Friday, August 30, 2013

Google+ To Go High Def

Google is going high definition with its video chat.

As Chew Chew writes:

connect with friends and family in high res with hd hangouts! we are rolling hd out to hangouts on air initially, then to all desktop hangout video calls over the next few weeks.

hd hangouts require an hd-capable webcam, more bandwidth and more processing power than standard definition. so if your computer and network are capable, turn the quality up to hd!

You will be able to go up to 720p for video chats now.

As someone who uses this feature this is wonderful news!!

Privacy Changes From Facebook

Facebook is making some changes to its privacy policy yet again.
Here is the email I received today.

Hi Jaye,

We're writing to let you know that we are proposing updates (link) to our Data Use Policy(link) and our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities(link). These two documents tell you about how we collect and use data, and the rules that apply when you choose to use Facebook. Our goal with these updates is to make our practices more clear.

We update these documents from time to time to make sure we keep you posted about the latest things you can do with Facebook. This email describes the key changes we've proposed and directs you to places where you can learn more.

What's being updated and why?

Both documents have new language to help you better understand:
How advertising works on Facebook
What to expect when it comes to using your name, profile picture, content and personal info with ads or commercial content
How to control or remove apps you've used
What data you're sharing with mobile devices
Like always, we won't share the private information that you put on Facebook with advertisers without your permission.

What should you do and when will the updates happen?

You can review all the updates on our Site Governance(link) page's Documents tab and over the next seven days leave comments on that page to give us feedback. Please take some time to read through everything(link) and let us know what you think. If your comments lead to more updates, we'll post those on the Site Governance page, too.
To stay up to date on similar topics, please like our Site Governance and Privacy pages. And, if you want to learn more about how we show you interesting, relevant ads, or how cookies and similar technologies help us do so, please visit our Ads and Cookies pages. We hope you find these resources helpful.
Best regards,

Erin Egan
Chief Privacy Officer

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Facebook Unleashing A New Shared Photo Album

Facebook has announced that it will roll out a new Shared Photo Album.
This new feature will allow multiple users to share and edit only one photo album.

Facebook stated, "Hundreds of millions of photos are uploaded onto Facebook each day," 
"Whether you're at a wedding, birthday party, or fresh off a trip, all your friends will be able to add photos, tag photos and edit just one album."

The new feature will work as follows:

Someone will create a collaborative album. 
They will be the in-charge person.
They can then invite whoever they want to join that album.
Then the invitees can also invite who they want without having to have the in-charge's permission.

This is being rolled out to a select number of users first before it goes mainstream.
This is a nice add-on for Facebook and a long overdue one as well.

Facebook Back On Track

Facebook stock is looking up as the social media giant has regained all it lost and then some.

Alex Wilhelm from Techcrunch writes:

Today Facebook ended normal trading with a market valuation of $100.6 billion. The milestone capped a long return to form for Facebook, after a botched IPO and mobile concerns led investors to unload their shares during its first year as a public entity.
Facebook traded as low as $17.55 on September 4, 2012. This makes the achievement of reaching the $100 billion mark today more fun, as it comes almost a year after the company was at its lowest recorded ebb. Facebook has recovered $58 billion in market capitalization since last fall, more than doubling in value since its 52-week low.
Facebook is in fact quite close to setting an all-time high. As TechCrunch reported on the day of the company’s IPO, “Facebook shares opened at $42.05, a 10.5 percent increase from its final price last night at $38.”
Today, Facebook closed at $41.34, up 1.95 percent during normal trading. In after-hours trading, the company is up a fraction. However, Facebook traded as high as $41.94, pennies from an all-time high.
What is causing Facebook’s long boom? The precise opposite of what dragged it down in the first place. The company has proven that it can monetize mobile usage at high levels, driving revenue growth. Facebook has consistently expanded its user base as well, demonstrating functional longevity.
It’s a good moment for Facebook. However, the firm is incredibly richly valued, which might make it ripe for a market correction, or investor profit taking. Google Finance estimates its trailing 12-month price-earnings ratio to be 207.87. Yahoo Finance lists a slightly smaller figure: 187.06. Investors are valuing Facebook as a growth company.
Any slip in its next-quarter earnings report — anything that might indicate that Facebook’s revenue growth will slow — and Facebook could find itself trading a lower multiple. Still, today was a good one for Facebook, snagging 2 percent more value in a day of generally negative trading.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

LinkedIn Updates Pulse App

Linkedin has updated the newsreader Pulse after acquiring it several months ago. Sarah Perez from Techcrunch has a great article on this. She writes:

