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.

Pinterest Hires Tim Kendall, the Man Behind Facebook’s Monetization Strategies

Nearly one and a half years ago, Facebook lost its key person, the man behind Facebook’s monetization strategies, Tim Kendall, who seamlessly helped Facebook to monetize the site particularly in the development of the ads business. Today, the same person has been hired by the slowly growing and puzzled on how to raise profits – pin board styled social photo sharing site – Pinterest, in order to help the company convert their engaged users into real money.

Kendall worked at Facebook from the year 2006 to December, 2010 where he was designated as the Director of Monetization. Kendall mainly architected Facebook’s early monetization strategies, which certainly shot up the company’s revenue in no time. In the year 2011, Facebook’s advertising revenue was about $3.2 billion, which was 85 percent of its total revenue!

Tim Kendall Hired by Pinterest

When Kendall was leaving Facebook, David Fischer, VP – Advertising and Global Operations at Facebook, sent out an email highlighting Kendall’s contributions to the company –

Over more than four years at Facebook, Tim has had an incredible impact on the company, and in particular on the development of the ads business. Starting back in 2006, Tim wrote the blueprint for our monetization strategy. In all seriousness, it is safe to say we would not be where we are today without Tim.

Tim recognized early on not only that advertising could be social, but that it should be social on Facebook. What began as “sponsored stories,” social advertising has transformed the marketing business. And again, Facebook has Tim to thank.

Tim is truly a renaissance man. All of us who have worked with him have seen his strong intellect, quiet intensity, and complete focus on the mission at hand, with little tolerance for distractions or bureaucracy. He balances that with a more lively side that seems to come out after dark and has been displayed over the years at fine Palo Alto establishments like Rudy’s and the Old Pro. We will greatly miss all sides of Tim.

Since leaving Facebook, Kendall has done some venture capital, investing in Turntable.fm and SneakPeeq, a social shopping site.

Now that the man behind Facebook’s revenue has been hired by Pinterest. This eventually leads to a question in mind whether Pinterest is planning to slot in advertisements on the site. If not, Kendall has to think another way out to generate revenue for Pinterest.

Currently, Pinterest has no steady income. The site currently exists because of the outside investments from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Although Pinterest has tried out several different approaches to make money such as affiliate links, they haven’t really been successful enough. Pinterest team has stated on their site that they will try out advertisements, and perhaps this is why Kendall has been hired.

Google Plus Has Nearly 195 Million Profiles Including 25 Million Blank Profiles

When Google launched its social networking site Google Plus, it made every profile visible to search engines by default. With this, every profile on Google Plus gets indexed by search engines and the profile links will be displayed in the search results accordingly.

Like every other website, Google too maintains a sitemap file for Google Plus that basically contains all the records and links to every Google Plus profile. A sitemap is a file that consists a list of pages of a website listed accordingly, which will enable crawlers or users to know the hierarchy of a site.

Amit from Labnol discovered that the main sitemap of Google Plus has over 39,000 sub-sitemap files with each of the sub-sitemap file consisting of 5,000 Google Plus profiles each. Therefore, calculating the total number of profile links in the sitemap file – 39,000 * 5,000 which is equivalent to 195 million profile links.

This clearly shows that Google Plus has nearly 195 million profiles as of March 16th, 2012 (the last sitemap update). However, yet another interesting discovery was the number of blank profiles out of the 195 million profiles.

When a new profile is created, the “About” section of the profile will be left blank with the message – “[Name] has not filled in his profile yet.” Performing a quick site search with the query – “site:plus.google.com “has not filled * profile yet” inurl:about ” reveals that Google Plus has nearly 25 million blank profile pages.

Google Plus Blank Profiles

Therefore, the total number of active users on Google Plus (or at least those who have their profile information filled) is 170 million users.

Facebook currently boasts that it has over 850 million users, while Twitter records shows that it has 140 million “active” users. Earlier in January, Google’s Larry Page posted a public note (citing a quote from the Google Earnings report) on his Plus profile revealing that Google Plus has recorded over 90 million users globally.

