Bebo's Social In-box Puts Online Life In One Place - InformationWeek

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12/10/2008
12:38 PM
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Bebo's Social In-box Puts Online Life In One Place

Content partners for the new service include MTV, ESPN, CBS, and the BBC

Bebo users can now access e-mail, social networking feeds, and media recommendations in one place.

The social networking site unveiled the new Social Inbox, which aggregates feed and updates from other sites, including YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and Del.icio.us, and provides users access to their favorite videos, music, and photos. It also provides a single location for previewing e-mail on accounts with Google, Yahoo, and AOL. AOL and AIM users can now log in directly to Bebo using their existing screen names.

"People want the ability to stay in touch with their contacts in real time wherever their friends may be across the Web," Joanna Shields, president of AOL People Networks, said in a statement. "The current fragmented social networking environment makes keeping up-to-date with others increasingly difficult. Bebo's new Social Inbox is our first step in solving this problem."

Shields said that the improvements will allow Bebo users to conveniently manage their "online lives, no matter where the individual pieces reside."

The social feed aggregation is delivered through technology from Bebo's recently acquired SocialThing. It allows users to organize their feed in chronological order and group it by person and receive news from around the globe.

A new recommendations engine, developed on Bebo's Open Media Platform, uses members' stated preferences and information on what their friends prefer to deliver recommendations from content through more than 500 media companies, including MTV, ESPN, CBS, and the BBC. Bebo said the service is "subject to appropriate privacy settings."

Bebo said the improvements are one step in a series designed to personalize the member experience.

"By leveraging key resources and technologies from AOL and Bebo as well as from open APIs from leading social properties, we've been able to create a more relevant and open social experience," said David Liu, senior VP of AOL People Networks.

"The Social Inbox aggregates the most relevant communications, community, and content under one roof in an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Our users can keep in touch with friends and family across the Web and around the world from one single destination while at the same time continuing to explore the vast Bebo community."

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