With Yahoo and MySpace rolling over, Facebook wins the social network war

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

By Sebastian Anthony, Download squad

First up, Yahoo rescinds almost its entire social network presence in favor of Facebook Connect. And now, the rumors that MySpace would drop their social focus and aim towards a network based on content and entertainment seem to be playing out: MySpace are linking up with Facebook Connect. There’s a lot of juicy info to be had over on the Inside Facebook article, but it seems like MySpace and Facebook could become very tightly entwined, with Facebook managing your profile and MySpace becoming the content provider — the quizzes, the games, the music, the movie trailers.

It would appear that, except for Google and their Friend Connect, social networks are bowing out from their competition with Facebook. With their recently-announced usage figures and their ever-climbing membership that recently hit 350 million, that’s probably a smart move. This was a war that never really heated up, and ultimately had a very predictable outcome. Facebook rule supreme. Microsoft own a sizable share in Facebook, incidentally.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Delicious Creator Quietly Launches Threaded Twitter Conversations

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

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

Joshua Schachter is best known as the creator of Delicious. But a few years after he sold it to Yahoo in 2005, he left the company and joined Google. Since then, he’s been known to speak his mind about Delicious’ overall direction (which he doesn’t seem to like), and it’s pretty clear that he still has the desire to create. And that’s exactly what he did tonight, quietly launching a new service he’s developed called a tiny thread.Twitter

The idea is simple, take tweets and thread them together to form conversations, adding context. This works by using the a tiny thread site to both start new conversation threads, and add your comments to old ones. After authenticating via OAuth, your comment is then sent back to Twitter, with a link back to the a tiny thread conversation page.

The site’s look is sparse (not entirely unlike early Delicious), but it’s very easy to follow conversations. You can see a good example thread here. Right now, the threads only go one level deep, so it actually very much resembles a FriendFeed comment section. FriendFeed, was of course just bought today by Facebook, and its future is uncertain.

Other sites have attempted to thread tweets together in the past, but the results vary because of things like retweets that either break threads or add too much noise. Right now, it appears you can only add to these a tiny thread conversations on the site itself, so it works pretty well. But when you send the tweet back to Twitter, it just reads, “I joined a thread: is this thing on?” followed by a link to a tiny thread. It might be more interesting if it said what you actually said in the thread, enticing people to click on the link to read the full context.

It would seem that Schachter, who has been tweeting out links to this for about the past hour or so, did this on his own time, rather than his Google 20% time. Again, it’s extremely simple, but kind of interesting — especially in a post-FriendFeed acquisition world.

Twitter1

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Blellow: Like Yammer meets LinkedIn Meets Twitter

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Tech News, Twitter News | Tags: , , , |

By John Biggs, Techcrunch

blellowTo paraphrase Cracker, what the world needs now is another web-based Interactive micro-content production community like I need a hole in the head. But strangely enough, I think the world needs Blellow.

Blellow is a fascinating collaboration tool a la Yammer but Blellow allows you to create groups based on projects – WordPress Devs can group with other WordPress Devs while freelance writers can kvetch with other writers, for example.

To use the system you log-in and fill out a profile. Then you send messages – and ask questions – just like you would in Twitter or Yelp. The questions are actually the coolest part of the system. When you ask a question, everyone can see it and respond. You then thank folks who help you with Kudos and those users ride to the top of the heap in the system, thereby allowing potential employers to find the local experts in particular topics.

blellow1

You can join groups of like-minded individual, create private groups, and ask questions of your friends. You can also post jobs and paid projects for $24, which is where Blellow expects to make their cash. They’re also offering 10GB of storage space for $10 a month and the system accepts files of any size – up to your paid limit – to share with your peers.

blellow2

Just as Yammer is Twitter for business, Blellow seems to be Twitter for freelancers. But do we really need another Twitter? Sure, it’s a big world. In this economy, the little guy can use all the help he or she can get.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Twitter Suggested Users: problem and solution

