Internet Censorship and the Free Society

If I were given a dead kitten for every mind blowing piece of information I saw on the internet, I would be quite rich by now, selling those dead kittens covertly online to a bunch of shady dead kitten enthusiasts and then investing that money on a webpage dedicated to dead kitten paraphernalia, photos and Google AdWords. (Of course, one has to assume that I do not fly into a blind rage and kill the nearest human responsible for the kitten’s death and go to jail thereafter. But this is also the internet, and anything is possible)

Yes, anything is possible on the internet. This one invention has fundamentally changed all civilization touched by it in a matter of years, akin to the steam engine and electricity. It has become a tool with which any layperson can become aware of a niche subject if said person puts their mind to the task, and learns concepts, ideas and practical use of the subject from the comfort of their homes. It is a medium of communication that far outperforms any other kind of relay that human civilization has used in its history. However, the biggest draw to the internet is that it is not subject to any kind of restriction wherever it has been put to use, and users can freely roam it in search of atypical and curious information.

An astute reader would, at this point of time, either chuckle at my seemed ignorance about internet restrictions, or write a harshly worded comment forming an ad hominem argument relating the size of my genitalia to the propensity to naiveté regarding the aforementioned internet restrictions. I believe the last sentence of the previous paragraph may be worded as the biggest draw to the internet is that it is not seemingly subject to any kind of restriction wherever it has been put to use, and users can freely roam it in search of atypical and curious information.There definitely are restrictions on the internet, and while the ways to circumvent these bans and blockages do exist, oftentimes the methods prove to be quite cumbersome for those who are not very internet-savvy; they do not even bother with knowing these methods because they either do not know of the existence of the banned places, or they do not bother about the aforementioned banning because they were not going to go there in the first place, right?

Wrong.

Censorship is the granddaddy of book burning. Book burning itself is a symbol and method of proscription, and its political ramifications of essentially erasing’ a religion or a reign’s past so that the current dominator can write their version of history. In George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty Four, the protagonist works in a department of the totalitarian regime built on this very concept of erasing and rewriting history. Ironically, Nineteen Eighty Four was itself banned or challenged for its views as being intellectually dangerous for society.

Censorship

So if a three hundred and twenty-six page book written in the year Nineteen Forty Nine has challenged the views of great number of people, many of whom were in positions of authority to actually effect an injunction on the book, I wonder how many such quantities of text, photographs and videos have appeared over the years on the internet that have been censored due to their content being deemed unpalatable for the general public’ by a core group of people in positions of authority?

Does this not easily look like an abuse of power vested in those people? Internet users in the United Kingdom have recently been plagued by the same question with four of the country’s big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) bowing to the pressure imposed indirectly by the Mothers’ Union to shield children from sexualized imageryand have decided to make sexually explicit sites an opt-in’ for those who wish to see it. Elsewhere, the admins of Reddit have banned a community under the website called Jailbait where people could find non-nude photographs of girls who are allegedly underage.

Both these bans come under the broad principle of a small bunch of people deciding what is right or wrong for the consumption of an extremely large populace.

The mothers of Mothers’ Union UK has obviously never heard of parental internet control software such as Net Nanny which makes me question their knowledge of the internet as a whole. These people do not understand the anything goes on the internetconcept and have firm rules about what and what should not be viewed by society. Of course, they are the same people who arbitrarily decide on what societyshould be or not be. These are the same people who wish to make upstanding members of the society’ with their ideals akin to a factory production line. And (this is admittedly a long shot) these are the kind of parents who make trash like Toddlers and Tiaras possible. If only they would wake up and browse the internet for a while with an open mind, but no they have to think of the children!

internetcensorship

On the other side of the spectrum is Reddit that has always been a champion of free speech and free see, and free hear and free download. The ban of /r/jailbait has struck a controversial chord in the community and has polarized discussion on what constitutes free speech and what should never ever be done because the reputation of the site is at stake. This argument regarding the reputation of the site stems from the fact that Reddit was seen under an awful light by Anderson Cooper of CNN when he did a one-sided coverage of the site that indirectly claimed that Reddit consisted of a huge population of perverted pedophiles who spent their entire day watching lithe, semi-nude bodies of society’s underage daughters. If you had been to erstwhile /r/jailbait, astute reader, you would also claim that if these were society’s daughters, then society has gone to the dogs. Indeed, when an unsavory community is made specifically to test Reddit’s determination to uphold its protection of free speech (I am talking about a community that links to pictures of dead children) but Reddit fails the test with another community page because of some TV news anchor’s one-sided report, it does boggle one’s mind.

