Facebook plans to introduce “lite” version

Posted on August 12, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

facebooklitepreview

A large number of Facebook users received a message yesterday, telling them they’d been invited to test something called Facebook Lite. The messages turned out to be an accident, and the users who received them couldn’t sign up. Because nobody’s seen it yet, there’s still a lot of speculation about what Facebook Lite actually is.

Facebook’s recent acquisition of FriendFeed has led some people to believe that Facebook Lite is a bare-bones, status-updates-only version of Facebook, designed to compete with Twitter. Although this would make some sense, TechCrunch says it’s the wrong answer. Based on information that Facebook Lite is already being tested in India, they’re reporting that Facebook Lite is just a slimmer, low-bandwidth version of the site, targeted for users whose Internet connections are too slow to properly use the current version.

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Now on Twitter, Facebook, 65-Year-Old Smokey the Bear Is Young at Heart

Posted on August 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , , , |

 Nearly everyone is familiar with the big, brown, fuzzy bear who reminds us that “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

 The U.S. Forest Service mascot celebrates his 65th birthday in August 2009.smokey the bear

(ABC News Photo Illustration)

The sweet, but serious Smokey, also known as Smokey the Bear, is America’s most well-known wildfire prevention icon, and today, people across the nation are honoring Smokey on his 65th birthday.

The U.S. Forest Service mascot represents one of the longest running public service announcement campaigns in U.S. history and has taken his popularity to a new level.

Now, kids can interact with Smokey and the Forest Service through interactive games and programs on the USFS Web site.

Smokey also has a fan page on Facebook with more than 7,000 fans. Several Smokey the Bear groups are also sprinkled throughout Facebook, such as “I Support Smokey the Bear” and the “Smokey the Bear Fan Club.”

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Facebook Flips The Switch On Real-Time Search, Goes After Twitter Where It Hurts

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News | Tags: , , |

By Jason Kincaid, Tech crunch

Facebook

Just hours after we broke the news that Facebook had acquired FriendFeed comes Facebook’s announcement that it’s deploying its improved search product to everyone. This improved search functionality, which has been in testing since June, gives users the ability to search through shared media and status updates from their friends and the Pages they follow. And, perhaps more importantly, it lets users search through updates shared to ‘everyone’. The gloves are off — Facebook is going after Twitter where it hurts.

The new search will be a breath of fresh air to anyone who has previously tried to search Facebook for, well, anything. Under the old system, users had to browse through clunky categories to find their results, and there wasn’t a way to search though status updates or shared items at all. Now you’ll be able to simply click through different tabs on the left side of the page to jump between different categories, much as your would jump between Friends List on the Facebook News Feed. Another change is the way Facebook lets users ‘Search The Web’ — now these results are shown as a filter, rather than on their own page. And Facebook has also changed the search engine from Live.com to Bing, Microsoft’s rebranded and improved search engine.

These changes are especially important because search has long been one area where Facebook fell well behind Twitter. Twitter Search has become an amazing tool for finding the most up-to-date information on a variety of topics, including everything from breaking news to movie reviews. Facebook has slowly been making headway in this area by allowing users to share status updates with ‘everyone‘ (before that only your friends could see status updates). But until now there hasn’t been an easy way to actually search through those public updates, which made the feature useless to most people.

Now you’ll be able to jump over to Facebook search, click ”Posts By Everyone” and use it in much the same way you would use Twitter Search. You’ll see a list of matching updates from other users on Facebook, and a message at the top of the screen will update in real-time, alerting you as new updates containing your query come in.

For the time being it looks like Facebook isn’t promoting the feature too heavily — the ‘Posts By Everyone’ is the last item in the list of search filters, and I suspect that Facebook has relatively few users who are sharing their updates with the public in the first place. That will likely change soon though, as Facebook is planning to roll out a new suite of privacy options that will suggest that users begin sharing some of their data publicly.

