Zuckerberg Abandons Top 40 Richest People List

Zuckerberg Abandons Top 40 Richest People List

The news of Facebook going public was thought to bring along heavy cash and plenty of fortune for the company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It turns out that Zuckerberg has undergone an experience that has shaped into something altogether different. With over 900 million users, the company founded by Zuckerberg in 2004 got registered on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange on May 18, 2012. The initial value of its share was traded at $38. As days passed, the value of Facebook shares started to take a downturn. For example, last Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Facebook’s share was being traded at $28.

The plummeting of the company’s share saw a negative impact on Zuckerberg’s fortune. On May 18, 2012, Zuckerberg accumulated approximately $19 billion just before Facebook knocked on Nasdaq’s doors. In contrast, 12 days later, on May 30, 2012, Zuckerberg’s fortune plummeted to approximately $12 billion. This consolidates the fact that Zuckerberg does not remain amongst the list of the top 40 richest people on the planet, reports Bloomberg.

Trade analysts assume that the share value of Facebook is likely to descend further as investors are starting to get worried about how much money Facebook can generate in spite of its tremendous user base and its switch to the mobile platform, an area where it has not performed well in terms of revenue generation as it would have liked.

More Proof that Facebook Might Buy Opera

Opera-SoftwareLast week, Pocket Lint broke the story that Facebook might be looking to acquire Opera. Initially, I was pretty dismissive of the report. While, the deal did make sense for Facebook, I wasn’t sure it was something that Opera really needed. In fact, Opera’s co-founder and ex-CEO Jon von Tetzchner’s comments echoed as much. “I want Opera to focus on growth and delivering good results; there are big opportunities for Opera,” Tetzchner, who holds 10.9 percent of Opera, told Reuters. “We have been promised 500 million users by 2013, and I think that’s a good goal and the firm should keep going for it.” He added, “I personally think that an ARPU (average revenue per user) goal of $1 is even modest. I am not pushing for a takeover.”

However, Pocket Lint’s initial report has since been backed up by Robin Wauters who is typically well sourced in browser related matters. Not only that, bankers told Reuters that Opera had “long been up for sale informally”. Now, I find this bit of information particularly interesting because of one reason. Tetzchner quit Opera last year. His departing email read, “It has become clear that The Board, Management and I do not share the same values and we do not have the same opinions on how to keep evolving Opera”. My theory is that it is quite possible that Jon’s disagreement with the board was over their plans on pushing for a takeover by a larger entity. Tetzchner always regarded Opera as his baby, and insisted on staying independent and retaining a core set of values that defined Opera Software. It’s hard to think that he would have found proposals of selling out agreeable.

While all of the above is conjecture on my part, there is one bit of information that Vygantas has dug out, which strongly hints that something is up at Opera software. As you might already know, a significant portion of Opera’s revenues come from its search agreement with Google. Opera ships with Google as the default search engine, and in return, Google shares a chunk of revenue it generates from the traffic coming from Opera. Earlier today, Opera Software announced that it is extending its existing agreement with Google for a month. This move is extremely unusual, as typically such renewals are for a year or several years. I don’t remember Opera ever renewing its agreement for such a short period. While it is entirely possible that the renewal is simply a temporary measure to give the two companies some time to thrash out a new deal, it is also possible that Opera expects something big to happen in the next one month. You know, like being acquired by Facebook.

There is still no concrete proof that anything is really going on. But, over the past week, we have seen multiple sources claim that something might be up. In my opinion, the deal does make sense for Facebook. It will allow it to both gain eyeballs in the mobile segment, and also better monetize it. However, I am not convinced that it’s in Opera’s best interests to allow itself to be gobbled up by folks for whom browser is not really a priority. Facebook might increase Opera’s reach, but it might also stagnate Opera’s development, hamper its innovative edge, and tarnish its reputation and trust.

Tim Cook at D10: Hints at Facebook Integration, and Siri Improvements

Last month, we reported that Tim Cook was to kickoff the D10 conference. That occurred today in which Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook about a range of topics. MacRumors has a transcript of the entire interview. During the interview, Cook hinted at two upcoming feature for Apple’s customers.

The first one suggested that Facebook integration into iOS maybe on its way. In the past, it has been rumored that negotiations between Apple and Facebook have been tough. As a result, Facebook integration in iOS has been absent while Twitter has been integrated.

