Thursday, May 30, 2013

Facebook Launches Verified Accounts

The link to the full story is here

Did the real Justin Bieber just send you a friend request? Now you can know for sure, thanks to a new Facebook feature: Verified Pages.
Much like verified accounts on Twitter, verified Facebook pages will now display a small blue check mark beside their owner's name on the social network. The check mark will also appear beside the individual’s name in search results, as well as anywhere else on Facebook where it appears.

Just like Twitter’s verified accounts, Facebook's verified status won't be offered to everyone. Verified accounts will be specifically available to public figures with large audiences, namely, celebrities, government officials, popular brands and some journalists.
Verified Facebook Pages and profiles will start rolling out Wednesday.

LinkedIn Now Lets You Share Photos, Presentations on its Homepage

The link to the full story is here

LinkedIn added the ability for users to share photos, presentations and documents from the LinkedIn homepage on Thursday, just as people might already share status messages or links to news stories.
Earlier this month, LinkedIn began letting users upload visual content to their LinkedIn profiles.
With homepage support, LinkedIn sees users sharing content like infographics or individual pieces of work — such as an architect’s latest plans or the best photo from a photographer’s recent shoot — that they might not have otherwise shared on their profiles.
The new feature will roll out gradually to LinkedIn members around the world starting Thursday.
To share content when the feature becomes available to you, click on the paperclip icon on the right side of your share box and upload. To share content already hosted on another site, simply paste the URL in the share box.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Google Now’s “Topics” Page Returns And Shows You How Much Google Knows About You, But It Only Works On Android

The link to the full story is here

A few weeks ago, Google briefly made a “Google Now” topics page available on the web and then took it down again. The page showed a list of topics Google believed you were interested in, based on your search history. Now this feature is back, but it’s a bit different from the leaked page. A few days ago, it seems, the company quietly (re-)launched this feature with the latest Google Now update. The leaked page was also visible on the desktop, but it looks like Google has plugged this hole the cards are now only available on Android – and only by going through Google Now‘s research cards.
On this page, you can still see many (but not all) of the topics that Google thinks you are interested in. The feature will now pop up at the bottom of Google’s research cards, which often appear after Google realizes that you’ve been researching a certain topic in depth. One of the reasons for this card to pop up, for example, would be when Google detects you are planning a trip.
To see this information, Google Now offers a link will appear underneath these cards (“Explore now,” then look for the “More of your topics” links in the top right) that allows you to delve a bit deeper into the topics you recently looked for and to get a different view of your search history. Indeed, besides powering the research cards, they mostly offer you a richer view of your search history.
Unlike Google’s search history page, however, this feature shows you an aggregate view of what Google believes you are interested in, not just a list of all of your searches.
In my case, for example, Google knew that I was looking for a hotel last weekend and had been looking at hotels in New York a few weeks ago, too. It also knows that I was looking for restaurants in Portland, did some research on web browsers, smartphones and Sim City.
For now, this feature is only available on Android, as the Google Now research cards haven’t launched on iOS yet (where they would be available trough the Google Search app).
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to just surf to this page without having a research card available through Google Now.
Google Now has always been about anticipating your needs and performing searches for you before you. The research cards clearly fit into this pattern and so does the ability to delve a little bit deeper into what Google thinks it knows about you.
This, of course, shows you how much Google really knows about you – which is either really cool or creepy, depending on your overall thoughts about Google and privacy.
When Google mistakenly leaked the topics page earlier this year, it looked like this would be another step in bringing Google Now to the desktop. Sadly, it looks like that isn’t quite the case and that we’ll still have to wait a bit before Now makes it debut on Chrome for the desktop, but with the new notifications system and a flag to enable Now in Chrome, it’s just a matter of time before Google will launch this feature.

