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
President Barack Obama has had a Twitter account for a while now, which many think was influential in getting him elected. With the election season coming up once more, Obama sent a call yesterday morning inviting people to install a Facebook app on their profiles called "Commit to Vote Challenge". The app itself is also more than just an ad. In typical social fashion, it allows you to "compete with my friends to inspire the most commitments". This is perhaps the first time a head of state has recognized the popularity of the social networks to a point where they create actual apps, in order to push their messages and invite people to participate in the vote.
Regardless of political allegiance, this is an interesting step forward, with this kind of embrace of online social sites. This is only a first step, and I wouldn't be surprised if in the coming years, we could easily see iPhone apps, online forums, and so on.
Read More | Twitter
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
Today Facebook introduced yet another new feature of the popular social networking site: Friendship Pages. The way they describe it, this feature allows two people who've shared a bunch of common Facebook interactions to have their own dedicated page. With this new feature, a couple, friends, or any two people can see on a single page all their common wall posts, pictures they're both tagged in, events they've both gone to, and so on. This adds a layer of personalisation to the site, and makes it easier to follow the happenings of the ones you want, through the sometimes overwhelming amount of 'stuff' that can plague your stream of posts.
Of course, being Facebook, this will also most likely bring out questions about privacy and security. It remains to be seen if Friendship Pages become popular, but we bet they'll at least bring more embarrassing moments to the masses, for those who enjoy that kind of stuff.
Read More | Facebook Blog
Today Google introduced a new service on their official blog, the Place Search tab on their home page. Not so much a completely new service, more like a merging of several offerings, this tab shows search results in a way that is more intuitive and useful for when you're looking for specific places.
When you enter search terms, such as "pizza Chicago", Google will try to guess when you're looking for a specific place instead of a website. When that's the case, the results page will be more optimized towards local search. Not only will you see a list of web sites, but now a map will be prominently shown, as if you had done the search inside of Google Maps, and it will also include reviews, links to specific business listings, images, and so on.
While it's being introduced as a new feature, I see it more as an extension of their current search, Maps, Images and location data. Still, it should make search more intuitive, and now that the company is competing with Facebook Places, Foursquare, and other such social sites, they need to keep innovating to stay relevant.
Read More | Google 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
In an extraordinary attempt at transparency, the Greater Manchester Police has been tweeting every single call, minuscule or serious, on Twitter. So many tweets have been coming in that the UK based police department had to create three separate accounts to get around TwitJail. Chief Constable Peter Fahy discussed the point of this Twitter overload:
"It is a serious message about transparency and how we get that out to the public."
"As well as serious crimes, we deal with many social issues and other incidents that the public are quite surprised about.
"Through this experience we get a better picture that crime is connected to our social issues such as drug use and relationship breakdowns.
"Many of the things we deal with are about the same people: missing people who have been missing 60 or 70 times before or repeat offenders putting demands on public services."
Since they started tweeting, the GMP Twitter page has skyrocketed from 3,000 followers to over 14,000. Tweets consist of calls to 999 (the British version of 911), such as: "Man refuses to leave the gym", "Woman being followed by suspicious vehicle", "Woman asking for advice about ex partner putting abusive messages on Facebook ", "Man calls police to say he is going away over Christmas, is worried he is going to be burgled".
The amount of updates shed light on the overwhelming amount of emergency calls made to the GMP in just 24hrs. Have a look at what's going on outside of America at their three Twitter pages:
Definitely an interesting use of social media for public service!
Remember when the Internet was a place where you could come to put a mask on, and say whatever you wanted, however you wanted thanks to anonymity? Those were the golden days. Nowadays, however, with the advent of Facebook, more and more people are wearing their hearts on their digital sleeves. And the simple truth of the matter is some people look a hell of a lot better masked.
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