Nevertheless, there is a case for Reddit’s administration, for the subscribers of /r/jailbait might have been engaged in a trade of child pornography which is morally and legally base. However, how does the case stack for Mothers’ Union UK, as they are essentially muting a bustling industry (which is quite harmless to the consumer as opposed to the tobacco or the alcohol industry) because they do not understand (or want to understand) the internet and how to educate their child about it.

The question that arises here is one of perceived freedom. How does a civilization such as ours claim to be free when, given an opportunity, it crushes any sort of deviation from the apparent norm? Why is homosexuality such a grievous sin and how do two men or women falling in love with each other in any way harm children? This entire perception of society colors the word very word deviantin a terribly bleak and distrustful hue that burns pictures of perversion against said deviant in our brains.

Have we, the urban civilians, really become free from the bonds of prejudice or have we really invented another form of prejudice under the vague umbrella of being morally right’?

Color me disappointed.

Aggressive growth can only be achieved through Inorganic growth

Today I logged in to Google Plus again only to find half of my Indian acquaintances having stopped using Google Plus. I wonder what took them this long. I stopped the very next day I ‘got in’.

 

google_plus

I was more annoyed that my funny, smart twitterers with wicked sense of humor were just pretentious on twitter and all smart and boring on Google Plus. Why? Because Robert Scoble and other have started using Google Plus at their blog and highly interactive commenter.   Anyhow, I guess it got annoying and boring for them as well eventually that they stopped plus-ing (?). Google recently announced that they have crossed 25 million users on Google Plus. That’s quite an achievement on its own. Facebook took 3 whole years to achieve that mark. Although it’s unjust to compare Facebook and Google Plus as Google is widely known brand.

The point is,   none of my Indian acquaintances are active on Google Plus. When Google Plus crossed 20 million users last week, according to comScore, 2.85 million users were from India making India the second largest country to use Google Plus. So is it true that aggressive growth can only be achieved through inorganic growth? Why are my Indian friends finding it difficult to get used to Google Plus?

First, Circles is a new concept and if users do not add the right kind of people in their circle the social network gets extremely boring. I recently came across a site (Recommendedusers.com) that has grouped people in accordance to what they update. People are categorized into Artists and designers, Podcasters, Bloggers, Women in Tech and so on. Once you populate your circles even Google Plus can be fun.

Why 10 Million Linkedin India users doesn’t matter

Today, Linkedin announced that they have crossed 10 million users from India. That’s quite an achievement. According to the latest data available, around 5.3% of population use in Internet in India as of 2009. That is, almost 16% of Internet users in India have a profile on Linkedin.

But is this a milestone that really matters?

Some  interesting statistics on Linkedin users in India:

  • 16105 professionals listed the term social media’ in their profiles
  • 19027 people in Indian listed bollywood’, hollywood’ or film’ in their LinkedIn profile

Speaking from personal experience, I honored Linkedin today for their 10 million achievement in India by logging in to Linkedin after almost six months. A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to hire a few writers for my site but I surprisingly didn’t even think about Linkedin for the search. Instead I just created  a page for requirements and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. The result? I received more than 30 responses from people whom I would hire in a blink of an eye.

But that’s not all. Apart from being almost useless when it comes to finding a right hire, Linkedin is also a spam center for those social media experts. Here’s Alok Kejriwal from Contest2win.com  outing his frustration on Linkedin spam. As I look in to my Linkedin inbox, I find more requests for endorsements from people with whom I have never done any business and messages from people promoting their business as if they were distributing some broucher advertisement.

There’s no denying that 80% of jobs comes through reference. Job listing sites like Monster, Naukri, etc stand little or no chance is the social age yet major companies make use of these job listing sites for hires.

I am yet to come across anyone receiving a job offer via Linkedin or finding a deserving candidate, for that matter. If you have, please share your story in comments section.

In April, Facebook announced that it has about 25 million (now 28.5 million) users in India.  Facebook users in India range from business people and students to public figures and institutions. And applications like  Branchout could turn into a good alternative to Linkedin without requiring me to logging in to a  separate  site for the same. Unless Linkedin really solves any purpose it will just remain a online presence for me.