Facebook’s 250+ million active users still dwarfs Twitter’s userbase, so even if only a small fraction of them begin using these new features, it won’t be hard for Facebook to become a serious contender in the real-time search race.

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New Facebook iPhone App “Pretty Much Done”

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Apple, Facebook News | Tags: , , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

As one of the most popular applications on Apple’s popular iPhone platform, a lot of users are eagerly awaiting the next version of the app. And that wait is almost over. iphoneshot2

The app is pretty much done – we’re just working on translating it into a bunch of languages,” Facebook developer Joe Hewitt wrote tonight on Twitter.

That means that shortly, we’ll have access to the much-improved app which is scheduled to have features such as a News Feed that is more like the one on Facebook’s site, the ability to “like” items and a new customizable home screen. More importantly, it will also have video support for the iPhone 3GS, something which Hewitt threw-in at the last second, unexpectedly. And perhaps best of all, the app will have the ability to manage events, finally.

But don’t get too worked up just yet. We asked Hewitt if “pretty much done” meant next week perhaps. His response: “Can’t be sure – translating could take a while. I’ve been avoiding predicting an actual release date“. And of course even when the app is done, Facebook still has to submit it for approval in the App Store, and as we all know, that can be a crapshoot. We could see it next week, we could see it 6 months from now. Though, Apple does seem to do a pretty good job pushing important apps like this one through quickly. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Facebook is also finally working on an Android app. That should drop any day now.

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iTunes 9: Blu-ray And App Organization And Twitter

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News, Gadget News, Music | Tags: , , , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

This is completely a rumor, but an awesome one. Citing a “pretty reliable” source, Boy Genius Report is saying that the next version of iTunes will add a bunch of new, highly requested features. Specificially, BGR’s source says iTunes 9 features Blu-ray support, a new way to organize iPhone apps within iTunes, as well some kind of integration with Twitter, Facebook and possibly Last.fm. iTunes

Each of those features have been talked about for some time now on the web. But as BGR notes, the talk of Blu-ray does line itself up well with an AppleInsider report from yesterday that very vaguely suggested Apple has new iMacs due shortly with features that have long been on the wish-lists of Mac owners. Blu-ray is certainly on that list, and seems like a pretty good candidate, despite Steve Jobs’ calling the format a “bag of hurt” as recently as October of last year.

More compelling may be the talk of a new way to organize iPhone/iPod touch apps in iTunes. This has been badly needed ever since it became clear that people were downloading a ton of apps to use on one device. Currently, system for managing them within iTunes is quite franktly, awful. The concept video posted at the bottom of this story shows how it really should work.

BGR says the Twitter/Facebook/Last.fm stuff from its tip was more vague, but you can imagine that if such features were integrated it would involve tweeting out or updating your Facebook status with what song you are listening to. It’s possible that for Last.fm, iTunes would build-in support for logging what songs you are playing, something which Last.fm currently does through its own software.

The Twitter angle is also interesting because of the rumors of talks between the two companies a few months ago. We were unable to confirm those rumors, but perhaps the two sides did meet to talk about something like this. Obviously, that’s just speculation.

Apple has worked with Facebook in the past to get support for uploading pictures built-in to the newest version of iPhoto. The integration is pretty slick as it also allows you to tag Facebook friends in pictures, and keeps edits made on both iPhoto and Facebook in sync.

And just imagine if Apple made a feature not only to send the name of a currently playing song to Twitter and Facebook, but if it included a link to buy the song on iTunes as well. That could mean some significant sales.

While we’re speculating, I would also love to see a Genius feature for iPhone apps, something which I talked about the need for recently.

Again, these are all just rumors for now, but we could see if they’re true or not as early as next month when it’s likely that Apple will hold some kind of iPod even, just like it does every September.

