Thursday, January 31, 2013

Twitter Brings Large, Lightboxed Photos To The Web, Adds Video From Vine, YouTube And More To Media Galleries

The link to the full story is here

Twitter has announced a couple of updates for its web service today, designed around media sharing. There’s a new interface for viewing photos, which provides a larger look at pictures without forcing users to leave the page thanks to a lightbox overlay, accessible when you click a photo from a profile page or in search results. And video from Vine, YouTube, Vimeo, and any other partner whose movie clips show up in expanded tweets now also shows up in a user’s media gallery alongside photos.

Also new is an improved conversation view, which lets you see all of the replies to a Tweet by scrolling down. You can see it in action on this call-out from Jimmy Fallon, which also illustrates its best uses. Brands and media entities will likely love this feature, since it provides a better way to not only keep track of Twitter conversations, but also should promote more engagement and conversation branching among users.

The addition of video to media galleries is a logical next step for Twitter, especially following the launch of Vine. Truth be told, it’s likely they wanted to be able to highlight all that new user-generated content somewhere on Twitter itself, but it’s nice to see them extend that courtesy to other video partners as well.

Twitter Currently Experiencing Widespread, Rolling Service Outage

The link to the full story is here

Twitter has now updated its service status page to acknowledge the issue, saying “some users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter,” and noting that its engineers are working to resolve the problem.

Twitter is currently experiencing a widespread service outage that appears to be intermittent, according to our checks with the web client, third-party apps and website service status checking tools. Other TC staff are able to access the service on and off every few minutes, but it seems like the stream is interrupted, and third-party clients like Tweetbot still appear to be having trouble connecting at all, although they’re still able to send and receive direct messages.

There’s nothing yet on Twitter’s own service status page, but the generally dependable DownForEveryoneOrJustMe seems to think that it’s having problems, as does Based on our information, it looks like the outages began appearing around 20 minutes or so ago, and are affecting users globally. The fail whale is coming up when we try to visit, with a message saying the service is “over capacity.” The fail whale is showing up around the world, as this screen from german reader Stefanie Kreiselmeyer proves:

While service appears to be still flickering in and out with bursts of tweets, the outage has been more or less going strong for around an hour now. Still no additional details from Twitter on the cause.

Facebook’s Mobile Ads Grow To More Than $300M — 23 Percent Of Total Ad Revenue

The link to the full story is here

As part of today’s fourth-quarter earnings report, Facebook announced that mobile ad revenue has grown to 23 percent of the company’s total $1.33 billion in ad revenue (so about $305 million). That’s up from 14 percent last quarter.

One of the biggest sources of investor concern around Facebook has been whether its bottom line will take a blow as its usage becomes increasingly mobile, and mobile is indeed becoming dominant — this was the first quarter when Facebook’s daily active users on mobile exceeded its DAUs on the web. Mobile ad revenue is growing quickly, too, especially considering that it was nonexistent in March 2012, without quite catching up with traffic.

Total ad revenue was also up 41 percent from the same period last year, and accounted for 84 percent of all revenue.

Facebook Offers Have Been Claimed By 42M Users

The link to the full story is here

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg highlighted the growth that Facebook Offers has seen since it launched last year — she said that offers have been claimed by 42 million unique users.

Sandberg’s statement came during a larger discussion of Facebook’s ad business during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. Last quarter, Sandberg said that 100,000 small- and medium-sized businesses have used the Offers product. Facebook’s David Fischer also gave a talk last fall where he said that friend-to-friend sharing drives 3/4 percent of redemptions among the most popular offers.

During the call, Sandberg also shared some other (somewhat random) statistics about the success of Facebook ad campaigns. She pointed to a campaign that Walmart used to reach 50 million users over Thanksgiving (so Facebook can deliver significant results for big brands). And she said that research done with Datalogix has revealed that ads delivered in Facebook’s news feed drive eight times more offline sales than ads on the right hand side of the page.

Facebook’s Mobile App Ads See Early Traction With 20% Of iOS’ 100 Top Grossing Devs Using Them

The link to the full story is here

About one-fifth of iOS’ top grossing developers are testing out Facebook app install ads, showing some early traction for the new product. Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s COO, mentioned this on today’s fourth quarter earnings call.

Launched last fall, Facebook launched new kind of ad unit that doesn’t involve a friends’ like or recommendation. These ads send users to the iOS app store, where they can download promoted apps. They’re going to be an important prong of Facebook mobile monetization efforts.

Why? Facebook can’t derive fees or virtual currency revenue from mobile apps, because they exist on platforms operated by the company’s frenemies Google and Apple. As users have migrated to mobile devices, Facebook’s payments revenues has stalled because of this.

“We continue to face headwinds in payments revenue, since our games revenue is essentially from desktop computers,” said Facebook’s CFO David Ebersman on today’s earnings call.

So mobile ads are going to be the key way that the company earns revenue from its developer ecosystem on mobile devices.

Given that Facebook reaches 680 million users every day on mobile devices, it really isn’t surprising at all that a significant fraction of top developers are testing this out. Early anecdotal feedback from developers I’ve talked to has been mixed, but many developers acknowledge that it will be an important user acquisition channel in the future.

Anil Dharni, who is a senior vice president at the $3.5 billion Japanese mobile gaming company GREE, told me in an interview last week (which I have yet to publish) that, “Some of the test results that are coming in are pretty good actually. They’re really premium spots and the ROI is definitely there.” He said it will almost certainly be one of the top handful of marketing channels the company uses going forward.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Hints At Bigger, More Media-Rich Ad Formats

The link to the full story is here

A lot of the discussion during Facebook’s earnings conference call today revolved around all the stats that the company offered about the fourth-quarter performance of various ad units. However, Facebook executives also talked (in a very general way) about their ad plans for 2013, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying that the company will be both improving its ad targeting and launching new formats.

Asked what kinds of formats we can expect, Zuckerberg pointed to what he said is one of the company’s longtime design principles: “We want the organic content to be of the same basic type of format as paid content.” Advertisers, meanwhile, usually want “really rich things like big pictures.”

There’s a tension there — in fact, this is a constant theme from Facebook employees who argue that traditional advertisers need to adjust their thinking to build campaigns that work on Facebook, rather than demanding that Facebook copy existing ad formats. The big ad on the logout page is Facebook’s main concessions on this front.)  However, Zuckerberg said that the company has been incorporating “bigger pictures, richer media” in the news feed, so it makes sense for ads to follow suit.

He also pointed to Facebook-acquired Instagram as a product that includes an immersive mobile experience, and he said he wants to “offer those abilitites for advertising as well, so you can deliver much more engaging advertising experiences.”

Facebook Tries Letting You Share Emoticons Of Exactly What You’re Feeling, Reading Or Eating

The link to the full story is here

Facebook is poised to get a lot more expressive. Today it began tests of a new status composer that lets you say “what are you doing?” by selecting from different categories to share activities such as feeling, reading, or eating. You can then choose a specific emotion or piece of media or add a custom text description and post something like “Niners in the Super Bowl – feeling ecstatic  “

Facebook is testing this new visual activity sharing status composer with some users on the website and its mobile site. It could inspire people to share more frequently. Instead of just adding a plain text update, you can select from feeling, watching, reading, listening to, drinking, or eating. Then you can pick from pre-made options such as happy, Game Of Thrones, 50 Shades Of Grey, Radiohead, coffee, or ice cream. Alternatively, you can write your own emotion, piece of content, or cuisine.