Reminder: Google Buzz Is Still Dead, Your Data Will Be Moved To Drive, And They Thank You For Using It

The link to the full story is here

Google Buzz, the social service that Google launched way back in 2010 and then killed in 2011, reminded former users that their data still lives in and will be moved over to your Google Drive accounts in July. That’s lovely.
The email describes exactly what will happen with your data, which won’t count against your Drive storage limits, thankfully.
If you don’t delete the data and let Google move your stuff to Drive, it says that the public Buzz posts you shared in the past “may appear in search results and on your Google Profile.” OK, then.
Here’s the entire email in case you’ve filtered out Buzz communication to go directly to Spam or Trash:
In October 2011 we announced Google Buzz was shutting down. On or after July 17th, 2013, Google will take the last step in the shutdown and will save a copy of your Buzz posts to your Google Drive, a service for storing files online. Google will store two (2) types of files to your Google Drive, and the newly-created files will not count against your storage limits. If you’d like to wipe Buzz from your online world completelly, go here and delete the data now:
1. The first type of file will be private, only accessible to you, containing a snapshot of the Google Buzz public and private posts you authored.
2. The second type of file will contain a copy of only your Google Buzz public posts. By default it will be viewable by anyone with the link, and may appear in search results and on your Google Profile (if you’ve linked to your Buzz posts). Note, any existing links to your Google Buzz content will redirect users to this file.
3. Any comments you made on other users’ posts will only be saved to those users’ files and not to yours. Once the change described in this email is final, only that user will be able to change the sharing settings of those files. This means that if you have commented on another author’s private post, that author could choose to make that post and its comments public. If you would like to avoid that possibility, delete all your Buzz content now.
4. The new Google Drive files will only contain comments from users that previously enabled Google Buzz, and the files will not contain comments that were deleted prior to moving the data to your Google Drive.
Once the files are created, they will be treated the same as any other Drive file. They are yours to do with as you please. This includes downloading them, updating who can access them, or deleting them.
Before these files are created, you can view the Google Buzz posts you have authored here. If you do not want any of your Buzz posts or comments saved to Google Drive files, you can immediately delete your Google Buzz account and data.
Thank you for using Google Buzz.
Since Google mentions in the email that you can delete your data not once, but twice, that’s the course of action that I’ll be taking.
Buzz never took off, and Google went on to focus all of its efforts on Google+. There were a slew of reasons why Buzz didn’t work, mostly centered around privacy. The close integration with Gmail made the entire experience a mess, blurring the lines between what should be personal and what should be public.
This is clearly the last step for Google to completely rid itself of the product, and all of the privacy concerns and issues that cropped up around the product. Oh, and just in case you missed that delete link, here it is again.
Thank you, Google.

Google Glass: What’s With All The Hate?

