MySpace Extends Access to User Profiles With Browser Toolbar

MySpace.com users will soon be able to access their profile information through a browser toolbar that will allow its users to exchange status information with their network of friends.

"It's a toolbar with the social functionality built in," said Amit Kapur, the company's chief operating officer, speaking at LeWeb 08 conference in Paris.

The toolbar will only work on computers running Windows, but will be available in versions for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Buttons will allow users to quickly send messages to MySpace friends and to upload photos to the site.

One function the toolbar won't have, though, will be instant access to MySpace Music, a service that allows MySpace members to stream music and recommend tracks to their friends.

"Part of the challenge [for MySpace Music] is having the right balance between music and monetization," said Kapur.

On Monday, MySpace announced an extension to the data portability tools that allow MySpace users to share some of their profile information with partner Web sites. MySpaceID will allow users to log in to other sites using their MySpace credentials. Initial partners include mobile network operator Vodafone, and news aggregator NetVibes.

Kapur insisted on the open nature of the technologies MySpace is using, including OpenID and OpenSocial, in contrast to the proprietary Facebook Connect system proposed by its social networking rival.

MySpace plans to enable third parties to tap into its platform in other ways, perhaps including payment services, said Kapur.

"We are looking at some kind of wallet system," he said, as a way of "diversifying our revenues to expand beyond advertising."

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