When LinkedIn acquired newsreader Pulse earlier this year for $90 million, it said the Pulse apps would remain and the two companies would instead find ways to work together. Today, LinkedIn continues to make good on those promises with an update to the Pulse mobile apps on both iOS and Android, which introduce improvements to search, discovery and recommendations.
This is one of many updates the Pulse app has received since becoming a part of LinkedIn. Throughout the spring and summer, for example, Pulse has seen other, minor releases that have allowed users to share stories directly from the app to LinkedIn, as well as save stories in “read later” services like Evernote, Pocket and Instapaper, among other things.
With today’s update, Pulse has redesigned the user experience in an effort to make it easier for users to find new publications, channels and people to read, via a series of changes that include things like the ability to preview a source before adding it, as well as a new optimized search experience. Pulse’s search is similar in some ways to competitor Flipboard, as it doesn’t only search for articles, but also content from around social media sites and the wider web, including Google, YouTube, Facebook and Tumblr, for example.
Now, the app allows users to search by general interest as well, in order to find relevant publications to subscribe to in Pulse. The app will also offer a curated section of editorially chosen recommendations that are featured at the top of its content catalog, much like Flipboard does with its “Flipboard Picks.”
LinkedIn declined to share the number of active users in Pulse, but says the app has been “activated” by more than 30 million users, which is the same number reported at the time of the acquisition in April. The number of Pulse publishers hasn’t changed, either, at least by official counts, which still place it at 750+.
In addition, the company also isn’t providing much of a roadmap in terms of how LinkedIn and Pulse will be further integrated in the future, but there are some places where it would make sense. This includes, of course, the company’s home for news reading with “LinkedIn Today,” which helps to surface stories about users’ personal and professional interests. One could imagine that taste preferences, bookmarks and subscriptions would be able to flow back and forth between the Pulse app and LinkedIn Today at some point, perhaps.
The updated Pulse mobile apps are live now in Google Play and iTunes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mypermissions Adds Security For Twitter Users

This is a terrific thing for the world of twitter users. As Sarah Perez reports.

MyPermissions, a startup offering a suite of security protection and privacy tools, is today becoming the first service to offer live protection for users’ Twitter accounts. What that means is MyPermissions will now be able to alert you in real time as new Twitter applications access your personal information, tweets or direct messages or gain the ability to post tweets in your name.
The move to offer better protection for Twitter is an important milestone for this security-minded company, whose very creation was inspired by a Twitter hack. Explains CEO and co-founder Olivier Amar, around a year and a half ago, one of the founders had his Twitter account hacked, and his friends began clicking on the spam tweets that an app was posting on his behalf. Already frustrated and feeling violated, what was even worse was when he realized there was no way to revoke the permissions of the malicious app responsible for the spammy tweets from the Twitter mobile interface. And so, the idea for MyPermissions was born.
Today, the company offers a one-stop shop for managing your app permissions and settings via a trio of security products, including a cross-platform, cross-browser extension, as well as mobile applications for both iOS and Android. You can check to see which apps you have connected to your various online accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Instagram, Foursquare, Flickr, Dropbox and more. Then, from one dashboard you can manage those permissions or revoke them entirely.

Mark Zuckerberg's Timeline Hacked

I think Facebook needs to listen a little better when someone reports a bug.

Khalil Shreateh a security researcher found a bug and reported it to Facebook's White Hat Security team only to get the "this is not a bug" response.

After being told this is not a bug he did what any ethical hacker would do. He hacked the CEO's timeline.
He wrote on Mark Zuckerberg's Timeline:
"First sorry for breaking your privacy and post to your wall, I has no other choice to make after all the reports I sent to Facebook team."

Of course Facebook is not happy with the way this was done but I bet there will be some quick procedure changes with their White Hat Team.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Facebook testing mobile payments for goods.

According to ALLTHINGSD, Facebook has confirmed testing a new mobile payment option for shoppers.

To me, this will become a monster add on for Facebook. They will start taking on the finance district of the internet. Folks like Paypal better keep a close eye on this move.

Here is an excerpt from the allthingsd article.

Thrillist-owned JackThreads, a flash-sale shopping site for young men, is the pilot partner. The company has a strong relationship with Facebook, sees a good chunk of revenue come through mobile phone purchases and may also have a decent demographic overlap with one particular segment of Facebook users — gamers — who would have provided the social network with credit card information. It will be interesting to see if Fab, another close partner of Facebook’s that does well on mobile devices, will follow suit.
The new product, if launched widely beyond its current small testing phase, would undoubtedly pit Facebook against digital payments giant PayPal on mobile devices. It would also compete with offerings from Google, Amazon and a host of startups such as Braintree, Stripe and Klarna, all up-and-coming outfits that are working, in one way or another, to make it easier to make purchases on mobile phones. All of these companies, including Facebook, recognize that it can be challenging to easily enter your payment details on small devices.

New LinkedIn Company Page Analytics

This was taken from Linkedin Blogs.

If you’re using your LinkedIn Company Page to share engaging content with the world’s professionals, get ready for an easier way to track your page’s performance.
Starting today, you’ll have access to the brand new LinkedIn Company Page analytics. With this new set of analytics, you can:
  • Identify the updates that drive the greatest engagement
  • Filter engagement trends by type and time period
  • Get more detailed demographic data about your followers
  • See the growth of your follower base and benchmark it against similar brands
The new LinkedIn Company Page analytics and the recently launched Sponsored Updatesempower companies, organizations, and institutions to reach the world’s professionals and engage them in rich and meaningful conversations.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Facebook Credits gone after September 12th

Facebook is transitioning all payments from Facebook Credits to local currency. I believe this move makes complete sense and is long overdue. This could lead to Facebook becoming a "Paypal" type system which would only increase its value.

