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Facebook adds interactive image-tagging technology: A tool for convenience or annoyance?


With Facebook making new updates with or without our requests and Timeline looming over those who are waiting till the last second before the switch is mandated to their profiles, the social network giant is adding another technology to help confuse users even more. With its partnership to Finnish startup ThingLink, ThingLink Tabs for Facebook will allow users to create a page with interactive tags from any photo they’ve uploaded.

Basically, aside from the ability to tag your photos with your friends, location and date, ThingLink Tabs will also let you embed those tags with audio, video, and external links to whatever you might think is relevant in the photo. For example, if you’re a fashion blogger who’ve posted a picture of your outfit for the day, you can tag different parts of your attire to online shops where you bought each separate pieces. You might also tag how you’ve styled your hair and makeup with a how-to video, stick the location of your photo with a Google Map reference, or spice up the mood of your photo with a song off Spotify for accompaniment.

Obviously, the ThingLink Tabs feature will be an interesting take for commercial businesses to expand on Facebook, but will probably be annoying for the average Facebook user who does not want to be bombarded with more pop-ups to links that look like advertisement. It will also allow for a larger media consumption that users aren’t exactly asking for, but businesses will likely want to push this notion to get their content more visible without users having to leave a single page. Other external links ThingLink can embed include content from other media giants such as Vimeo, SoundCloud, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon, eBay, iTunes, and Etsy.

And while the hypothetical fashion blogger scenario is a practical example for smaller “entrepreneurs,” many have made their marks on other blogging platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr and YouTube. Will bridging them all over Facebook streamline the process and make users more engaged, or turn everything more cluttered and less fun to follow? After all, do we really want Facebook to be a giant mall for online content? Can older computers even process the amount of Flash-based items about to launch at them in one sitting without freezing?

Taking advantage of ThingLink Tabs is also not entirely free. To create an interactive, rich media tag page, ThingLink will only allow ten image uploads for a free basic plan while the Plus and Pro plans, intended for larger businesses, stand at $5 and $20 per month respectively. The paid accounts also come with detailed statistics of how the tags are being utilized to help users make their pages more efficient. Several businesses have started to create their ThingLink pages on Facebook, and we anticipate more businesses to roll out with this feature relatively soon. You’ve been warned: Start preparing for a whole lot of things to pop out of your screen at the next picture you come across unless you can avoid hovering your mouse over these photos.