Visual status updates could help Facebook fend off emoji messaging apps like Line, media consumption sharing apps like GetGlue, and the smiley-laden Path. It follows Facebook testing a bunch of new standard status update prompts like “What’s going on, Josh?” and the somewhat creepy “How are you feeling, Josh?”

Along with being fun for users, it could be a big help to advertisers, though Facebook tells me it’s not piping this data into its ad engine just yet. By selecting your current activity instead of merely writing it out, you structure data for Facebook. That could eventually help it to connect you with advertisers who want to reach people who frequently watch TV and movies, or listen to music, or eat at restaurants.

If you choose a particular pre-formatted emotion, piece of media, or food, Facebook could potentially use that behavior to pinpoint you with ads. If you listen to a Daft Punk song, it could target you with ads for their new album or nearby concert. Coffee shops might be able to pay to reach coffee drinkers, and Netflix would probably love to target sad users who could be primed to stay home and watch some videos. Going further, Facebook could even sell “Sponsored Activities,” where advertisers could pay to have themselves suggested as what someone was up to in the category selector.

This all mirrors Facebook’s “action spec ad targeting,” which lets advertisers target you based on your activity in Open Graph-connected apps like Spotify or Foodspotting. Perhaps Facebook should just be ripping this data out of plain text updates with basic natural language processing, but this is a start.

Pinterest Gets A Makeover

The link to the full story is here

Pinterest, the social media bookmarking site that is pinning its way to the top of social media platforms to vie for a spot next to Facebook and Twitter, has announced on Monday that a redesign will be coming soon!

Now, to all my pinners out there, this doesn’t mean that Pinterest is moving away from the user-friendly tile design that people and brands flocked to originally. Pinterest wants to keep this grid style look because it makes it easy for brands to connect with consumers in a visually appealing way, but they are looking to improve the quality of the content in each pin.

New Navigation and Bigger Images.

Now pinned images will be much larger including the thumbnails. Also when you view a pin, there will be section of related pins to help guide you in your search.

As a marketer, I’m excited to see this movement because it looks like Pinterest could be heading toward “Sponsored” Pins or Boards. Pinterest Sponsored Pins would be highly competitive with Facebook Sponsored Posts simply because of the placement of a Pinterest pin would be optimized for better performance compared to a Facebook Sponsored Post. Although Facebook Sponsored Posts are highly beneficial to your brand, I believe Pinterest Sponsored Pins would receive more traffic.

For marketers and ecommerce sites, this should be on your top stalking lists for you social media strategy.

France Bans The Hashtag

The link to the full story is here

#RIP the hashtag. It had a good run, August 2007 – January 2013. At least it’s still alive and respected in every other country apart from France.

It’s a dark day for the Gallic Internet, as the French Government drive to preserve their language by altering the settled will of the online community. The hashtag will no longer be used in official communications or papers. The replacement term will be mot-dièse.

mot-dièse, n.m.
Domaine : Télécommunications-Informatique/Internet.
Définition : Suite signifiante de caractères sans espace commençant par le signe # (dièse), qui signale un sujet d’intérêt et est insérée dans un message par son rédacteur afin d’en faciliter le repérage.

Really? I know the French are trying to preserve their language, but the hashtag is the wrong target. Not just because of the international nature of Twitter, but also the nature of how the hashtag was arrived at.

Much of the language of Twitter was built up by the first wave of users, with many ideas being tried by individuals, the good ones being picked up by their circle of friends, and the really good ones jumping out to be de facto standards – that were then baked back into the ecosystem as they were codifed by the Twitter developers.

Facebook introduces new structured status updates to help users share what they’re feeling, watching, eating and more

The link to the full story is here

Facebook is testing a new option in the status update box that lets users share what they’re doing in a more visual and structured way.

When users go to create a post, Facebook asks “What are you doing?” and includes a drop down menu of options, such as “feeling,” “watching,” “eating” and more, according to TechCrunch. These feelings or actions are then appended to the status update, along with an emoticon or link to the page users mention. This feature is a clever approach to get users to share their activity in a way that can be later used for ad targeting or indexed in Graph Search.

At f8 in 2011, Facebook introduced the concept of Open Graph applications, for which developers could create custom verbs and publish structured stories about what users did in their apps. Thousands of apps have integrated with Open Graph but few besides Spotify have taken off in such a way that truly builds a graph of users’ online and offline actions. Some users were put off by how many apps shared their activity without them realizing it and Open Graph got a bad reputation for “frictionless sharing.”  Now it seems Facebook’s taking matters into its own hands to accelerate the amount of Open Graph stories users create. The more users become familiar with this type of sharing on Facebook, the more comfortable they may end up being with third-party apps that help them tell similar stories

Platform Updates: Operation Developer Love

The link to the full story is here

Pages Insights Changes

Earlier this year we launched Global Pages, a new Pages structure for Pages with an international presence. In our December 19th update, we introduced two temporary fields (global_brand_like_count and global_brand_talking_about_count) so that Pages could continue to easily access country-level insights about their Pages after transitioning to this new structure. We stated that these would be live until January 19th 2013. As the January 19th date has now passed, we have removed the temporary fields.

Updated App Center Game Categories

We are introducing new and updated game categories to the App Center to make it easier for people to browse and find games. These changes to genres, such as breaking out "Action & Arcade" into two separate categories, are aimed at helping people find a variety of games and drive more traffic to developers with apps in the App Center. The games category will move to the top of the category list and be prominently displayed with games subcategories below it. We will continue to periodically update game genres to reflect the growing and diverse games ecosystem.

Upcoming breaking changes

As announced in November, the following changes will go into effect on February 6th, 2013:

End of custom actions for content consumption
Authenticated referrals going away
Create_event permission required to remove attendees from event
Minor change to admin.getAppProperties call
Canonical URLs used when fetching Open Graph objects
Offset no longer allowed when searching posts
Curly bracket syntax for mentioning users in notifications going away
Removing ability to post to friends walls via Graph API
Picture connection/field may return a dictionary
Check out the Developer Roadmap for all updates on breaking changes.

Will Google Plus Catch Facebook?

The link to the full story is here

According to a recently released report on social media usage in December, it hasn't taken long for Google Plus  (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) to gain traction. Google has alluded to the rapid growth of its relatively new social platform in the past, and it appears it wasn't just sales-speak.

Taking on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) , with its 1 billion users and substantial head start, may have seemed like a stretch, much as Google's foray into mobile computing and the cloud did not long ago. But like with its Nexus phones and tablets and cloud computing solutions, Google's proving once again that it's not to be trifled with.

The results are in
It was early October when word began to spread about the popularity of Google Plus. Not only was the service growing by leaps and bounds with users -- Google put the number at 400 million, 100 million of which were "active" -- advertisers seemed to love it. About 55% of online advertisers named Google Plus a top five site for marketing, behind Facebook and Twitter. Not bad for the new guy on the block.

As it turns out, the momentum Google Plus was enjoying in the fall of last year hasn't waned one bit. According to a recent report by globalwebindex, Google Plus is now the second most active social media site on the Internet, as of Dec. 2012. A whopping 343 million Google Plus users are considered active, and that's in addition to the third most active social site, Google's own YouTube. Twitter, formerly No. 2 on the list, has dropped to fourth behind Facebook and Google's offerings.

