Official Facebook App for iPad Coming Soon

The was announced in January 2010, released in April 2010 and went on to become an instant hit. Over the past year and few months, Apple released the which included a new camera and several other new features.

iPad 2

There are tons of apps available for the device. However, the one that was missing was the official app for the device. Facebook literally did nothing about developing an official app for iPad for over 16 months, but if the NYT’s report is right, an official Facebook app will soon be available for the iPad.

Apple and Facebook have not been at good terms since Apple launched Ping and Facebook dissed them after which they signed up with Twitter. Facebook is also said to be developing something called as Project Spartan which will run in Apple’s iOS Safari browser, allowing developers to sell apps while they bypass the App Store. However, iPad and other tablets are still an important user base for Facebook who reportedly see anywhere between 10-25% of their users visiting through mobile devices including the iPad.

If Facebook wants to dominate these devices, they have to have a presence on it and this move definitely makes sense. already has an absolutely amazing app for the iPad and have even extended the same experience to their web interface. Facebook on the other hand are planning something big according to NYT sources.

One person who works with Facebook said Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive and founder, has been heavily invested in the process, overseeing design decisions and the app’s unique features.

People who have seen the application said it has a slick design that has been tailored for the iPad and its touchscreen interface. Facebook developers and designers have also overhauled the Facebook Chat and Facebook Groups features for the application. And the app will go beyond the features available on the Facebook Web site by allowing users to shoot and upload photos and videos directly from the iPad’s built-in cameras.

The photo and video experience is amazing, offering full resolution and full-screen images,said a person who has seen the app.

Since mobile phones have already been replacing point-and-shoot cameras and iPhone also set to become a serious photography tool with iOS 5, it was very important for Facebook to have access to those user photos on the iPad too. Apps like Instagram are a big hit, and Facebook is missing out on those user photos which make a big chunk of Facebook’s daily activities.

In addition to that Facebook will also penetrate a growing market which is set to be a big contender to desktops and laptops of the future. After all, we would want to travel with smaller devices rather than carry bulky one’s and if you are not present on those, it could harm your business.

Though there are currently no screenshots of the Facebook app for the iPad, we hope that an official announcement will be made in the next few days. Stay Tuned.

Watch out Apple, Facebook is Gearing Up to Launch Its Mobile App Store

Back when Facebook announced its Open Graph Protocol, I wrote that Mark Zuckerberg is a helluva ambitious bloke. He doesn’t want Facebook to be just another website we use every day, he wants Facebook to become an integral and essential part of our daily lives. Open Graph enabled Facebook to weave itself into the fabric of the web, and collect huge amounts of data on our preferences and interests.

FacebookNow, if TechCrunch is to be believed, Facebook is working on a new platform aimed squarely at mobile users. The new platform, codenamed Project Spartan, will leverage HTML5 and other web technologies to deliver mobile applications and games. The initial target will be iOS devices (iPhones and iPads running Mobile Safari). However, given that it will essentially be a HTML5 based platform, it shouldn’t be too hard to extend Project Spartan to Android and other mobile platforms.

According to the report, there are about 80 outside developers currently working with Facebook on Project Spartan. Facebook will essentially act as a wrapper around these apps, and support sharing options and monetary transactions (through Facebook Credits). The app developers are expected to roll in their applications within the next couple of weeks, in preparation for the impending launch of Facebook’s app store.

Mobile app stores are blossoming and even the little known ones like Opera Mobile Store are pulling in hundreds of thousands of downloads per day. Given its huge user base and cross-platform presence, Facebook obviously believes that this is another segment it can compete in. While browser based apps have the advantage of being cross-platform, the lack of system level access (access to APIs) will also make them restricted in many ways. Facebook’s app store won’t be able to outperform or eliminate Apple’s App Store and Android’s Market. However, it doesn’t need do. Even if it succeeds in grabbing a decent percentage of users, Project Spartan will be a lucrative platform that will steal a significant amount of revenue from the likes of Apple. And of course, it will give Facebook foothold in another segment that initially seemed to have little to do with the social network.

Are Facebook and Google Killing Innovation

Facebook and Google have the most talented pool of engineers and hackers when it comes to web-based technology. They compete head-on and are known to have delivered killer products that people love to use. However, with this growth, both these tech giants have become wormholes that suck up a bunch of talent every year and at times, focus it on the same tasks. I agree with  Eran Hammer-Lahav on this article.