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TweetDeck beats Twhirl to the punch, adds Facebook support

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News, Twitter News | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews

tweetdeck

If you’ve been using TweetDeck without a dual-display setup, it’s just about time for you to make a purchase. With newly-announced support for Facebook, you’re going to need some more real estate. The release comes two short days after Twhirl frontman Loic Le Meur announced that Seesmic had released a standalone Facebook app which, like TweetDeck, is built on Adobe Air.

Setup involves logging in to Facebook and the usual two or three clicks afterwards. Once completed, you’ll have a new panel showing your Facebook friends’ updates and a checkbox next to the update field to enable posting to Facebook. Curiously, TweetDeck includes the ability to email or tweet Facebook updates, something which doesn’t necessarily jive with Facebook’s TOS.

For now, that’s about it for functionality. You can’t, for example, send replies. With TweetDeck’s history of Twitter kung-fu there will likely be plenty of enhancements in the coming months.

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Facebook’s Real-Time Homepage Goes Live Today

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News | Tags: , |

By Jason Kincaid

newfbshot

Today Facebook is rolling out the update to user homepages that brings a new look, enhanced filter system, and most importantly, realtime updating. Real-time updates are Facebook’s response to Twitter, which has been able to thrive on offering users immediate updates from their friends and favorite celebrities (Facebook’s original News Feed took hours to update).

The new design also includes an emphasis on sharing media and links with friends. Before now the Facebook homepage offered a “What are you doing now?” message nestled at the top. This has now been replaced with Facebook’s ‘Publisher’ interface, which lets users share status updates, photos and links, as well as content from their Facebook Apps.

Because the real-time stream will only display items for a brief period of time (depending on how many friends you have), Facebook is using a new ‘Highlights’ sidebar to show some of the older stories that it thinks you’ll probably be interested in (it sounds similar to the old News Feed).

Facebook’s blog post on the update notes that the new homepage will be deployed over the coming days, so it may still be awhile before you can try it out for yourself.

Initial Impressions
I’m apparently among the first to have the update. So how does it work?
It feels a lot more like Twitter. The whole page focuses around conversations, which isn’t a bad thing at all (I’m noticing fewer items around photos and events)
Items may be posted in real time, but it doesn’t seem like the page updates as the items come in (I’m having to refresh to see new content)
The Highlights section doesn’t exactly do a great job at highlighting news stories. With only a narrow column to work with the stories don’t stand out. And with so little real-estate, sponsored items (which are basically just ads) are more irritating.
The ability to filter the News Feed by Friend Lists is great (I can’t believe we’ve gone this long without it) You actually could filter by Friend Lists in the old version, though the feature was less visible. You can also ‘x’ out friends you never want to see appear in your News Feed again.

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Facebook Developers Getting Antsy Over Verified Apps Program

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News | Tags: , |

By Michael Arrington, Techcrunch

verified

Facebook’s Verified Apps program, first announced in Summer 2008, is a way for trusted application developers to be separated from the pack. But the program is yet to launch, and perceived delays and a lack of communication by Facebook is making some developers who signed up for the program a little antsy.

The details of the program were announced in November. Developers are charged $375 to apply to the program, and must continue to pay the fee each year. I called it a protection racket.

Putting that aside, though, the program seems to be very popular with developers. Facebook hasn’t said how many applications they received but they initially estimated that at least 10% of of the 50,000+ third paryty applications on Facebook Platform would become Verified. My guess is 10% is on the low side.

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Myspace for BlackBerry gets updated to v1.5

Posted on March 8, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Greg Kumparak, Mobilecrunch.com

myspace_blackberry

Not looking the soon-to-be-released Facebook for BlackBerry v1.5 get all the glory, Myspace has gone and loosed v1.5 of their own application. Our BlackBerry handset is giving us all sorts of trouble right now, so we’re not having any luck testing it out for ourselves – so let us know in the comments how it is.