Here are the developers comments from Facebook.

We are transitioning all canvas game developers away from Facebook Credits to local currency payments by September 12, 2013, 90 days after breaking change announcement. The new payments system simplifies the purchase experience for users, improves the performance of the payment flow, and makes it easier for developers to price virtual goods for a global audience. For more information, please see our Local Currency Payments Overview.

Games on Facebook are typically built on a freemium model, allowing people to play for free and developers to generate revenue by selling virtual items or currency. Start building your business on Facebook with a fast, flexible, international and secure payments solution. Facebook Payments has:

A trusted brand

People on Facebook can feel comfortable storing their payment information with Facebook and buying with their Facebook credentials.
Facebook takes steps to ensure the payment experience is safe, secure and trustworthy.

Global reach

Facebook Payments is available internationally and supports 80+ payment methods in 55+ currencies.
By implementing a pricing strategy tailored to regional markets, you can optimize the performance of your business and create a native feeling user checkout experience.

Easy integration

Developers who use our Graph API and dialogs will already be familiar with our Payments API.
Comprehensive documentation, including a detailed how-to guideand a step-by-step tutorial can assist you in getting started quickly.

Additional features to help you increase revenue and improve conversion:


Expand beyond one-time payments with a new, recurring revenue stream from subscriptions. Entice new subscribers with a free trial and offer the renewal cycle that works for your game, whether that's weekly, monthly, or another time period. Game developers offering subscriptions have grown incremental revenue and increased engagement in their games.
See more at: Subscriptions Best Practices and Subscriptions How To

Payer conversion tools

Grow your revenue by taking advantage of features to help you convert players into payers. Specific features for mobile payments help you optimize your pricing and payment experience for people who want to charge purchases to their mobile phone bill.
See more at: How-to: Local Currency Payments - Mobile Pricing

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mobile phones account for 3/4 of the US Facebook users.

Another great article from Josh Constine at

Mobile users are eating up the bandwidth logging into Facebook. :)  It is a trend that I knew would happen but the 78% is quite staggering. I expect this trend to go up as I suspect more company's will lock out Social Media on work computers due to loss time, security and bandwidth issues.

Here is the article.

Facebook User Counts By Country
A new level of transparency from Facebook will help the world see whether its mobile growth is entirely propped up by international users that don’t earn the company as much money. Today Facebook announced it will start sharing country-by-country web and mobile monthly and daily user counts. Facebook’s 101 million US daily mobile users make up a whopping 78% of its 128 million daily US users.
Facebook’s global mobile daily active user count increased 10.3% from 425 million to 469 million from Q1 to Q2 2013. But how much of that growth was in its high-monetizing first-world markets? And how much was in its emerging international markets where more people are on feature phones and it earns less per user? Before we couldn’t tell. Soon we’ll be able to.
In a statement, Facebook said:
“We are doing this because we believe brands and businesses should think differently about how people engage with Facebook, especially on mobile. A lot of people focus on monthly active users or even registered users to demonstrate their size and scale. We think this is becoming on old way of looking at the media world. In this world, understanding who comes back at least once a month is only part of the picture. Instead, businesses should focus on people who come back online every single day.”
Facebook tells me it will soon start revealing user counts for other countries beyond the US and UK (whose full data is below) once teams in each country are ready. To be clear, total stats count each individual user as 1 regardless of whether they accessed from desktop, mobile, or both. Mobile stats count each user who accessed via mobile, whether or not they also accessed via desktop.
The data will certainly be helpful for advertisers trying to figure out which international markets they should be focusing their efforts on. Salesforce CMO and Buddy Media CEO until it was acquired) Michael Lazerow says “What we’re seeing in these numbers is Facebook’s ‘mobile first’ strategy has really paid dividends. This is an important update that should help advertisers to plan and target their campaigns more effectively.”
But for the rest of the world, this transparency provides a much better understanding of where Facebook’s business is headed.