The link to the full story is here

Google Glass isn’t even on sale yet and there is already a noticeable backlash against Google’s first experiment in wearable computing. It’s odd to see a product that was greeted with so much hype a year ago endure the love-hate cycle so quickly – even though there are only a few thousand units in the wild. Sure, we’ve done our share to popularize “glasshole” as a way to describe its users, but the backlash seems to go beyond the usual insidery tech circles.
The Glass backlash, of course, first hit the mainstream with the Saturday Night Live sketch I’ve embedded below, but last week, I also came across this piece on about Glass etiquette. With Glass being as new as it is, that’s a topic worth discussing, just like it was when cellphones first arrived. What struck me more than the story itself, though, were the comments on it.
Mind you – these are mainstream CNN readers, not techies. Some are simply misinformed (“I was at a local conference of small to medium businesses last week and most of the businesses have already banned the product entirely. It’s not even permitted to be brought in the businesses. Most of the bans came from employee requests, and I don’t blame them. I’ve banned it from my own business too.”), some are outright hostile (“This crap makes me happy to know that I’ll die someday… where is society heading?” – but that’s not wonder on the Internet, after all) and many worry that somebody will use Glass to take pictures of their private parts in the men’s bathroom (“Now I’ve got more to worry about when they guy at the urinal next to me decided he wants to be chatty instead of keeping his sight forward…”).
Indeed, it seems privacy is the main issue people have with Glass, besides the fact that it does take some getting used to. The fact that the camera is front and center on the device makes people uneasy. Google’s mistake, I think, was not to put an LED next to the camera that indicates when it’s taking pictures and videos. Walking through New York with Glass a few weeks ago, I had a few random people come up to me to ask me about Glass. None of them were techies, but they were quite aware of what I was wearing. Three out of four, however, assumed that I was recording them while I was talking to them. That’s definitely an issue Google will have to fix.
Earlier this month, Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, linked Glass to surveillance drones in an op-ed piece on CNN. “Imagine that millions of Americans walk around each day wearing the equivalent of a drone on their head: a device capable of capturing video and audio recordings of everything that happens around them,” he wrote. The fact that Chertoff advocated for more full-body scanners in U.S. airports is the kind of irony and cognitive dissonance that has recently been a hallmark of American politics. It’s these kinds of comments, however, that are stoking the privacy fears around Glass, no matter how unfounded they are.
All of this, of course, comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of Glass’s capabilities and the fact that few who write about it have even tried it definitely adds to this. Glass can’t record everything around you. The video feature, by default, takes 10-second videos when you activate it and you have to actually press a button on the device if you want to extend this time. The battery, however, would die pretty quickly if you just let it record everything as you walk down the street.
Glass, in its current iteration, is essentially a wearable web browser with Google Now that can also take videos and images. Nothing you photograph is immediately uploaded anywhere. You have to explicitly share photos or videos with a friend or an app. Processing, for the most part, happens in the cloud, not on the device. Glass is more about getting news stories, email, social network updates and other information pushed to you than it is about you sharing photos and videos.
Earlier this week, we also heard about a face-recognition API for Glass. It can’t work in real time yet, so you’d have to snap a picture, send it to the developers’ servers and get a response back, but it’s that kind of technology that Glass can enable that is definitely creating a bit of unease.
The fact that few people have tried Glass also means that there are plenty of these myths around that, over time, become unquestioned by those who haven’t tried it. Google didn’t help itself here, given that some of its first demo videos showed a device that was far more capable than what’s actually available right now. Its later videos were more realistic, but it’s the first one that people will remember.
So while some of this early – and somewhat sudden – hate for Glass sure stems from the fact that it’s new, only available to a few people and looks a bit odd – the real issue is simply that people believe it’s a little privacy-invasion machine that sits above your right eye. It really isn’t, but until Google puts a little LED at the front that indicates when it records a message, people won’t back down from this idea.

Google+ App For iOS Updated With New Automatic Photo Features, Hashtags And In-Stream Google Offer Posts

The link to the full story is here

Google unleashed a slew of updates to its Google+ social networking service at I/O earlier this month, and now a bunch of those new features are making it to the iOS app for Google+. The update follows the Android version, which arrived last week, and brings tons of new things to the version on Apple mobile devices, including Auto Backup, Highlight, Enhance and Awesome features for photos, hashtags that curate related content on posts in your stream, and new interactive Google Offers that will pop up in the mobile stream and that can be instantly redeemed.
The new photo features will probably be especially useful to mobile photographers, as they really do greatly improve the process of sharing online photos by automatically selecting your best pics using surprisingly accurate automated algorithms, and then applying various techniques to really make those photos pop. That could involve adding a slight vignette, enhancing contrast or correcting exposure, but it’s all done automatically using Google’s massive cloud computational power. In my experience with the desktop version at least, it does a job that’s remarkably similar to what the average enthusiast photographer might accomplish manually in something like Lightroom or Photoshop.
The other new stuff should help with content discovery, thanks to the introduction of Google’s smart hashtags, which are automatically assigned to posts based on both term recognition from the words used, and using image recognition to identify landmarks and other items in pictures. With that feature, Google seems to want Google+ to be more of an interconnected web than a place where friends share discretely with their circles and don’t venture much further afield.
There are a number of other features, such as the ability to edit comments and copy a post’s permalink to your device’s clipboard. But the Google Offer in-stream delivery is probably the most noteworthy in terms of how the average user’s experience will change. This essentially amounts to in-stream advertising, albeit of a kind that’s intended to give users instant access to offers relevant to their interests. The experience overall should be better, but it will still be interesting to see how people react to the arrival of Offers on the mobile browsing experience.

