Tag Archives: facebook

Google may be bidding for Waze

Bloomberg:

Google Inc. (GOOG), maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze Inc., setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook Inc. (FB), people familiar with the matter said.

Waze is a really great service, and it would be a shame to see it go to Google. For Google, Waze would be an “acqui-hire” aimed at securing some great mapping engineering talent: it’s unlikely that the service would be kept running separately to (and competing with) Google Maps. At Facebook, on the other hand, Waze would be more likely to end up like Instagram: a semi-autonomous, but linked, service.

The real problem with Google TV

It looks like Logitech is out of the Google TV market:

The mistake, plus “operational miscues in EMEA” cost the company “well over $100M in operating profits.” De Luca did throw Google a bone by saying that he believes Google TV will have a chance sometime in the future, but it would be a “grandchild of Google TV” that would do it. Logitech clearly has no plans to help make that happen, opting instead to sit “on the bench” (as De Luca had put it in an earlier call)  until Google can find success.

The real problem, though is that “Internet on the TV” is not where TV watchers are going. Instead, most TV watching is trending towards being a two-screen experience: you watch the show on the big screen, and chat about it  on Twitter or Facebook using a mobile, laptop or tablet. The idea that you do everything on the same screen is just too ’90s.

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Unhappy with social network real name policies? Do it yourself

Hugh MacLeod:

And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly.i.e. not waiting for the green light. In the blogosphere, the only light IS the green light.

This is something the people complaining about “real names” policies need to remember. If you’re posting content on someone else’s site, you’re playing by someone else’s rules. If you’re not happy about that, don’t keep asking permission – pleading with the king for a “fair” approach won’t get you far. Do it yourself.

What the Goldman Sachs Facebook investment really means

Alan Patrick sees through the hype around Facebook being “worth $50 billion”:

“The one sure thing you can tell from this is that Facebook clearly can’t self fund itself enough for what it needs, even on $2bn turnover a year.”

To put it another way: A web site which has 500 million users, 1/8th of the entire population of the Internet, doesn’t have a business model capable of supporting itself.

There’s something missing in this Eric Schmidt quote

From Google to Add Social-Network Elements – WSJ.com:

“The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data,” Mr. Schmidt said. “Failing that, there are other ways to get that information.” He declined to be specific.

I think Eric meant to say “the best thing that would happen for us is for Facebook to open up its data.” Because it certainly wouldn’t be the best thing for Facebook.

And that “failing that…” sounds like an interesting threat to me, and suggests more clearly than ever that Google is determined to crack open Facebook for its own benefit.

Five things I’m thinking about right now

Following on from Matt, Alice, Ben and Dan

1. Computing is heading towards a new, simplified era.

I’ve written about this before, but fundamentally: we’re on the cusp of a revolution in simplicity. Easy to use touch interfaces are the final piece of the jigsaw, and will devices easier to use than ever before.

2. The most important thing about the iPad is the battery life.

Yes, it’s a lovely screen and runs great apps and its easy to use. But none of this would matter if it didn’t also have the ability to be thrown in a bag at the start of the day and not plugged in again till the end. Not having to consider power makes a massive difference in how usable a device is. It’s the one thing about the iPad that really lifts it from cool toy to essential.

3. When it comes to broadband, speed is less important than always-on.

Yes, it’s great to have 50Mbits/sec pipes into your home. But it’s much, much more of a game-changer when you have 1Mbits/sec on a mobile device that you carry everywhere. Ubiquity trumps speed.

4. In five years time, not using your own name is going to look as old-fashioned as an AOL-style handle now.

Hundreds of millions of users have got used to the idea that they use their own name online, via Facebook. It hasn’t hurt.

5. “The hobbyists” are losing control… and they won’t like it.

Up until now, computing and technology’s culture has been largely determined by a group I call “the hobbyists”. Traditions like anonymity and the primacy of code have been part of the unwritten law of the Internet. That era is dying, and “the hobbyists” don’t like it. Expect culture clashes between this old Internet and the new one.

Over to you…

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Facebook blocking all bit.ly links? UPDATE: Nope.

UPDATE: And it’s fixed. Looks like it was a short-term glitch in the Facebook matrix.

It appears that Facebook has decided that all links using popular link-shortener bit.ly are potentially dangerous – and has blocked them.

Bit.ly blocked on FacebookI’ve tried this with a number of bit.ly URLs, and it appears to be for everything, not just “objectionable” content that bit.ly is linking to.

I’ve got no idea whether this is a mistake on Facebook’s part, an error in their code, or deliberate – I’ll be dropping them a line when I finish this post.

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Sergey Brin on Google Buzz

Sergey Brin On His Six Months Using Google Buzz:

“Extracting signal from noise is one of our core competencies, it’s one of the key things we do in our web search product every day. And I think that now peoples’ personal communications are getting to be on a scale comparable to that of web search, so those technologies are becoming far more critical.”

