Google on Tuesday took another leap into the social space with Google+, which aims to connect people via specific friendship circles, interests, location, and more.
Google+, which is currently operating via a "field trial," has four main components: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, and Mobile.
"We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project," Google said in a blog post.
Google+ begins with Circles, which helps compartmentalize all the people in your life. Google took a swipe at Facebook, arguing that putting everyone under the "friends" label hurts the ability to share. It becomes sloppy, scary, and insensitive, the search giant said.
"From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks. So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software," Google said. "Just make a circle, add your people, and share what's new—just like any other day."
Twitter users are up in arms over the Twitter Quick Bar, which pundit John Gruber termed the "Dickbar" after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, a forced trending topics bar appearing at the top of the new iPhone Twitter client. To some extent, this is just whining—there are so many Twitter clients out there, it's easy to find one with the layout you prefer. But it also shows the bigger problem with Twitter's trending topics, which the service has managed very poorly since it became a mass medium.
Real estate is precious on small phone screens, and users demand that every pixel be spent on something relevant. People are willing to make an exception for ads on free apps; after all, developers need to pay the bills. But the trending topics tend to spotlight micro-communities that don't overlap much with each other. As an optional means of discovery, they're mildly interesting. Forced upon us, they bombard us with irrelevant data that breaks down our carefully constructed social-networking comfort zones.
Twitter started out, years ago, as a social service for a common techno-clique who all attended the South by Southwest music conference, so trending topics made sense. But since then, it's expanded and fragmented into a mass medium made up of non-overlapping micro-communities. Everybody uses Twitter differently, but almost everybody consciously or unconsciously cultivates their feed. The trending topics are like a loud stranger wandering into your invitation-only party.
The Quick Bar is really about advertising, of course. Twitter is trying to make money off "promoted topics" for movies and consumer products. But I don't think that's the source of the real anger here. Most people see ads as a necessary evil so we can get free stuff. But we don't understand why our screens are full of jibber-jabber about Brazilian TV presenters.
Thanks to developer Dan Loewenherz, Facebook just got a little bit creepier—or more loving, depending on your point of view. That's all thanks to the new application Loewenherz recently released: Breakup Notifier.
So what, exactly, does Breakup Notifier do?
"You like someone. They're in a relationship. Be the first to know when they're out of it," reads the description posted to Breakup Notifier's main page.
As described, the exact particulars of how the service works are fairly simple. You just have to log into Breakup Notifier using your Facebook account, and then select the various people on your friends list whose relationships are of critical interest to your daily life. Should said relationships change—for better or for worse—you'll get an email referencing the friend and the specific change made.
During an earnings call, News Corp. COO Chase Carey indicated that "now is the right time" to place MySpace "under a new owner". The news is not a big surprise, as things have been going downhill for the social network. Its owner, News Corp., has attempted to revive the property last Autumn with a site redesign, and while the site is still popular with some niche crowds, there's no question that Facebook took its place long ago. Still, Carey stays positive on the outlook of MySpace, saying “the new MySpace has been very well received by the market and we have some very encouraging metrics, but the plan to allow MySpace to reach its full potential may be best achieved under a new owner.” Of course, it's still unknown whether anyone would be interested in buying it.
As part of their CES presentation, Pioneer, a company used to making audio and electronic equipment for cars, announced their plans to integrate Twitter, Facebook and Pandora deeper into their devices. This will lead to your dashboard being connected directly to your social feeds. Pioneer says that it believes smartphones don't do the job because of their small screens, plus the fact that they require a driver's full attention. The new devices from Pioneer will read tweets and status updates directly to the user. The company will bring 9 different models in 2011 starting at $150.
Read More | Mashable
When it comes to online video, no one serves more data than Google, mostly through YouTube. However, the second place spot has recently been taken by Facebook. This spot used to be owned by Yahoo!, but now the social networking site has reached the second rank as a source of traffic for people watching videos online, according to a recent report from Tubemogul and Brightcove. It's still far behind Google, at 9.6% versus over 50% for the search giant. When it comes to amount of minutes watched however, surprisingly Twitter users seem to surpass Facebook, according to the report. The firms list other results like which types of media brands are most successful in the full PDF file linked below.
Read More | Tubemogul (PDF)
Yesterday Facebook went down for a few minutes, but not before some users started to notice various changes throughout the site. It appears now that the social networking site pushed some features that they didn't intend and reverted them back soon after. Mashable has a gallery of screenshots provided by users, showing what have to be a bunch of upcoming features that Facebook plans on rolling out. While they have all been reverted, it seems like Facebook is testing new Fan pages, the memories service which allows users to view photos grouped by year, a lightbox photo viewer which zooms into pictures without loading a new page, and an outside news feed in the filters list.
Read More | Mashable
TIME Magazine can’t stress enough the fact that their Person of the Year award “is not an honor”. In 1938, Adolf Hitler was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year. Unlike Hitler, however, Mark Zuckerberg fast tracked the world to complete connectivity through a global social network. And at a baby-ish 26 years of age, billionaire college dropout Zuckerberg is responsible for leading 550 million (or 1 out of every 12 people) into the social network at an astounding rate of 700,000 a day. If 700,000 is too big a number to comprehend, imagine that if you lived for 700,000 days you’d be 1,918 years old; which by that time Facebook would have added over 490 billion members, or about 72 times the Earth’s current population. Starting to get the picture? There’s no doubt that Facebook is a social revolution that won’t go the way of the dinosaur - *cough* MySpace *cough*. But the bigger question is where will it go?
Read More | Time
Twitter announced on their blog that the official Twitter App is now available on Windows Phone 7. This adds to the official mobile app offerings available on iOS and Android. Compared to some other apps Windows Phone 7 customers will be waiting on, Twitter seems to be ready out of the gate, with some popular apps still being "months away". Twitter has made the app consistent with the look and feel of the rest of the Windows Phone interface.
Read More | Twitter Blog
Wondering why your friends are taking forever to respond to your IMs or wall posts? Chances are they are probably too busy playing Facebook games.
According to a new statistic from AllFaceBook.com, a whopping 53% of Facebook users play games while on Facebook. That’s about 290 million people playing Farmville, Mob Wars, etc. 56 million of these people play FB games daily. To put this in perspective, that’s more people than the entire population of England. This means that you can talk openly about your FB games exploits and more than half the time will be able to spark up a convo based around social network gaming. Interest fact for the guys as well, as 69% of those FB gamers are women. We predict pick up lines to sway drastically into the “So, how many crops do you harvest, girl?” category.
Check out the stats after the jump.
Read More | All Facebook
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