the tracks you pick. When you search for an artist (I searched for Bruce Springsteen), the site displays results matching your query.

Those results might be Bruce Springsteen videos, but many are videos from folks on YouTube covering his songs. If you find a song you like, you can add it to your Playlist for viewing later. You can also share that playlist with friends.

Playlist has some videos to choose from. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

YouTubePost: YouTubePost is a simple, lightweight app that makes it easy for you to access YouTube videos in MySpace. When you first access the app, you're brought to a list of the Recently Featured, Top Rated, and Most Viewed videos on YouTube.

You can either click on one of those videos to view it or use the app's search field to query the site. In either case, accessing videos takes no time. When you click on a video, you'll view the clip in the app. YouTubePost is a must-have for any video lover on MySpace.

YouTube Favorites helps you find your favorite YouTube videos. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. Causes: There's something nice about helping others--and Causes delivers.

2. Picnik: You can edit photos while you network with friends. It's a great app.

3. News Merger: It's simple, it's convenient, it's a must-have.