Facebook accidentally confirms upcoming music service

Summary:It seems that Facebook has accidentally revealed that it is planning to launch a music service, not that we didn't know that already.

Software developer Jeff Rose has unearthed a new Facebook service, possibly referred to internally as "vibes." The discovery was made in the code for the FacebookVideoCalling.jar file (just 27,840 bytes) that is downloaded when you first use Facebook's new video calling service, which was announced and released just yesterday.

Rose was curious to see whether Facebook was using the Skype client he had already installed, if the company was installing a second copy of Skype somewhere, or if the Skype protocols were being bundled in some kind of library. He found that the .jar file uses LiveConnect to let the Java applet communicate with the browser. The code also requires your Facebook user ID and an application ID to formulate a signed request to download the application.

Here's where it gets interesting. The Facebook installer in question doesn't just support one application, but two: if (paramString.equals("com.facebook.peep")) return this.window.getMember("VideoChatPlugin"); if (paramString.equals("com.facebook.vibes")) { return this.window.getMember("MusicDownloadDialog"); }

The video chat plugin, which the installer is asked to download when you first start to use Facebook's Video Calling service, is referred to as "peep." At some point in the future, this code reveals, Facebook will offer a service that will download another app, referred to as "vibes."

Rose assumes that this means that Facebook will soon launch a music service called Facebook Vibes. The first part is very likely, as we've already heard before, but the second part isn't necessarily true. You see, the word "peep" is nowhere to be found in the name "Facebook Video Calling" so we can't just assume that "vibes" means the music feature will be called "Facebook Vibes."

Nevertheless, it's quite clear that the vibes app will connect to a music download dialog. Facebook likely won't actually let you download music, but rather have you install a small application to lets you stream music.

Last month, a rumor suggested that Facebook was working with multiple companies to offer music services and applications. The suggested name was simply Facebook Music. In the left-hand column, where Facebook lists Photos, Friends, Places, Groups, Deals, Pages, and Games, a new tab called Music will be added. It will show up if a user has listened to music with one of Facebook's partner music services. There will even reportedly be Music Notifications, Recommended Songs, Top Songs from friends, Top Albums from friends with cover art, Recent listens from your friends, and a persistent Play/Pause button added to the bottom of Facebook where you currently have the chat icon.

Two months ago, a rumor suggested that Facebook was planning on partnering with Spotify. The service was referred to as either Facebook Music or Spotify on Facebook. Just yesterday, Spotify announced that it was finally coming to the US.

Since listening to music, sharing music, and talking about music are all social activities, it makes sense that Facebook wants to be a part of the phenomenon. The Facebook f8 (pronounced "fate") conference is a yearly event held by Facebook that takes place in San Francisco, California. The 2011 edition of f8, which will most likely be held in August 2011, is widely expected to be almost entirely focused on music.

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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