At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, MySpace just made some major announcements. They've announced plans to develop mobile applications for the Nokia S60 as well as the much-anticipated Palm Pre. However, for most of us, the bigger news is the relaunch of the MySpace Mobile web site which will occur this week. Yet even with the updated branding and new user interface elements introduced by the revamped site, we wonder: will it be enough to win users back from Facebook?
Over the past day or so, the tech blogosphere has been engrossed in a major brouhaha over the update to the Facebook Terms of Service (TOS) which implies that the social networking site now owns all your content. It seems there could be no better time for MySpace to announce some good news about their company as they could easily capitalize on the calls for Facebook boycotts and the current disgruntled mental state of Facebook's users.
But what MySpace has announced may not be anything dramatic enough to encourage those upset at Facebook to give MySpace another shot. Instead, in addition the Nokia and Pre applications that are now underway, the company said they will launch a new MySpace Mobile web site this week. The site (m.myspace.com / wap.myspace.com) is said to better enhance the look and feel of MySpace on the mobile phone to make it more closely resemble the online web site. User interface elements have been optimized for devices with screen sizes 176 pixels wide (and larger) and it includes the ability to upload photos.
The company also says the site is more scalable, which is good considering they're reporting 20 million visitors hitting up the mobile site each month - a number that has been growing rapidly. Over the past six months, the company has noted over a 50% increase in mobile usage for the U.S., an 80% increase in mobile usage in Europe, and a 60% increase in the Asian market.
A Look Look...Yawn
While those numbers on their own are impressive, MySpace is now no longer the dominate social network in the world. And while they still reign as the leader in the U.S., we're seeing Facebook steal marketshare on that battleground as well. As of last month, Facebook gained almost 100 million more worldwide users than MySpace and is now nearly two times as large.
For MySpace to reclaim their dominance, they would have needed a much bigger announcement right now than simply some new apps and a new look for their mobile web site. They would have needed something that broke new ground - like a location-aware mobile site that found your nearby friends or a site that integrated MySpace Music for on-the-fly mobile streaming. Something...you know, big.
Instead, what we got was this (see below).
That's nice, we suppose, but we were hoping for something a bit more. What do you think?