Google updates Google+ and Google Play Music Android apps with new moderation and track playback features

The link to the full story is here

Google on Wednesday released updates to two of its Android apps, Google+ and Google Play Music. You can download the latest versions now directly from the Google Play Store: here and here.

The Google+ update dropped before the one Google Play Music, so we’ll discuss it first. When it hit, we wondered whether Google was looking to disrupt Facebook’s earnings report, but it turns out this is a small update: the company has added support for adding a link when creating a post (the mind boggles why this wasn’t present before), a new notifications tray, and additional Community moderation features.

The Google Play Music update is more significant. This makes sense given that the service is even newer than Google+, if you can believe it.

Instant mixes finally go beyond 25 songs (an arbitrary limit that should never have been there in the first place) and the app now features new album art. As for new features, the homescreen widget has gained a previous button and you can now shuffle an album, artist, or playlist.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Google+ moves up to second place in social networks

The link to the full story is here

Last year, many people dismissed Google's Google+ social network as a "virtual ghost town." That was then. This is now. According to GlobalWebIndex, Google+, with 343-million active users, has become the second largest social network globally. As Vic Gundotra, Google's senior VP of engineering, observed, "That is a lot of ghosts"

Facebook is still the biggest of the social networks by a large margin. By GlobalWebIndex's count Facebook has almost 700-million active users. The research group defines active users as those who used or contributed to a site in the past month

All three of the major global social networks, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are growing by leaps and bounds. "Data collected in GWI.8 (Q4 2012) demonstrates the continued shift in usage from localized social platforms to global ones with huge growth for Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. The fastest growing network in 2013 in terms of “Active Usage” was Twitter which grew 40% to 288m across our 31 markets (approximately 90% of global Internet population). 21% of the global Internet population now use Twitter actively on a monthly basis. This compares to 21% actively using YouTube, 25% actively using Google+ and a staggering 51% using Facebook on a monthly basis."

Apple Pulls Vine From App Store’s Featured Section After Porn Showed Up In Editors’ Picks

The link to the full story is here

While Apple hasn’t made a peep yet about Vine’s slight porn problem, the App Store has removed the video-sharing app from its Featured Section.

The app launched on Thursday, and found itself in the Featured section of the App Store by Friday. Since, it’s swung to the top of Social in the App Store, and has climbed to the number four free app overall.

But this morning, many new Viners woke up to something unexpected in the Editors’ Picks section of the app: a hardcore porn clip titled “Dildoplay.” In turn, it would appear that the App Store has removed the app from the Featured section of the store. Most apps that get chosen by Apple spend at least a full week in the user funnel known as “Featured.”

However, the App Store’s original tweet, featuring the app as an Editors’ Pick is still up:

Twitter Acquires Mobile Crash-Reporting Tool Crashlytics, Development Of The Product Will Continue “Unabated”

The link to the full story is here

Twitter today acquired crash-reporting tool Crashlytics. Numerous companies use Crashlytics to find out when their apps crash on consumer devices, as well as what the root cause of it was.

The apps currently using the service are Twitter, Vine, Yelp, Kayak, TaskRabbit, Walmart, Groupon and Waze, the team says. This is a pretty big group of iOS heavyweights and it will be interesting to see how those relationships progress now that the team is a part of the “flock.” The team won’t be moving from its Cambridge location to San Francisco and things will run as usual. We’re not sure of exactly how many members of the team there are, but we’ve learned that it’s not necessarily a tiny operation.

The relationship has been brewing ever since the company launched last year. The company has raised $6 million since then, coming from firms such as Baseline Ventures and Flybridge Capital Partners, as well as seed investors like David Chang, Jennifer Lum and Lars Albright. Since Crashlytics has an enterprise solution, this means new revenue models and avenues for Twitter, which is never a bad thing…especially when a company is thinking about going public.

Here’s what the Crashlytics co-founders, Jeff Seibert and Wayne Chang, had to say on their blog today:

With today’s announcement, much will remain the same. Development of Crashlytics will continue unabated and we remain dedicated to working with all of our customers – current and new, big and small – to deliver the key app performance insights they need.

Going forward, we’re thrilled to work with the incredible team at Twitter. We share a passion for innovating on mobile and building world-class applications. Joining forces will accelerate our build-out, allowing us to leverage Twitter’s infrastructure to deliver new features faster than ever.

On a more personal note, it’s an honor to work with the entire Crashlytics team – the best group we’ve ever been a part of – and we couldn’t be more excited to continue doing so.

Twitter’s Vine Experiences Its First Service Outage 5 Days After Launching

The link to the full story is here

Vine, Twitter’s latest foray into video sharing, seems to be having some service issues at the moment. We’ve been trying to access and use the app here at TechCrunch with no progress, and Vine has tweeted to confirm the service issues.

Vine launched last Thursday and has had a whirlwind of a week. Though relatively buggy for an app launched by a major company like Twitter, Vine was welcomed by the tech blogosphere as the next Instagram, as it lets you share six-second looping videos (with or without sound) to all your favorite social networks. However, the fun ended quickly as users noticed a slight porn problem on the app.

A porn clip called “DildoPlay,” which showed up on the app’s Editors’ Picks section on Monday, made matters even worse. Twitter claims that the clip was chosen because of “human error.”

Then, Apple removed Vine from the App Store’s Featured section, presumably after seeing that a porn clip had been featured within the app. Vine has since started censoring the app, filtering out searches for various porn-related search terms.

Today, the string of obstacles gets a bit longer with the reported service outage.

Vine is experiencing a temporary service interruption. Thanks for your patience.

— Vine (@vineapp) January 29, 2013

Is everyone looking for the newly-hidden pr0n on Vine all at once, because the service appears to be down.

— Eric Zeman (@phonescooper) January 29, 2013

Facebook Quietly Tightens Its PayPal Payout Policy, Now Requires Extra Authentication To Use It

The link to the full story is here

As Facebook continues to build out the App Center and its overall business as a platform for third parties, it’s also tightening up how payment policies work within it. In one of its latest moves, the company has changed how it pays out to PayPal accounts for new (not existing) developers who select that option. Specifically, Facebook now requires extra levels of authentication for new developers using PayPal, similar to what is required of those who ask for payouts to large emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil as well as some mature countries such as Australia, Japan and Norway.

The extra authentication comes in the form of identification such as incorporation papers for the developer’s business or photo IDs, and is in line with what Facebook requires for those who request to be paid directly into bank accounts in the same list of countries.

As I understand it, the change has been made to help mitigate risk on payments out to those countries and help build out the credibility of the platform — rather than as a move to restrict payments via third parties, or in response to reported problems, or as a precursor to any moves for Facebook to launch its own payout service.

On the latter point, Facebook declined to comment on whether it planned in the future to take on any of the payments services that eBay-owned PayPal currently handles for developers, but getting security right and risk down on the payout service across the whole of its geographical footprint would be essential if Facebook did decide to pursue something like this.

Facebook holds money transmitter licenses in several states in the U.S., as well as in individual countries internationally. These are required for companies that accept and transmit electronic currency, and so moves like this one are often made to get in line with regulations around those licenses. Other companies that hold such licenses include Amazon, Google and PayPal itself. A money trasmitter license is also necessary if Facebook ever did want to get into payments competing against PayPal.