 

Here’s How Square/Google Wallet Will Put Foursquare Out of Business

Foursquare, a darling startup of everyone, might have raised a lot of money and might have an unusually handsome co-founder. But if you followed Techcrunch disrupt NYC, this year, when Michael Arrington questioned Dennis Crowley about the revenue foursquare is generating, he did not wish to answer.

350x

 

Now at a platform like Techcrunch disrupt, who wouldn’t want to brag? It’s either they are making tons of money or they are making nothing. Nada. In my opinion it’s the later one. Now while the whole checking in funda is cool and was fun while it lasted (I’m already suffering from check-in fatigue), foursquare doesn’t really have a business model except for tying up with businesses for offering returning customers some offers.

But how would Square/Google Wallet take away Foursquare’s business you ask?


Here’s how. Square, a nice nifty startup launched to manage payments is soon gaining a lot of attention mostly because of one of it’s co founder Jack Dorsey. Jack Dorsey was also one of the key member behind Twitter. But that’s not the only reason why Square is getting a lot of attention. It’s because the startup he built is damn useful.
Managing your payments in digitalised format for customers and retailers is something I’ve always dreamt about. Square makes it possible. But that’s not all. Here’s why Square is above Foursquare and will steal the main revenue making possibility from Foursquare. Square can track user spending’s at stores even without them having to check-in. Besides that, Square will also take care that the customer doesn’t just checks-in but also spend money in order to get future loyalty rewards. It’s a win-win situation   for both customers and retailers.

Foursquare, in my opinion would have to start looking at something different to generate revenue or should have exited when chance had arrived.

Google also recently announced their ambitious project – Google Wallet. Google Wallet is an open platform that will allow you to use credit cards, coupons, store loyalty cards, etc without actually swiping each card. Again something similar to Square. Here again Google can do everything what Square can do, that is, collecting data. And considering Google has tons of other products that users can link via their Google profile, Google has an advantage over Square. But nonetheless, it’s going to steal whatever business model Foursquare had in mind if they Google seems serious about expanding   their   Local and Social reach.

Either Foursquare needs to quickly find a new way to generate the revenue or stay stubborn and die the the internet death. It would be sad to see the yet another brilliant startup die a Digg like death where it couldn’t innovate and adapt with the competition.

The State of Engineering in India

Engineering-IndiaEven as the number of engineers in the US continues to shrink, India is churning out engineers by the hundreds of thousands. Much has already been said and written about the quality of engineering graduates in India. Much more qualified people than me have penned their frustration with the state of engineers in India. Nevertheless, as a Computer Science and Engineering student who is at the brink of graduating, I couldn’t help but jump into the discussion.

In 2008, India produced 3.5 lakh (350 thousand) engineers. However, raw numbers don’t tell the entire story. When it comes to number of engineers per million people, there are only 214 engineers in India, compared to 1435 in South Korea and 765 in Japan. Of course, this isn’t all that surprising, given that the percentage of secondary and higher secondary pass outs in India is also significantly lower than in other developed nations. The real worrying statistic is that even after one year of graduation, 30% of Engineers in India remain unemployed. According to the Wall Street Journal, 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates are unemployable by India’s high-growth global industries. The situation is so dire that leading IT Services companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro have been forced to extend their initial training program for freshers in order to impart basic skills required on the job. And these are not companies that are not known for doing a lot of real engineering work. You can imagine how hard it must be for fledgling startups and software companies to attract real talent.

While opining on the state of engineering in India, most pundits have ripped apart the Indian education system. Right from the grassroots level, India’s education system ignores all the key facets of engineering, viz. curiosity, learning by experimentation, and problem solving. The explosion in the number of colleges handing out B. Tech degrees have resulted in a dire shortage of qualified teachers. The bar for becoming a teacher at the under graduate level has been lowered so much that it has become a folklore that students who don’t get recruited are the ones who end up becoming teachers.

However, the poor quality of education is not the sole reason for the current situation in India. The other driving factor is the attitude of the society. While, in the US, students are comfortable taking up courses like Humanities and Social Studies, Communications, and Media Arts, in India, most students believe (or are forced to believe) that the only two real career options before them are to become a doctor or an engineer. As a result, students who don’t have the will or the aptitude to become an engineer enroll for an engineering degree. This increase in demand has lead to the increase in the number of colleges, which in turn has lead to the lowering of the bar. It’s the lure of an offer from TCS and Infosys, rather than the attraction of building something that motivates engineering students in India. Even the criteria for getting into these colleges is misplaced. If you can mug up a few organic chemistry formulae, and have practised enough to solve some mechanics problem in Physics, chances are that you can get into a fairly esteemed institute of engineering.

