App review: Friendly – Facebook Browser

Since Facebook itself hasn’t come out with an iPad app, you have to applaud Friendly – Facebook Browser for making the effort. This is the best way for Facebook fans to interact with the social network site via the device. The app’s use of large fonts make it easy to browse — and eliminate the need for pinching and zooming the page. The layout is very natural, as well, making it easy to find the area of the site you’re looking for. But there are some standard Facebook features that are noticeably absent. You’re unable to upload any photos via this app and you won’t be able to play any Facebook games, which could be distressing to FarmVille fanatics. The page also doesn’t automatically refresh, meaning if you want to see new updates, you’ll have to click on another tab, then back to your news feed.

Read more at Common Sense Media

Facebook: More popular than games and email

If you still doubt the power of social media, the Nielsen Company would beg to differ. New research from the ratings service finds sites like Facebook and MySpace are dominating nearly one-quarter of the time Americans spend online these days. 

The sites are so popular that their usage is more than twice that of video games and triple that of email. And they’re growing at an incredible rate.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog.

Social Gaming Companies See Their Stock Rise

For the better part of the last year, game industry pundits have shouted from the rooftops that social network gaming was the next big thing – but it’s starting to look like even they underestimated just how big it would be.

Major media companies, traditional game developers and more are gobbling up the developers of Facebook and MySpace games – and the price tags are escalating at a startling pace.

Read more at CNBC.com

Retailer GameStop tries life as a publisher

GameStop has taken a few knocks for being behind the times when it comes to digital distribution, but now the brick and mortar retailer is showing at least some awareness of the online world. It just might not be exactly what investors were hoping for. 

The company has launched the Facebook game “Gangsta Zombies” through its Jolt Online Gaming arm. It’s the second social media game the company has released.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Google gaga for gaming

Google, which has been a looming threat in the gaming world, appears to be edging closer to becoming a major player in online games.

The search giant has invested at least $100 million in social gaming company Zynga, the developer of some of the biggest games on Facebook, including “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars,” to help launch Google Games, which is expected later this year.

Read more at Daily Variety