When Cook was asked about Apple’s relationship with Facebook,  he suggested that there will be news in the near future:

For us, we want to provide customers simple and elegant ways to do the things they want to do. Facebook has hundreds of millions of customers. So, anyone that has an iPhone or iPad, we want them to have the best experience with Facebook on those platforms. So stay tuned.

Cook was also asked regarding Siri and reported that customers love the voice assistant feature on the iPhone 4S, and that its one of the most popular features on the device. He went on to say that they have a lot more coming:

But, there’s more that it can do. We have a lot of people working on this. You’ll be really pleased with the things you’ll see over the coming months. The breadth that you’re talking about — we’ve got some cool ideas about what Siri can do. We have a lot going on on this.

 


Facebook Might Acquire Facial Recognition Startup Face.com For $100 Million

Facebook is working on yet another acquisition, reports Techcrunch. This time, it is planning to acquire Face.com for $100 million.

However, the acquisition isn’t directly from Face.com. Yandex, a Moscow-based search engine, is selling its stake in the Face.com to Facebook.  Yandex, together with Israeli investment fund, Rhodium put $4.3 million into Face.com in return for 18.4 percent of the company.

Face.com, an Israeli startup, is a face recognition platform. The app is already integrated with Facebook and allows users to auto-tag friends in photos one at a time or in the entire album. It can also guess a user’s age, gender and mood. Face.com has a mobile API and an app called KLIK that uses a camera to auto tag Facebook photos. It can easily be implemented on top of Facebook’s new camera app and provide seamless photo tagging.

Face.com has, so far, raised only $5.3 million from Yandex and Rhodium. It’s being reported that Yandex wants cash and stock in Facebook in return for the deal. Which means that Yandex expects Facebook stock to hold strong unlike what the market thinks.

Facebook Entering Hardware Business: Does It Need To? Can It?

If New York Times’ Nick Bilton has to be believed then, Facebook is preparing for its own mobile phone, its third attempt. While most of the tech blogs are convinced that Facebook has the right features to go ahead with this deal — Facebook message for messaging, Facebook App center for app store, Facebook Camera, and it might soon have its own browser.

Why Facebook thinks it needs to get into hardware business

In their S-1 filing before the IPO, Facebook stated that Mobile is an increasing risk factor for the company:

We believe this increased usage of Facebook on mobile devices has contributed to the recent trend of our daily active users (DAUs) increasing more rapidly than the increase in the number of ads delivered. If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.

For Facebook majority of its revenue comes from advertising. In 2009, 2010, and 2011 and the first quarter of 2011 and 2012, advertising accounted for 98 percent, 95 percent, 85 percent, 87 percent, and 82 percent, respectively, of its revenue. It desperately needs to diversify. And mobile seems like a good option. The company company accounted for 488 million monthly average unique users of its mobile products in the month of March, however, it hasn’t figured out a way to monetize those mobile users yet. Astute readers might have noticed that Facebook’s recent acquisition has put them in a stronger position in the mobile space.

Can Facebook really get into hardware?

As much as, it seems to be the need of an hour, it should be noted that Facebook has previously tried and scrapped its hardware ambitions as it realized the difficulties. However, this time around, Facebook has the cash — $16 billion to be precise, and according to the NYT article even the team.

Yet, given their better position this time around there are few hurdles that Facebook might encounter:

  • Relationship with carriers: Google has previously experienced this and it’s quite difficult to please everyone at the same time. It doesn’t help that success of a device is solely dependent on the carrier distribution.
  • Applications: Today, when someone buys/upgrades their phone, the decision is solely dependent on whether the platform has applications from prominent developers. Facebook, has more than 900 million registered users, yet these users are not automatically going to be the hardware user. It will be difficult for Facebook to lure developers.When it comes to applications, platforms usually get stuck in a catch-22 situation. Microsoft has. Customers do not want to buy the device as it does not have apps and developers do not want to waste their time on platforms with negligible apps. If, however, Facebook tackles this situation, its platform might gain some traction.

Play Facebook Games Directly From News Feed

Apart from sharing photos and videos with friends, Facebook apps and games too have helped the social networking giant to evolve and grow bigger. It has also enabled users to come back more often and stay a while longer on site. Ever since Facebook introduced Open Graph, everything on Facebook has evolved to a greater extent. When it came to social games, be it a developer or a Facebook user, the number of users spending time playing games on Facebook has drastically increased.

Now, things will get more interesting and a lot more fun as Facebook has announced a new feature that will enable users to try out games directly within the News Feed. Facebook calls the new feature as “Feed Gaming,” which enables developers to create a short demo of their game that users can play when they see it mentioned in News Feed and Timeline.