Here are three completely random observations that I have made during my interaction with other Computer Science and Engineering students from several colleges across India:

  1. A staggering portion of the graduates aren’t even capable of accomplishing basic tasks like installing Windows or Linux operating system. Yes, many of the CSE graduates being produced by the Indian colleges are technically challenged.
  2. Most of the students in colleges around India, can’t even write simple algorithms like Bubble Sort or Binary Search, even if their life depended on it.
  3. Worse still, many of the lab instructors, who have been entrusted with the responsibility of teaching programming can’t write real code.

I am not suggesting that all engineers in India are clueless, or that all of the academicians are incompetent. However, a disappointingly large fraction is. Installing an Operating System has very little to do with Engineering. However, it does exemplify a lack of willingness or aptitude for even very rudimentary problem solving.

Undoubtedly, there is a lot that is wrong about the education system in India. However, it will also be wrong to ignore the positive impact that education has already had on India. Yes, quantity currently supersedes quality in India. However, most people will probably prefer the current situation over the situation ten or fifteen years back. Sridhar Vembu, the founder of ZOHO, very effectively pointed out the positive impact that even these substandard educational institutes are having on the society. In his own words,

The education for the most part was of poor quality, but that does not matter, because of what I have called the Placebo effect of education. What it confers is confidence, while the real knowledge is gained on the job – which is why dropping out of college doesn’t do much damage to upper-middle-class kids, who presumably already have an ample supply of confidence.

Most good things in India happen in spite of the government, and not because of it. When the quality of Engineering graduates picks up, it will also be because of a combination of factors that will have very little to do with the ministry of education. It might be because some premier institute decided to lead the way by encouraging hacker culture, instead of learning by rote. It might be because of the opening up of new lucrative career paths as the Indian economy grows and flourishes, which will reduce the (false) compulsion that most students feel to get into an engineering college, which in turn will lead to new batches of engineering students who will study engineering not because it will improve their chances of getting a job, but because they truly want to understand how stuff works and they want to build things. Among those will be several brilliant minds that will be able to dream big enough to change the world.

Image via OpenClipArt

What is MAFIAAfire? Is Mozilla a Terrorist Organization?

mafiaa-fire-logoWhy is Mozilla the target of a take-down notice from U.S. Homeland Security and what the heck is MAFIAAfire?

Back in December of last year, I asked a simple question: is Homeland Security Now Working for the Recording Industry?. In the article, I explained how the MPAA and RIAA (Movie and Music industry groups) have bribed the U.S. Congress with millions of dollars and now have ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a division of DHS (Homeland Security) in their pockets.

ICE has seized dozens of website domains over the last few months, supposedly to crack down on piracy and copyright infringement. Several new sites were taken down this week and new targets were likely suggested to ICE by the MPAA or RIAA. In a congressional hearing last month, ICE director John Morton admitted that his organization was acting on tips from industry representatives,and other leads.

Here’s what you’ll see if a site was taken down by ICE.

Why Chromebook Is A Dead Meat, For Now

Google recently announced Chromebook that will be available in market starting June 15. For the uninformed, Chromebook is Google’s ambitious project to get into the desktop OS world. What differentiates it from the other desktop OS is that Chrome OS is a cloud based Operating System.

google-chromebook

While for eons we have used traditional Operating System which supports a Hard Disk as a primary storage location, with Chrome OS Google wants you to store everything on the cloud. We already do that on our current OSes. Be it Windows, Mac or even Linux. Our current OS stores all the data on the hard disk and synchronizes with the cloud when we have access to internet. Google wants to change that and get rid of Hard Disks and wants you to store everything on Cloud, as mentioned previously.

It sounds quite exciting and surely is a different way to look at things but again falls in ‘launch at wrong timing’ category. For one, we still do not get access to the Internet in every corner of the city. Like when I’m travelling in train even the 3G stick stops working. In such cases the Chromebook is a just a dead meat for me.

The other grouse that I have with Chromebook is that our upload speed has still not reached the nirvana level. While Download speed enjoys quite a few MBPS, we are still stuck with slow upload speed. And with Chromebook to have everything on cloud, we really really need to take the upload speed into consideration. In my opinion there’s a fatchance for Chrome OS to be a success unless Google implememts their high speed Internet everywhere. For a product to launch, timing is the most important aspect and Google knows that better. Google launched Google Wave which was well ahead of its time. There’s a not so sweet history of products failing because they were launched well ahead of its time. Brightkite was the first to tinker with Social location check-ins but users were ready only when Foursqaure launched its little game. So timing is important and this is not the timing to launch a full fledge cloud based OS.

