Category Archives: Social Media

News, views, analysis and tips on Social Networking and Social Media. News from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Digg, Reddit and more.

Facebook to Serve Mobile Ads Based on App Usage; Users Concerned About Privacy

Facebook is better known for privacy issues that its users are confused about, and here is yet another Facebook privacy chaos. The social media giant has crossed the limits of privacy and has now decided to track the apps that you use on Facebook via your mobile phone.

In the latest report by WSJ, Facebook is launching a new way of serving ads for mobile users by keeping a track of the apps that they use. The social network, which currently has over 900 million users, would use its Facebook Connect feature that enables millions of users to log into applications using their Facebook ID and password, to track consumers’ apps, and serve ads accordingly.

The advantage Facebook will have here is that the ads won’t necessarily be based on anything you or your friends have “liked” in the past, but will be based on the apps you have installed and the data collected from it.

Facebook for Mobile

This is done in order to display relevant ads and target the right customers. It is very much similar to what Google has done by unifying its privacy policies and displaying personalized advertisements by filtering out unwanted ads.

The problem, however, is the users’ privacy. According to the WSJ, the main problem is that “the product allows Facebook to know which apps users have downloaded on their phones and then target ads based on that information.”

Unlike its traditional way of serving ads by considering users’ own preferences, friends, and their “likes”, the new Facebook mobile ads serving method is completely different, if you ask. Earlier, with the permission of the user (by “liking” a product or company), Facebook would show a promotional content in the news feed, however, with the new ad serving methods, you will be displayed with certain targeted ads based on your activities and apps without your permission.

Users cannot opt-out of this mobile advertising no matter what as this is a forced change just like the Timeline feature. This is definitely a problem that users will face and is likely to strike privacy fears.

It is also known that Facebook is planning to release tools for developers to take advantage of the new mobile ad unit sometime at the end of this month.

Also Read: Facebook’s IPO and its challenges in Mobile Advertising

Facebook, after it went public in May 2012, is under immense pressure to generate revenue, especially through mobile devices, since nearly half of the users on Facebook use the network via their mobile devices. The company is yet to recovery complete from its IPO failure. Facebook has been working hard to get more users to use the site via mobile devices and is now figuring out a way for advertisers to reach them.

Facebook, Twitter Feeds Escalate Anxiety

Facebook, Twitter Feeds Cause Anxiety Among People

Over the years, technology has been a critical component for the betterment of human life. However, everything is not as green as you might think. When we talk about the more recent evolution in technology, everyone would chatter about online media. Yes!  We are talking about social media, something which has entered into the lives of millions by storm. It has affected the way people live, the way people behave, the way people connect and the way people socialize. All in all, it has made people more dependent on it on an everyday basis. This massive dependency is extremely counterproductive, says a study conducted at Salford Business School in the UK. The odds are that you have a Facebook account and/or a Twitter account which acts as your daily dose of information. How do you feel at a personal level after spending significant everyday logged on to either Facebook or Twitter? Experts are Salford Business School reveals that Facebook and Twitter feeds cause anxiety among people and makes them feel insecure. Further findings indicated that people admitted the fact that they feel worse about their lives. The people surveyed also indicated that their confidence level dropped after seeing the accomplishments of their peers.

Interestingly, two-thirds of the sample admit that they do not get proper sleep after visiting these sites whereas a quarter of them state that these sits have cut into their personal interactions either at work or in their relationship. It is not only limited to that. The survey pattern showed that 55% of the people felt “worried” when they were not able to log onto their Facebook or email accounts. To get some mental rest, 60% of the people are compelled to turn off gadgets.

These stats are testimony to the fact that where social media has helped achieve wonders such as a democratic sphere where every individual has an equal say, it has also become an arena where people are deviating from the physically connected world to a virtual one. It affects the feelings of people and their sentiments in a negative way, alienating them from people while staying connected. Such studies are more consistent nowadays. It is important that these consequences are not overlooked.

Facebook Kills Face.com’s Face Recognition APIs Including Klik iPhone App

In under a month after Facebook took over the popular facial recognition technology service Face.com, the social media giant Facebook has now decided to kill the entire service by closing down its facial recognition APIs in the next 30 days. Although the company assured to continue supporting the developer community, it now appears to be a white lie after this unexpected announcement.

