Monthly Archives: February 2011

Microsoft Bing Searches Include Facebook Likes

In an answer to Google’s Twitter searches, Bing makes public likes searchable

Social networking is ubiquitous and the current trend now. It’s all pervading grip has now spread to search engines too. Google already has a social search with Twitter integrated into its results, but what’s lacking is Facebook in the social search arena. However, it isn’t for long because Facebook has partnered with Microsoft and the alliance see’s Facebook “Liked Results” being integrated into Bing searches.

Microsoft’s Bing team blog explains how it works:

While we are very excited to talk about our next development, we’re all aware that it’s all part of a longer journey. This is the first time in human history that people are leaving social traces that machines can read and learn from, and present enhanced online experiences based on those traces. As people spend more time online and integrate their offline and online worlds, they will want their friends’ social activity and their social data to help them in making better decisions. Integrating with Twitter data 16 months ago was one step, and exploring Facebook’s rich streams is another.

For those concerned about privacy, only the publicly liked links will be available on the search engine, but that still leaves the possibility of unsolicited likes by friends being included in the links. However, that is a moot point because the whole point of friend system is to have people you trust. Moreover, Bing mentions that not all Facebook “Liked Results” will not show up in searches. The partnership harks to a new trend of the social foray of the two players in the search engine market.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Becomes a Comic Book Hero

New 48-pager comic book to paint him in a fair light

The youngest billionaire, Time magazine’s controversial Person of the Year, and the king of the social networking Mark Zuckerberg is finally getting the ultimate in American hero worship – the Comic Book treatment in the form of a 48-pager comic book titled ‘Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook‘ trade paperback. Written by freelance writer Jerome Maida for BlueWater comics, the book goes on sale today.

“Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet and created something that has already had a profound impact on the world. Yet hardly anyone knows much about him. It’s amazing,” says Maida about the comic book.

Most of you may be considering Zuckerberg out of character in the role of a comic book hero; a comic book villain would be more like it, especially in the light of him being portrayed as a back-stabbing manipulator in the recent movie The Social Network and his numerous autobiographies. However, Jerome Maida intends to paint the man in a “fair” light, as opposed to people’s perception about him.

He elaborates, “Rightly or wrongly, Mark dealt harshly with some people on his way to where he is today. As we see, he left many people feeling betrayed. I try my best to be fair here.” The book releases today in major comic book stores in U.S., and can also be ordered online from here.  The comic book has already been optioned for an upcoming short film.

Facebook Blocks Breakup Notifier

Accuses the application of being ‘spammy’

Within just a few days of reporting about Facebook‘s controversial new Breakup Notifier application, the social networking website has shut it down. The application, which would allow users to keep a track on the relationship status of their crushes, got a rousing response with over a million users making a beeline for it. Facebook, however, has blocked the application. Not only that, but developer Dan Loewenherz’s personal account has been deleted from Facebook as well.

Facebook conveyed the developer through an e-mail that the Breakup Notifier application is being banned because various factors like algorithms and user feedback (which seem least likely in this case) makes it perceive the application as being “spammy”.  The message reads:

“To ensure positive user experiences on Platform, we run routine automated screens that take user feedback, machine learning and various algorithms into account and remove spammy applications. For example, if an application is making an inordinate number of stream.publish calls and receiving a large number of user reports, it may be removed by our automated systems to protect the user experience and the Platform ecosystem.”

The developer Loewenherz got no response from Facebook, but he’s already made it clear that he’s keen to do whatever Facebook requires of him, to comply with the policies and get Breakup Notifier unblocked. “We’re willing to comply with whatever they want us to (within reason).” Facebook spokesperson finally gave an official statement about the application ban to Techcrunch, which said, “We have automated systems in place to ensure apps on Facebook Platform provide a positive user experience, and we’re currently looking into the issue with ‘Breakup Notifier'”.

However, what we can’t get our heads around is why Facebook had to delete his account? The timing of the app and his account getting shut down is too peculiar to dismiss as a coincidence. Whatever may be the reason, we hope the two parties resolve the issue. We believe in the face of the bad press attributed to the privacy fiascos last year, Facebook seems to be playing overly safe.

Facebook Gets Breakup Notifier App

An app that’ll make Barney Stintson proud

The dating game is cruel, and hot guys and girls don’t stay single for long. It’s a jungle out there and you have to act fast, before someone makes a move. So with a burgeoning friend list populated with hundreds of eligible mates, how do you keep track of potential marks? Developer Dan Loewenherz has found a way to make your life better with the Breakup Notifier App for Facebook.

This nifty little application lets you create a watch list of sorts containing all those who you covet, but aren’t available at the moment. It’s simple how it works; after populating the apps with the objects of your unrequited affection, it monitors their relationship status. As soon as the status changes to single, an alarm goes off in your stalker cave. Well, not exactly, but the app notifies you that your potential mate has just broken up and therefore a great opportunity for you to play the rebound (wo)man.

The good book may tell you not to covet your neighbor’s wife, but the Breakup Notifier app is just the workaround for that rule. So what are you waiting for? Click here to get the app.

Facebook – The face of Egypt’s revolution!!!

An Egyptian father has proudly named his daughter “facebook”. According to Al-Ahram(one of the most popular newspapers in Egypt), he did so in tribute to the role the social media service played in organizing the protests in Tahrir Square and beyond.

Wael Ghonim, “We Are Khaled Said” Facebook page showed up within 5 days of Said’s death in June and served as a hub for dissidence against Egyptian police brutality and anti-government protests until Mubarak’s resignation. Other activist pages like “Tahrir Square” cropped up shortly afterward. There are five million Facebook users in Egypt, more so than any other country in the Middle East/North Africa region. Facebook itself has reported an increase in Egyptian users in the past month, with 32,000 Facebook groups and 14,000 pages created in the two weeks after January 25th .