This is true even more for Facebook than it is for Google. Googlers have a number of side projects that allow them their private innovative space. It is a company crawling with innovation and the 20% projects bring enhancements to the existing web technologies every day. Both Google and Facebook contribute to open source technologies as well. Facebook itself contributes actively to the Cassandra database project and Google has a number of projects going on to speed up the web, especially the spdy protocol.

I think Facebook is killing  entrepreneurship because all its work is focused on exactly one product lineup when they are capable of more. Absorbing all possible startups (or the workforce behind a possible future startups) under their banners, these companies are nipping possibly new services and products. However, the talent pool is not to blame for this.

Some people have excellent business ideas and no technical knowledge to pursue those ideas while others have sound technical skills but do not want to work on a startup. Many people who join these tech giants lack  entrepreneurship but have the technical skills. Out of those many, some gather ideas all throughout their stay, only to venture out on their own after a few years.

In short, an entrepreneur mind never dies. It might wander for a few years and learn along the way, but sooner or later, it will emerge. About innovation, well those who prefer working for these tech giants are innovating nonetheless.

(Image source)

Facebook Acquires Sofa – A Software and Interaction Design Company

The social networking giant Facebook has acquired Sofa, a Amsterdam-based company.

Sofa is a small software and interaction design company,  founded in 2006 and is an Apple Design Award Winner for their Mac applications, Kaleidoscope and Versions.

Facebook Acquires Sofa
Sofa said that their products, Keidoscope and Versions are not a part of the acquisition and will remain available.

Sofa announced about the acquisition in a blog post

“Sofa’s products, Kaleidoscope and Versions, are not a part of this acquisition. Both apps will remain available and we’re committed to securing a great future for them outside Sofa. We’re also working with our joint venture partner to provide the smoothest transition and best possible future for Checkout, Enstore and their collective customers.”

Sofa now will be moving from Amsterdam to Palo Alto in the coming weeks.

The terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Facebook User Get Paranoid as Old Deleted Messages Reappear After Message Center Update

This is not scary movie but Facebook users are equally annoyed because their deleted messages are reappearing after a recent Message Center update. Facebook has been known for retaining data and it was made clear in many earlier instances that deleting a data from anywhere on the Internet does not necessarily mean it is deleted.


A few months ago, there was this news on deleted Facebook photos being available even after deletion. They were available at the same old links. It was explained with theories like the data remains in the CDN that stores media content for services like these. However, this is only part of the story.

The real story of why things never get deleted on Facebook

Any deletion you perform happens only on the frontend. In simpler words, if you delete a photo on Facebook, Facebook makes changes to your account in such a way that it never comes back to you as an object accessible from the user-interface, but it is still out there. The same goes for messages and other things. I was taught the same thing during my first web-design classes and it felt really creepy. Though, this does happen at a lot of places. It saves the database from getting overheads from deletion and it is easier to run a small update query (for something like a deleted bit or flag) instead of a large resource intensive delete query on a database.

In the problem the user faced above, the Message Center update team (that’s what I am calling them) at Facebook did not go through the documentation well enough to take note that there was some code to make sure the user does not see his deleted messages. The developers of the Message Center completely overlooked that feature and will have to push updates to correct this bug.

Now, Facebook can boast all about how it uses Bittorrent technologies to push updates across its distributed servers but glitches and bugs like these make it look outright stupid. Whatever happened to testing codes before releasing them half baked? Facebook is not a one man show that it can be excused for this glitch. A full blown company competing with online tech giants, a company that upsets privacy watchdogs every day and  a company which is the largest social network in the world cannot afford to make mistakes like these.

Note: It would be a lie to say things never get deleted on Facebook. But they stay for a seemingly indefinite amount of time.

The Eu Vigilantes Are at It Again, This Time They Are Taking on Facebook’s Facial Recognition

The European Union is doing it again. They are taking a stand against the feature Facebook is pushing recently- facial recognition. Facebook has enabled the feature automatically on millions of its user accounts and this has upset the privacy vigilantes again. The EU is particularly upset about this and has issued a probe into the matter.
The EU has fair reason to be upset. Facebook has enabled the feature by default on all user accounts but it goes a step further. Users are allowed to opt-out of this feature but it identifies faces anyway and suggests names to tag too. This means, Facebook will retain data on your facial recognition which raises flags from all privacy watchdogs. Facebook might be the world’s largest social network but these privacy breaches it is making continuously are desperate and repeated attempts to increase the tolerance level of people towards privacy breaches.

