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Our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide is in full swing - we are adding our recommendations daily, aimed at men, women, teens, families, techies, and more. If you need help figuring out what to get the people in your life, head on over to our Guide for some ideas. We’ll even be giving away some of the items featured this year!
As the last decade ends and a new one begins, it may be interesting to look at what has happened so far on the web, and what it means for the next 10 years. In a time when Facebook is everywhere, now reported to be valued at $50 billion, having raised $500 million recently and being expected to raise another $1.5 billion in the coming months, it's hard to remember what it was like in the year 2000. The tech bubble had just burst, a lot of web sites had gone down in flames, the Y2K bug proved to be nothing, and Windows 98 was still the dominant operating system. Google was something few people knew about, using instead Altavista and Yahoo. Social media was a mostly unknown concept. Just think of what the world was without smartphones and connectivity everywhere. In just 10 years, technology changed so fast, especially online, that it's hard to wrap our heads around it. Let's take it one domain at a time.
It is that time of year where everyone has a list or supposed inside knowledge as to what next year will bring. AdAge columnist Judy Shapiro is no different, and offers the marketing industry her predictions on social media for 2011. With actual predictions coming true last year, such as social media becoming mainstream, I don’t see why not pay a little extra attention to this list.
Read More | AdAge
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)
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 published a report this week of the top trends of 2010 from the 25 billion tweets sent over its network this past year. In their Year in Review, they show lists of trending topics organized by subject, everything from news, to people, technology, sport and television. A lot of news events figure predominantly, such as the Haiti earthquake and gulf oil spill, as well as many topics of popular culture like Harry Potter, Glee, and the FIFA World Cup. It reflects well what the world has been buzzing about over the year, or at least that portion of the world that's on Twitter.
Read More | Twitter
Facebook sent an invitation recently to news agencies for another announcement coming this Monday. While there is no direct mention as to what that announcement is, TechCrunch believes that this may be a major play on a new email service, aimed at competing with Google's Gmail service. Based on the invitation image, it seems likely that the announcement has to do with messaging, since that's what the graphic shows. Then, references to a secret project called Project Titan came up again recently. Finally, just this week, we reported on how Google and Facebook have started an all-out war concerning the exporting of contacts and friends information. It's all still rumors for now, but it will be very interesting to see if a Facebook based email service would take a big chunk out of services like Gmail. Since Facebook has done everything it can to become your primary contacts platform, it would sure make a lot of sense.
Read More | TechCrunch
Livestream has had a presence on Facebook for a while now. It's been used to stream the Facebook announcements live on the social network, as well as provide other Livestream content that users could watch directly on Facebook. Now, the social site is introducing the Livestream app, which will allow any user of Facebook to stream video directly from Facebook, at a press of a button, onto their walls. This includes all the Livestream platform features such as making this a regular podcast, with archived videos, or even pay-per-view shows. If you already have a Livestream channel, you can embed it directly on your Facebook page. This will remove some of the steps where viewers would have to move from one site to the next, and show your content directly to your friends. While partners have had access to some of those services for a while now, it's the first time users can do it with a single click, at no cost. This is yet another move by Facebook to bring social components to every facet of the web.
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Read More | Facebook
It doesn't matter if you run a Fortune 500 company, or if you just have a personal blog. It's also not about whether you like Facebook or Twitter, or if you're active on the social scene. The simple fact is that the world is moving to social, and in a big way. Facebook has over half a billion users, growing every day, with Twitter following behind. Where people used to look up things on Google or Yahoo!, now they look it up on social networks. Instead of getting stories and links from news sites, they get them on Twitter. Instead of writing an email to a friend asking how he's doing, they sit on their Facebook walls and see what they're up to.
This morning Facebook announced improvements to their iPhone and Android apps, as well as changes to how they handle their sign-on platform. First, the new Groups and Places features are now fully integrated into both apps, which also brings up the Android app to be on par with the iPhone one. This will allow you to take part of all those groups while on the go. Their mobile apps hadn't been updated in a while, so it's good to see the company commit themselves to the mobile space. As a side note, they did comment that Facebook had no plan to make a phone of their own, preferring to instead bring their platform to the devices that people use.
The second part of the announcement dealt with single sign-on. Mark Zuckerberg described the troubles and frustrations that entering usernames and passwords could be on a phone, and their approach to solving it. They are now providing developers with a way to integrate a single button that will log users to their services. Now, to log into any mobile site or service that supports this feature, all you'll have to do is click on the button "sign in with Facebook". No more username or password to remember. They showed the Groupon and Zynga apps which will support this feature soon, with many more on board.
Late Friday afternoon, the Drop.io blog posted an announcement saying that they had sold most of their technologies and assets to Facebook. Included in the deal is the fact that the site's creator Sam Lessin will also move on to Facebook. This most likely means that Facebook is looking into easy file sharing for one of its future services. The site allowed users to create an account, and freely store data on the web where they could then share it with other users.
Of more interest to us, however, is the part where the actual Drop.io service will be shutting down on Dec 15, and all data deleted. This means everyone who used the site will need to download their data if they need it. This is a chilly reminder that any cloud-based service can shut down at any point, taking all your data with it. Just earlier this year Yahoo! shut down Geocities and they simply went ahead and deleted decades worth of user data.
As we rely more and more on web services, it's worth keeping in mind that no one cares about our files more than we do.
Read More | Drop.io blog
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