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Facebook turns an eye to entertainment; Social networking service hopes to transform the media industry with new features

Facebook Inc. wants to become the entertainment hub for its 800 million members, not only soaking up more of their time online but giving them even more interaction and influence among their friends.

The popular social networking service rolled out new features and partnerships to allow its users to share the entertainment and information choices in their lives -- with music, movies, television programs, books, games and news all available within the Facebook home.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told the 2,000 software developers attending the company's annual conference this week in San Francisco that the new features, including a dramatic redesign of users' profiles, will "transform" the media industry.

The fast-growing company is pushing whole industries to adapt their businesses to the social Web, where users would be able to have greater influence over how people spend their time and money.

Analysts say media has emerged as a crucial part of Facebook's strategy to maintain its position as the world's No. 1 social network. Facebook's announcements included partnerships with music-sharing service Spotify and video-streaming services Hulu and Netflix.

Users will begin to see links from the services, which are generated automatically whenever a friend listens to a song or watches a movie on them. Users will be able to grant permission when they start using an application for those updates to be posted to their friends. These updates, Zuckerberg said, will encourage "real-time serendipity" recommendations that fan out from friends to friends.

Facebook also announced it will begin rolling out a dramatic redesign of users' profiles into magazine-style timelines that chronicle users' lives in a manner similar to scrapbooks. This complements a news ticker that Facebook launched this week that shows all of the activity of friends in one place similar to Twitter.

In addition, Facebook also said it would begin rolling out "lifestyle" apps that let users share what they are cooking or eating or the routes they are running.

The media push and profile makeover come as Facebook faces growing competition from Google, which in June launched a rival social networking service, Google .

"Facebook is putting the 'me' in social media," said Brian Solis, an analyst with Altimeter Group. "It is becoming the epicenter not only of the experiences that people share but the experiences that they will share. People will create their own media networks that influence the behavior of others."

Facebook could be a boon for the media industry, said Debra Aho Williamson, a senior analyst with researcher eMarketer Inc. She said Facebook's ability to reveal what movies or television shows its users are discussing creates an enormous opportunity for services like Hulu and Netflix.

"I see lots of implications for just immediately being able to see something you're interested in and immediately getting access to that content via Facebook, seamlessly," Aho Williamson said.

Zuckerberg showed off several music apps, including two streaming services from Spotify and Clear Channel, that can automatically post what their users are listening to, their favorite bands and the playlists they create.

The idea is that people who see what their friends are listening to are more likely to try out the service or find music that they would like to buy. Once hooked into an app, Facebook users tend to be more apt to spend money.

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