The extra authentication is required for all new developers using PayPal, regardless of what country they are coming from. This is in line with what Facebook requires of developers when they ask to be paid into bank accounts in certain countries. That full list countries is Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Guadeloupe, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey, as well as the French regions of Guiana, Martinique and Reunion.

People Don’t Take Smoke Breaks Anymore, They Take Facebook Breaks

The link to the full story is here

“People don’t take smoke breaks anymore — they take Facebook breaks.” Now, there’s a beauty that I heard this afternoon at the IBM Connect event here in Orlando.

You can blame it on the digital natives — the young ones who feed their activity streams to network and create their digital personas. For them, it’s not so unusual. It actually makes a lot of sense considering how data is changing who we are and what we represent.

Welcome to the second-person workplace, where a person is becoming a double of themselves. They live and work, and while they do their online persona is engaging, too. And we take breaks to feed that double identity.

Mark Fidelman of and a writer for Forbes moderated the discussion during which this topic of the new smoke break surfaced. The talk focused on the need for people to engage in social tech. It’s universal here at the conference — everything about this event is about getting people to use blogs, Twitter — you name it.

But what they do not talk about is why we are developing this digital persona that we will increasingly use as a double worker to define our behaviors.

I can’t take credit for this insight. Chris Dancy works in the office of the CTO at BMC Software. He discussed this in a phone interview today. He has cultivated this viewpoint and has distilled it into a presentation that has three core principles:

Reputation – Algorithmic scoring based on work narration, collaboration and consumption
Knowledge Locker – The cloud systems that collect and save data about your life, that you save through automation, manually or through trusted networks
Quantified Self – The measurements of ones own work, life, surroundings and health.

UPDATED: Facebook Hit By Extended Outage In Several Countries

The link to the full story is here

Facebook is back online for everyone, according to Downrightnow and the company. A spokesperson said:

Earlier today we experienced a DNS issue that briefly prevented people who typed ‘’ into their browsers from reaching the site. People who accessed the site using a mobile app, typed ‘<>&#8217; into their browsers, or used a bookmark or a search engine to navigate to the site were not affected. We resolved the issue quickly, and the fix should be fully propagated now. We apologize for any inconvenience.

If your Facebook seems like it’s a bit quiet just now, don’t worry that you have been subjected to a mass defriending. Real-time updates about baby poop and your friends’ feelings about their favorite TED videos will return just as soon as the social media platform deals with an outage that’s been affecting some users in different countries, including the U.S. (New York City, Florida, Tennessee and Seattle), the U.K. and Argentina.

Downrightnow confirms the outage, stating that Facebook is experiencing a “likely service disruption” that started at around 7AM Pacific Standard Time. (ReadWriteWeb notes that attempting to access Facebook with the “www” prefix resolves the problem, while the “” root domain continues to experience issues. In addition, it appears that Chrome users are disproportionately affected by the outage.)

Facebook Updates iOS App With Voice Messages, Video Recording And Sharing

The link to the full story is here

Facebook yesterday updated its iOS app to version 5.4, giving users a few new features in what could be one of the world’s most complex and layered mobile apps.

The update brings with it the ability to share voice messages, much like iOS’s Voice Memos, letting users record a cute little message and send it through the app to friends. The update also lets users record and share video from right within the app.

Facebook users have long had the ability to send 60-second voice messages within Facebook’s Messenger app, but the functionality has been brought over to the main app.

Users can send a voice message by tapping the plus button under the Messages tab. From there, click Record and simply hold the button to record your message. When you release, your message will be automatically sent unless you slide your finger off the button, in which case the message will be canceled.

Along with video and voice functionality, Facebook has also improved Places support on the app’s Nearby tab, letting users check in with a bit more accuracy.

Facebook has struggled on mobile, but there have been clear improvements in the past year. The company has introduced various mobile apps like Poke, Messenger, and Camera, while still making clear progress on the main Facebook app. In fact, Zuckerberg believes that mobile is where the money is.

Wonder No More. Yandex Pulls Social Discovery App After Facebook Closes Door On Graph API Use + Says It’s A Competing Search Engine

The link to the full story is here

Some closure on the story of how Yandex — the Russian search giant — built a social discovery app that relied on Facebook interconnection to gather data, and then found Facebook blocking its service within hours of launching. Today Yandex said that after discussions with the social network, Facebook has finally, terminally said that the app violates its Platform Policies, specifically on the point of Wonder being a competing search engine. Facebook will not reinstate the ability to use Facebook’s Graph API, so as a result, Yandex is planning to pulll the app from the app store and put it on hold for now.

The full statement from Yandex:

“We discussed the issue with Facebook and it was confirmed that Facebook views the application Wonder as something that violates the Facebook Platform Policies (section I.12) and that the access to Facebook’s Graph API will not be restored.

“According to Section I.12, no data obtained from Facebook can be used in any search engine or directory without the company’s written permission. The reason behind Facebook’s decision to revoke our access to their data appears to be that they do consider Wonder to be a search engine, while our understanding of what it is differs from this view.

“Wonder’s functioning, in its current state, as well as the quality of user experience it provides, largely depends on the access to Facebook’s Graph API. Since this access was revoked, we decided to put our application on hold for the time being. We will be considering partnership opportunities with other social networks and services to offer our users a richer internet experience via Wonder.”

The emergence of Wonder, and a week before the blockage of Voxer, has kicked off a new level of scrutiny about how Facebook allows other apps to appropriate its data: in effect, the company has said that it is not sharing with apps that don’t share back, or that replicate core functionality without permission.

Facebook removes “via” post attribution

The link to the full story is here

A flurry of articles and blog posts recently revealed Facebook’s intentions of removing the post attribution for third-party social media software. No idea what that means? Its OK! We’ll explain it here as part of our “in plain english” series.

So, what’s a post attribution? When someone posts to Facebook using an “app,” Facebook tells anyone looking at the post which app it came from with an “attribution.” These “apps” could be a social media platform like SocialMadeSimple or Hootsuite, a music app like Spotify or a news reader like The Washington Post. This used to appear in the form of text, reading “via SocialMadeSimple,” for example (shown on the right).

Many people and businesses use apps in order to keep more active on social networks. However, we often heard from our customers that they didn’t like this “attribution” as they felt it made their posts look like there were advertising – or that the posts weren’t original.

Agencies learning to measure social media impact

The link to the full story is here

The government has millions of public connections through social networks that grow daily with each agency’s new Facebook friend or Twitter follower. Yet although social media has been around for more than a decade, agencies are only now able to turn those services into an effective listening, sharing and communication tool.

Nearly every agency has embraced at least one of the 60 federally approved platforms, and many have joined several. But social government is about more than connectedness, and agencies are increasingly turning to analytics to glean meaningful insights, improve their social media outreach and monitor the effectiveness of their platforms.

To do that, they are using policies developed in the public sector, led by the General Services Administration, and new tools provided by private firms.

“Social media analytics [is] a trend that is gaining traction right now,” said Lauren Keates, a social intelligence analyst at Topsy Labs, a company that bills itself as having the only full-scale index of the public social web. “Some agencies have been using it for a little while, but there have been a lot of efforts to pick up and gain momentum over the past year.”

The company runs complex big-data analytics against millions of websites and hundreds of billions of tweets — it has stored every tweet since July 2010 — to create an amalgamation of insights that helps federal agencies improve their social media outreach.

Brace Yourself, More Facebook Timeline Changes are Coming!