Within over a span of nearly 2 months from the disclosure of official profile count, it looks like the newly launched social networking site has increased progressively with the current record of 170 million active users (as calculated above). It is predicted that Google Plus will have nearly 400 million users by the end of 2012.

Oh well, if in case you want to hide your Google Plus profile from search engines, then here’s what you need to do. Go to your profile page and click on “About”. Click “Edit Profile” and scroll down to the end where you’ll see “Profile discovery: Profile visible in search”. Click on it and uncheck the “Help others find my profile in search results” option and save the setting. Done! Your page will be taken off the search index and will no longer appear in search results until you come back and enable it again.

Facebook Now Supports High Resolution Photos and Can Be Viewed Fullscreen

Facebook just got better! The social networking giant has just announced that the site will now allow users to upload high resolution photos and eventually enable full-viewing (full resolution) of images. Photos on Facebook will now be crisp, sharp and of high quality with up to 4x larger than before. This is perhaps the best and one of the greatest photo update that Facebook has ever rolled out.

Facebook made this happy announcement on their blog today and stated that users can now expand the photo viewer to take up thier entire computer screen. However, this feature is currently available on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Facebook High-res Photo Viewer

Facebook hasn’t revealed as to why this feature is supported by only the two browsers. However, we assume that Facebook is still testing this new photo feature and may eventually start supporting on other browsers as well.

To use the new photo feature, users can click the double headed arrow placed at the top-right corner of a photo to expand it.

Facebook View Large Photos

Technical Information About the Update

There is a motive behind this update. The Internet standard color profile is called “sRGB.” Most of sites, including Facebook, support this sRGB format. Since not every browser recognizes images as sRGB, site developers ought to redefine every single image as sRGB. Although Facebook’s photo feature system is capable of defining sRGB in every image, the problem occurred as the sRGB definition was very big, which eventually caused the loading of pages to slow down by 30 percent.

Facebook Engineers identified the problem and stated that it was caused due to the repeated details of the definition and also the “tone response curve” (2060 bytes), which added to a total of 3KB. Once they figured out on how to cut down the numbers, the sRGB definition became quite manageable, as Ryan Mack explains in detail.

There are over 250 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day. Many amateur and semi-professional photographers have started to upload their creativity on Facebook. No doubt that Facebook has already become a popular photo-sharing site, however, with this new photo feature, the social networking giant has put forth a new challenge for Flickr and other popular photo-sharing sites. It will also be interesting to see how corporate and business pages on Facebook will make use of this new feature.

When Facebook rolled out its new photo viewer, everyone complained that it was a copy of the Google Plus photo viewer. No doubt about that, but Facebook has taken a step ahead by updating its photo feature by enabling users to view larger versions of photos. My guess is that this update will eventually be carried out by Google Plus in the near future.

Facebook “Deactivated Friend Attack” Disclosed by Researchers

A pair of researchers from the University College London – Shah Mahmood (student) and Yvo Desmedt, Chair of Information Communication Technology, have discovered and revealed a “zero day privacy loophole” in Facebook. The duo has named the loophole as “Deactivated Friend Attack”, and revealed details about it yesterday during the IEEE International Workshop on Security and Social Networking SESOC 2012, held at Lugano, Switzerland.

According to the pair, “Our deactivated friend attack occurs when an attacker adds their victim on Facebook and then deactivates her own account. As deactivation is temporary in Facebook, the attacker can reactivate her account as she pleases and repeat the process of activating and deactivating for unlimited number of times. While a friend is deactivated on Facebook, she becomes invisible. She could not be unfriended (removed from friend’s list) or added to any specific list.”

This particular attack is simple enough and easy to execute, however, the main challenge the attacker faces is to trick the user into accepting the attacker as a “friend”. However, once the attacker has achieved this task, he can deactivate the user’s account and also make it impossible for the user to remove him from his friend list.

Facebook Friends

Once the attacker can activate/deactivate the user’s account, he can also access the information contained in the victim’s account. According to the researchers, the attackers have some sort of back entry into the victim’s account and can access the account any time he wants.

