GetGlue Stares Down the Facebook Behemoth

GetGlue, apparently undaunted by the looming threat of a 400-pound gorilla named Facebook moving in on its social recommendation turf, has rolled out some new features for its service, which provides users with movie, music and book suggestions and reviews from friends in their network. The service, which New York-based Adaptive Blue launched last year, consists of a website that shows you all the recommendations from your friends, a toolbar that provides access to reviews and comments from your network as you browse the web, and a recently launched popup feature that shows you relevant content and reviews when you’re on almost any page or website that has the GetGlue plugin enabled.
All of which, if you’ve been following the news from Facebook over the past week or so, probably sounds more than a little familiar. The giant social network has launched an ambitious attempt to extend itself out into the broader web through the use of an “open graph protocol” and social plugins, which allow users of any site to click a button and share their recommendation with friends, or to see the activity of their friends related to that site.
GetGlue, which had previously been reluctant to divulge stats, said today that the number of registered users of its service is north of 400,000 and growing; Facebook’s users, meanwhile, recently topped 400 million. The larger company is also busy integrating its services into virtually all the major media and content websites, either through partnerships or through its open graph protocol and open API. Presumably such information will ultimately be aggregated by the network and shown to users and advertisers in some way.

So how does GetGlue see this encroaching monster? “Overall, we’re viewing it as a net positive,” said Fraser Kelton, director of business development. For one thing, he says, the fact that Facebook is going after social recommendations with such an aggressive launch “validates our vision.” Kelton also said that GetGlue believes it can still provide value despite Facebook’s entry into the market, because it’s been filtering that kind of data and generating personalized recommendations for several years now.
“I think we can thrive and plug into and extend that ecosystem,” said Kelton. “We’re going to thrive because we can now get data from 400 million users, and we’re going to move pretty quickly to capitalize on it.” The GetGlue executive said that founder Alex Iskold and the rest of the development team “are already working on some things in the lab” that will allow the service to incorporate Facebook-related likes and recommendation data. “So overall we are excited about it,” Kelton said.
Whether the company can add enough value to make users excited about using GetGlue instead of Facebook remains to be seen. In an interesting twist, GetGlue founder Alex Iskold helped develop a proposed tagging scheme for web pages that would do something very similar to Facebook’s open graph protocol — it was called “abmeta” and was developed with Peter Mika at Yahoo (s yhoo). Kelton said he’s not sure what will happen to abmeta in the wake of Facebook’s launch, however. “We’ll have to figure that out internally, whether to continue with it or not,” he said. Iskold is also active in the Open Like community, which has proposed an open standard for recommendations.
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