My last complaint is the cost of the Chromebook. You can get the   Samsung device which comes with 12.1-inch screen with an 8-hour battery life and will retail for $429 (Wi-Fi enabled) and $499 (3G enabled laptop), while Acer’s device will be an 11.6-inch display and a 6.5-hour battery life. Acer’s notebook will start at $349 and up. While it’s still cheaper than its competitor OS netbooks but it doesn’t count the amount of money you’ll be spending later for storing all your data. I’m pretty sure n coming months Chrome OS users would be spending money to access their own data from cloud rather than storing it. In my opinion in coming years storage space will get so cheap that it would be practical for companies to just give it away for free and charge for accessing the data instead.

What do you think? Will you be buying Chromebook when it releases in June?

Twitter’s #DickMove

If you are a Twitter user, you have probably heard about the sweeping changes made by Twitter to the Twitter API ToS (Terms of Service). In one fell swoop, Twitter’s platform lead Ryan Sarver outlawed all new Twitter clients. The justification offered was that Twitter wants to provide a consistent user experience in order to avoid confusing users. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Twitter’s real motivation is something a lot less noble.

Twitter

Back in 2009, when Twitter was experiencing tearaway growth, the billion dollar question in everyone’s mind was how will Twitter manage to generate enough revenue to become profitable. Two years on, we have a better idea. Besides selling access to search engines like Google and Bing, Twitter is using various promoted products (promoted trends, promoted accounts and promoted tweets) to generate revenue. The recent inclusion of the #dickbar in the iOS app suggests that Twitter is about to get more aggressive about monetization. Unfortunately, if a large number of users continue to prefer third party apps, Twitter might find it harder to generate enough revenue. And, that is the single biggest motivation for Twitter’s recent ToS changes. If maintaining consistent user experience is all they were worried about, they could have easily made third party apps fall in line by introducing a few additional clauses to the ToS, instead of abolishing them.

MG Siegler has done a comparison of the old ToS with the new one. The most telling bit is that Twitter has gone from wanting to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable businessesto empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable tools.

As you might expect, most developers aren’t bemused. Twitter started off as simple service intended for sharing what you are currently doing with your friends. Now, it is being used for everything from organizing protests to proposing one’s girlfriend. Twitter itself has gone from asking “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?. The credit for the evolution of Twitter lies with its ecosystem, which includes both users and third-party developers.

Fred Oliveira eloquently explained why the recent ToS change is a #dickmove in an open letter to Twitter. Twitter’s dramatic change of policy will not only anger developers, but also users. To quote Oliveira:

Lack of trust (like what developers are feeling right now) trickles down through the ecosystem and to the users’ ears.
I just don’t see this as a time when you can just tell developers you don’t need their clients anymore. Find ways to monetize your service by putting up sensible rules and guidelines, not walls.

However, there is another issue that Oliveira missed. From the very beginning, it is the ecosystem that defined and redefined Twitter. The list of features that were first seen in third-party clients and were later adopted by Twitter is fairly lengthy. It includes features like retweets, trends, lists, flickr integration, YouTube integration, URL shortening and so on. In brief, Twitter clients have been responsible for major innovations, and they have helped shape Twitter. By preventing the entry of third-party apps, Twitter will also be stifling innovation.

Twitter raised large sums of money in its funding rounds. It is obviously under pressure to start generating serious revenue soon. However, it seems to be willing to betray developers, annoy users, and damage the entire ecosystem in the process. The big question is can they afford to continue pissing off developers and users? Is the core product compelling enough to make users and developers stick around irrespective of Twitter’s betrayal? I have a feeling that if Twitter continues to be irreverent towards developers, in the long run, these very decisions might come back to haunt Dick Costolo and Twitter.

Last.fm Is Not Dying, and Here’s Why

Last.fm Last.fm is an interesting company. It started off as two different projects one involving online radio, and one involving recommendations. It was born as the internet was beginning to recover from the dot-com bubble burst. While Last.fm might no longer be the coolest kid in the town, a lot of people, including me, still have a soft spot for it. Naturally, when I first noticed the title of Stefan’s TNW editorial How long is Last.fm gonna last?, I was outraged. How dare he! But as I read his post and deliberated on the issue, I could see why he had arrived at the conclusion that Last.fm is heading towards oblivion.