As obvious, those who are concerned about privacy do not like this. Facebook has this to say about tag suggestions:

We launched Tag Suggestions to help people add tags of their friends in photos; something that’s currently done more than 100 million times a day. Tag Suggestions are only made to people when they add new photos to the site, and only friends are suggested.

Tagging friends on Facebook might be fun or something like a feature, but enabling this new feature by default will simply annoy users. I do not want to get tagged in more images and get blasted with notifications.

How To Protect Facebook, Twitter From FaceNiff Hack

Few days back I wrote an article about FaceNiff, an Android app that lets users access web sessions profiles over Wi-Fi networks and hijack your connected Facebook or Twitter account. If your connection is unsecured, then anyone using FacNiff can easily deflect your data or steal your information.

How to protect your accounts from FaceNiff?

Here’s a tip you can follow. In order to protect your Facebook and Twitter accounts from being hijacked, always browse using a https connection.

FaceNiff, however, cannot hijack accounts that use https browsing. HTTPS encrypts the data sent and received with SSL, thus making it impossible to access your account.

By default, Facebook’s and Twitter’s https browsing is disabled. You must enable it manually from it’s settings page.

Facebook: Go to Account Settings and scroll down to Manage Account Security. Enable secure browsing by ticking it and save the settings.

Facebook HTTPS

Twitter: Go to Settings page and scroll down to enable https browsing. You’ll be prompted to re-enter your password to save the settings.

Twitter HTTPS

That’s all!

France Bans Facebook, Twitter (Just Names)

France has banned the names of social networking giants, Facebook and Twitter from being spoken on TV or radio, unless the terms are part of a news story. This stops the anchors from asking their audience to “follow us on Twitter” or “check out our Facebook page”

A spokesperson for France’s Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), explains:

Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition. This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box– other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?’

French government decree issued on March 27 1992 states that, promotion of commercial enterprise on new programs is forbidden.

Weeping French Man
British-Canadian journalist, Mathew Fraser points that this type of regulation is absurd, especially when Facebook and Twitter have become a part of everyday life.

What possibly could have possessed the French regulator to impose such a ridiculous rule is not entirely clear — at least when the test of common sense is applied. Perhaps the officials inside France’s Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel don’t quite grasp that television and radio shows around the world now routinely urge their audiences to connect and follow events via online social media networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook and Twitter are, of course, American social networks. In France, they are regarded, at least implicitly, as symbols of Anglo-Saxon global dominance — along with Apple, MTV, McDonald’s, Hollywood, Disneyland, and other cultural juggernauts.

[via] [Image]

You won’t beleive what she does!! Facebook Scam

A new like-jacking scam is spreading through Facebook. The scam states: “You won’t beleive what she does!! Omg you have to watch it”. The message contains a YouTube link and when a user clicks on the video link, the scam will be automatically posted on your Facebook wall stating that you “like” the video.

Here’s a screenshot of the scam:

Facebook Scam
You can notice that there’s a typo in the scammer’s message. The word ‘beleive’ has been spelled incorrectly.

Beware, please do not click on the link and remember to ‘Mark as Spam’

Here’s a post written by Cliff on how you can avoid like-jacking scams on Facebook.

Image credits: Facecrooks

Facebook To Launch Music Service

Facebook has partnered with Spotify and is planning to launch a music service. The service will allow Facebook users to listen songs with friends at the same time. It is expected to launch in two weeks time.


The integrated service is currently going through testing phase. Once launched, Facebook users will see a Spotify icon appear on the left side of their newsfeed, along with the usual icons. By clicking on the Spotify icon, the service will be installed on the users’ desktop and will grant access to millions of songs in Spotify’s library.

The service is currently unnamed. It may be called as “Facebook Music” and will be available only in those countries where Spotify is supported. Bad news for folks in US.

Spotify is already integrated with Facebook Connect, allowing users to see what their Facebook friends are listening to and share playlists and recommend songs. It is said that the new service will allow users listen to music with friends at the same time.

If Facebook launches this service, Spotify will eventually increase its user-base and the service could possibly be a competitor to Google Music.

(via Forbes )