Social-news company Loomia announced Wednesday that it has launched a new application called SeenThis, which connects news sites with social-networking sites so users can learn what their people on their friends' lists have been reading. Loomia's inaugural partners in SeenThis are The Wall Street Journal, NBC Universal, and CNET Networks, parent company of CNET News.com.
Like many other "recommendation engines," Loomia's technology can suggest content items to a reader based on what he or she has already viewed. SeenThis goes a step further by using social-networking sites' APIs--the one that the current content partners are using is Facebook--to gather what people on a reader's friends' list or within his or her regional, company, or school networks have been viewing on a partner site. So, for example, a WSJ.com reader might see that eight people from his Facebook friends list have read the latest doomsday story about the housing crisis, or that members of his alumni network on Facebook have been browsing the travel section.
CNET Networks will be using SeenThis on its business news properties: BNET, TechRepublic, and ZDNet. NBC Universal, meanwhile, will focus on video so that viewers can learn which NBC.com videos their social-networking contacts have been viewing.
Perhaps because of the brouhaha that surrounded Facebook's Beacon advertising program, Loomia has stressed that SeenThis is opt-in only. A Facebook user, for example, has to install the SeenThis application before it starts tracking habits on partner sites.
The release from Loomia on Wednesday hinted that SeenThis will expand to other social networks as time goes on.