In an email sent to the developers, Face.com stated that it will no longer be able to support its developer APIs, as it is looking forward to collaborate with the Facebook team:

“We’re excited to move forward to work with all our friends at Facebook. Part of this process includes closing down other products and services that we are no longer able to support, and this includes the Face.com developers API.”Face.com API Shut Down

Currently, Face.com has updated the site with the following message:

“We’re working with Face.com developers to transition as we wind down support for our APIs”

Facebook has not only acquired a great service and an awesome domain, but also maybe planning to integrate Face.com’s technology into Facebook itself. The company had about 20,000 developers in 2011, and within a year, the number doubled with nearly 45,000 developers signing up.

This has left the developers devastated. Some of them are putting out their frustrations on Twitter, while some are craving for open source alternatives. One of the developers posted the following on Hacker News:

“I literally just finished a hardware project based on the face.com API. I want to be furious but I guess you can’t blame them for creating such a great product. I knew it must be too good be true, and free forever. It sucks though because this was just a side project for me and I’m not sure it’s worth the time to develop my own OpenCV system.

I’ll be checking out the alternatives and resources you guys are posting though, HN is great!

F*** you Facebook…”

This shut down also includes the death of the facial recognition app Klik, which is no more to be found in the App Store. The app users, which allowed people to tag faces in photos using Facebook, are given a deadline until July 20 to retrieve their photos, after which all data will be deleted.

In announcement on Klik’s site, “After this date Face.com will dispose of the data we collect in connection with your use of the KLIK app and will not be migrating data to Facebook. All your data will be deleted – no exceptions.”

Find All Your Friends’ Relationship Status on Facebook with RelationBook

I have been using for the past few years now, and one thing I have noticed is that a relationship status change on Facebook generates a lot of likes and comments. While it is impossible to keep an eye on the relationship status of each and every friend of ours in real life, Facebook does provide a easier way to do it.

Also See: Friendsheet Provides Pinterest like Browsing for Facebook Photos

However, most of the times, you might not know what the relationship status of a friend is unless they update it or you look at their profile. If you have hundreds of friends, that could be a lot of work. Well that was until a new app came through.

Relation Status on Facebook - RelationBook

RelationBook is a new Facebook app which will tell you “who’s in a relationship” and who is not by looking at your friends profiles. The app sorts out your friends into various relationship status Facebook allows a user to set, thus allowing you to browse their profiles by clicking on links on the left side. RelationBook also allows you to search for friends using their name and filter their profiles by their gender.

Overall, RelationBook is a nice app which allows you to find out your friends’ relationship. However, it could add some more features like telling you when someone changed their relationship recently.

People Brag about Happiness on Facebook; Stanford Study

People Brag About Extent of Happiness on Facebook: Makes Peers Feel More Lonely

While Facebook has created a platform for people to connect with their friends and peers, it has also contributed to exaggerating happiness. A study carried out by Benoit Monin, Professor at the Department of Psychology at Stanford University reveals people tend to overestimate their friends’ happiness thanks to Facebook. It has become a norm for people to update status on Facebook and brag about their accomplishments, share photos in happy and exciting situations, and make jokes about the slightest of happenings and talk about a crazy night out. When such content is shared among friends, people tend to overestimate the person’s happiness who shared it in the first place. It is a big illusion and a larger misconception which leads people to think how lonely they are.

Professor Monin claimed his research showed three reasons why people tend to solidify this fallacy. One, people feel good in social situations and express their delights which leads their peers to conclude that their friend (who brags on Facebook) is happier than them and fail to realize that they can be sad and lonely as any other person. The second reason drew a direct analogy with the American culture which favors individuals who are positive and happy. A tendency has been observed in the sample that people tend to hide feelings no matter how bad they feel and pretend to be happier than they actually are. This reinforces the illusion. Finally, people on Facebook tend to talk more about the upsides than their downsides.

Professor Monin also talked about how to combat this phenomenon. He argues one can pay attention to the “silent majorities”. This group of people is the kind who does not talk much about what happens in their lives and therefore, their presence is overshadowed by the more vocal peers. In view of this, one should take into account the entire distribution of contacts on Facebook and not just a sample of it.

