Fanhattan’s iPad app makes video discovery social

When the Fanhattan iPad app launched in early June, the idea was to help viewers access the movies and TV shows they wanted to watch across a number of video services available on the Apple tablet. With a unified search function and access to advanced metadata, as well as a smart navigation system, Fanhattan delivered an easy way to find users’ favorite content, wherever it was. The one thing it lacked was a social discovery and recommendations mechanism. That’s been corrected in the latest update, which went live on Tuesday.

Fanhattan is betting big on integrating social networks — especially Facebook — which will not only provide more interesting content for users to watch but will also allow them to share their own interests with friends. Once signed in to Facebook on the app, Fanhattan users will be able to get recommendations from their social graph, including movies and TV shows that their friends have Liked on the social network.

Users can also Like content of their own on Fanhattan, which serves a couple of purposes. First off, Liking a piece of content will help Fanhattan recognize what types of movies and TV shows a user is interested in, which will eventually help build its recommendations system. Second, the Like function allows users to share their interests with their friends, giving others an idea of what they’re watching.

Liking a show also helps surface posts about related movies, shows and actors on users’ Facebook walls. As part of the integration, the company has introduced a Fanhattan widget for Facebook, which posts Likes to users’ Facebook walls and appears in their friends’ news feeds. When users Like a piece of content in the app, the widget will let their friends see where they can watch those videos.

But the social elements don’t end with Facebook.¬†Fanhattan has also added Twitter integration to let users participate in conversations around their favorite TV series or movies. Users can now directly follow conversations from within the app without having to go to Twitter.

Finally, Fanhattan has added support for Vudu, (s WMT) adding a new source of streaming content that can be watched on the iPad(s aapl). The app already let users search between native apps from Netflix, (s NFLX) Hulu Plus, iTunes and ABC. (s DIS) By adding Vudu, Fanhattan will, for the first time, also surface content from within the iPad’s Safari browser. That’s because, rather than introducing an app, Vudu is making its streaming video-on-demand service available via a mobile website.

Fanhattan is just the latest video discovery company to embrace social networks for finding out about new videos. Apps like Boxee, as well as web experiences from startups like VHX.tv, enable viewers to connect with their friends on social networks and see what they’re watching and sharing. But Fanhattan is the first to integrate with premium content apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, which lets them link back directly to Hollywood studio and broadcast TV content.