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Twitter News | Tags: , |

By Brad Hill, Downloadsquad

Plenty of swirl this week about the Suggested Users page that Twitter newcomers see after sign-up. Jason Calacanis (co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., which publishes Download Squad) made a splashy offer of $250,000 to be installed near the top of the suggested list for two years. Dave Winer refuted that ploy, and the list generally. But Winer’s complaint with Twitter’s list misses the mark.twitter-suggested2

Suggested Users is meant to be a starter kit for new Twitter users. It is well-meaning but misguided, and surprisingly, seems to misunderstand and misrepresent what Twitter really is. Dave Winer’s complaint is that Twitter is misusing its network power by applying editorial discretion to single out a tiny handful of its users. But in my view, Twitter is exercising the same sort of newbie service that My Yahoo! and Google Reader do: give unsteady new users a toehold by recommending some content.

There is no problem in principle with Twitter lending users a helping hand as new consumers of Twitter content. The issue with Suggested Users is that it shines the discovery spotlight in the wrong direction, ignoring Twitter’s rapidly manifesting future as a global information matrix.

Currently, Twitter recommends leaping in by friending people — following recommended feeds. Twitter suggests a mix of: 1) quirky individuals, 2) Twitter accounts affiliated with A-list blogs, and 3) tweeting celebrities. The service is trying to assist the unmotivated newcomer, by which I mean someone who joins out of general Twitter curiosity, not because they want to follow offline friends in an online space. You don’t want to point that person to the personal feeds of strangers. Twitter also shouldn’t become an A-list blog recommendation service. And while tweeting celebrities might seem to offer entertainment value, I can say that in many cases the reality is painfully disappointing.

The best way to lock in an unmotivated newcomer with quick, exciting value, is to teach that person how to search. Rather than picking needles out of haystacks, reveal the vast scope of the Twitterverse. Give a man a fish you feed him once; teach him to fish, etc..

Twitter need never lose its legacy purpose of intersecting friends around the question “What are you doing now?” But its larger destiny is to be the new Google. Users who don’t already have Twitter friends could benefit hugely from a brief, clear tutorial on Twitter Search, and a focus on a new question: “What is the world talking about now?” When you dive in from that angle, you find your own organic points of attraction, and the foolish Suggested Users list recedes into the irrelevant background. On the flip side, Twitter publishers get an organic audience, unpolluted by an artificially inflated followers list.

Jason Calacanis’ offer to buy a spot in Suggested Users is being interpreted as a prospective business model for revenue-free Twitter. But Twitter’s business future should match its true strength, which is the developing critical mass of its global mob. Twitter is already faster, more precise, and smarter than Google Search. The advantage will only widen. The most evident business future lies in search advertising. Everybody should be searching Twitter, either through its portal search tool or one of the third-party sites. And without question, all those newcomers being unnaturally shoved into stranger feeds should be taught to search instead.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

FriendFeed Notifier brings real-time updates to the desktop

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Twitter News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

Sometimes it seems that we’re so plugged in to Twitter here @downloadsquad — rather, at Download Squad — that we don’t even know FriendFeed exists.friendfeednotifier

Not true! In fact, I noticed that FriendFeed just released an official desktop notifier, built on Adobe AIR. It’s pretty rough so far, but a lot of users are commenting with feature requests and improvements.

The main issue people have with the notifier so far is that it’s a bit overwhelming. Right now, it just displays a pop-up for every new item in your feed. Useful, sure, but that can be a lot of items. Without customization settings to narrow down what you’re seeing — or slim down the size of the pop-up — it’s very obtrusive.

You also have to click through to take certain actions (like responding to comments) in a browser window, even though it looks like you should be able to do it right in the notifier. Despite these little annoyances, the desktop notifier is a good first step, and seems likely to improve in the near future.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Twitter IM support coming to Adium

Posted on March 14, 2009. Filed under: Software World | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

twitteradium

What a joy to see the two apps I have open all day coming together! I’m an IM and Twitter junkie, and Twitter hasn’t had IM support in some time. Fortunately, the developers behind my IM client of choice, Adium, are working to put together their own version of a Twitter IM service.

