MySpace Takes A Page (Or Two) From Facebook

MySpace President Tom Anderson posted a blog last week detailing a bunch of recent changes to the site. The new features lead me to believe that the company is finally starting to realize that Facebook, with its anti-spam features, clean-cut layout, and growing traffic figures, might be on to something.

One of the most annoying things about MySpace is the gobs of spam that get through to members’ inboxes. Getting dozens of unsolicited friend requests and emails from faux porn stars gets old pretty quickly.

Facebook doesn’t seem to have these problems. Plus MySpace, despite being owned by News Corp. (NWS), still looks like a hobby project. Maybe that pseudo-authenticity is why it still thrives, porn spam and all.

Here’s a list of all the changes to MySpace, and how they compare to what Facebook offers:

New (Optional) Homepage
MySpace’s new optional layout for its homepage is a bit like Facebook, except with a lot more color. The layout separates each area of the page in boxes, with a prominent friends status box, similar to Facebook’s user interface. In his blog post, Anderson notes that eventually users will be able to drag-and-drop the boxes to different parts of the page (exactly like what Facebook already allows). Note: Facebook uses this content-dragging interface for user profiles, whereas it sounds like MySpace just plans to implement this feature for the user homepage, which cannot be seen by other members.

Updated Music Player
Compared to Facebook, MySpace has a strong musician presence. The latest music player update on the site just adds volume control and a song history link that will display songs previously added to a profile. Facebook doesn’t have an official music player for user profiles, though users can add sound files by putting a music app (such as Project Playlist, Imeem, or iLike) on their pages.

Updated Forums.
MySpace’s forums are traditional message boards. Facebook only has a forum-type communication option within its networks and groups.

New “Friends View”
MySpace’s Friends View display has traditionally made it very difficult to sort through people on a user’s friend list, while Facebook’s user interface for organizing friends is thorough and one of the best features on its site. The new display on MySpace now lets users choose to view “all friends,” “online friends,” “mutual friends,” and “recently added friends.” It’s still nowhere near as good as Facebook.

Updated Photos Section
“You can now tag photos and link them to a friend’s profile,” writes Andersen. This sounds suspiciously similar to Facebook’s photo section.

Spam Control
MySpace finally makes it possible to block inbox spammers and cut down on random friend ad requests. Users can decide what level of spam filtering they want through their account settings. Facebook already has many of these controls built into its user contact system. Then again, Facebook is now cluttered with what I like to call AppSpam — dozens of unwanted application invites sent by “friends.” There are days when I think MySpace’s porn spam is easier to deal with than nine thousand invites for the latest Vampire or Zombie game on Facebook!

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