What’s new:

· Friend Updates: Users can now view their MySpace Friend Updates from within the application, and click on a thumbnail of a photo in the Friend Updates to be taken to a full screen version

· Enhanced updates and messaging: Instantaneous mobile notifications and messaging (no lag time between receiving a message online and on mobile). Users can also save a composed message/bulletin as a draft, delete and open a saved draft message to edit/send the message, and view or hide sent items

· Enhanced band profiles: Bands can add tour dates and more profile bits to their profiles, like Upcoming Shows (displays more details on the show such as venue, date, address and cost)

· Support for French, German, Italian and Spanish languages

Grab the new app at mobile.blackberry.com if you’re on your BlackBerry, or blackberry.com/myspace if you’d rather get it through your desktop.

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Indie Facebook Developers Pulling In Over $700,000 A Month

Posted on March 7, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News | Tags: , , , |

By Jason Kincaid, Techcrunch.com

facebookThe mass media may be enamored of the rags-to-riches stories of developers on Apple’s App Store, but it isn’t the only game in town for indie developers to strike it rich. We’ve gotten word from SocialMedia, a popular ad platform for social network applications, that one of the company’s clients pulled in over $700,000 in advertising revenues from their Facebook apps in December alone. Granted, this was spread over 30+ of the client’s applications, but the company only consists of a handful of (very prolific) developers.

While SocialMedia declined to name the company in question, it confirmed that it was not one of the large social application developers like Playfish, SGN, and Zynga who have raised large funding rounds and have been rumored to pull in over $1 million a month.

The news reaffirms Facebook’s position alongside the iPhone as a place to get rich quick (at least for a lucky few). SocialMedia also notes that it has several other independent clients who are making over $100,000 a month. Of course, such results are uncommon, but no more so than they are on the App Store.

Also worth noting is that these revenues are entirely based on advertising, while most of the success stories we’ve heard on the App Store have been from premium apps. Facebook isn’t likely to unveil its own premium apps any time soon, but if it ever gets around to launching the payment platform it announced last year, these success stories will probably become far more common.

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Facebook Apps Can Now Use Chat To Go Viral

Posted on March 6, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News | Tags: , , |

By Jason Kincaid, Techcrunch.com

fbgameshot

Facebook has just announced that applications on Facebook Platform can now be able to take advantage of the site’s built-in chat functionality, which launched last spring. Developers will now be able to present users with a list of their Facebook Chat buddies, tailoring the list to best suit their application (for example, they can choose to only present friends that already have the app installed).

Facebook users have been able to use Chat and their Facebook apps simultaneously since Chat launched (one of its biggest selling points is that it remains open at the bottom of the screen, no matter where on the site you go). But until now applications didn’t really have a way to tap into the power of Facebook Chat to help make their applications more social.

Aside from adding an enhanced social element to applications, the new feature could also help apps go viral much more quickly than they would using the standard Email invite system most Facebook apps employ. Developers can now present users with a list their friends who are online (even those that don’t necessarily have their apps installed), who they can then send invites via chat messages. Invites sent over chat have a greater sense of urgency and intimacy, so it’s likely that they’ll be more effective than invites sent through the site’s Email system.

Of course, integration with Chat gives apps on Facebook yet another way to try to spam you. In the dark ages of Platform, when every app seemed to spam users with reckless abandon, I might have been more concerned about this, but I suspect Facebook already has some measures in place to prevent abuse. And even if they don’t, you can always just sign out of Chat if things get bad.

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Facebook’s Response To Twitter

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News, Twitter News | Tags: , |

By Erick Schonfeld – Techcrunch.com

fb-homepage

Facebook made a number of announcements today about changes to its home page, profile pages, and activity streams. Taken together, these represent a concerted response to the rise of Twitter as a real-time message broadcasting system that goes beyond members’ personal circle of friends.

One of the biggest changes is that Facebook is getting rid of the distinction between private profiles and public pages. The 5,000-friend limit will be dropped from the public pages. Facebook doesn’t want Twitter to become the way large companies and public figures connect to fans. Up until now, Facebook Pages haven’t really been the place fans go to connect with their favorite celebrities or brands. For that, they’ve started going to Twitter, where they can get updates in real time.