Facebook "Feed Gaming"

The best part about this is that users need not have to authorize or install the app to play the game, and no user information is collected. This is more like a demo version, where users can try out the game beforehand, and if they like it, they can go ahead and play the game completely. Once the user has completed playing the demo, they are prompted to play the full version of the game.

“We’re launching the ability for people to try games directly in news feed. Feed gaming enables developers to share a playable version of their game within news feed and timeline stories, reaching new users through some of our main distribution channels,” Facebook said.

Featured games like Idle Worship, Angry Birds, and Bubble Witch Saga are already using feed gaming to increase engagement and drive acquisition.

Advantage That Developers Can Take

Facebook suggested more ways for developers to engage with potential game players in a post on its developer blog:

  • Competing with friends: Angry Birds encourages people to challenge their friends to beat their high score on a specific level.
  • Rewarding engagement: Bubble Witch Saga offers a higher reward of “coins” for better game play, encouraging people to play and then click through to install the game and collect their coins.
  • Track performance of feed gaming stories: To track performance for these stories, pass in a ref param (for example, “ref=feed_game_a”) when publishing the story, and Facebook will begin tracking that story type in insights for your app.

Developers can know how effective their games are, including the number of players. With the Facebook app insights, it will now show the number of impressions, clicks and CTR of each feed game story. Developers can find more details in Facebook’s documentation here.

Feed Gaming is a great feature, at least for users who are addicted to games on Facebook. Also, for new users, staying anonymous and trying out the game is a great advantage. However, demo games are not something new. We have already seen downloadable demos offered for Xbox 360 since its launch, and not to forget the trial version PC games which were available for free download.

Nevertheless, do you think the new feature would benefit you in any way? Would trying a game on Facebook make you more likely to install it? Let us know by adding your comments below.

Rumor: Facebook Looking to Buy Opera Software

Opera-SoftwareFacebook might be eyeing Norwegian browser maker Opera Software, if a report from Pocket Lint is to be believed. According to its “man in the know”, Facebook might be preparing to step into the browser market, in order to ensure that no matter what you are doing, you are always connected to your Facebook social graph.

If true, it’s going to be another stunning move by Zuckerberg. Opera currently boasts of more than 200 million users, with a very strong presence in the mobile arena. For many in the developing world, Opera Mini is the only means of surfing the internet. It also has strong relationship with leading handset makers and carriers. Facebook can certainly help Opera in expanding its audience, and Opera can embed Facebook into its user’s life. Opera also has a strong presence in the mobile phone and smart TV market that Facebook will find valuable.

That being said, acquiring a company like Opera is different from acquiring a start-up like Instagram. Opera has dozens of offices with hundreds of employees spread across the globe. Developing browsers is complicated stuff, and Opera has had to really fight it out to survive through multiple browser wars. Facebook and Opera have very little in common in terms of their products. In fact, they even have distinctly different cultures and company ethos. From where I am sitting, this certainly doesn’t look like a marriage made in heaven.

A couple of years back, when Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner was at the helm, I could have confidently said that Opera would never sell out. With the new management, I can’t be so sure. However, even then, it’s extremely hard to fathom that Opera will allow itself to come under Facebook’s umbrella. What might happen though is that Facebook and Opera might enter into a partnership. We have already seen Opera develop customized browsers for the likes of Nintendo. It might create and maintain a Rockmelt like browser with tight Facebook integration, in return for eyeballs and revenue from the social networking giant. But, in the recent past, Opera has been focussing on a more streamlined approach with less customized solutions.

When asked for a response, Opera declined to comment citing its standard policy of not reacting to market rumors.

Facebook Launches Instagram Clone for iOS, Calls it Facebook Camera

In the days leading up to the Facebook IPO, one thing that pundits loved to harp on was its weakness in the mobile segment. One of the cornerstones of Facebook is its Photos feature, which helped it gain rapid traction in the first place. However, in the mobile segment, Facebook lacked a compelling app to leverage this advantage. Not only is uploading videos to Facebook through its iPhone and Android apps cumbersome, but viewing it also is a less than pleasant experience. As a result, upstarts like Instagram that made sharing photos from your mobile phone elegant and pain free quickly gained popularity. Zuckerberg himself realized this and went on to shell out a billion dollars to prevent Instagram from falling into its competitors laps.