Previously, Facebook had only shared its combined web and mobile user counts by region, and its mobile user counts as global totals. This made it tough to tell where exactly its mobile growth was coming from. Here you’ll see the Facebook Q2 2013 total user counts at the top, which offered breakdowns by region but not by country. Below that you’ll see the daily mobile user counts, which aren’t broken down by geography at all.
Facebook DAU
Facebook Mobile DAU
The reason that’s a problem is that all users are not created equal when it comes to Facebook’s business. In Q2 2013, Facebook said it made $1.60 in average revenue per user (ARPU) per year as a global average. But in the Rest Of World region that includes its fast-growing developing markets like India and Brazil, it only makes $0.63 per user while it earns $4.32 ARPU per year in the US & Canada region. That means every user it added in the Rest Of World market was worth less than 1/6th of what it makes per North American user.
That’s why back in May during Q1 2013 earnings coverage and again last month I requested that Facebook provide mobile user counts by geography. Soon we’ll have the data, and the little released today is already enlightening. For example, 78.9% of Facebook’s daily American users are on mobile, and in the UK 83% of daily users are on mobile. We can also tell that 71.5% of monthly US Facebook users come back every day, while in the UK Facebook has a “stickiness” of 72.7%.
The real juicy insights will come once we’ve had this data for a few quarters. In the short term, stats on Facebook’s fastest growing international markets and most critical first-world markets will be eye-openers. They’ll reveal whether Facebook is still growing its mobile presence in developed countries, or if it’s reached saturation there.
If Facebook has run out of rich first-world people to sign up, it may need to concentrate more on squeezing dimes out of the developing world by increasing ad salesperson presence and getting more local game companies onboard.
For now, though, the social network should be proud that it’s surviving the shift to mobile that many thought would be its demise. The company swallowed its pride, admitted it had made mistakes designing for desktop first and building apps on HTML5, and righted the course. Now it’s not only surviving, but thriving on mobile. With 41% of ad revenue coming from small screens and more than 3/4ths of daily users in it homeland visiting via phones and tablets, Facebook’s “mobile-first” strategy seems to be a success.
Facebook is starting the increased transparency with more detailed data on the US and UK. Here’s the full list of new stats:
*As of June 2013
  •          US MAU Total: 179M
  •          US DAU Total: 128M
  •          US MAU Mobile: 142M
  •          US DAU Mobile: 101M
  •          UK MAU Total: 33M
  •          UK DAU Total: 24M
  •          UK MAU Mobile: 26M
  •          UK DAU Mobile: 20M

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Newest and Upcoming changes on Facebook

There is not a whole lot on the developers blog on the upcoming changes on Facebook.
Changes are in app security and video payments.

Here is the full blog

Monday, August 12, 2013

Just another 91 million dollar day.

What a nice chunk of change for Chief Operating Office Sheryl Sandberg, who sold just 5% of her Facebook stock worth 91 million dollars.

As reported by The Telegraph

Ms. Sandberg still has a massive 1.5 billion dollars of stock left at the current price.

Facebook is currently at $38.34 cents with a 52 week range of 17.55- 39.32

Friday, August 9, 2013

To Share or not to Share!!!!

Twitter and Facebook are wonderful social media outlets that are great for parents who want to show off pictures of their children and vacations but not so good for athletes or bored employees.
I am constantly amazed at how ignorant athletes can be on twitter and I don’t even have to start with college football players.  

Let’s take a look at a 50 year old distinguished golfer Steve Elkington, who has 17 career wins with a major. The following statement is one he recently tweeted after two caddies were mugged.

"Couple caddies got rolled by some Pakkis (Pakistanis), bad night for them"

While he did issue an apology for the Pakkis comment. He was not finished and he went on to say:

"Things about Southport - fat tattooed guy, fat tattooed girl, trash, Pakistani robber guy, sh-t food."

He was referring to Southport England, where they were playing the Senior Open Championship.  Of course, he issued yet another apology for this tweet.

We also have the young girl who put on facebook how "boring" her job was, while she was “working” mind you…and the company commented on her status to let her know that being bored was something they could not handle. So they decided to let her go home. PERMANENTLY!!!!

I wonder if she will use them on her resume?

 What does this mean for companies? This is just another facet of information that they MUST account for. First, every company should now have a social media clause as a rule.

1. Don’t share any negative information about the company or anyone employed by the company on social networks.
2. Don’t put up pictures running naked through the factory (never a good thing)
3. Please use common sense.

Here are some good ideas for the employee. Do not friend the entire HR department at your place of employment. Sometimes it is best NOT to tweet every time a thought enters your mind, or update your facebook status with “YES, I just beat level 102 in Candy Crush, now I can go back to work”

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Twitter Partners With Datalogix To Track When Tweets Lead To Offline Sales

The link to the full story is here

What’s the value of a retweet? Or a follower? Those questions get asked all the time in discussions about social media and advertising. Now Twitter is announcing a partnership with Datalogix that should give large consumer packaged goods brands some answers.
The basic goal of the program is to tell Twitter advertisers whether their campaigns actually drove consumers into stores to buy their products. That’s something Datalogix is already working on with companies like Facebook, and Ameet Ranadive, who leads the revenue product team at Twitter, told me that Twitter is employing a similar process as other social networks for tracking those purchases.
At the same time, he said, “The approach we took was pretty different.” In other words, the process is the same, but Twitter is trying to measure different things: “Most of [Datalogix's] studies on other platforms have focused on impressions and exposures.”
In order to quantify offline sales impact, Twitter will divide users into different groups, namely those who have been exposed to a company’s organic or promoted tweets and those who haven’t, and then it will use Datalogix to compare those groups’ buying activities.
In fact, Twitter says it has already conducted preliminary studies on 35 brands, and it came up with three general conclusions:
  1. “Engagement drives greater in-store sales.” When users engaged with Promoted Tweets, compared to a “statistically identical control group,” there was a 12 percent lift in purchases, and even if they saw the tweet but didn’t engage with it, there was a 2 percent lift.
  2. “Brands’ organic tweets drive sales.” There was an 8 percent sales lift among users who saw a brand’s organic (i.e. unpaid) tweets versus those who didn’t, and the lift was three times greater if they saw five or more organic tweets.
  3. “Followers who see Promoted Tweets buy more.” Even among people who already followed a brand, there was a 29 percent lift among those who saw Promoted Tweets compared to those who only saw organic ones.
Ranadive noted that Twitter charges advertisers for engagement, not impressions, yet the study suggests that even the impressions are valuable. I asked if that makes him reconsider Twitter’s pricing structure, and he said no — paying for engagement is a nice way to “align the incentives” because it encourages advertisers to promote high-quality content.