Facebook is also speeding up the updates that populate the news feeds on everyone’s personal page. Before, these would be updated every 10 minutes or so. Facebook’s introduction of real-time updates and a one-sided follow system mimics Twitter’s functionality. While it may be a little late to this part of the game, its user base of 175 million dwarf’s Twitter’s. Explains CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

What we’re talking about today, is that there’s a philosophical change in that we want to converge these public figures (which are one way) and friends (two way connections).

Throughout the press conference Facebook emphasized the importance of the activity stream along with the social graph (which is the map of social connections between members). Chris Cox, Facebook’s director of product development, put it this way:

The stream is what is happening. We think it is as core as the graph. The graph is the connections, the stream is what is happening.

These changes will become evident front-and-center on the homepage. Says Zuckerberg:

With the new homepage, that will reflect a much faster flow of information.

The redesigned homepage will allow users to sort through and filter their feed more easily. Updates will be able to be filtered by groups, specific friends, family, or by applications. A new publishing box for sharing updates will incorporate the ability to add not just status notes, but also links, photos, and videos. A new widget will highlight items from friends and other connections members interact with the most. In this way, Facebook is trying to strike a balance between its traditional strength as a private communication system and the increasingly public connections being made on the service as well.

On the surface these may seem like evolutionary changes, but the stakes are high. Facebook is trying to shore itself up as the foundation for a living, rapid-fire Web where the line between private messages and public content is blurred. Under no cisrcumstances does it want to cede the thought stream of its users to Twitter. Instead of asking, “What are you doing right now?”, the new status update box asks, “What’s on your mind?” Mix in Facebook Connect, and these thought streams can be collected from all over the Web.

Despite its already considerable size, Facebook is showing how adept it can be in responding to new threats. If Facebook cannot buy Twitter, it will try to beat it instead.

newprofile1

fb-constituents

pages-to-profiels

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Screen Shots: The New Facebook Home Page

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News | Tags: , |

By Michael Arrington – Techcrunch.com

fbhome

Here’s a clean look at the upcoming Facebook homepage redesign that will go live next week. The new design will give users the ability to easily feed the news stream by friend type and network, and gives users a much easier way to post links, photos and videos. The news feed will also begin updating in real time without page refreshes. See more here. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also wrote a blog post summarizing the changes here.

More screenshots below. The third one shows the new home page compared to the existing version.

homepage

homepage1

newprofile

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Facebook announces upcoming homepage redesign

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder – Downloadsquad.com

facebook-old-and-new

Facebook plans to launch a new homepage, with a focus on activity streams. The social networking site has long had a section called the “news feed” which provides updates from your network of contacts. But the difference between that feed and the new stream is that users will start seeing updates on their homepages in real time.

You’ll also be able to adjust what’s displayed in your activity stream by using a navigation menu on the left side of the screen to filter results by groups or specific applications. For example, if you only want information about what books your friends have read recently, you just click on the appropriate app in the sidebar.

Facebook is also making Pages more like user profiles, which means you can get status updates from page owners. This will also let users have more than 5,000 friends by creating a Page.

The new features will be available via a preview page later today. The goal is to push them out to all users next Wednesday.

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Sync Facebook photos with Apple’s Address Book

Posted on March 2, 2009. Filed under: Apple, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway

addressbooksyncBack in the day — OK, 2007 — there was a spiffy little OS X app called Facebook Sync that pulled down your friends’ contact info and added it to Address Book on your Mac. This was especially brilliant if you used iChat, because screen names would be imported so you could chat with most of your Facebook friends before there was a Facebook Chat. But Facebook Sync turned out to be too good to be true when Facebook decided it violated their Terms of Service. Address Book Sync partially fills the void by allowing you to bulk-add your FB contacts to Address Book — minus the contact info.