Your Twitter contacts would show up in your Adium list, and you can follow, unfollow and presumably group them from there. Opening a new chat will allow you to exchange direct messages. Displaying your timeline will be handled through Adium’s existing group chat interface, with @replies to you highlighted. All in all, this looks like a promising project to restore a Twitter feature that a lot of people found useful. Now, if only they could figure out how to bring back tracking …

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Twimailer improves Twitter’s new follower emails

Posted on March 13, 2009. Filed under: Twitter News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

twimailermailIf you’re signed up to get email when someone new follows you on Twitter, you’re probably used to seeing just the tiniest bit of information about them. With only a person’s name and Twitter URL, you’re forced to click through and change focus from your email to Twitter if you want to know more. Twimailer uses a neat workaround to replace Twitter’s new follower emails with its own better version. It generates a unique Twimailer email address that you then paste in as the address for your Twitter account.

New follower emails go through Twimailer, which adds the new follower’s latest few tweets, follower/followed count, Twitter bio, and a button to follow back. These replacement messages are both more visually appealing and more informative than the originals. Although you don’t have to give your password, your email from Twitter is routed through Twimailer. I have no reason not to trust them, but I turned off direct message emails anyway.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Tweetie 1.3 rejected from App Store because of swearing on Twitter

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Twitter News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

atebitstweetierejected

Many iPhone developers have horror stories about their apps being rejected from the iTunes App Store for frustrating, sometimes arbitrary reasons. After today, Atebits, makers of the bestselling iPhone Twitter client, Tweetie, might take the prize for the most absurd rejection yet. Tweetie 1.3 was barred from the App Store for offensive language. Seems fair enough, until you realize that the swear in question wasn’t part of the app, it was just a hashtag that happened to be trending on Twitter and got picked up by Tweetie’s trends feature.

Most of the competing iPhone Twitter apps also have trends, and would have been just as “offensive” if they had run into the bad luck of being tested while something Apple didn’t like was popular. The Atebits Twitter account has been equal parts frustrated and practical in commenting on the rejection. I think the idea of sending screenshots of trends in other Twitter apps to Apple, hashtag cussing included, is brilliant.

Update: Tweetie 1.3 has now been accepted into the app store, and the developers don’t seem to have any hard feelings toward Apple. I hope this case highlights the need to continue improving the app store submission process.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Twitterfall tracks Twitter trends and more in real time

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Twitter News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

twitterfall

Twitter Search is great at tracking trends, but you have to refresh your search page manually when new results appear. Twitterfall solves that problem by cascading tweets with popular keywords or your custom search down the page in real time. You can also log into Twitter to put your friends’ tweets in the mix, or just view them by themselves.

The customization available in Twitterfall is impressive. Both the appearance and the content can be adjusted, with a couple of different skins and plenty of search options. You can filter out retweets, specify a geographic location to search, and more or less make Twitterfall show you only exactly what you’re looking for. You can also tweet, favorite, dm, reply and retweet from it, if you’re logged in. This could easily replace the Twitter web interface in some people’s bookmarks.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Tweetpkr: peek in on your Twitter friends from any site

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Twitter News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad.com

download-squad

Everyone’s Twitter habits are different. Some people check the site once a day via the web, some people check it every 3 minutes using a Twitter client. If neither of those appeal to you, because you’d rather not have a separate app or even a separate tab open to view your friends’ recent updates,Tweetpkr might be for you. It’s a browser bookmarklet that loads your Twitter list in a sidebar on the page you currently have open.