Facebook Toys With Twitter-Style Feed Order For Posts About Real-Time Events

The link to the full story is here

Facebook could soon look a little more like Twitter. It’s internally testing “Chronological By Actor,” a new way to display updates about live events so they appear in order from most recent to oldest, surrounded by feed posts ranked by its traditional relevance-sorting. It’s not ready yet, but the algorithm test denotes Facebook’s keen interest in stealing Twitter’s real-time social media crown.
Chronological By Actor sorting was announced today at a press event at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. The goal of the “Whiteboard Session” was to help reporters and the world understand how it sorts the News Feed. It revealed it would start publicizing News Feed algorithm changes in blog posts, as well as two changes that have already been rolled out: “Story Bumping,” which bumps stories you haven’t seen yet to the top of the feed, and “Last Actor,” which shows you more feed stories about the people you’ve recently interacted with or viewed the profile of.
But what was most surprising was Chronological By Actor.
Facebook’s strategy with displaying content has been to show you a feed of only the most relevant stories out of everything published by your friends, as opposed to showing a river or firehose of everything your friends post, as on Twitter.
The relevancy-sorted feed lets it adapt as people share twice as much each year —Zuckerberg’s Law. But its deficiency is in real-time events. If you want up-to-the-second information about what’s transpiring in a sports event or breaking news story, Twitter wins. You look at the top of Twitter and you see what just occurred. Tweets don’t get hidden because they didn’t receive enough favorites or @ replies. You can watch things happen as they unfold. Twitter works best when you’re glued to it in the moment, whereas Facebook excels at giving you the most interesting retrospective of what happened while you were gone.
Relevancy Sorted Feed Out Of Order Done
But Facebook is realizing that real-time events create a huge, emotional response that resonates across the whole world. They inspire a ton of social media activity, and advertisers are eager to join in.
So over the last few months, Facebook has been exploring how it can better host these moments. It launched hashtags, which Twitter pioneered, so that people could tag their posts to make them more discoverable by other people looking for information about a specific topic that their friends and the world were talking about.
But hashtags require users to change their behavior. So does Facebook’s Most Recent tab for the News Feed. For years the feature has let users switch from the default Top Stories relevancy-sorted feed to a Most Recent feed with the latest updates at the top. But most users never bother to switch to it, and its not the best format for most content. That’s Facebook came up with the idea for Chronological By Actor — a way to create a hybrid feed that integrates both relevance and real-time sorting.
Chronological By Actor Puts Their Posts In Order Done
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say your friend Paul posts a bunch of times about the World Cup finals. Normally these updates would be scattered across your News Feed regardless of the chronological order, with the posts that received the most Likes and comments closer to the top, and the ones that didn’t farther below the fold. Facebook realized this made it tough to follow the action. You might see Paul’s heavily Liked post “Neymar on a breakaway, dodges the last defender, and scores on in the first minute!” from the beginning of the game at the top. After three posts from other friends you’d see Paul say “BRAZIL WINS 2-1!!! WOOO!!!!” from the end of the game. Then four posts down you’d see Paul’s less-Liked post, “Jefferson with an incredible save to shut out Italy in the first half.”
All these posts are out of order, so it’s difficult to keep the timeline straight. Facebook suspected there could be a better way to order these posts, which led to internal testing of Chronological By Actor. It determines which posts by a specific person are about a certain real-time event, and then sequences them in chronological order with the most recent at the top like Twitter, but leaves the rest of the feed as is.
In the version currently being tested, you’d see ”BRAZIL WINS 2-1!!! WOOO!!!!” ”Neymar scores on a breakaway in the first minute!” at the top of your feed, “Jefferson with an incredible save to shut out Italy in the first half,” as the fourth post in your feed, and “BRAZIL WINS 2-1!!! WOOO!!!!” after another four stories by other friends. Paul still fills up the same numbered slots in the feed, but his content is swapped around to flow as if you were reading them in real time.
Classic and Chronological Hybrid Side By Side Done
The only problem is that Facebook said its tests of Chronological By Actor actually reduced Likes, comments, and other signals it uses to gauge News Feed success. That’s why the algorithm change hasn’t been rolled out like Story Bumping and Last Actor. It still needs some tweaks.
When asked by AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac if this test showed Facebook was becoming more like Twitter, Facebook’s VP of Product Chris Cox explained that this was more of an isolated tweak than a broad shift in strategy. ”Philosophically, Twitter and Facebook are still quite different in their product assumption and product promise. We’ve always been committed to ranking, just given the core demand of ‘I don’t want to miss stuff.’ Twitter has built a whole ecosystem around not ranking and showing things in real time. I wouldn’t over-pivot on this feature. We’re not changing the core philosophy.”
That makes sense for Facebook. It’s not just tweet-like status updates and photos. Facebook’s feed can show off-site Open Graph app activity, new friendships, Event RSVPs, Likes of Pages and much more. Most of that stuff is only interesting if it’s about your closest friends, so if Facebook were a firehose, you’d probably find very little of it interesting. Real time is great for events and breaking news, but not day-to-day life.
Still, at the end of the day, Facebook is about connecting people, and real-time events make the whole world feel like they’re experiencing something together. Facebook can’t just adapt the feed to handle more content. It needs to learn to treat different types of content as special and unique snowflakes.