What good is it if you can’t sync screennames and email addresses? Well, you can still sync photos and birthdays, and at least you’ll have an Address Book entry for each Facebook contact. Also, if you already like the photo you have in your Address Book for one of your friends, you can uncheck a box to have Address Book Sync leave it alone. If your phone can sync contacts with Address Book, this is also a fast way to have people’s photos show up when they call you. Address Book Sync works brilliantly and doesn’t violate the terms of service. Now, if I could just figure out a way to add contact info to all these new entries …

Source: downloadsquad

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Facebook Pages Redesign Coming

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Jason Kincaid

facebooklogo5Facebook launched Facebook Ads in November 2007 to give brands and businesses a way to create a presence on Facebook and interact with users. Starting next week, says a source with knowledge of the new product, those pages will be substantially redesigned.

Today there are countless pages (example) that highlight brands. These pages are free to set up, and the Facebook sales team then encourages those brands to buy Facebook ads that point back to the pages. The brands get users who become fans of the page and maybe leave a wall comment. Facebook gets ad dollars, and users never leave the Facebook site.attpage

Those pages include standard Facebook features like a Wall for user comments, a News Feed showing changes and updates to the page, and places for photos and videos to be uploaded. Many advertisers also spend a great deal of money customize the page with applications and widgets showing off various products as well.

Look for a much more streamlined look to Facebook Pages next week though, with a multitab interface very similar to what Facebook launched to users in 2008. The default view will show the Wall (which may include negative comments unless they are routinely deleted). All the custom apps will be pushed to a second Boxes tab. The Pages will also likely mirror the look of normal user profiles, with an image in the top left corner, etc.

The Facebook sales team is soft selling the concept to advertisers now, some of whom aren’t pleased with the changes, we’ve heard. Many of these advertisers have spent significant money designing the pages, and lots more on top advertising the Pages through Facebook. Now the Pages will be changed. Users may love the changes and interact more with the pages. Or they may not. As usual with changes at Facebook, people (in this case advertisers) will scream bloody murder, and then likely settle down.

The timing on the change doesn’t seem to be a coincidence – MySpace recently announced that they’ll be launching their own business profile product in the near future. As with last year’s stacked announcements on data sorta-portability, both companies want to be first with new products and features.

Source: techcrunch

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Ning Launches Rich, Persistent Chat Feature

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Jason Kincaid

ningchat

Tonight Ning will introduce new chat functionality, giving Ning network administrators the oft-requested ability to integrate a rich chat environment similar to the one launched on Facebook last April. Ning’s new chat system is Flash-based, presenting users with a persistent chat bar along the bottom of their screens as they browse through a Ning network. Users have the option of chatting through an interface at the bottom of their screen, or can ‘pop-out’ their chats into their own windows. While the interface will remain consistent across each network, users won’t be able to chat with members outside of the Ning network they’re currently browsing.

Ning originally introduced a more basic chat feature last summer, but that version uses either dedicated chat pages or sidebar iFrames, which means they aren’t always visible as users navigate through a network. But even the basic version has proven to be very successful – Ning’s chat traffic has skyrocketed, as seen in the Compete graph below pitting Ning’s IM domain against Meebo’s homepage. To be fair, the graph probably doesn’t take into account Meebo’s traffic that occurs offsite (Quantcast reports that Meebo’s entire network sees more like 12 million uniques), but it’s clear that Ning Chat is rapidly gaining traction.

Aside from its growth in chat, Ning has also been posting some impressive stats recently, growing to 4.8 million uniques in January (a 368% growth year over year) despite the fact that the site recently banned porn networks, which some believed were responsible for a significant amount of Ning’s traffic.

ningchart

Source: techcrunch

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Facebook Now Growing By Over 700,000 Users A Day

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: |

By Nick O’Neill

fb-growthFacebook’s growth does not appear to be slowing by any means. Appearing for an interview on the Today show in a bold red tie earlier today, Mark Zuckerberg told Matt Lauer that the site is growing by more than 5 million users a week globally and more than one million a week in the United States. This is unprecedented growth for the social network which now attracts over 10 percent of the global internet population to its site.