The link to the full story is here

If you have been in the social media game for a few years, you know that Facebook LOVES making changes. The Internet wept with the implementation of the most recent Timeline changes, but what will happen when the even newer Facebook Timeline changes begin hitting users? During the past few days, it has been reported that Facebook users in New Zealand have been seeing a new Timeline layout. Ready or not, here it comes! Facebook always rolls these changes out in waves, so it might be some time before a majority of users see them.

In the meantime, here are some interesting tidbits about the mysterious new Facebook Timeline from DigitalTrend'sreport:

Layout – The new timeline will have a more “Old Facebook” feel to it. It is rumored that there will be one column of posts opposed to the current two column design. This will give content a more linear and assumable easy to follow flow. Users will find that the ability to stretch posts out across the Timeline via highlighting them will be gone, however it is reported that highlighting and pinning them will keep the posts at the top of the Timeline.
Sleek About Tabs –With the new Timeline, the Likes, Photos and Maps thumbnails previously seen under the cover image will be gone. These options will be condensed into a tab-like menu which features Timeline, About, Friends, Photos and More tabs. To organize these, users will utilize the “Collections Manager” which allows you to rearrange those tabs if desired.  Facebook suggests that these changes will simplify the Timeline, making it easier to navigate.
Other Misc Changes – A few other reported changes to be included in the new Timeline are that the relationship information currently visible will be removed and there will be a “More” drop-down tab which will open up a list of the apps attached to the Timeline. I would assume from this menu you will be able to manage your open graph apps.

YouTube to Launch Paid Subscriptions

The link to the full story is here

It looks like YouTube is about to take a big step towards monetizing its videos.

YouTube is planning to launch paid subscriptions for a couple dozen channels as soon as April, according to a new report in AdAge citing "multiple people familiar with the plans."

The online video site has reportedly reached out to a "small group" of channels asking them to apply to be among the first paid channels. There is also talk that YouTube might charge for live events like concerts and libraries of older episodes.

AdAge reports that the initial subscription costs would be between $1 and $5 per month. These channels would also have the option to show ads.

Right now, this effort is being billed as an "experiment," but it's one that YouTube reps have been suggesting for a long time. YouTube's CEO Salar Kamangar teased the idea multiple times last year and noted during the Reuters Media and Technology Summit in June that it had "seen demand from from the kind of networks that have smaller audiences on cable."

By effectively launching a-la-cart and pay-per-view options for consuming video content, YouTube would likely bring in more money from ad dollars and a cut of the subscription revenue.

Study Says Twitter Is Fastest-Growing Social Platform in the World

The link to the full story is here

Twitter is now the fastest-growing social platform on the planet, beating Facebook and Google+ for the top spot, new research suggests.

The number of active users on the microblogging service grew 40% from the second quarter to the fourth quarter of 2012 — equal to 288 million monthly active users, according to Global Web Index, a syndicated market-research service on web behavior and social media. (The index assessed 31 markets, and defines "active" as those who claim to "have used or contributed to Twitter in the past month.")

In July 2009, it estimated that Twitter only had 35.47 million monthly active users. Since then, the social network has seen an impressive growth rate of 714%.

Users are also more engaged, with 59% of account holders now active on a monthly basis.

Overall, 21% of the worldwide Internet population now actively uses Twitter on a monthly basis. For a more detailed look at the study, watch the video, above.

See full story link for the graph display

Soundrop Brings Social Listening to Facebook

The link to the full story is here

Social music service Soundrop launched its "listening room" app on Facebook on Monday, allowing fans and users to share the audio experience.

The Norway-based company lets users create and embed a Soundrop room on Facebook pages, where people can listen to tracks or watch videos while chatting with other fans. Listeners can vote on what song they want to hear next from a preset playlist streamed from YouTube or VEVO.

Soundrop rose in popularity when it first launched its app on music streaming service Spotify in 2011. Its founders believe " sounds better with friends" and look to help artists engage their fanbase while simultaneously accelerating video traffic.

Last year the service streamed more than 500 million tracks on Spotify, but adding video is a new feature unique to Facebook pages.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Facebook Groups

The link to the full story is here

Once upon a time, Facebook users joined groups to self-identify; groups lived in your About section, next to your favorite books, movies and quotes. (Anyone remember "Grab Your Balls... We're Playin' Tennis?")

But no more. Now, Pages have replaced traditional groups. And today's groups revolve more around communication, sharing and interaction.

Groups help gather with friends around common interests; within groups, you can share updates, photos, documents and more under specific settings of your choosing.

In light of Facebook Pages' popularity, some users may wonder if groups are obsolete. However, Pages are always public, meaning their information and posts are available to all Facebook users, and if they represent a brand or company, they can only be created by official representatives.

Today's groups also enjoy more intuitive privacy settings. There are cons, however — for instance, you can't avoid being added to groups against your will (though you have the option to leave, of course), and the "Seen by" feature adds another creepy consideration.

Facebook milks Super Bowl mania to strut its football savvy

The link to the full story is here

Super Bowl season is upon us, which amounts to television ads we might actually enjoy, too many men wearing makeup (a.k.a. face paint), and a ton of data mining on the social Web.
Far be it from Facebook to miss a golden opportunity to tell the world, particularly advertisers and marketers, how much it knows about us and our National Football League preferences. The social network's data science team has uncovered a few interesting bits about Facebook and football. Basically, we love to like our favorite teams.
Roughly 35 million Facebook users in the U.S. have liked the Facebook Page of an NFL football team, which according to Facebook, amounts to one in 10 Americans voicing their support for one of the 32 teams. And, apparently, we're all linked through our connection to Cowboys or Steelers fans, who make the most common friends of football fans on Facebook.

Pinterest tests new look with bigger pins, restructured navigation

The link to the full story is here

Pinterest is readying a test that will alter the inspirational site with a tweaked navigation, bigger pins, and an overall faster site experience, the company announced Monday.
The experimental Pinterest look will roll out to a small group of people as the startup attempts to help its users get more information about pins they care about, a spokesperson told CNET. The company plans to release the design more widely once it works out the bugs.
Pinterest is a social network for clipping recipes, fashion finds, housewares, and other aspirational digital goods to collections called "boards." The product, which first launched in 2010, had a phenomenal 2012 and ranked as the sixth most popular social network with 27.2 million unique U.S. visitors by year's end, according to Nielsen. Now, the San Francisco-based company is getting ready to mix things up a bit.
With the redesign, will test its navigational elements contained inside a red-button drop-down menu on the left-hand side that offers members shortcut access to the feed, popular pins, and categories of pins. The structure replaces the current "Following," "Categories," "Everything," and "Popular" links atop the homepage.

Yahoo's big move to mobile: Little to report just yet

The link to the full story is here

When she grabbed the mic for her first quarterly earnings call as Yahoo's CEO last October, Marissa Mayer told listeners that she would ultimately move one-half of the company's engineers to assignments working on mobile. That was how vital she saw mobile to the company's future.
A lot of investors got understandably excited. After years of musical chairs at the top, finally there was a new boss who "got it." This proverbial platform change was something that could help return the pizzazz to Yahoo. Mobile could pave the way for Yahoo to use search and personalization in new ways and take advantage of a formidable stock of daily content. The company's stock reflected that new-found optimism, increasing in value some 30 percent since Mayer took over last fall. But expectations may have hopscotched ahead of reality. One takeaway from today's earnings conference call was that Mayer doesn't yet have much to point to in terms of results. At least not just yet.
"There's a little bit of the shift to mobile affecting us there, but mobile usage is pretty incremental and additive to the experience," Mayer said after Yahoo posted slightly better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.
To be sure, she did not signal any deviation from the mobile strategy articulated earlier. In fact, Mayer made a point of offering props to Yahoo developers for coming up with a new Flicker iOS app, categorizing their work as "a huge win for Yahoo and our passionate users." She said the release of the new iOS app had helped contribute to a 25 percent increase in the number of photos "uploaded, viewed, and shared on a daily basis."
But that would be the only meaningful hard number about mobile offered during the course of an hour-long Q&A session. Asked about metrics for mobile, she demurred.