With Metrics Up Since Acquisition, Parse Could Get Developers Integrating Facebook And Buying Ads

The link to the full story is here

After being acquired by Facebook, the mobile back-end service Parse has been busy integrating itself into the company, as well as launching new services like web hosting for developers.
The service has built tools to help developers focus on the front-end of their product, while handling all of the messy back-end things like cross-platform compatibility and testing. Naturally, Facebook integration is easier than ever for mobile developers thanks to the acquisition. Its been six years since Facebook’s Platform launched, and during a whiteboard session at its Menlo Park headquarters, the company discussed just how far its come.
Doug Purdy, Director of Product Management, and Mike Vernal of Facebook Platform led the discussion. Ilya Sukhar, who recently joined Facebook with Parse, sat in on the discussion as well.
Purdy set up the conversation about next steps by saying: “We’ve been thinking about how we can provide tools to developers to enable a more cross-platform world. We’re trying to create a platform that developers can build something that spans over devices and makes people the center. Regardless of the device that you or your friends are on, everyone can have a rich experience.”

Expect Facebook To Turbocharge ‘Notes’ Into A True Tumblr Competitor

The link to the full story is here


Expect Facebook To Turbocharge ‘Notes’ Into A True Tumblr Competitor


Monday, May 27th, 2013
Facebook used to have a blogging feature called Notes. It still does, but it got buried by the Timeline redesign and widely forgotten. Facebook needs to overhaul Notes, and signs say a refresh may already be in the works. It could help people express themselves, make Notes a legitimate competitor to Tumblr, and soften the blow of Facebook reportedly failing to buy Yahoo’s new baby.
Back in March, Facebook acqui-hired the team from Storylane, a sort of blogging platform its founders described as the “the home for personal thoughts and stories that go deeper than a quick Facebook or Twitter update.” It illustrated the rift between Facebook and Tumblr. Twitter is defined by its simplicity, so we’ll leave it out of this discussion.
When it comes down to it, Facebook is more limiting but consistent and easy for the masses. Tumblr gives you more freedom and control. Facebook’s brevity is sufficient for some, but others crave a more customizable presence on the web that’s separate from reports about their day-to-day life. If Facebook wants to house our whole digital lives, it may need to get serious about blogging. It’d be a big undertaking for the social network that could take a while to come to fruition. But better Notes could fill it with high-quality content, pull in ad views, and box out competitors trying to pick away at the Facebook empire.
Screen Shot 2013-05-27 at 9.06.50 AM


On Facebook, you write ‘status updates’ — short descriptions of your current life to keep your friends in the loop. They’re typically concocted for the news feed, rather than your Timeline, and have to adhere to Facebook’s style and format standards. They don’t have a home you’d be proud to show off.
Tumblr blogs feel like you’re writing for yourself. Strange, longer-f0rm dives into niche ideas that might weird out your Facebook friends fit naturally on your own blog alongside quick hits of images and content you’ve stumbled across or created. Tumblrs reach a like-minded audience of those who seek them out, rather than being forced on your social graph. There’s an emphasis on reblogging — lending your audience to content you appreciate. On Facebook there’s not much of a re-sharing culture. You just ‘Like”, which nets creators much less added influence.
Screen Shot 2013-05-27 at 9.16.58 AM
When Notes launched in 2006, Facebook’s user base may not have needed it. It was around the same time the site was opening up to the public, and launching the news feed and status updates. For most of the social network’s users, short-form updates were enough. But the world has grown more tech savvy in the seven years since. People increasingly long for a place to call their own on the web. That desire, along with network effect and an improving state of mobile, led to massive, hockey-stick growth for Tumblr in 2010.
Now the signs say it’s time for Facebook to get back in the blogging game. There’s the Storylane acqui-hire. When that went down I asked Facebook about Notes and it was atypically cagey, which made me suspect something was in the works for the feature. Then there was Forbes’ report that Facebook was in talks with Tumblr about a potential acquisition before Yahoo successfully bought the startup. When I asked Facebook’s spokespeople flat-out whether the social network was redesigning Notes, I was met with a coy look and vague advice to watch out for something.
If you remember, Facebook launched its own Camera app just weeks after announcing it would buy Instagram. It had been working on it for a while and decided to launch it anyways. Similarly, a Notes overhaul may be in store, but without a successful acquisition of Tumblr running in parallel.