One can also filter out people who tend to over play their joy. This acts as a strong catalyst in contributing to emotional downturns. Professor Monin also recommends more private, one-to-one conversations and interactions as it is easier to communicate and express with people who are closer to a person.

The full details of the study can be found here: http://psp.sagepub.com/content/37/1/120

LinkedIn Breaks Up with Twitter; Will No Longer Sync Twitter Updates

You will no longer be able to post your Twitter updates to LinkedIn, as the latter has made an announcement stating that, regardless of whether you push all your Twitter updates to LinkedIn, or simply filter them out with the #in hashtag, they will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn.

Here’s the update that was sent out LinkedIn users who took advantage of the Twitter-to-LinkedIn service:

LinkedIn and Twitter have worked together since 2009 to enable you to share your professional conversations on both
platforms. Twitter recently evolved its strategy and this will result in a change to the way Tweets appear in third-party applications. Starting today Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn.

We know that sharing updates from LinkedIn to Twitter is a valuable service for our members. Moving forward, you will still be able to share updates with your Twitter audience by posting them on LinkedIn.

However, you can continue posting updates through LinkedIn to Twitter via the “Share” button. After you compose your post, check the box with the Twitter icon, and click on “Share.” You post will be automatically published to both your LinkedIn connections and your Twitter followers.

Why This Change?
Twitter Birdhouse

Prior to the announcement by LinkedIn, Twitter’s Michael Sippey posted a change about Twitter’s policy indicating that the company is looking forward to “build engaging experiences into Twitter” and allow “developers to be able to build applications that run within Tweets.”

All it means to say is that Twitter wants it users to stick around its own website and mobile applications, and has been focusing a lot to achieve that. In other words, Twitter is trying to push out third-party partners who display tweets on their websites. This change in Twitter’s policy is because the company is expecting to boost its revenue from advertising, and according to some sources, it is expecting to generate over $1 billion revenue in advertising by 2014.

Twitter advertising business accounts to almost 90 percent of its revenue. And in order to achieve the $1 billion milestone, Twitter needs to grow its advertising business, no matter what. In 2011, Twitter managed to generate nearly $140 million in advertising revenue.

Facebook Testing New “Want” Button for Products

You’ve always had the option to “Like” something on Facebook. But when it comes to products, you may “like” it, but what if you want it and add it to your wish list? Well, a feature something like that might soon appear on Facebook, as the social media giant is testing a “Want” button feature, which will allow you to add the product to your “Want” list, or simply called as a wish list.

The new feature hasn’t been rolled out yet, but was found in the latest Facebook JavaScript software development kit. Developer Tom Waddington, who discovered the new “Want” button tag in the SDK, states that button is currently disabled, however, it does render when used.

Here’s an instance of the new “Want” button (it throws an error):

Here’s the code that was used for the “Want” button:

<div class="fb-want" data-href="...."></div>

The new button will work only with entities that are labelled as “products.” This could be a necessary feature apart from the all-time popular “like” button. People on Facebook “like” products, pages, photos, or any other thing, however, with the new “Want” button, it would allow users to show their interest and desire to purchase a product.

Does Facebook really want a “Want” button?

The data pulled from the Facebook want button is worth a lot, especially for business purposes. Take for instance, you want to own the latest Samsung Galaxy S3. So, you head over to the Galaxy S3 page and add the product to your wish list by clicking on the “want” button.

Now, imagine the same thing done by a thousand other users. Though not every person who clicks on the “want” button may buy it, it will provide an insight to the product distributor on how successful the product is and the number of people wanting to buy the phone.

You may now say that there is no big difference between the “like” and the “want” button. You can “like” anything on Facebook, but “want” is something that is restricted to products only, which shows a user’s desire in purchasing the product. This makes the big difference between the two buttons.

Yet another difference between the two buttons is that, a number of users “like” a product on ecommerce sites, but that doesn’t specify the number of users who already have the product and the number of users who are looking forward to buy it.

With everything considered, the new “Want” button looks promising and will surely be very useful to manufacturers and retailers. So, what do you think of the new “Want” button?

[Source]

Google+ Events: Before, During and After the Party

At the end of Google I/O Keynote – Day 1, Google came up with some interesting stats about Google+, and also announced the tablet version for the social networking site. However, that was not the end of it.