'Citizen cartographers' help Google update maps of N. Korea

The link to the full story is here

Maps of North Korea's landscape have for decades been largely empty, but thanks to "a community of citizen cartographers," Google Maps has managed to fill in some of the blanks.
Tapping input submitted to its Google Map Maker tool, the Web giant has added more detailed, up-to-date information to its maps of the reclusive nation, including streets, names, and other points of interest.
Jayanth Mysore, Google's senior product manager of Map Maker, discussed in a company blog post the effort behind assembling the new data:
 To build this map, a community of citizen cartographers came together in Google Map Maker to make their contributions such as adding road names and points of interest. This effort has been active in Map Maker for a few years and today the new map of North Korea is ready and now available on Google Maps. As a result, the world can access maps of North Korea that offer much more information and detail than before.

Internet, social media least trusted industries for privacy

The link to the full story is here

Internet and social media ranked at the bottom on a list of the most trusted industries for privacy, according to the Ponemon Institute.
Released yesterday, Ponemon's "2012 Most Trusted Companies for Privacy" was compiled from a survey of U.S. adults asked to name the five companies they trust the most to protect the privacy of their personal information.
Based on more than 6,700 responses, the Top 20 list did not include several tech players that had been on it in past years.
Apple failed to make the list for the first time in four years. Google, Best Buy, Facebook, Yahoo, Dell, and AOL also were gone from the Top 20 after scoring good or decent grades in the past.
Those results aren't surprising, as many of those polled expressed concern about certain technologies. A full 59 percent of the respondents said they feel their privacy rights are diminished or undermined by social media, smart mobile devices, and geotracking tools.
Almost half the people surveyed said they received one or more data breach notifications over the past two years. And 77 percent of those people said such notifications hurt their trust in the organization reporting the breach.
A majority of those polled said they've shared personal information with an organization they didn't know or trust, with most admitting they did it for the convenience of online shopping. And only 35 percent feel they have control over their personal information, a percentage that has dropped steadily over the past seven years, the report said.
Identify theft was seen as the most significant threat to privacy, followed by government surveillance and data breaches.
And what do people expect from companies that use their personal information?
Security protection was named the most important feature. But a majority also said they don't want their data shared without their consent and they want the ability to be forgotten.

Facebook To App Developers: Good Idea, Now Stop Using Our API

The link to the full story is here

An anonymous reader writes
"In what seems to be a recurring theme with Facebook as the social networking giant adds features, competing apps that use Facebook integration risk being cut off due to the terms of service surrounding the API. For example, 'Voxer CEO Tom Katis told AllThingsD that the company got an email on Thursday saying that Facebook wanted to hold a phone call to discuss possible violations of a section of the company’s terms of service. The section in question centers around the use of Facebook’s social graph by competing social networks.' Similarly, 'Within hours of Twitter launching its Vine video-sharing application on Thursday, Facebook has cut off access to Vine’s "find people" feature, which used to let Vine users find their Facebook friends using the Vine application.' You have to ask yourself: is it really worth developing an app that integrates with, or worse runs completely on Facebook's platform?"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Google Challenges Hackers To Pwn Chrome OS In Pwnium 3 Competition, Offers Up To $3.14159M In Prizes

The link to the full story is here

Competitions like Pwn2Own are a staple of the security research scene and with Pwnium 3, Google today announced the latest edition of its own competition. What’s different this time around is the target. For the first time, the focus of the Pwnium competition is now Chrome OS, Google’s Linux-based browser-centric operating system. In total, Google is making up to $3.14159 million in pi prize money available for this competition.

Both the focus on Chrome OS, as well as the increased rewards from previous competitions, which topped out at $60,000, clearly show Google’s interest in the Chrome OS platform. While it’s been hard to track the actual success of Chrome OS, Acer today said that its Chromebook now accounts for 5-10% of its U.S. shipments, so this is clearly a growing market for Google and its partners.

There will be two reward levels in this year’s competition:

$110,000: browser or system level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
$150,000: compromise with device persistence — guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

Vine Just Made Twitter A Stronger Social Network

The link to the full story is here

Vine, in case you missed it, is a standalone iOS app from Twitter that lets users create short, 6-second videos that run on a loop.

Users record by holding their thumb against the screen, and stop by releasing. The short clips can then be threaded together and shared on Vine itself, Twitter or even Facebook.

Here’s how a silly video-sharing app (which has been done before, by the way) makes Twitter a stronger social network.

Since Twitter launched, it’s never had a non-text platform for media creation. Sure, you can take photos within the app, and Twitter tapped Aviary to add Instagram-like filters to that process, but this is Twitter’s first standalone product that lets users share in some way other than a tweet.

Twitter is a network based around media. Despite its brevity by nature, a lot of content passes through Twitter’s network, including, but not limited to, pictures, videos, websites, etc. The vast majority of that content is not Twitter’s, though it’s that same content that places such a high value on Twitter’s ad revenue stream through Promoted Tweets, trends, etc.

Rather than let Facebook’s Instagram push all the juicy content through Twitter’s real-time network, the company has decided to build its own, new Instagram. Vine is Instagram for video.

This has been done before by companies like Socialcam and Viddy, but the numerous companies who’ve dipped their toes in the cinematic pool have found the water a bit chilly. Twitter, a trusted and massive brand, is sure to pick up more of an instant user base, thus making Vine more attractive to even more new users. No one likes an empty room, and every video-sharing app until now has been just that.

Twitter Is Finally Preparing To Release Its Advertising API In Q1, Say Sources

The link to the full story is here

People have speculated that 2013 will be the year that Twitter will reach $1 billion in advertising revenues. That strategy could get a boost very soon with the entry of mass-market advertising: Twitter is finally gearing up to launch its advertising API some time in Q1. Aimed at large advertisers and their agencies, it will give them the ability to launch scaled-up campaigns across the social network, and it also opens the door to more sophisticated targeting and analytics tools in the process.

According to several sources, the company has started briefing social media marketing agencies, which help brands and big advertisers plan and buy ads on social networks like Twitter, with conversations taking place just before the holidays.

“I have been in discussions with Twitter and they contacted us right before the holidays saying it was getting close to having their advertising API ready,” one executive said.

TechCrunch also spoke with a would-be advertiser, who said that his agency advised against changes in their Twitter ad strategy in the short-term “because their API will be changing” in Q1 of this year.

Twitter declined to comment for this story — “We don’t have anything to share at this time,” a spokesperson told me. And it has not started sharing too many details about what the advertising API would entail, exactly, with agencies, “but we have been getting updates that state that it will be very close to what their current self-serve model is,” a source said.

