The difference between a regular Facebook app and a Timeline app? Semantics

timeline appsYesterday when we were looking at how Myspace has hugely benefited from Facebook’s Open Graph, we kept seeing pundits referring to it as a “Timeline app” and saying the site has the Timeline to thank for its user resurgence. 

However if you take a look at Facebook’s official list of apps for Timeline, you’ll noticed it isn’t anyway to be found. Still, Myspace shows up in the Ticker when you use its music player, and seemingly functions the same for users. 

Given this boost from Facebook, Myspace is getting similar benefits that music apps like Spotify have enjoyed. Still there was some general suspicion about the numbers: the Myspace music player doesn’t require you to make a Myspace account, so if that’s the cause for the uptick, what gives? Well that can, of course, be tied to Facebook integration. Each new user that connects via the Myspace app on Facebook counts toward that big number and your Myspace profile is a horribly pixelated version of your Facebook profile picture and a few other elements of your profile. This heavy-handed Facebook integration led us to an entirely new question — will Myspace hold a coveted Timeline app spot? At the moment the options are still limited since Facebook introduced the early selection last month. 

We got in touch with Facebook’s press team to clarify all this. A representative tells us there is in fact a difference between apps for Timeline and apps: 

“The difference between Timeline apps and the existing apps on Facebook is that Timeline apps can be added directly to Timeline and can post activity to Timeline as it happens. Users should choose to add apps to their Timeline around the things they want to share. 

“Myspace does have an app for Facebook, but not a Timeline app.” 

So it sounds as if there is extra incentive to become a Timeline app instead of “just” an app. We can understand the confusion because the constant-activity updating Ticker is a real-time application and if Myspace — or other app activity — is popping up in there, you might confuse it for being one of the Timeline apps. And it appears that there’s more than a little overlap here. We compared the permission screens between the Myspace app as well as the Soundcloud (an official Timeline app) and found they are identical (the “Only Me” designation on the Myspace app was originally “Friends”).

compare contrasttimeline postingWe also granted the Myspace app permission, used it, then found it posted immediately to our Timeline. Next we tried logging out of Facebook and logging back in to see if Myspace would required a permissions prompt again — the only permissions prompt was the “Connect with Facebook” icon, not the original permissions screen we saw (something that’s been phased out it seems, although this is sort of splitting hairs). It then welcomed us back to the music app and picked up streaming music where we’d left off. 

It’s sort of toeing the line with what we were introduced to at f8: the new ideas about seamless sharing and app activity. It appears that more apps than are advertised have posting access to our Timelines. How the Open Graph and Timeline collaborate seems like a work in progress, and while there might be a distinction between app types, we doubt there are hard and fast rules. We’ve emailed Facebook for clarification and will update as soon as we hear back. 

Cars

Volkswagen ID Roomzz concept has rear lights you can customize with an app

Volkswagen unveiled the ID Roomzz concept at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. It takes the form of an Atlas-sized SUV with a high-tech, lounge-like interior and an electric powertrain. The Roomzz will enter series production in 2021.
Mobile

Skype screen sharing for mobile will let you share your swipes on dating apps

Skype is prepping the launch of screen sharing for mobile so you can share your swipes on dating apps, shop with buddies, or, perhaps, show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. It's in beta just now, but anyone can try it.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Home Theater

Is Amazon making headphones to compete with the Apple’s AirPods?

Amazon is reportedly working on a pair of Alexa-enabled true wireless headphones to compete with Apple's AirPods. The new true wireless model will allow people to bring Alexa with them anywhere and may come out in the fall.
Music

The best new music this week: Weyes Blood, Ages and Ages, and many more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: Ages and Ages, John Vanderslice, Kendrick Scott Oracle, Louis Cole, Shana Cleveland, Tyler Ramsey, and Weyes Blood.
Home Theater

Amazon’s Echo Link and Echo Link Amp bring hi-fi sound to Alexa’s living room

Amazon's Echo Link and Echo Link Amp are designed to bring high-fidelity sound to your Alexa ecosystem. Are they worth the significant expense over a smaller Echo speaker, and how well do they integrate into a typical hi-fi system?
Emerging Tech

Even a true rock god can’t smash this unbreakable 3D-printed metal guitar

Rock stars love to smash guitars. Geeky engineers love to build things using the latest high-tech tools. What happens when both parties meet? This "unbreakable" 3D-printed metal guitar.
Music

How to clean your records to keep them looking good and sounding sweet

Vinyl records are back in a big way, but the sound quality can suffer if you don't keep your collection clean. Check out our tips for keeping your vinyl and stylus immaculate, so you can hear every note of your favorite analog tunes.
Music

These droolworthy albums are among the most expensive vinyl records of all time

From rare Beatles originals to one-off test pressings, these are some of the most expensive vinyl records on Earth — the kind of discs that make plaid-clad record collectors and average listeners alike green with envy. Or sticker shock…
Home Theater

Keep those albums sounding great by converting your vinyl to a digital format

There are all sorts of reasons for ripping records and storing them digitally, but what's the best way to do it? We cover the different types of equipment and software available for ripping records at any price in this guide.
Home Theater

Celebrate Record Store Day in style with the best vinyl setups

From simple and affordable to sleek and swanky, these are our recommendations for incredible vinyl setups that will allow you to listen to your favorite records with outstanding fidelity and take your collection to the next level.
Home Theater

Record Store Day is here! Here's how to build a killer vinyl collection

Feeling the vinyl vibe? You're not alone. If you're interested in starting your own record collection and listening to tunes the analog way, we're here to help. This guide will take you through everything you need to know.
Music

Amazon rumored to be launching free music-streaming service

Rumors are swirling that Amazon is planning to take on Spotify by launching its own free, ad-supported music streaming service. This seems to be a move aimed at Echo users in particular.
Home Theater

Surface Buds? Microsoft might make AirPods competitors, joining Amazon and others

Microsoft is reportedly hard at work developing its own true wireless headphone model to compete with top offerings from Apple, Samsung, and others. It's aiming to take on the AirPods and Galaxy buds with its own pair of portable in-ears.