The ability to check Twitter with one click, without changing focus, is more useful than it sounds at first. Each time you close and reopen Tweetpkr, it refreshes your list. That means no more jumping between tabs and hitting refresh, or winding up with a half-dozen Twitter tabs open. Privacy-conscious twitterers will also appreciate that Tweetpkr stores your username and password locally with the bookmarklet, not on its server. Oh, and multiple accounts are supported: just make a separate bookmarklet for each one.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Google TipJar : nice idea, but too much self-promotion?

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

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad.com

google-tipjar

There’s been a fair amount of buzz over the past couple days regarding TipJar, a place to share money-saving advice powered by Google Moderator. It started with a Tweet from the official @google account, which nearly warranted an immediate post from us, but we let it sit for a couple of reasons. The biggest one: ambiguity.

Twitter has been flooded with tweets about TipJar, saying it’s like “Digg for money saving ideas.” Take a look yourself, though, and see if you notice what we did: most of the tips are left by other money-saving websites. While it’s not something to be blamed on Google, the end result looks like a flood of shameless self-promotion, regardless of how useful the tips are.

To Google’s credit, there are no links that can be clicked to visit the URLs that tipsters leave.

It’s bit disappointing, but this is what we’ve come to expect on the web. If there’s a good, new service available somewhere, you can bet that it won’t take long for opportunists to use it as a way to drive traffic back to their own sites.

Content and questions aside, TipJar is a nice showcase for Moderator and we will no doubt see more applications build on its foundation. Hopefully they won’t all wind up as a dumping ground for shameless plugs.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

TwitteReader is like Google Reader for Twitter

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

By Josh Lowensohn, news.cnet.com

twittereader

My Webware colleague Don Reisinger would get a kick out of TwitteReader, a new and free service which turns Twitter into something resembling Google Reader (something he’s ditched entirely in place of Twitter). Once you’ve plugged in your username and password, it presents the latest tweets as individual feed items, which you can cruise through either by reading the short snippets (a la Google Reader) or expanding them out to full posts with a click.

Just like Google Reader and Gmail, you can move up and down the list with the same J and K keyboard shortcuts. You can also star items, which adds them to your Twitter favorites list. The application keeps track of what you’ve read and what you haven’t, which, depending on how many people you’re following, could be useful. If a system like Google Reader’s trends were to be applied to this you could see which people’s updates you’re not reading and cut them out of your followers list.

Of course the obvious must be stated here–you can simply take the RSS feed of your friends provided by Twitter and plug it into Google Reader to accomplish something quite similar. TwitteReader’s killer feature, however, is that it lets you post and reply to messages from each post, just like you would in Twitter.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Twitter To Start Serving Local News To Users?

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

By Robin Wauters, Techcrunch.com

Germany’s Der Spiegel published an interview with Twitter CEO Evan Williams yesterday on its website, and Williams had a couple of interesting things to say. You can find a poorly Google-translated version of the interview here, which features Williams answering the usual, boring questions ‘professional’ journalists tend to ask about the micro-sharing service (the reporter opened the interview with the Pulitzer-prize caliber question “so does Twitter spark narcissism and idiocy?”).

But Williams did share something worth noting at the end of the interview.

When asked about possible future features for Twitter, he reportedly said that one of the things being considered is an extension that lets people know what’s happening in their immediate vicinity. That would basically mean that Twitter could actively ping users about local events that are going on in their neighborhood, in real-time, based on the location they’ve indicated. As an example, Williams says users could be alerted to the fact a fire is burning a few streets away from where Twitter knows (or thinks) they are.

twitter-local1

twitter-local-21

It’s not clear if this feature is under development or merely in the idea stage right now, but rarely does anyone from Twitter give so much insight into the startup’s plans for the future in terms of product features, so we’re inclined to believe it’s coming sooner rather than later.

Some questions arise. How frequently would Twitter ping users on local news? In what form (replies, direct messages, SMS, …)? How personalized would this be (what constitutes news for you may not mean the same to your neighbor)? And if it’s only about alerting people in case of emergencies, like the example Williams cites, who would be the one to determine when and why it’s worth sending warning messages out to users? Would they be possibly opening such a feature up to the authorities (police, fire fighters, etc.) so they could be the ones alerting users about potential risks in their vicinity themselves?