Google went on further and announced a new feature called “Google+ Events”, which offers an effortless way to plan events with your friends, relatives, family members, and also the people who are not on Google+.

Google has taken the way of organizing events to the next new level. Most of the time we just send out invitations and get RSVPs, but the new “Google+ Events” focuses more on the needs and details that come before, during, and after an event.

Before the Event: Send Invites, and Stay in Sync with Calendar Integration

Prior to an event, you need to design your invitation before sending it out to your friends and family members. Google+ Events works pretty much in a similar way. Google+ helps you design your invites using an image from a selection of “cinemagraphs”, with subtle animations. Google+ Events also provides the ability to attach a personalized video greeting from YouTube.

You can add your friends who are already on Google+, along with those who are not on Google+ by simply entering their email id. The event details will be revealed to the recipients as they unfold the invite, and upon RSVP, the event is automatically synced to their Google Calendars.

During the Event: Share Real-time Photos in “Party Mode”

Google+ Events is all about what you do before, during, and after an event. At Google I/O, Vic Gundotra showed off the invitation system, and mainly highlighted the “Party Mode” feature. With the new “Party Mode” feature enabled on your mobile device, all photos clicked by the attendees will be added to the event landing page.

What’s the fun part? Well, it all happens in real time, and the streaming feed can be viewed as a slideshow.

After the Event: Everything Gets Automatically Arranged

Once you get back home after the party, you don’t have sit and decide what photos you have to upload, because Google+ “Party Mode” has already done that for you. Additionally, you don’t have to take the pains of arranging the photos in order, because Google+ does the arrangements automatically by placing them in chronological order once the party is over.

Just visit your event page after it’s over, and you’ll see everyone’s pictures and comments in chronological order. You can also browse by popularity, photographer or photo tag with a few clicks. It’s easy, immersive and awesome.

It’s exactly one year since Google+ was launched, and Google is proud that it has come this long with over 250 million users in total. With all new features like Google+ Events, the social networking site has gone way ahead in terms of innovation. Google+ has grown to a greater extent in the last one year, and by the end of next year, we should see some tough competition between Google+ and Facebook.

Google+ for Tablets – Android App Available Today, Coming Soon to iPad

Today, during the Google I/O 2012, Google announced the all new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean along with the Nexus 7 tablet and the Nexus Q device. Further ahead, Google’s VP Vic Gundotra shared some pretty interesting stats about its social networking site, Google+.

Google launched Google+ back in 2011, and exactly after a year, Google+ has reached a new milestone of over 250 million users in total of which nearly 175 million are monthly active users, including 75 million daily users. It’s pretty interesting to learn that Google+ has grown to a greater extent in the last one year, and what’s even more interesting is that most of the users login to their Google+ profiles from mobile devices.

This makes it clear that Google+ is gaining popularity on mobile devices rather than on desktop. Users spend about roughly 12 minutes using Google+, which is quite a demand. In order to cope up with the demands, Google today announced the Google+ version for tablets.

Google+ for Tablets

Having announced the tablet version for Google+, Vic Gundotra added, “We think it’s the best version of Google+ we’re ever designed.”

The Android app for tablets is available today, however, iOS users will have to wait a little longer as Google has promised to release the app very “soon.”

Google posted in a blog post that the tablet app is designed with the device in mind, and it includes:

  • A beautiful stream that styles content based on popularity, type and orientation
  • A “lean back” Hangouts experience that’s great for the couch or common room
  • Crisper text, fuller photos and easily-tappable actions like +1 and comment

Microsoft Acquires Yammer for $1.2 Billion

YammerYammer, which is pretty much Facebook for enterprises, has been acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion in cash. Yammer was launched towards the end of 2008, and currently has more than 5 million users including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500. “When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big,” David Sacks, Yammer founder and CEO, said. “We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we’ll need to scale and innovate.”

Microsoft will be folding Yammer into the Office division, where it will bolster Microsoft’s current enterprise offerings. The Redmond giant expects Yammer to complement existing products like SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics and Skype. “The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft. “Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Yammer will continue to be developed as an independent service, but Microsoft will leverage its existing products to boost Yammer’s adaption. Going forward, Microsoft’s biggest challenge will be monetizing Yammer. The enterprise social network operates on a freemium model, with four fifth of the current users accessing its services for free.