Facebook Graph Search Out For All U.S. English Users, Hiding Timeline Search By Name Setting Dies Today

The link to the full story is here

Facebook’s Graph Search, the tool that lets you search in plain language across information shared by friends and anyone on Facebook to find stuff like “People who live in my city from my hometown,” or “Friends of friends who like Paula Dean,” or whatever other weird and terrible combination you can dream up, is now available to all users on the platform with U.S. English set as their default language.
Graph search, for those who don’t have it yet, is a pretty fun diversion and an admittedly useful tool in certain contexts (like looking up people you might want to connect with when visiting a new place for the first time, and who might be connected to you in some meaningful way), but it’s also the perfect opportunity for everyone to revisit their privacy settings, especially as Graph Search improvements on the roadmap for future introduction include even more granular capabilities, like parsing individual posts and comments, and becoming available on mobile.
As Facebook itself notes, that means this is when you should be looking at who has access to what in your FB privacy settings, to insure that the unprecedented scope of the new Graph Search tools don’t encroach on territory you’d rather keep private… but the full roll-out of Graph Search also comes alongside the death of one of the features that might be most sorely missed by Facebook users who also happen to be privacy enthusiasts.
Facebook announced back in December that it would be retiring the “who can look up my timeline by name?” setting in the “coming months,” citing very limited use anyway, and the fact that it actually didn’t prevent discovery from other means anyway. What it did was prevent people from seeing you in results if they searched for your name directly in the Facebook Search bar – which, despite their attempt to minimize its importance, was probably something people who didn’t like it very much appreciated being able to turn off.
The official line from Facebook is that “[n]ow that people have had an opportunity to explore [its new privacy controls introduced back in December,] we are starting to retire this setting for the small percentage of people that use it.” But that’s likely to do much to reassure users who aren’t thrilled about Graph Search’s advanced discovery powers to begin with. Still, Facebook has been very upfront about its goals: you don’t build a knowledge graph by defaulting to making your social network as private as possible.

Continuing The Twitter-Jacking, Facebook Begins Trending Topics Test For Some U.S. Mobile Web Users

The link to the full story is here

Facebook just recently introduced hashtags to its social network, and emphasized real-time content repeatedly in a press event about its News feed yesterday, and now it’s testing another feature seemingly inspired by Twitter: trending topics. The social network confirmed to TechCrunch via email that it has indeed begun rolling out the trending topics feature AllThingsD first reported earlier today.
Here’s the statement in full direct from Facebook about the new feature:
Today we started running a small test that displays topics trending on Facebook. It is currently only available to a small percentage of U.S. users who use Facebook’s mobile web site ( and is still in very early stages of development. We will share more details down the line if we decide to roll it out more widely.
The company is clearly quick to point out that this is an extremely limited beta of a feature that won’t necessarily make it to wide release, but for those curious the way it works is by popping up a specific topic that’s being discussed a lot at the moment, and tapping that will bring them to posts and comments related to the subject by both their network and from people they aren’t necessarily connected to who have public sharing options turned on.
Trending topics have been a part of Twitter since summer of 2008, and introduced Promoted Trends as a source of revenue back in 2010. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Twitter now charges around $200,000 per day for promoted trends, making it a not-so-insignificant source of income from brands and sponsors. Facebook is emphasizing more public sharing, and attempting to become a better source of real-time information, and the addition of trends would enable it to monetize that down the road as part of increasing efforts to make money from a growing mobile user base, as well as on the web.
Trending topics is more noise for the news feed, of course, which is already broken up on mobile by promoted posts and ads in addition to stuff surfaced from your friends and network. That’s likely why it’s being tested with such a small group first, as Facebook gauges how to strike the right balance between friends and family content, and real-time news and entertainment sharing. But if it does eventually roll out to all, it begs the question of what Facebook can poach next from Twitter in pursuit of its evolving identity.