While the company has yet to come up with its breakthrough monetization model, it’s clear that its growth trumps all other social networks currently. As Eric Eldon highlights Mark Zuckerberg, “says Facebook is differentiating itself through things like easy photo-sharing (it has more than a billion photos shared per month) and privacy controls so people can make sure those who are most special in their lives can see certain information others can’t.”

While the growth continues to be phenomenal, I recently articulated the risk that Twitter presents to the immensely dominant social network. It’s hard to dismiss the rapid growth that Facebook is experiencing though and part of the core value Facebook presents may be its ability to stay in touch with our closest friends as the Economist highlighted yesterday.

At the beginning of the year, I estimated that Facebook would surpass 300 million users by the end of the year, and with 200 million users right around the corner, 300 million may be underestimated. With the numbers stated by Mark Zuckerberg it’s hard to avoid how dominant of a force Facebook is rapidly becoming. All I can say at this point is: wow.

Source: allfacebook

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Facebook adopts new principles, asks for user feedback

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway

facebookprinciples

After a move to draconian terms of service that included taking ownership of practically all user content, Facebook caught such a big backlash from users that it had to roll back to the old terms. Now Mark Zuckerberg has posted on the Facebook blog with some info about how Facebook will handle its terms of use going forward. The plan is to proceed according to some new “principles” and solicit user feedback about changes.

So, what are these principles?

Well, in spite of the misstep toward owning user data, one of Facebook’s new principles is that users own their own content. The others are equality (same terms for every user), free flow of information, freedom to share, no more arbitrary removal of accounts, and transparency about future plans and changes.

Comments are open now on these proposed principles, and on the corresponding new “rights and responsibiities” document.

Source: downloadsquad

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Yahoo SearchMonkey Adds Facebook Profile Actions Into Search Results

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: Yahoo | Tags: , , , |

By Erick Schonfeld

yhooo-fb-search

Yahoo just embedded some Facebook functionality directly into its search results via SearchMonkey. When you search for a person on Yahoo, if they have a public Facebook profile, a link to that profile will appear in results, along with a photo and several actions you can take. these include adding them as a friend, “poking” them, sending them a message, and viewing their friends.

You can see how it looks like in the image above, which shows results for Yahoo marketing VP Raj Gossain. The blue links under his name are the actions you can take. These are similar to the deep links SearchMonkey added to Yahoo Search for Wikipedia results.

The links save you at least one step. But I’ve also noticed that the Facebook profile is often far down the results page. I wonder if this will help to change that. By all rights, Facebook should be the default people search, whether on Facebook or on search engines like Yahoo and Google.

Source: techcrunch

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Import Facebook Photos Into Your iPhone Contact List with Photo Phonebook

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: iPhone, Mobile World, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Erick Schonfeld

photophone-jill

How much overlap is there between your Facebook “friends” and the real contacts in your mobile phone’s address book? If those two world’s align and you have an iPhone, you might want to check out a nifty utility called Photo Phonebook (iTunes link). It finds the matches between the people in your iPhone’s contact list and your Facebook friends and downloads their Facebook profile photos. (Right now, there is a limit of 100 photo downloads because of memory constraints on the iPhone, but the developers are working to fix that).

Next time a Facebook friend calls, their Facebook photo appears on your iPhone. It also appears in the address book. When your friends change their profile photos on Facebook, they change on your iPhone as well. HotorNot founder James Hong, who is an adviser to the developers behind the app, says:

The novel idea is for people to basically start publishing their picture to other people’s phones, taking control of what picture represents them. Sort of like if you could control the ringtone that plays when you called someone, rather than them setting it.