Facebook’s got a long way to go if it wants Notes to seriously compete with Tumblr and other populist blogging platforms. As of a few years ago I was one of the few people I knew using the feature. I’d employ Notes to host sets of links and descriptions of mixtapes I’d made or a calendar of upcoming concerts I’d compiled. Now I pretty much only see Notes used by outgoing Facebook employees leaving a long goodbye message, or Facebook divisions like Engineering posting deep descriptions of their latest coding adventures. I’m friends with a lot of power users, and if they’re not Noting, I bet the feature has quite poor traction overall.
It’s not hard to see why. First, Notes is totally buried. You have to fish the bookmark out of your massive list of third-party apps. Writing a Note presents you with a sterile white canvas, with no hint of personalization. You can add basic text formatting and some markup, plus embed photos. However, you can’t add videos or animated .Gifs, Tumblr’s lifeblood. Once you publish, the Notes get published to the news feed (probably their greatest strength), but live on a boring white feed hidden within Timeline’s “More” drop-down or the optional Notes section.
Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 8.21.21 PM
Compare that to Tumblr where there’s a wealth of customization options, and the ability to embed most kinds of media. Posts are distributed to a Tumblr’s followers. The Tumblr dashboard might not be as popular as the Facebook news feed, but there, posts don’t have to compete with the barrage of other content types.
Screen_Shot_2013-05-27_at_9.26.34_AMTo make Notes competitive, Facebook would need to make the product instantly accessible from the home page. It could become a selectable feed in therecently launched news feeds menu, and you could opt to write them straight from the status update composer. If someone actively writes, Facebook would need to prominently display a link to their feed of Notes on their profile so friends could discover their posts beyond the feed. Notes would need to offer stylish themes, accept more media types, and preferably support drag-and-drop uploading and formatting.
Figuring out privacy could be a challenge. Typically, blogs are public but Facebook is usually about sharing with friends. Defaulting to public would make Notes more sharable and help Facebook rack up ad impressions through page views, but it’d need to ensure people don’t accidentally expose themselves. Tumblr’s optional anonymity, NSFW content, and it simply not being Facebook all give it a coolness edge is some respects.
As for incentivizing authors, making it quick to reshare a Note (like reblogging on Tumblr) could give people wider reach than just their friends. That could attract both average Joes who don’t have much of an audience (similar to the intention of Quora’s new blogging feature), as well as public figures looking for massive influence.
On the business end, highly viral Notes could bring in traffic, but also box out Tumblr, which wants to monetize with sponsored posts in the dashboard that could compete with Facebook for ad dollars
In the end, the goals would be to:
  • Make it so even kids or Grandma could create a personalized, simple-to-update blog,
  • Allow the Tumblr demographic of hardcore Internet users to publish beautiful posts that reach their Facebook friends via the news feed so they don’t have to cultivate a new following elsewhere
  • Be classy enough for big names to want to house their opinions on Facebook’s blogging feature.
If given a proper reintroduction, Notes might be a departure from Facebook’s highly standardized look. Keeping tighter control of how people expressed themselves made Facebook easier to use and differentiated it from the chaos of Myspace. But if done right, Notes could give people a vivid way to share and connect. It could make sure Facebook hosts not just our pasts with Timeline, or our day-to-day with news feed, but also be the manicured nest for our deepest thoughts and the content we love.
Considering Facebook’s penchant for naming things what they are, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Notes eventually revived as “Facebook Blogs”.
Postscript: Too bad it didn’t do this a few months ago before Tumblr became such a media darling. Now whatever Facebook does in blogging may be cast as a copy in Tumblr’s shadow.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Introducing a New Way to Navigate Your LinkedIn Experience [VIDEO]