“No user was able to unfriend us during this time due to cloaking and short de-cloaking sessions,” the researcher said during the workshop. The “deactivate friend attack” works well, since Facebook does not allows users to keep a count on how many time a user’s account was deactivated and activated. It also does not send any notification to the user’s friend about the deactivation of the account.

To demonstrate how this works, Mahmood and Desmedt made 4,300 Facebook friends and maintained access to their profiles for a period of 261 days. Because most of the time their test account was deactivated, none of the 4,300 individuals was able to unfriend them. The short de-cloaking sessions were enough to get updates about the victims.

Currently, there has been no resolution on this yet, but we expect that Facebook will look into this matter and come up with a feasible solution. Meantime, it is advised that you do not add any unknown person to your friend list. Also, make sure you approve trusted Facebook apps that seek permission to access your publicly available information.

[via]

Google Misspells Its Own Product Name

Earlier today, Google sent out an email to all Google Wave users, stating that the product has been put in read-only mode and would shut down on April 30, 2012. However, did you notice anything strange in the email? If not, go check that email again. Google has misspelled the name of its own product as “Google Wage” instead of “Google Wave”.  Well, looks like the Google Wave team is under high distress!

Although Google hasn’t responded to this yet, but users across the Web claim that this is just a PR faux pas. It definitely looks very unprofessional, and it is most likely a typo because of the close proximity of the “g” and “v” keys on the keyboard. Users buzzed Twitter with jokes about this embarrassing event, and even created a Twitter hash tag – #googlewage

As the email indicates, this is a reminder email from Google about the shutdown of Google Wave. Google announced over a year ago that development on Wave was ceasing, and the product would be shut down by the end of April, 2012.

Google Wave Typo Email

Dear Wavers,

More than a year ago we announced that Google Wave would no longer be developed as a separate product. Back in November 2011, we shared the specific dates for ending this maintenance period and shutting down Wave. Google Wave is now in read-only mode. This is reminder that the Wave service will be turned off on April 30, 2012. You will be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. We encourage you to export any important data before April 30, 2012.

If you would like to continue using Wave, there are a number of open source projects, including Apache Wave. There is also an open source project called Walkaround that includes an experimental feature that lets you import all your Waves from Google. This feature will also work until the Wave service is turned off on April 30, 2012.

For more details, please see our help center.

Yours sincerely,

The Wave Team

© 2012 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Wave account.

Please note that once Google Wave shuts down, users will be unable to read or retrieve anything on its servers.

Twitter Gives Refuge to Posterous, Prevents an Untimely Death

There was a time once when Tumblr and Posterous were in a tough battle for the short-blogging space. The battle is long over. Tumblr has emerged as the undefeated champion and Posterous has barely managed to stay afloat. In the last one year, Posterous shifted its focus from competing with Tumblr, to group conversation. It has worked well for Posterous and it managed to stay in business.
posterous-thumb
However, the latest development at Posterous is great news for them. Twitter just acquired Posterous. The Posterous blog has announced this acquisition saying,

The opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn’t be happier about bringing our team’s expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe. Plus, the people at Twitter are genuinely nice folks who share our vision for making sharing simpler.

Along with the technology, Twitter also let in the Posterous team, which includes product managers and engineers.

The Posterous team has promised that all the existing services at Posterous (like Posterous Spaces) will continue to be live and the withdrawal of any service will be announced well in advance. Additionally, instructions for backup of data and other artifacts stored with Posterous accounts will be announced soon. This is a bit confusing, as on one hand, the Posterous team suggests that they will keep all their current offerings live, and on the other hand, they are promising prior withdrawal notices.

It is unclear whether Posterous will meet its fate eventually, but the Posterous team will definitely be a valuable addition at Twitter.