Photos taken with the iPhone can also be published directly to Photo Phonebook’s directory. The plan is support more phones in the future, and other image sources ranging from photos to avatars. This seems like the type of feature Facebook itself should make available through its mobile apps. It would also be much more useful if you could download and sync phone numbers between your Facebook contact list and your mobile phone. But then you might actually have to talk to some of your so-called Facebook friends.

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Source: techcrunch

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Google Friend Connect Hooks Up With Blogger

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: Google, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

by Robin Wauters

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Google has integrated Friend Connect with its weblog publishing service Blogger. Essentially, this enables people to start following (i.e. subscribing to) blogs using their Google, Yahoo, AIM or OpenID accounts and turns Blogger more into a social network than a straightforward blog publishing service.

Blogs that you follow will be listed in your Blogger profile and the integration will also leverage existing relationships, meaning you’ll be able to quickly see if your friends are also following those blogs.

The integration was announced on Google’s new Social Web Blog, and the post promises more goodies in the future:

And this is just the first step in the integration, so be sure to stay tuned for further improvements, including an easy way to add OpenSocial gadgets through Blogger and the integration of the commenting features.

Here’s a video:

Just two weeks ago, Google introduced what it calls the Social Bar, a way for webmasters to include a small strip on top of their web pages and to enable them to add links for drop-down gadgets that lets visitors do things such as sign in via Friend Connect, see who else has signed in recently, check out comments, etc.

Google Friend Connect, which is the company’s own data portability effort, was opened up for all websites in the beginning of December 2008, right when Facebook made Facebook Connect generally available as well.

And thus, the battle for who will control access to your online identity continues. My guess is it’ll go on for a while before someone can be declared the winner, if at all.

Source: techcrunch

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Obsessable member pages and social toolbar

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , , , , |

By C.K. Sample III

We’ve turned on some new features on the site, so here’s a quick tour of how you may find them useful.

joinorsinginWe’ve added a new social bar at the top of the site for all logged in members. If you don’t have an Obsessable member account you can sign up for one in the upper right hand corner of the site or if you have an account, but aren’t signed in, you can sign in via the link there as well. Besides all the features that we’re about to go through that signing up for an account and signing in to the site gets you, it also rids you of the first advertisement at the top of the page site-wide.

After joining the site or logging in, you should notice our brand new social bar up top:

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The social bar (pictured in Figure 1 above) allows you to share any page on the site, either by sending it via email or by sharing it via various social networks and bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Twitter. You can also give any product page, feature, or news item on the site a thumbs up or a thumbs down. On product profile pages, you also have the added ability to indicate whether you own or want that particular gadget.

Both of these actions are then tracked in the bottom section of your member profile page, alongside a list of any news items that you may have given a thumbs up (as the Figure 4 screenshot below of the bottom section of my member profile page demonstrates). At the top of the profile page there’s a bio section, picture avatar for yourself, and a list of personal links you want to highlight on your profile (Figure 2 below). This is followed by a section of social networks—including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, StumbleUpon, Google Reader, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, last.fm, Digg, Delicious, Brightkite, and Raptr—that you can add to your profile, recent comments that you’ve made on the site, and feature articles on the site that you’ve given a thumbs up (see Figure 3 below).

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By choosing “Edit Profile” from the social bar (Figure 1 above) or the “Edit Your Profile” link under your bio on your member page (Figure 2 above), you can customize your bio, upload an avatar (Figure 5 below), enter your personal links, and add the social networks that you want listed on your profile page (Figure 6 below).

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Please feel free to sign up for an account and give our new social bar and member profile pages a whirl. Let us know what you like and what you’d like to see changed. Feel free to suggest new features, social networks you’d like to see listed here, and any other feedback you may have in the comments below. We’re excited about offering these new features and are looking forward to refining them and offering more features in the future.

UPDATE: We just finished recording today’s Daily Obsession providing a quick video tour of these new features. Watch today’s Daily Obsession embedded below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook group, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Also, please let us know in the comments below or via our tips form about anything you’d like to see featured in future Daily Obsession episodes.

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