And this is the bit that I don’t understand about Google Buzz: There are few actual tools to manage the flow of information you’re going to get from it. There’s no tagging of shared items to help filtering. You can’t filter out one type of content from someone you follow, so (for example) you can’t hide Twitters that you might already see in Twitter. And so on.

Overall, I’m fairly upbeat on Buzz as a long-term project. It’s easier to understand and use that the abomination that is Google Wave, and once the initial shouting has stopped, it’s a useful method of link-sharing to contacts. Viewed that way, rather than as some kind of Twitter/Facebook competitor, it’s a nice add-on to Gmail.

And, of course, it will help a lot when every other Buzz isn’t about Buzz.

(Photo of Sergey Brin by jdlasica)

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Idiot post of the day – The Roundup

I’ll keep updating this one as and when they come in. And boy, are they coming in. With the honourable exception of David Pogue, everyone seems to have lost all their critical faculties, journalistic skills, and in some cases basic ability to write English sentences which parse.

First up, Max Tatton-Brown, in his post entitled “Why the Nexus One is not ‘just another Android phone’“, which he begins with:

“Okay, let’s make this clear: The Nexus is just another Android phone.”

It isn’t just another Android phone. But then it is! OK. But it’s from Google, and they play a canny, long-term game which leads to success:

“Furthermore, Google are notorious long-game thinkers. They gradually manoeuvre their way around the industry, insidiously implanting the importance of their products into your everyday lifestyle. It’s viral. For example, Wave. I’m not writing this on Wave, therefore many will be eyeing it up as a bit of a flop. Nonsense, look at the next few years and then we’ll talk.”

Yeah, they’re great at the longterm. I mean look at the success of Lively. Or how they’ve defeated Twitter with Jaiku. And how Orkut has beaten off on the threat of Facebook. Google Video was so successful that who remembers YouTube? Google Notebook is now where everyone stores their notes.

And I’m still playing Dodgeball.

Meanwhile, even the BBC is getting caught up. Maggie Shiels begins her post with:

“Google has said it is defending its online advertising empire with the launch of its own brand mobile phone.”

She then goes on to quote not one but SIX people to confirm this.

Only one problem: None of them work for Google. I haven’t read a single quote from anyone at Google saying it is selling the Nexus One to defend its ad empire. Certainly, there is no such quote on this story.

When I was writing news, my editor would have knocked seven shades of shit out of me for saying that someone said X without a direct quote which said X, preferably in the next paragraph.

More idiocy, no doubt, to follow. I’ll just update this post shall I?

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Are your friends a filter or a firehose? Some musings on Twitter and FriendFeed

I was playing around with FriendFeed – again – and not seeing the point – again, when a thought came to me which I think encapsulates why I don’t get on with it, and why, in fact, I’ll never get on with it.

To start with, consider that social networks like FriendFeed, Twitter and Facebook are all being required to perform a very similar sort of task. The end product is a set of links, comments and conversations which should be relevant to me. That’s the key thing: Social networks should ensure, somehow, that things which reach me are relevant to me.

In FriendFeed, “friends” are actually a firehose. They’re the raw, unedited stream of information, which you then apply all the powerful filtering and management tools that FriendFeed has to. The end product, if you’ve set up your filters right, is all the stuff from that firehose that’s relevant to you.

That’s why FriendFeed perfectly suits Robert Scoble, who is, if he’ll forgive the phrase, the master of the firehose. Robert currently follows over 24,000 people on FriendFeed, and a lot of groups (which means he gets stuff from lots of people he’s not even following). That’s a firehose of information. The filtering, for him, comes after that – not before.

But there’s a different way of performing the same process: Make your friends the filter. On Twitter, I currently follow around 300 people, most of whom I either know from meatspace, have sparred with online for a while, or who are names within my industry who I trust.

Having a selection criteria, rather than just following anyone and everyone, turns my friends into my filter. I trust them to bring me information that’s important: I don’t need to filter them, because they never turn into a firehose.

This is why I look at FriendFeed and go “Huh?”. My friends, my human editors and curators of information, accomplish the same thing as the filtering tools in FriendFeed – they bring me information that’s important to me, filtering our crud. I don’t see that Patrick Swayze has (not) died: I do see the price and release date of the Palm Pre.

The question of which is a better approach makes no sense. For Robert, FriendFeed does the job. He wants to be able to take that firehose, slice and dice the massive stream of data that flows out of it, and find interesting stuff. FriendFeed is a data analysis tool, with “friends” as the source of the data.

My approach works for me. It brings me the information that’s important to me, in a timely fashion, because my human editors act as a filter, not a firehose. The big pool of data is their experiences, their lives, and they filter that for me.

Which approach will win out? Neither. I suspect that the firehose will be more popular with a small crew of geeks, while the “friends-as-filter” will prove to be more popular with everyone else. But we’ll see.

(Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives – http://flic.kr/p/59nVfL)

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