I may not have been the earliest adopter of Last.fm, but I had joined it at a time when it was still considered hip and fun. Besides MySpace, Last.fm was the go to website for music lovers. It had the neat ability to generate charts based on what I had been listening to. Of course, those charts weren’t generated in real-time, because back then almost nothing on the web was real-time. I would check last.fm multiple times at the beginning of a week to see if the charts had been updated. I had friends, who would do the same. We would spend hours every week comparing each other’s tastes, checking out Last.fm suggestions, browsing through the most popular artists, etcetera etcetera. In short, I loved Last.fm.

Then in 2007, Last.fm got acquired by CBS (and I went to college). As always, the news was treated with cautious optimism. While CBS had the money and influence to expand Last.fm’s reach, it could also potentially spell trouble for the website by taking away its trendiness.

Next year, Last.fm rolled out a design overhaul that added several new features, and made dozens of modifications. Although a certain (vocal) section of Last.fm’s dedicated user base didn’t like the changes, my impressions were mostly positive. It allayed my fears about stagnation at the hands of a large corporation.

Unfortunately, since then, it has been mostly one bit of negative news after another. Last.fm stopped providing free streams to everyone other than users based in US, UK and Germany. It allegedly leaked user data to RIAA. The founders left the company. It stopped providing free preview streams for a large percentage of the tracks. And last month, it stopped its free mobile service even in countries like UK, US and Germany.

Being a web based content-provider in the music industry is tough. The record labels are still mostly clueless about the web as a content distribution medium. I would have to admit that most of the stuff I mentioned above were things beyond Last.fm’s control. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they happened, and that they had an overall negative impact on the product’s quality and value. In the meantime, Spotify has come along, and conquered Western Europe. Grooveshark has won accolades by offering high quality music for free to everyone.

To make things worse, Last.fm as a product has stagnated. There has been very little in the way of new features over the past few years. The charting and recommendation engines are the differentiating factors for Last.fm. However, they have seen little in the way of improvements in the last four years. Tight integration of charts with profiles and communities has the potential to make Last.fm an attractive destination for music lovers. But the once coolest kid in the block seems to have lost all its creative energy.

So, are Last.fm’s days numbered? I don’t think so. Although I agree with Stefan’s overall assessment of Last.fm, I believe that Last.fm is still quite far from heading towards oblivion. It might have lost its chance to become the king of online radio; however, its core product is as appealing as it was five years back. Last.fm might no longer be chic, but it still is useful. Even switching to a premium model didn’t make users stop coming back, because Last.fm is a lot more than just an online radio. The thing that makes users coming back to Last.fm is Audioscrobbler, which works from pretty much any music player, and any device.

While I don’t believe that Last.fm is not going to go anywhere anytime soon, I would love to see Last.fm regain its edge. It needs to reorient its website and applications to make them an integral part of a music enthusiast’s life, instead of just being a website you visit a few times a week. Last.fm has to increase user engagement, and one way to do so is to completely revamp user pages. The shoutbox is currently relegated to the bottom of the page where it is mostly ignored by users. If last.fm wants to increase the amount of time users spend on their website, it has to find a way to make users interact with their friends more. The homepage has to do more than just displaying what my friends are listening to now. It needs to implement a site-wide playlist to encourage users to listen to music without using the desktop client. The mobile apps should encourage users to shout out their opinion. Last.fm should also try out of the box revenue generation mechanisms like allowing users to purchase and dedicate songs to loved ones. I don’t want to see Last.fm turning into a Facebook, but it needs to leverage the huge pile of data it is sitting upon better.

What do you think? Do you agree with Stefan? Do you still use Last.fm? Drop a line and let us know.

Is The Internet Hurting The Environment? [Infographic]

Being in existence for over 28 years now, I have come to hear several times on how humanoids and their inventions are destroying the environment. From car emissions to the Ozone layer, this discussion is never ending. We have been so worried about global warming that countries all across the world have now started to buck up their environmental friendly measures.

But what about the internet? The thing we are always on to chat with friends, social network on and , and maybe sometimes use to work. Is it hurting our environment in anyways?

Well, according to Word Stream it will. Every Google Search you do emits equivalent CO2 as much as driving your car for 3 inches. Each spam message you get produces the equivalent of 0.3 grams of CO2. Surprised? Well then check out the infographic below created by Word Stream to know more such facts.

internet-environment-infographic-600