However, long before Facebook purchased Instagram, it had set about to fix the void in its mobile offering. A team was hard at work to come up with a dedicated Instagramesque photography app. A short while back, Facebook unveiled its creation on the iTunes App Store.

Facebook-Camera-Photo-Stream

The new app is called Facebook Camera. While Facebook wouldn’t win any awards for the name, it pretty much nails everything about the app. Facebook Camera is Instagram with a few differences. It features multiple photo effects to lend your snaps the ‘artistic’ touch, it enables quick sharing of photos, and it has a photo stream that just contains pics shared by your social graph. Its biggest advantage compared to Instagram is that it supports batch photo upload, which allows you to club multiple related photos together. However, it also has its share of disadvantages. The biggest one is that Facebook Camera doesn’t allow sharing of pics across social networks. No one really expected Facebook to make it easy for you to share your pics on Twitter or Google Plus, but this is still a very real drawback. Also, since the Facebook Camera photo stream includes pics that were not shared through the mobile app, not all photos look as classy as Instagram. Of course, folks who have a strong disdain for the artificial photographs popularized by Instagram will probably appreciate this.

Facebook-Camera-Photo-Filters

The big question is how does Facebook Camera fit into Facebook’s future strategy. It will directly compete with Facebook’s Instagram, which is the current leader in the mobile social photography app segment. A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch, “As Mark asserted, we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently, so I anticipate some healthy competition.”

Most people believe that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram was a defensive move rather than an aggressive one. Zuckerberg didn’t want Google or Twitter to get a boost from Instagram’s existing popularity, so he acquired it. He had to promise to keep it independent, as otherwise Instagram wouldn’t have allowed itself to be taken over by Facebook. However, this also means that Instagram’s social graph is going to remain distinct from Facebook in the foreseeable future. Instagram doesn’t really tie into Facebook, and augment Facebook Photos. Even though Instagram is under Facebook’s control, Zuckerberg will obviously prefer if people used Facebook’s social graph to share photos on the mobile. It will increase the stickiness of the platform, and strengthen the lock that Facebook has on a user. This is probably why Facebook went ahead with the release of Facebook Camera, even after announcing the acquisition of Instagram.

Facebook Camera is currently available for download in the App Store for English speaking countries.

How To Delete Posts on Facebook Timeline or Wall/Feed?

With all the scams going on these days, one of our readers asked us a simple question on how to delete a post on her Facebook timeline which was incidentally a Facebook scam post. While deleting any post on your Facebook Timeline should be easy, not many people are aware of the steps involved in it.

If you are someone who is not aware of deleting posts on their Facebook Timeline or wall, you can follow the steps listed below to find out how you can do it.

How To Delete Post from Facebook Timeline

Step 1: To delete any posts, you will first have to visit your profile page or your Timeline as it is called now and find the post you want to delete.

Facebook Remove Post in Timeline Option

Step 2: Once you find the post, just hover over the post area in the right and side hover your mouse and you will see a button to “Edit or Remove” the post. Click on this button to view the options.

Delete Facebook Timeline Post

Step 3: From the available options in the drop down menu, click on the “Delete” option to delete the post. You will be shown a popup confirmation dialog asking you whether you “Are you sure you want to delete this?”. Click on the “Delete” button in the dialog to delete that post from your wall.

How To Delete Post from Facebook Feed/Wall

If you want to delete any post on your Facebook feed or Facebook wall, you can do it by hovering over the post in the right hand side corner and then clicking on the “x” button provided to you.

Delete Facebook Feed Post

Clicking on the “x” button will once again pop up a dialog which says “Are you sure you want to delete this?”. Click on the “Delete” button in the dialog to delete that post from your feed or wall.

NO!!! Facebook Not Charging For Accessing Website

I have seen this stupidity go around in the past where users spread messages saying Facebook will charge for new profiles, and I think the hoax message is spreading again just like those chain email messages where you would die in 7 days if you don’t forward that email or text messages to 10  people in 10 minutes of receiving it.

Died not Forwarding Messages

Such type of messages never killed anyone, unless you consider the tombstone above which is intended for fun. Similarly, you will not gain any advantage by circulating a message to others saying that is going paid because they invested heavily in the Facebook Timeline which you can’t even remove.

FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO…IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU

Trust me, even though Facebook’s IPO is not doing that well, they will hardly make any move to charge users who are their revenue stream and lose more money on their stock.

So just chill out and stop polluting the feeds with such messages. It won’t help you and neither will it help others.

(Image Credit: unknown)