The link to the full story is here

You may have noticed that we’ve been on a mission to simplify LinkedIn. We hope you’re enjoying a simpler and easier, yet elegant and engaging experience across your mobile and desktop experiences. From the redesigned Homepage, to the new Profile, and the recently revamped mobile application, we are continuously looking for ways to improve your everyday LinkedIn experience. Today, we are excited to unveil our latest effort, the new LinkedIn navigation bar.
Over the last year and half we’ve had the chance to learn quite a bit from you about the types of changes that add the most value to your daily professional life, and we’ve brought some of these learnings to the new navigation. When approaching this re-design, we analyzed years of navigation data to determine which links were adding the most value for you, and which could be removed to create a more focused and streamlined experience. We also observed how useful Search was as a productivity tool, and aligned the search box with the results page, for fine-tuned search efficiency.
So what has changed?
As you explore the new navigation bar, you will notice a few visually striking differences, including a simplified menu of tabs to help you quickly and easily locate the features and content that are of most value to you. We have also moved the search bar front and center to make easier than ever to discover and find what you’re looking for on LinkedIn.
We’ve also ensured that your settings and other account options are a click away. Just hover over your profile picture in the upper right hand corner and the drop down menu gives you quick access to your account options, language and settings.
Check out this video to get you started on the new LinkedIn navigation bar today:
Over the next month, all English-speaking members around the world will get to experience the new navigation. We designed this new navigation experience to make it simpler and easier to use and look forward to hearing what you think.

Chrome For Android Gets Fullscreen Mode For Phones, Simplified Searching From Omnibox, Voice Search Coming To iOS Soon

The link to the full story is here

Chrome 27 for the desktop arrived yesterday and today, Google updated Chrome for Android to version 27 as well. While the desktop update mostly focused on improved speed, the Android version actually includes a number of new features. The most important of these is probably the new fullscreen mode for phones. Just like in the iPhone app (or in the old stock Android browser), the toolbar will now disappear as you scroll down.
Also new in this version is a somewhat simplified search experience: searching from the omnibox, Google says, will “keep your search query visible in the omnibox, making it easier to edit, and show more on your search result page.”
Chrome for Android - Simpler Search
The company has been experimenting with a similar feature in the desktop version of Chrome. It essentially turns the omnibox into the search form instead of switching to the URL for your search and then replicating the search interface it on the search results page. On the desktop, this always throws me for a loop, but given the space constraints on a smaller screen, this will probably allow for a few more lines of search results to show without the need to scroll down.
Other new features in this update include support for client-side certificates (something that’s often needed to connect to enterprise intranets) and tab history support for tablets (so you can use a long press on the back button to bring up your tab history.

Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement Goes Into Action For ‘Pull To Refresh,’ Jelly And Lift Will Adopt The Framework

The link to the full story is here

Last year, Twitter announced something it called the Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA), which would keep patents in the hands of the designers and engineers that came up with the technology behind them. What this agreement serves as is a promise to only act on a patent for “defensive purposes.” Anything outside of that scope would need to be signed off on the creator of the patent itself.
Here’s how Twitter defines “defensive purposes”: “Defensive purposes means that you can defend yourself should another party try to initiate patent litigation against you or your customers or users. Under the IPA, it also means that you can use these patents against anyone who has sued others offensively in the past (up to ten years).”
The first patent to get the IPA treatment is Loren Brichter’s pull to refresh user interface interaction, which was built into Tweetie, the Twitter app that was acquired by the company and adopted as the official client.
Basically, Twitter is saying it’s not going to go after companies that are using pull to refresh, or other parts of Brichter’s patent, within their app. If someone were to claim to have created the functionality first, only then would Twitter defend itself.
Twitter has also announced that two other companies, Biz Stone’s Jelly and the Lift task tracking app, will also be adopting the Innovator’s Patent Agreement. With so many ideas running around, there should be no reason why the first person to successfully file a patent should hold the power to make everyone’s lives miserable. At the end of the day, all companies benefitted from Brichter’s work, and it’s been nice to see Twitter not going after anyone else for replicating parts of it.
When the IPA was announced last year, Twitter VP of Engineering Adam Messinger had this to say:
This is a significant departure from the current state of affairs in the industry. Typically, engineers and designers sign an agreement with their company that irrevocably gives that company any patents filed related to the employee’s work. The company then has control over the patents and can use them however they want, which may include selling them to others who can also use them however they want. With the IPA, employees can be assured that their patents will be used only as a shield rather than as a weapon.
Using patents as a shield will hopefully slow down the rampant patent trolling that has plagued the technology space for the past ten years. Twitter, Jelly and Lift promise not to be trolls, and that’s a good thing.