Twitter first introduced advertising on its platform in April 2010, and the self-service tool that is currently in place lets companies, and their agencies, upload ads to run across the social network covering formats like Promoted Tweets.

Twitter Expands Ad Services To Middle East, North Africa After Regional Users Tripled Over The Last Year

The link to the full story is here

Twitter announced yesterday that it has started selling advertising services in the Middle East and North Africa after users in the region tripled over the past year. The microblogging platform will work with Cairo-based agency Connect Ads to market its sales products across the region.

While financial details of the deal were not disclosed, Connect Ads will lead sales of promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends, the microblogging platform’s three advertising products, in the region. Before yesterday’s launch in the Middle East and North Africa, the product suite was available only in the U.S., U.K., Japan and Latin America. Twitter selected Connect Ads as its sales rep in the region back in November, when it was announced that the agency will manage all sales in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Twitter vice president of international operations Shailesh Rao said at a press conference in Dubai that “when we decided we wanted to prioritize in the Middle East region it was principally because we had a large user base here and was growing rapidly. The active user base in the Middle East has tripled in the last year. It’s one of the fastest growing regions in the world.”

The Middle East-North Africa region (MENA) is a very important one for the company. In a statement, Twitter cited the Arab Media Outlook report, prepared by Deloitte and the Dubai Press Club in 2012. The report said digital advertising is the fastest growing media platform and accounted for 4% of total advertising spending in 2011. Deloitte says digital advertising spending in the region will grow at an annual rate of 35% over the next three years to $580 million by 2015.

Facebook Is Done Giving Its Precious Social Graph To Competitors

The link to the full story is here

Of all Facebook’s data sets, it’s the social graph that’s truly unique. It’s spent nine years getting you to confirm who you know, and apparently it’s sick of handing over your friend list to competitors. This week it cut off both Twitter’s new photo app Vine and messaging app Voxer from Find Friends, Facebook’s API that lets you connect with Facebook friends on other apps. But this could backfire.

Facebook knows who you are, what you’re interested in, where you go on the web, what apps you use, and more. However, other companies have bits and pieces of these data sets. LinkedIn knows your resume, Google knows your web searches, Twitter knows who you follow, Apple and Amazon have your credit card number, and your phone’s OS maker knows what apps you’ve downloaded. Who your real-life friends are, though, is Facebook’s domain.

Twitter Could Relieve IPO Pressure By Selling $80M Of Early Employee Stock To BlackRock At $9B Valuation

The link to the full story is here

Today The Financial Times reported in a paywalled article that Twitter is brokering a deal for investment firm BlackRock to buy up to $80 million of stock from early Twitter employees at a $9 billion valuation. By giving employees liquidity, Twitter may not need to rush to an IPO the way Facebook did to satisfy veteran talent.

The $9 billion valuation means Twitter’s worth has increased just 10 percent since it raised funding in 2011. However, it’s lower than the $10 billion to $11 billion valuation Twitter agreed to for two smaller secondary sales done in 2012.  If enough employees accept the tender offer to hit the $80 million limit, BlackRock will own just less than 1 percent of Twitter.

BlackRock’s fund will give some long-time Twitter team members their first chance to trade their equity for cash. Dan Primack reports that only a small number of employees, possibly around a dozen, are getting the chance to sell. Whether the sale would relieve IPO pressure depends on who those employees are. If they’re critical team members, their departure in search of liquidity could strike a serious blow to Twitter. If they’re simply early employees who don’t contribute much any more, their retention or exit would have less influence on Twitter’s IPO schedule.

Going beyond the facts from the Financial Times’ report, there are several benefits to Twitter providing a liquidity release valve for employees sitting on tons of stock. First, it’s sure to make these employees happier. Some of them could be worth tens of millions of dollars on paper, but have much less money in the bank. The ability to sell some stock means they could upgrade their lifestyle to be more in-line with their worth. Giving them this option could keep great employees from leaving the company.

Second, depending on Twitter’s internal regulations regarding independent sales on secondary markets, the offering to BlackRock could keep employees from tipping Twitter over the 500 shareholder limit that triggers the need to file for an initial public offering.

Without offerings like this one to BlackRock, the only way to get employees liquidity is to IPO. That hasn’t necessarily been productive for companies like Facebook, Zynga, and Groupon who got chewed up by the public market.

Facebook Clarifies Ban On Apps That Use Its Data To Replicate Its Features Or Don’t Share Back

The link to the full story is here

After shutting down data access to several competing apps, Facebook today made two major clarifications to its Platform Policy, banning apps that use its data but don’t make it easy for users to share back to Facebook, or that replicate its core functionality without permission. Facebook Platform Head Justin Osofsky tried to calm fears by noting the majority of developers should “keep doing what you’re doing.”

The full-text of the revised section I.10 of its Platform Policy now reads:

Reciprocity and Replicating core functionality: (a) Reciprocity: Facebook Platform enables developers to build personalized, social experiences via the Graph API and related APIs. If you use any Facebook APIs to build personalized or social experiences, you must also enable people to easily share their experiences back with people on Facebook. (b) Replicating core functionality: You may not use Facebook Platform to promote, or to export user data to, a product or service that replicates a core Facebook product or service without our permission.

This replaces the former policy that read “Competing social networks: (a) You may not use Facebook Platform to export user data into a competing social network without our permission.”

Facebook’s Categorial Imperative

The link to the full story is here

Facebook’s newest feature adds some much-needed relevance to the huge proportion of its data hoard that no user has seen or, if we’re honest, thought about, in days, weeks, or years. But Graph Search is ultimately nothing more than a handy sorting algorithm, and it’s indicative of the fact that really, Facebook doesn’t understand the first thing about us.

(As a quick excusatory aside, this doesn’t mean I think it’s useless, of course: The tool they’ve created will make it a snap to find that one picture of your friend on that camping trip in July of 2009 (or was it 2010)? And “Friends in Seattle who like Poker” is a great way to set up a card game. These problems, trifling though they may be, are solved. Also, a “sorting algorithm” is not in any way inherently bad, and many useful and powerful things can be described as such, so no slight intended there either.)

The idea struck me when they were demonstrating how to drill down in search: “Friends of friends in California who read Harry Potter, like mountain biking, and speak Spanish and English.” Leaving aside the questionable utility of such a finely-pointed query, it drove home the fact that Facebook’s conception of each of its users is an endless series of nested categories. Zuckerberg’s joke slide showing a galaxy of pull-down filter boxes was more revealing than they let on.

An individual, to Facebook, is the sum of their interactions with the site — can never be more. You are a collection of data, beginning as an empty vessel when you sign up, and gradually growing in complexity and depth. This much is self-evident.

Facebook has a categorial imperative: Its reason for being may be to provide a service, but its means for being is to systematize individuality.

Brands Introduce Ads on Vine

The link to the full story is here

Brands are going beyond just experimenting with Vines to using them as actual ads on Twitter.

Wheat Thins, GE and candy brand Red Vines have all run Promoted Tweets with Vine videos attached. In Wheat Thins' case, the brand spelled out the hashtag "musthavewheatthins" in Wheat Thins. The hashtag ties in with a pre-game Super Bowl spot the brand has purchased.

Though it's early days for the ad, it's easy to see how the 6-second format could become a new standard for video ads, the way the 30-second ad has for TV.