This is Funny, Facebook Blocks Indian Users for Using the Slang “Ch****”

This sounds funny, but Facebook has done it. The social networking giant has literally blocked over thousands of Indian accounts for using the word “chutia” in their name. For those who don’t know what the slang is – “chutia” or “chutiya” is equivalent to what is considered by many to be the most offensive word in the English language – “c***

According to The Times of India, user accounts of the All Assam Chutia Students’ Union in India (AACSU) community on Facebook were blocked, while the the AACSU community were left confused as to why the accounts of their community members were taken offline. Although there hasn’t been any response from Facebook, the Union thinks that the Facebook Security team believes that these accounts were fake or were created in order to spread spam messages.

Facebook Blocked Users for Using the Word "Chutia"

Addressing a press conference in Jorhat, AACSU general secretary Jyotiprasad Chutia said: “‘Facebook has blocked the accounts of all the subscribers belonging to the Chutia community of Assam thinking the names are false and fabricated. For Chutia being an abusive word in the Hindi language, Facebook authorities thought that the account holders are fake and fabricated. But, they are still unknown to the fact that Chutia is an ethnic tribe of Assam which has a rich historical background in the state history.”

According to the Wikipedia page, The Chutiya kingdom (pronounced Sutiya) was established by Birpal in 1187 in north-eastern Assam, with the capital at Sadiya. The Sutiya are an indigenous ethnic group that speak a Tibeto-Burman language. According to tradition, Birpal at first became the chief of sixty families.

The student’ protested against Facebook and burned a Facebook effigy in the five upper Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, and Golaghat on Monday and have demanded a public apology from the social networking giant.

The students not only demand for a public apology, but also expressed its intention to undertake demonstrations pressurizing the Government to accept its 26-point charter of demands. This includes the demands for “tribal status and reservation for the Chutia community in educational institutions and preservation of historic monuments of the Chutia dynasty.”

This particular photo has been shared a million times on Facebook and I’m sure most of the users have seen this –

Facebook Blocks "Chutia"

Apart from this, there is yet another famous Facebook Page – KyaAapChutiyaHain, which is quite popular on Facebook and in India. I wonder if Facebook is going to take down this page as well.

“Chutia” is the most commonly used slang (among friends) in India. It basically refers to a fool or an idiot.

Facebook, Google+, and other social networking sites have requested new users registering for an account to use their real name. Failing to abide by this, the accounts of such users will be taken offline without any prior warning or notice.

Friendsheet, Pinterest for Facebook Photos

Pinterest has been creating a lot of social media traction, specially among the female crowd. It has become one of the best ways to find interesting things that are pinned by users to an online pin board. Pinterest has also been one of the biggest social media stories aside from and in recent times.

Friendsheet, Pinterest for Facebook Photos

While interest in Pinterest is not dying down, a new service/Facebook app might change things a bit. A new service called Friendsheet allows you to browse your friends photos on Facebook in an interface which is similar to that of Pinterest.

The app asks users to login using Facebook and then asks for certain permissions before it can fetch all your friends photos. Once you have successfully logged in you will be able to browse all your friends photos. It displays all your friends photos in a neat interface (similar to Pinterest). You can then easily; like, share and comment on your friends photos from the same interface. It also provides with an option for endless scrolling where you can load new photos from your friends by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Friendsheet touts itself as the best photo browser for Facebook and though it does not provide any other functionality other than browsing your friends photos, it definitely has a lot of scope to compete with Pinterest. Also, the fact that Mark Zuckerberg himself shared the service might ring a few bells among the Pinterest developers.

Facebook Messenger for Windows Officially Released

Facebook has officially released the Facebook Messenger app for Windows, which was leaked in December by an early tester. I suppose that many users have downloaded the leaked Messenger app and tried out its features. However, for those who have not tried it out, you can now download the officially released public app from the Facebook Messenger page.

With Facebook Messenger for Windows, users can easily access notifications, see real-time updates, and even chat with friends who are online right from their desktop. It more or less acts like a smaller version of your browser window through which you can access your Facebook account.

Facebook Messenger for Windows

Apart from all that, an interesting feature in the Facebook Messenger for Windows is the Dock feature. The dock button is placed at the bottom-right corner of the app, and clicking it will move the entire Messenger to the right-side of your desktop, just like the ticker and the chat that is placed on the right side of your Facebook profile.