Twitter Introduces Charts By Genre And Popularity For Its #Music Service

The link to the full story is here

We’ve confirmed with Twitter that it has rolled out a new part of its #Music service for the web, charts that we were accustomed to from the company We Are Hunted, that it acquired and now powers the service.
The charts are broken up into a few areas: the familiar genre breakdown, as well as some categories like “Superstars” and “Unearthed” that appear to be built based on current Twitter trends and trajectory of artist mentions. This is leveraging all of the data that Twitter is collecting from tweets that include links to tracks from popular and emerging artists.
As you click on each category, the tiles on the page swap out quickly, letting you surf around to find new artists and songs. The categorization was a necessity to be able to find hidden gems, as the original breakdown of Popular and Emerging changed so rapidly:
These are the types of charts that will get artists themselves more engaged on Twitter, as well as catch the attention of record labels who want to know what people are saying about the musicians that they’ve signed. Everyone in a band wants to know how well they stack up against others. In fact, some artists didn’t see the service coming at all, and were pleased with all of the new attention they were getting.
The service, which is still finding its footing, is still in the mode of getting musicians to participate by getting on Twitter and engaging with their fans. That engagement gives them a better shot of shooting up the charts and being found. With the addition of charts, which music listeners are also familiar with, people will be able to go deeper in finding songs that fit the genre that they like the most. Rather than waiting for Twitter to pair you with matches that it’s taking a guess on, the power is now in your hands.
If you’re an Rdio or Spotify user, then the entire #Music experience is seamless, but if you’re only buying music from iTunes, you’re not getting to hear full tracks within the app. It’s going to take a while for #Music to grip, as are a lot of Twitter’s “discovery tools.” As the company onboards more people who aren’t interested in tweeting, just browsing, they will benefit from sites like #Music being broken out. For those who are actively tweeting, it’s kind of neat to imagine that your support through tweets could shoot a band or artist up the “charts.”

Twitter Ups Web Security With Two-Factor Authentication Via SMS, But Shared Accounts May Still Be In Danger

The link to the full story is here

After scores of accounts were potentially compromised a few months ago, Twitter today launched two-factor authentication through SMS to protect people from hacks and phishing scams on the web. Unfortunately, it may not help shared accounts like big brands and news agencies where multiple people need to be able to log in and out but only one phone number can get the login verification codes.
Following the Twitter security incident in February where hundreds of thousands of accounts had to have their credentials reset, the tech world demanded Twitter offer two-factor authentication. Wired’s Mat Honan reported last month that Twitter was internally testing the feature. But since then, several prominent accounts including the Associated Press had been hacked through phishing tricks that the security feature could have prevented. With two-factor authentication now in place, we’ll hopefully see fewer compromised individual accounts.
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However the brands and news outlets whose accounts are the most valuable to hackers may not benefit from the feature. They can only set one phone number as the recipient of the two-factor authentication codes, but may have several staff members who need to access the account. If they enabled it, whoever carried the phone registered with Twitter would have to relay the code to all the other staffers to get it to whoever needed it. That hassle might prevent shared accounts from turning on login verifications, and so the hackings may continue.
Hopefully the fact that Twitter labeled its security blog post “Getting Started With Login Verification” means more advancements are on the way that might protect shared accounts. Twitter’s product security team member Jim O’Leary writes “much of the server-side engineering work required to ship this feature has cleared the way for us to deliver more account security enhancements in the future. Stay tuned.”
Twitter Two Factor


