At its f8 developer conference this week, Facebook will reportedly unveil three new buttons: Read, Listened, and Watched. The buttons will be used just like the Facebook Like button is currently used: to appreciate content. These new buttons will be just the beginning, as Facebook will later launch even more, like a Want button, according to an anonymous source cited by TechCrunch.
As a side note, I find it interesting that these buttons are apparently in the past tense: Read, Listened, and Watched, as opposed to Read, Listen, and Watch. I'd guess that this means these buttons will be specific to third-party content, while the Like button is for both Facebook-specific content as well as third-party content.
Unsurprisingly, this year's f8 conference reportedly has the following motto: "Read. Watch. Listen." Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will announce multiple news, video, and music partnerships during his keynote. Read partners will include big online publishers such as Yahoo, Watch will be a range of video websites (such as Hulu and Netflix), and Listen will of course be music services (including Spotify, MOG, Rhapsody, Soundcloud, Rdio, Deezer, and Vevo).
"This is really about extending its sharing tools and influence by a factor of 10," a separate, but also anonymous source, told All Things Digital. "Facebook has talked about socializing the Internet, but this is actually the biggest step to doing it."
I'd also like to mention that this is actually not a new rumor; it's just more information added to an old one. Last month, we heard of an expanded Like button. Here's what I wrote then (reading it again, I'd say it actually sounds like the Want button):
Speaking of the Like button, Facebook is also working on expanding the functionality to include other gestures that marketers and third-party developers can create. Consumers could share information about the products they want to buy or the places they want to go, giving Facebook even more data about its 750 million active users.
Either way, you'll be able to use these three new buttons on content in your News Feed. It's not clear if Facebook plans to expand this functionality to the whole Web, like it eventually did with the Like button. It's also not known what this will mean for the Like button in general, but presumably they will coexist.
The change will give Facebook more data, which it can in turn offer up to advertisers. A lot of businesses benefit greatly from the Like button, and it looks like Facebook wants to offer them even more.
The new buttons are in line with the last Facebook rumor: the company is expected to launch a media platform that will allow people to easily share their favorite music, television shows, and movies. The new feature will effectively turn your basic profile page into a primary entertainment hub.
Facebook has signed agreements with multiple media companies to develop a way for a user's profile page to display whatever entertainment he or she is consuming on those outside services. Links that appear on a widget, tab, or as part of a user's News Feed, will point one's friends directly to the content in question.
When it comes to Facebook these days, the rumor mill is in overdrive. We'll finally know what's what on Thursday.