3 Ways Facebook Graph Search Could Transform Recruiting

The link to the full story is here

Word-of-mouth. When it comes to recruiting, these three words say it all. There is simply no better source of talent than your own network. But imagine you could move beyond your closest friends and colleagues to harness your entire Facebook network for recommendations for whom to hire for an open position with your company. Well, you soon can.

Following on the heels of its much-anticipated job board, Facebook’s Graph Search allows users to get recommendations from the people they trust on things like which restaurant to visit next, who to hire and where to find their next career opportunity. Consumers can use Graph Search to discover new people, places and products that align with their interests, while businesses can use it to connect with their likely potential customers.

So how, exactly, can recruiters and job seekers use Graph Search? Below are the top three ways we predict Facebook’s newest tool will transform talent acquisition for the better — along with our recommendations for how companies and candidates can start preparing to take advantage of these changes while Graph Search is still in beta.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Facebook Is Done Giving Its Precious Social Graph To Competitors

The link to the full story is here

Of all Facebook’s data sets, it’s the social graph that’s truly unique. It’s spent nine years getting you to confirm who you know, and apparently it’s sick of handing over your friend list to competitors. This week it cut off both Twitter’s new photo app Vine and messaging app Voxer from Find Friends, Facebook’s API that lets you connect with Facebook friends on other apps. But this could backfire.

Facebook knows who you are, what you’re interested in, where you go on the web, what apps you use, and more. However, other companies have bits and pieces of these data sets. LinkedIn knows your resume, Google knows your web searches, Twitter knows who you follow, Apple and Amazon have your credit card number, and your phone’s OS maker knows what apps you’ve downloaded. Who your real-life friends are, though, is Facebook’s domain.

Facebook Blocks Yandex’s New Social Search App From Accessing Its Data Just Three Hours After Launch

The link to the full story is here

Yandex begged Facebook not to shut down its social search app Wonder that launched this morning. But the explanation Yandex’s lawyers sent us for why it’s compliant with Facebook’s policies didn’t stop Facebook from blocking all API calls from Wonder, Yandex confirms. Facebook tells me it’s now discussing policy with Yandex. The move follows a trend of Facebook aggressively protecting its data.

Wonder has, or should I say had, big potential. When I broke the news that Yandex was readying Wonder earlier this month, I detailed how the voice-activated social search app for iOS let people see what local businesses friends had visited or taken photos at, what music they’d been listening to, and what news they had been reading. It essentially reorganized Facebook’s data into a much more mobile, discoverable format.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Upcoming Facebook Changes on Feb 6th

The link to the full story is here

February 6, 2013

The following change will go into effect on February 6th, 2013:
End of custom actions for content consumption 
We will no longer show Custom Open Graph actions that were published simply by a user consuming content. If you own one of these actions and it was previously approved, you will have received an email from us. Developers should stop publishing these actions as doing so will return an error starting February 6th. The only actions that can be published upon a user simply consuming content are built-in actions. For more info, see this blog post.

The following changes can be enabled/disabled using the "February 2013 Breaking Changes" migration until February 6th when it will go into effect permanently for everyone:
Authenticated referrals going away 
We will remove the Authenticated Referrals feature. You should instead use the Login Dialog.

Create_event permission required to remove attendees from event 
We will require the create_event permission in order to remove attendees from an event a user admins.

Minor change to admin.getAppProperties call 
When making an admin.getAppProperties call, we will now return an empty Android Key Hash field as [] instead of [""].

Canonical URLs used when fetching Open Graph objects 
We will start using canonical URLs (e.g. the URL set in an og:url tag, 301/302 redirects, etc.) when fetching objects (e.g.

Offset no longer allowed when searching posts 
We will no longer allow the offset parameter to be used when searching stream posts (e.g. Please use since and until to do paging instead. For more info, check out this blog post.

Curly bracket syntax for mentioning users in notifications going away 
We will no longer allow the curly bracket syntax ({USER_ID}) for mentioning users in notifications. Developers should instead use the new syntax (@[USER_ID]).

Removing ability to post to friends walls via Graph API 
We will remove the ability to post to a user's friends' walls via the Graph API. Specifically, posts against [user_id]/feed where [user_id] is different from the session user, or stream.publish calls where the target_id user is different from the session user, will fail. If you want to allow people to post to their friends' timelines, invoke the feed dialog. Stories that include friends via user mentions tagging or action tagging will show up on the friend’s timeline (assuming the friend approves the tag). For more info, see this blog post.

The following change can be enabled/disabled using the "Picture as Dictionary" migration until February 6th when it will go into effect permanently for everyone:
Picture connection/field may return a dictionary 
We will start returning a dictionary containing the fields url, height, width, and is_silhouette when accessing the /picture connection for an object and specifying a callback property, a redirect=false parameter, or getting the picture field as part of a larger JSON response.

With Today’s Update, Tumblr Starts To Look More Like A Fully Featured Twitter Than Blogging Platform

The link to the full story is here

In an effort to make its Dashboard a “smaller and more streamlined experience,” the social blogging platform Tumblr is today overhauling the way users create posts on its website. Instead of the larger, full-screen experience which makes writing or sharing content on Tumblr feel more like blogging, the new post screens seem to be taking a page from Twitter in their design.

Throughout the years, Tumblr has positioned itself as more lightweight form of blogging, which makes the concept more accessible to more people. Using Tumblr is not as complicated as setting up a WordPress site, for example, and it’s significantly less difficult than establishing your own domain and hosting it yourself. (Which, yes, kids, people actually had to do back in the olden days of the web).

Today, despite its “blogging” roots, Tumblr’s community reflects media and links, than words, however. If anything, Tumblr is the go-to place for sharing amazing photos, memes, and it has even helped propel our newfound love of gifs back into the mainstream consciousness.

These changes, though seemingly minor, better reflect the platform Tumblr has become and is becoming – a site that’s more social network than it is blogging platform. A site that caters to the younger, social sharing crowd, rather than those who grew up with blogging screens that themselves felt like stripped down versions of Word. These are the posting screens for those who grew up on Google Docs, Twitter and Facebook instead.

Tumblr says the changes are meant to make the Dashboard a single experience. ”Now you’re making posts the same way you’re reading them,” a company rep told us.

That being said, not everyone will be happy with the updates. The posting window has, in some cases, simplified the number of options available to users. For example, no longer does the photo posting page offer a variety of layouts to choose from. (Tumblr says you can drag them around, however).

New Google Image Search Is Faster, Gets Rid Of Obnoxious Landing Page For Metadata

The link to the full story is here

Google announced that it has revamped its image search to be faster and more effective. The changes, which will be rolled out over the next few days, include image results displayed in an inline panel, allowing users to flip through a set of images by using their keyboard and view metadata without being redirected to a separate landing page.

Here is more information from Google’s announcement on what the upgraded image search means for webmasters:

• We now display detailed information about the image (the metadata) right underneath the image in the search results, instead of redirecting users to a separate landing page.
• We’re featuring some key information much more prominently next to the image: the title of the page hosting the image, the domain name it comes from, and the image size.
• The domain name is now clickable, and we also added a new button to visit the page the image is hosted on. This means that there are now four clickable targets to the source page instead of just two. In our tests, we’ve seen a net increase in the average click-through rate to the hosting website.
• The source page will no longer load up in an iframe in the background of the image detail view. This speeds up the experience for users, reduces the load on the source website’s servers, and improves the accuracy of webmaster metrics such as pageviews. As usual, image search query data is available in Top Search Queries in Webmaster Tools.