The feature is rolling out now. If you don’t see it in your account settings, you should soon. To enable two-factor authentication, check the box next to Account Security that explains “Require a verification code when I sign in.” You’ll need to enter your phone number if you haven’t already saved it with Twitter. Once you receive a confirmation SMS on your phone you can complete activation of the security feature.
From then on when you enter your name and password to log in on, you’ll get a text message with a verification code you need to enter to prove you’re the account owner. The idea is that if someone steals your name and password, they probably don’t have your phone, too, and they need both to login as you.  Twitter’s “login verification” doesn’t work with its mobile apps, though, so you’ll need to use temporary app passwords to stay safe when logging in on your small screen.

Twitter Launches TV Ad Targeting, Twitter Amplify For Real-Time Videos In Stream

The link to the full story is here

Twitter today made the latest push in its bid to cozy up to Madison Avenue and the world of big-budget advertising, by tapping more into the kind of mainstream mediums where advertisers like to spend their money. Today the big focus is TV and your living room. In New York, the company announced Twitter Amplify, a way of bringing real-time video into the site, with initial partners including the broadcasters BBC America, FOX, Fuse and The Weather Channel. And it also announced TV ad targeting, one of the first fruits of the company’s acquisition of BlueFin Labs.
Twitter ad targeting works like this: an advertiser or media buyer uses a special dashboard that Twitter has created for the service, which lets a brand monitor when an ad has aired on TV. Through this, the campaign manager can then send out Promoted Tweets that coordinate with them. They synchronise, Twitter says, using “video fingerprinting technology to automatically detect when and where a brand’s commercials are running on TV, without requiring that advertiser to do any manual tracking or upload media plan details,” Michael Fleischman, one of the co-founders of BlueFin Labs, and now a product manager for Twitter, notes in a blog post.
Through this, the advertiser is able to measure how socially responsive people are to the TV campaigns and vice versa. Using Twitter handles and hashtags on the TV ads will be how those advertisers shuttle people to the social network.
Twitter says it will be able to determine where and when an ad ran on TV, as well as track those who have subsequently tweeted about the ad and the TV program that it ran against. “We believe a user engaged enough with a TV show to tweet about it very likely saw the commercials as well,” the company notes on its blog.
The company is banking on a crucial stat as the leap of faith that this will all work: it says 64 percent of mobile-centric users on Twitter use it in front of the TV at home.
For now Twitter’s targeting service will be available only in the U.S.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Google Makes Email More Interactive With Customizable Gmail Action Buttons

The link to the full story is here

Google today announced a small but cool update to Gmail. For emails where the developer has enabled this feature, Google will now show action buttons next to emails in your inbox that let you take actions without even opening the message. The cool thing about this, however, is that it’s open to developers, who can now use the markup language to add their own actions to Gmail messages.
Google says developers could, for example, use this for confirmation emails when somebody registers to a site, or they could present magazine subscribers with a one-click action to renew their subscriptions or review a product, movies, restaurants or services. Developers could also use this to augment flight confirmation emails and allow users to respond to a meeting invitation right from the inbox without ever opening the email.
Declaring these actions should be easy for developers who simply have to add a straightforward piece of code to their emails.
More importantly, this makes emails more interactive than ever before. For the most part, email providers do not allow any code to run inside an HTML email. While Microsoft has experimented with whitelisting a few email senders and allowed them to run scripts inside the inbox, Google seems to be willing to open its system up to any developers.
It’s important to note that the company has implemented a couple of security measures that should ensure that the user’s information remains safe. All actions, for example, have to be handled via HTTPS URLs, and hosts must have vaild SSL certificates.
myERP, a popular all-in-one cloud-based business app for accounting, billing, project management and CRM, for example, has already implemented the buttons, and others will surely follow very soon.