Facebook has become the umbrella symbol for how social media can spread the message of freedom. There was a graffiti in Cairo that said “Thank you Facebook” as a protest sign and Wael Ghonim himself personally expressed his gratitude to Mark Zuckerberg on CNN.

Twitter’s Blank Page – @anywhereboosh

Twitter is having little trouble in the past days. Many of its users are unwillingly being directed to a page names @anywhereboosh . This is causing enough frustration and complaints are pouring in from across the globe.

Users are being directed to a blank screen and an absurd error message flashes. Although the issue related to the delay in posting tweets was thankfully resolved many are still complaining about being directed to a blank screen. Users have also pointed out that the link for accessing the old twitter and the link for their home page is also being redirected to the blank page.

It was unusually quite in the otherwise fast and noisy blogosphere.

The problem is affecting both the websites and the clients. Some clients are also noticing a cluster of unwanted tweets in bottom of a specific Tweetdeck search. Although the twitter officials say that the problem is being resolved but they are unable to specify a reason. From the looks of it this seems like an ongoing problem.

Twitter Debunks Google-Facebook Takeover Rumours

CEO Dick Costolo questions if Google can afford Twitter; hints towards a new revenue generation model

After a Wall Street Journal report claimed low level talks between Facebook and Google executives about acquisition of Twitter, the Internet saw a great hue and cry about another big corporation assimilating a smaller one. However, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has debunked the rumours. Speaking at the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC), he denounced the rumours by stating, “People write that stuff all the time. I don’t know where these things come from, it’s just a rumour.” Costolo punctuated the statement by asking if Google could afford a $10 billion acquisition. Ouch.

Addressing the media at the MWC in Barcelona, Costolo spoke about Twitter s revenue model, claiming that Twitter was making money through the existing means of promoted tweets, accounts and trends. He also mentioned that Twitter will launch a new method of monetising the microblogging website this year; although, no details were provided about the new revenue generation scheme. He dismissed the persistent queries about Twitter s monetisation by stating, “Every time I have an interview I am asked when we’re going to make money. The short answer is we’re already making money.”

Google Social Search gets Tweaked

Now has more control over adding accounts privately

Search giant Google has made yet another tweak to its search engine and added Social Search results to its main search results. Earlier, Social Search results used to appear at the bottom of the page but now they will appear anywhere in the search results based on the relevance of the links.

Two years back, Google had introduced the integration of relevant public content based on the user’s social circle and called that experimental feature Social Search. This social circle comprises of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed or LinkedIn along with websites linked in user’s Google Profile, and also the Contacts list in Gmail.

Adding Social Network links and content was already started with Bing and then immediately Google followed the same. In order to throw more personalized search results, Google has been making changes in its search engine and pretty much everything that is connected to it like the user’s account and location.

Google Social Search gets three major changes which would be reflected in the search results. Firstly, you get better control to connect your accounts to Google Profiles privately. This would certainly help many users to connect their Twitter and/or LinkedIn profiles to get more relevant search results based the social circle.

And finally, users would see annotations for the links that have been shared users of Twitter and other sites. For instance, if Techtree has shared a link via Twitter, then the annotation will appear with a small thumbnail of Techtree’s display image and text Techtree has shared this link via Twitter.

To conclude it all, Google Social Search has been tweaked to be a part of the main lot of search results with clear annotations about user who shared the link and finally more privacy control is enabled for connecting other site accounts. The update will appear in English only for the time being and Google will be rolling it out through this week.

Internet Explorer 9 Final May Release on March 16

Beauty of the Web event hinting at something major related to IE9

Last week, Microsoft rolled out the first Release Candidate of Internet Explorer 9 web browser. Apparently, the software giant is gearing up for the web browser war that seems to be heating up slowly. Neowin reported about a media invite being sent out about Microsoft holding Beauty of the Web event, again. Microsoft’s IE9 team would be hosting the event so we certainly anticipate IE9 final announcement. Microsoft held IE9 Beta announcement event with the same name – Beauty of the Web in September 2010.

Co-incidentally, Mozilla is also expected to release the Firefox 4.0 final version in March. Today, Google Chrome 10 matured to Beta stage and version 11.10 developer build was released. Yes, there’s no end to new versions of desktop web browsers.

We shall wait till March 14 to see if Microsoft will announce IE9 final or some eye-candy feature related to the same.

IE 9

Former WikiLeaks Partners to Start Openleaks

With the big brother closing in on beleaguered WikiLeaks architect Julian Assange, his former partners at the project are deserting him for a similar project. Christened Openleaks, the new non-profit organisation is founded by the former associates of Assange at WikiLeaks. The erstwhile partners claim, on the condition of anonymity, that Assange’s high-handed approach is what made them break off into a separate entity.

Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter quoted one of the founders, “As a short-term goal, this is about completing the technical infrastructure and ensuring that the organization continues to be democratically governed by all its members, rather than limited to one group or individual.” The ex-partners claim Assange’s personal problems disrupted WikiLeaks from its goals. They contended that his experiences from the past were motivating his autocratic approach in pursuing issues without taking the collective into consideration.

In a clear departure from WikiLeaks’ ethos, Openleaks will not directly publish the exposes. It will instead pass on the same to independent media entities. Openleaks intends to position itself as a neutral mediator with no political agenda. According to them, this will shield them from government wrath. The basic idea behind the move is to place the burden of editing and authenticating the information to third parties. The governments and other entities at the receiving will then have to contend with the independent media, which Openleaks believes would be more resilient against such pressures.

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