The ticker, which is apparently the most annoying feature on Facebook, updates in real-time, but unlike the feature where users can simply click on an update and read or comment right there, isn’t available in the Facebook Messenger app. Instead, clicking an update will open it a new browser window, which is somewhat frustrating.

Facebook Messenger for Windows - Chat

According to Facebook, “Messenger lets you use Facebook without being on www.facebook.com. You will now be able to stay in touch anytime, no matter what you’re doing.”

Although the app updates in real-time, the only disadvantage is that clicking on any update, the user is sent back to the browser window. Facebook should have implemented the actual features of the ticker available on Facebook, and allow users to view or add comments right from the desktop app itself. To what Facebook says above, this is completely contradicting it.

The chat feature works very much similar to how it works on Facebook.com. Users can chat with multiple users at the same time by switching tabs placed at the bottom of the app. The chat feature in the app also supports the available Facebook smileys.

Users don’t have to worry anything about privacy issues, since the app automatically makes use of the privacy settings that you have set with your Facebook Account.

Logging In – To log into Messenger, click on the Facebook icon in your Windows system tray. Once the app opens, enter your email and password.

Facebook Messenger Icon on Windows

Logging Out – To log out from the Facebook Messenger, just right-click on the Facebook icon in your Windows system tray and select “Log out.”

Facebook Messenger for Windows works only on Windows 7. Windows XP and Windows Vista users will need to wait, as the company has stated that there is a possibility of the app arriving on these platforms as well. Mac users on the other hand, will have to wait a little longer until a version for Mac system is released. Facebook Messenger for Mac is on its way, which we hope that it will be released soon. Facebook, however, denied commenting as to when Facebook Messenger for Mac will be available for download.

According to Facebook, the leaked version of the Messenger for Windows was apparently a “test” application, and has publicly released the app with all bugs removed. It is recommended that you download and reinstall the app from the Facebook Messenger page.

New Facebook Feature Spotted – Interest Lists

Facebook launched the new Facebook Pages last week, which has created a buzz around the web and the social network itself. Along with the launch of Timeline for brand pages, Page owners who switched to the new layout found an interesting feature on the new Timeline layout called the “Interest Lists”. The feature, however, has not been revealed by Facebook yet.

According to Social Fresh, a social education company that spotted the feature first, revealed that “Interest Lists” was available from a drop-down menu under the Cover photo in the new Timeline layout. Users who were lucky enough to try out this unrevealed feature say that they could create a new list with the “New List” button to “Start an interest list to see a special news feed of related posts.”

Although Facebook did not confirm anything about the new feature, however, a spokesperson stated that “We are constantly testing new products and features, but we have nothing more to share.”

Here’s a screen shot of Interest List that Jason Keath, founder of Social Fresh, managed to get –

Facebook Interest Lists Features

Facebook has not mentioned anything about this feature in the new Timeline tour or marketing material. Also, the company never mentioned anything about “Interest Lists” at the live FMC even in NYC last week.

Now that the feature was spotted by a few users, Facebook immediately removed it from Pages and left us all wondering what “Interest Lists” is all about.

Here’s what Jason thinks that the feature is all about –

  • It could simply be a list of brand pages, allowing users to segment pages as they currently do with friends and subscriptions. Whether lists would be able to include both user profiles and pages or if they would remain separate would be another question.
  • It could be a discovery engine. Right now, Google+ is better at discovery. But imagine if Facebook users were allowed to subscribe to certain topics, like football or baking? Perhaps users could even define these interests themselves by creating interest lists by grouping a few of their favorite pages.

We aren’t sure if Facebook plans to release this feature by allowing users to include subscriptions and friends in addition to Pages. It would rather be an inefficient feature if Facebook plans to exclude subscriptions, since both Interest Lists and Subscriptions function very similarly. However, this new feature could be yet another powerful tool for Facebook, and thus will help it maintain the long gap between its rival, Google+.

Nonetheless, do you think that the new feature will be useful enough? Let us know by adding your views below.