Last but not least, could this be an indication of their impending revenue model? If you think about it, location-based marketing messages would fit right into all of the above, for better or worse.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Topify Lets You Manage Your Twitter Followers Via Email

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

By Erick Schonfeld, Techcrunch.com

topify-screen

If you are not a Twitter power user, you can ignore this post. But if you find yourself increasingly relying on Twitter and spending way too much time managing your followers, trying to figure out who they are, or responding to their private direct messages, you’ll want to try out Topify Created by former TechCrunch France editor Ouriel Ohayon and Arik Fraimovich as a tool they needed for themselves, Topify lets users manage their followers and respond to direct messages directly from their email inbox.

Topify is essentially a time saver. Once you set it up (we have 200 invites for TechCrunch readers) by replacing your email in Twitter’s settings with one that Topify provides which redirects back to yours, you get an email every time someone follows you. The email contains a snapshot of that person’s Twitter activity: a one line bio, location, number of followers and followees, Twitter update count, Twitter tenure, and last Tweet (see image). It basically tries to gives you enough information to decide whether you want to follow that person back, which you can do simply by replying to the email.

Topify also lets you reply to direct messages (Twitter’s version of private messages) by replaying directly via email. This saves you the step of having to go back to Twitter and login before responding. These are all basic features which should be part of Twitter, but until then you can use Topify.

For public replies to your Twitter messages, you don’t get an email (because Twitter itself does not offer such notifications). Adding @replies might flood your email inbox, but I actually would prefer getting those as well because I find myself often missing replies and not responding until days later, if at all. As Twitter grows and more people come on board, this tool is especially useful during its viral phase, when the number of followers any individual is accumulating on a daily or weekly basis should be accelerating.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

It’s Time To Start Thinking Of Twitter As A Search Engine

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

By Michael Arrington – Techcrunch.com

twitterAt a dinner tonight with a friend the conversation turned to Twitter. He just didn’t get it, and he’s certainly not the first person to tell me that. Specifically, my friend didn’t understand the massive valuation ($250 million or more) that Twitter won in its recent funding. I told him why I thought it was more than justified: Twitter is, more than anything, a search engine.

I told him what I thought of Twitter as a micro-blogging service: it’s a collection of emotional grunts. But it’s wonderful nonetheless. And enough people are hooked on it that Twitter has reached critical mass. If something big is going on in the world, you can get information about it from Twitter.

Twitter also gathers other information, like people’s experiences with products and services as they interact with them. A couple of months ago, for example, I was stuck in the airport and received extremely poor service from Lufthansa. I twittered my displeasure, which made me feel better – at least I was doing something besides wait in an endless line. I’ve also Twittered complaints about the W Hotel (no Internet, cold room) and Comcast (the usual Internet gripes).

More and more people are starting to use Twitter to talk about brands in real time as they interact with them. And those brands want to know all about it, whether to respond individually (The W Hotel pestered me until I told them to just leave me alone), or simply gather the information to see what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.

And all of it is discoverable at search.twitter.com, the search engine that Twitter acquired last summer.

People searching for news. Brands searching for feedback. That’s valuable stuff.

Twitter knows it, too. They’re going to build their business model on it. Forget small time payments from users for pro accounts and other features, all they have to do is keep growing the base and gather more and more of those emotional grunts. In aggregate it’s extremely valuable. And as Google has shown, search is vastly monetizable – somewhere around 40% of all online advertising revenue goes to ads on search listings today.

And as John Battelle says, its not clear that Google or anyone else can compete with Twitter at this point (Facebook’s giving it a solid try, though).