Facebook Fights Snapchat By Letting You Send Instagrams With Messenger

The link to the full story is here

Snapchat sends 200 million private photo messages a day. WhatsApp sends 325 million. These are scary numbers for Facebook that prove the visual communication is on the rise, so it’s just begun allowing Messenger for iOS users to send Instagrams and photos from other non-Camera Roll albums. It shows that while Poke failed, Facebook is serious about getting in on the visual communication trend.
You’ve been able to send photo messages from any album for a while with Messenger for Android, but the iOS version previously only let you choose from your Camera Roll. The problem is that when you post to Instagram it saves a copy of your creation to a separate in-device “Instagram” album.
Now by hitting the paperclip icon when composing a message and then Add Photos, there’s now a drop-down at the top to pull photos from your other albums. This isn’t exactly direct Instegration (sorry), though it certainly brings the photo sharing app closer to its parent company. Facebook has been remarkably hands off since acquiring Instagram, living up to its promise.
Add From Instagram
But in the 16 months since the billion* dollar deal, there’s been a huge shift in how people use photos. For years they were shot with care and shared with many people — similar to what we did in the analog film era. But Snapchat and the international chat apps changed that. Suddenly photos werebrazenly shot off the cuff, and shared privately not for their artistic value, but to get a message across.
This has become the year of visual communication.
The ephemerality of Snapchat’s self-destructing photos comes in handy for the most goofy, embarrassing, or scandalous. And it does add a sense of urgency. Yet an equal contributor to its rapid rise in popularity is that it forces you to communicate visually. You can’t send text alone. Instead, you use photos and videos to deliver a complex idea or emotion quickly and vividly.
In that way, photo messaging has a lot in common with stickers, the little pre-made illustrations and animations you can send in many chat apps. I get sent a lot of them and hear they’ve been a bigsuccess for Facebook. Both are a stand-in for boring text.
Photo messages are more personalized, though. Where are you? What are you doing? How do you feel? You can answer all these questions with a quick pic. It’s not annoying like typing long messages or generic like texting back “home”, “chillin” “alright”. Each location, activity, and facial expression is unique with visual communication. That’s what makes it addictive yet satisfying.
Instagram Photo ReelThose two words could be Facebook’s hyphenated middle name**. Its first attempt at serious visual communication, the Snapchat clone Pokefell fast from the charts and I haven’t received a Poke in months. But why force people to download something new when your social network runs some of the most widely used mobile apps in the world?
And so here we are, Instagram messaging in Facebook Messenger. Expect it to get added to Facebook’s main apps soon. It could get users repurposing their favorite Instagrams to convey emotions. What are you doing? Latte art. How are you feeling? Portrait of laughter. And if enough users find the drop-down option and use it, they might even start to take Instagrams with the purpose of sharing them. It could also be a great way to make sure a specific friend sees your masterpiece if you know they don’t frequent the Instagram feed.
The question now is, will Instagram add private photo and video messaging?
*The final cash and stock acquisition price was in the seven hundred millions
**The Addictive-Satisfying Facebook

MessageMe Introduces Stickers To Keep Pace With Competition

The link to the full story is here

Carrying the weight of expectation attached to securing $11.9 million funding in its first few months of operation, MessageMe has switched on the ability to send and receive stickers — an increasingly popular medium which has sparked a multi-million dollar gold rush for messaging app developers.
MessageMe switched on the functionality overnight in the iOS App Store, allowing users to send detailed cartoons when they chat with their friends, in addition to the ability to seamlessly send rich media such as photos, music, and doodles.
The start-up, which was co-founded by LOLapps founder Arjun Sethi in March, and within months raised $11.9 million from a series of high-profile investors, is the latest messaging app to jump on the sticker bandwagon.
Japan’s Line booked $27.4 million in sticker sales in Q2 results announced today, almost double the previous quarter; and it sold almost as much in sponsored sticker packs. And in the first 24 hours after its sticker launch, Path made more money than it had in its entire lifetime as a company. Meanwhile, Facebook — who blocked MessageMe days after launch because it too closely resembled its own Messenger App — launched branded stickers in late June. The social networking giant doesn’t charge for stickers, and recently offered a Despicable Me image pack to coincide with the film’s release.
The new sticker pack comes installed with Dex the Corgi, an amber canine demonstrating in 32 poses including boxing, yoga, and even spinning plates while balancing on a ball.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Twitter Updates iOS And Android Apps With Login Verification Via Push And In-App Approvals

The link to the full story is here

Twitter has just posted an update to its blog detailing new security updates rolling out via iOS and Android mobile app updates today, which include the ability to use login verification and approve login requests direct from your mobile device. Twitter announced SMS-based login verification (a form of two-factor authentication) in May, but now you don’t need to supply a phone number as push notifications and app alerts can do everything you need.
This means that countries that were previously left out of the SMS verification program due to geographic limits can now step up to two-factor, which means everyone with an active connection and access to the official Twitter app on Android or iOS can participate. When a login is attempted and the option is enabled by a user, they’ll get a push notification alerting them to the login attempt and asking them to approve it. To prevent being locked out, you also get a backup code in the application for you to record elsewhere in case your phone is permanently offline.
The app also provides more context around the request, giving you the type of browser it was made from and a general location request, so it’s easier to know what’s legit and what isn’t. Chances are you won’t be asked to grant legitimate access from Nairobi if you’re in the U.S., for example, or vice versa. Twitter faced a number of high-profile phishing attacks earlier this year, including one of the official Associated Press account that had considerable financial impact.
Anyone who wants to enable the verification can go to the “Me” tab, access Settings and then Security, then turn on the Login verification option.
Other new features include improved search via social context indicators that provide more info on people who come up in your search suggestions, as well as a photo gallery in search which displays returned results in a mosaic layout giving you more access to more images at once.
The updates in general resonate with Twitter’s progress of bringing more desktop features to its mobile platforms, and should go a long way to helping its users secure themselves against phishing and other types of malicious attacks.

