Comparing Facebook Applications – Books – Interim Results   Leave a comment

Over July, I have been recording in facebook my reads and new interesting books ("wish lists", as Amazon taught us to call them many years ago)
I have used a few facebook applications, and I am using this experience to understand better requirements for a fb application.
 
Here is a second update on results.
 
I have tested the following applications:
– aNoobi – recommended by a good friend outside (!) of facebook and little used on fb (!)
– books – a promising-looking result from my search of applications * the first one I removed in early August
– Books iRead – used by few of my fb friends at the time. Adopted by few more since (!)
– Visual Bookshelf – most used by my friends
I have also been using "Movies" as a comparison as tracking, reviewing and sharing movies is a similar task
 
First of all, here is my updated list of criteria – criteria with * apply to fb applications beyond bookshelf 
 
– basic functionality: how easy and reliable is it to add, change, rate, review books and desired reads (VB, BiR – aNoobi in my case was initially all but broken, then improved. The two-way interface with the aNoobi site always worked so far)
– breadth of catalogue(s) and clear identification of catalogue providers. Here, most rely on Amazon(s). aNoobi stands out by a mile with its multi-language by design and capability to capture books in minor languages (Italian!), even from before ISBN were adopted!
* facebook activity posting: (e.g. VB does real time, BiR delays updates if you do more one after another, which is nice)
* facebook list comparison with friends (Visual Bookshelf?)
* integration with own back end site (aNoobi provides allows to establish a two-way connection between your aNoobi bookshelf and fb’s)
* integration with other applications
— similar applications from same provider e.g. to list and rate movies, music, etc.
— for asynchronous, VB has way the best Amazon interface, made all the difference for me to start with – aNoobi TBD, I emptied my Amazon lists into VB
— two-way integration would be nice, implying an application team is bold enough to allow users tools to take away their work to other applications the come to prefer 
* popularity and satisfaction – how many are using it, how happy they are
* facebook application sharing – both ‘pull’ such as posting activities to your profile so others are pulled to use the application, and ‘push’ i.e. allowing/proposing you to recommend the application or individual actions to friends, and gracefully allowing you to opt out. (I will of course wait until I have chosen one bookshelf only)
– quality of recommendations (so far BiRead provides subjectively better recommendations and objectively more timely: at any post; is VB even trying?)
 
More will follow…
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Posted July 27, 2008 by Gianluca Marcellino in Computer e Internet

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