And it’s not just ads that can bring in the money. Brands need tools to make sense of all this data that Twitter doesn’t yet supply. Third parties like Scout Labs are going to be mining this data themselves, I’m sure. But there are lots of other ways Twitter can tax the utility they are bringing to brands. If they manage to turn down the acquisition offers like Facebook did a couple of years ago, there’s no reason Twitter can’t find revenue streams that will support them as a standalone company. Possibly even a public one.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Phishing Attack Takes Down iStockPhoto

Posted on March 4, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Jason Kincaid, Techcrunch.com

Twitter is abuzz with news that iStockPhoto, a photo store that was acquired by Getty Images in 2006, has been hit with a phishing attack. All users who have logged into the site today are being instructed to change their passwords (presumably because they have been compromised) and the site’s homepage has been taken down.

While the site is currently inaccessible, Sean Locke writes that the site did offer a brief explanation earlier this evening:

This afternoon a phishing attack was conducted in the forums and through sitemail. This attack created a fake istockphoto.com login screen, prompting users for a username & password, saved them to a malicious server, then redirected the user back to the iStockphoto main page.

istockphotodown

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Evan Williams Predicts That “Normal People” Will Use Twitter In Five Years

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Erick Schonfeld

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams was on Charlie Rose last Friday. In the clip above, he predicts that Twitter will be something “that normal people do” within five years. He compares Twitter to the early days of blogging (another topic he knows something about, having been the founder of what became Blogger). When blogging started, most people didn’t get it and it seemed like a huge waste of time that only appealed to narcissists. Twitter gets a lot of the same criticisms, yet somehow more and more people find it a valuable mode of communication.

Hopefully, it won’t take five years for Twitter to seem normal.

Source: techcrunch

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Userscripts add real-time Twitter results to your Google search

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: Google, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews

google_search_-_mozilla_firefox

One of the knocks against Google is is the fact that is doesn’t currently provide real-time results – which is why some media outlets were calling Twitter a possible threat to Google last month. I’m pretty confident Google will be around for a while, but I do like the idea of consolidating the two engines I utilize most.

Movable Type consultant Mark Carey has put together a handy userscript that displays the 5 most recent tweets matching your Google query. It also adds a link to the Twitter search results in case you want to dig a bit deeper. [ download from userscripts.org ]

Or you could install a second userscript that adds fulls results to a tab on the Google results page:

twitter_integration_google_search_-_mozilla_firefox

Developed by Franz Enzenhofer, this script adds a simple Twitter link next to Web that displays results with the Twitter user’s avatar on their own page. This one’s also CC licensed so you can hack it up anyway you see fit. [ download from the author ]

Source: downloadsquad

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Mitter: Friendfeed For Online Videos

Posted on March 1, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , , , |

By Serkan Toto

mitter_logoSometimes it’s hard to remember which video you have seen, left a comment on, rated, or who recommended it to you. And it’s getting harder to cut the noise in the heavily crowded online video space (YouTube users alone are uploading 15 hours of new content every 60 seconds). This is where Mitter, a service provided by Tokyo-based Metacast comes in (the site is available in English).

Mitter wants to do for video what recently introduced Dutch startup Twones does for music. The service tracks viewing patterns over multiple video services and generates a social feed based on that information. And much like Twones, Mitter doesn’t make much sense without installing an add-on for Firefox or the Internet Explorer (there is also a browser-independent bookmarklet available). To date, the Mitter toolbar has been distributed 1.5 million times. It’s now being actively used by more than 150,000 people, mostly in Japan.

Mitter is all about aggregating metadata of online videos and using the information to let users socialize around it. Once the tracker is installed, you will see a Mitter button next to every video accessed on 14 different sites like YouTube, Veoh, Seesmic etc. After pressing the button, you can tag, rate and comment on the video (the service calls this activity “mittering”), which will be then added to your history on the website (this happens even if you don’t mitter the video). In addition, the activity can be posted to Twitter and several Japanese blogging platforms.