Facebook To Publicize News Feed Algorithm Changes, Starting With New “Story Bumping”

The link to the full story is here

700 million people use the Facebook News Feed every day but many don’t understand how it decides what appears, so Facebook announced today it will start publishing blog updates on how the feed algorithm is changing similar to how Google does. Facebook’s first post will be about “Story Bumping”, which pushes stories you haven’t seen above ones you have.
The News Feed team’s Lars Backstrom says that “News feed is one of only places where Facebook is doing things on the scale of complexity of what Google is doing or Bing is doing in search.” But in some ways its a harder problem because relevance is subjective. Google can show a bunch of people a set of ranked search results and ask if they’re accurate, but the only person who can tell if your feed is relevant is you.
In its early days, the News Feed “algorithm” was really just VP of Product Chris Cox and Director of Engineering Boz “twiddling knobs” says Cox. They’d take a ton of anecdotal feedback because Facebook hadn’t built out a better A/B testing system or way to measure impact. Cox says “You didn’t need to be super sophisticated. There wasn’t that much content” because people didn’t share as much or have as many friends.
Facebook News Feed Team
Facebook’s Lars Backstrom and a photo of the News Feed team
Mishaps did occasionally occur from this informal process, says Cox. “There were funny moments like when feeds were flooded with basketballs when we did an integration with ESPN for March Madness.”
But since then, “content production has exploded. The average person today has about 1500 stories they could see, ranging from one of your good friends getting married to bottom of the barrel updates like your friend from high school who you haven’t heard from in years became friends with someone you’ve never heard of.”
The goal of the Facebook News Feed team and algorithm is to figure out what stories out of those 1500 will delight and fascinate you. Luckily, the team now has dashboards to look at big data about exactly how people are responding the latest News Feed tweaks. Cox says “I’m proud we were able to make it as far as we did as long as we did but I’m really exited that we’ve been able to mature and professionalize, and the ranking has gotten way better than anything we possibly could have done.”
When the News Feed team succeeds, you see things you care about, have a good time on Facebook, and use it more. When it doesn’t, Facebook seems like a boring waste of time. This team makes or breaks Facebook’s engagement level.


Before recently, the News Feed would rate all the stories published since you last logged on and show you the best ones. But if one wasn’t quite interesting enough to be right at the top, you might never see it. Then if you came back a few hours later, additional stories would have been piled on top and it was unlikely that you’d ever see it.
With Story Bumping, Facebook doesn’t just look at what stories have been published since you last looked at the feed, but at all the recent stories you hadn’t seen — not just “new” but “new to you”. This way you see more relevant stories, even if they’re a little bit older.
Facebook has rolled Story Bumping out on the web and is starting to push it to mobile. Initial tests showed the Story Bumping led to 5% more likes, comments, and shares on stories from friends, an 8% boost in interactions for stories from Pages and public figures, and an increase from 57% of potentially visible stories read to 70%. People are reading a larger fraction of their stories thanks to this algorithm change.
Story Bumping Impacet
Facebook’s Lars Backstrom also announced two more News Feed changes.
“Last Actor” looks at the 50 people you most recently interacted on Facebook such as viewing someone’s profile or photos, and liking their feed stories. Facebook then shows you more of them in your feed in the short-term. Say you browse through 100 photos of a girl you have a crush on, you’ll see more of her in your feed later that day. Note that this doesn’t mean anyone knows about your private Facebook browsing habits. This feature only affects what you see. The Last Actor algorithm change has been rolled out and is now impacting the web and mobile News Feed.
“Chronological By Actor” is Facebook’s attempt to make real-time content more comprehensible. Say a friend is posting rapid updates about a football game. Showing them in ranked order regardless of their chronological order would be confusing, as you might see the game’s final score first, then a photo from half-time, then a touchdown in the third quarter, and then your friend’s excitement about the game starting. So Facebook will soon start to show these rapid real-time updates in chronological order so you see the first update first and the rest in order.
Facebook is still trying to figure exactly which stories to show chronologically and which with the normal relevance ranking, so this will be coming out sometime in the future. When asked if this meant Facebook was drifting closer to Twitter’s real-time focus, Cox said that wasn’t really the case, explaining that “Philosophically, Twitter and Facebook are still quite different in their product assumption and product promise. We’ve always been committed to ranking, just given the core demand of “I don’t want to miss stuff”. Twitter has built a whole ecosystem around not ranking and showing things in real-time. I wouldn’t over-pivot on this feature. We’re not changing the core philosophy.”


These changes and more will be described in Facebook For Business blog posts to increase transparency about News Feed. VP of Product Chris Cox explained that “We’re going to post more frequently on a blog about changes you’ll seeing in the News Feed. This will give a sense of… what we’re optimizing for.”
As I wrote last week, Facebook could help people to refine their own feeds if they improved education about how News Feed works and the tools available to filter, hide, and promote certain stories. Today’s “Whiteboard Session” has given possibly the deepest look into how the feed works yet. It hasn’t discussed much about the tools users can employ to customize their feed, but hopefully we’ll hear more about that in future.