Your history can be set to private or shared with friends. Other users with a similar taste can follow you, receive updates on your video viewing log and possibly find new content that’s of interest to them (Mitter->Twitter, get it?). It’s also possible to join discussion groups, view rankings of popular videos and dig up videos that are similar to the listed one (and share the relevant video, too).

mitter_screenshot

Mitter does fill a gap in the rapidly growing web video space but there are some drawbacks. Even though the site wants to let you share “experiences” (and not necessarily the videos themselves), it would make a lot more sense if users didn’t need to navigate away to watch videos. The English version still lacks Non-Japanese members who may find it hard to connect to the Japanese usership (and its taste) and there are hardly any comments or tags in English to be found at this point. This can obviously only be overcome through increased participation of Non-Japanese users.

CEO Kengo Ito says in its current form, Mitter is just covering a snippet of one’s life log. The company’s ultimate goal is to build a “social lifestreaming service” that automatically keeps track of a person’s complete online media consumption behavior. Think FriendFeed for media.

This is a big plan and just yesterday, Mitter broke out of the video geek community by following what you watch on TV (Japanese only for the time being). Music, movies, video games and other media will be added to user feeds in the near future.

Source: techcrunch

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

MicroPlaza Is a Link-Catcher For Twitter (100 Invites)

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

By Erick Schonfeld

microplaza-logo1It used to be that if a link was worth sharing, people would bookmark it for all to see on del.icio.us. Now, they just Twitter it (with a shortened URL). Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to separate out all the Tweets with links in them, and sort them by time or popularity? That is what MicroPlaza does in a nutshell.

MicroPlaza is still in a very limited private beta, but I have 100 invites for TechCrunch readers. Once you log in, you are presented with a stream of headlines, along with everyone who Twittered the link to that page. You can see a personal timelime made up only of links from people you are following on Twitter, or a public timeline to see what everyone is linking to. Each timeline has its own RSS feed.

The headlines can be sorted chronologically or by popularity. The more people who Twitter about the same link, the more popular it gets. Each time someone Tweets a link, it becomes more popular (although there is a time-decay function so that you only see the most recently popular links and associated headlines.

Since most of the time these links are articles or blog posts, MicroPlaza distills the headlines for you and gives you a sense of what is capturing everyone’s attention on Twitter. Any headline can be bookmarked, and you can group the people you follow into different “tribes,” and then keep track of each tribe. MicroPlaza also lets you look at everyone you are following and see their most recent links.

microplaza-people

stream-microplaza

Source: techcrunch

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Google Enters the Twitter Game : Google + Twitter = Twoogling?

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

By Loren Baker

Google is now on Twitter. As insane as it may seem, it has taken Google years to start using their Google account, which is located at Twitter.com/Google.

google-twitter-caption

Google + Twitter = Twoogling?

Their first post, a Twoogle if you will, was a binary message (way to geek it up Google) :

“I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010”

Roughly translated to : I’m F E E L I N G L U C K Y

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a sign. No, it’s not a sign of a Google acquisition, although John Battelle did start off my morning with an excellent post on how Twitter is the new YouTube :

“So why did Google really buy YouTube? My answer, which of course looks brilliant given it’s 20/20 hindsight: YouTube was a massive search asset.

After all, YouTube now gets more searches than Yahoo, Google’s closest search rival.“

Battelle argues that Twitters main asset may not be its userbase or its buzz, but its “Real time. Converational Search”

So, does Google opening up it’s Twitter account with binary riddles spell the ultimate acquisition of Twitter by Google. Not really. Instead it more or less signifies that Google has accepted Twitter as a form of mass communication in the same way that Google was interested in Blogger and Blogging. Remember when the Official Google Blog was first launched in 2004? Before that, Google relied on Google Groups and various webmaster forums to communicate with its users, webmasters, publishers and other target audiences.

Now, Google has a blog for everything. The Official Google Webmaster Central Blog. The Official GMail Blog. Google LatLong. The Google Analytics Blog …etc. Noticing a trend here?

One problem with blogging however. Remember that GMail outage we had on Monday night? Where was the Official GMail Blog then?

Source: searchenginejournal

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...