Technologizer posts about Facebook

Facebook Pumps Up The Volume

By  |  Posted at 11:40 pm on Friday, January 13, 2012

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In Facebook’s never-ending quest to get you to stay on its site even longer, the site has rolled out a new feature for music services on the social networking site. Now, when those music statuses appear on your newsfeed, clicking on their name will pop up a window with a button to “Listen With” that friend. Making it even more fun, you’ll start the music at the exact same point, essentially allowing your friend to play DJ.

The listen feature will works in both individual and group settings. Those friends listening to music will show a music note beside their name. Initially Spotify, Mog, and Rdio are supported, although Facebook says other services are on their way.

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Ads Get More Intrusive on Facebook

By  |  Posted at 9:44 am on Thursday, January 12, 2012

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Users of Facebook are reporting that Sponsored Stories are moving from their original position interspersed with standard Facebook ads to the news feed itself, a change that is sure to ruffle the feathers of many. While the ad cannot appear unless the user likes the advertiser’s Facebook page, it certainly feels quite intrusive.

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You may not realize you’re even being hit with an ad unless you read the timestamp closely: Facebook marks the sponsored post as “featured”. Rolling over the tag shows the text “You are seeing this because you like (insert company name). A sponsor paid to place it here”.

Other types of Sponsored Stories allow advertisers to hit up your friends even though they may not like the page, but this type will not. Facebook is smart enough to realize that sticking an ad in the face of somebody who may not care to see it wouldn’t be such a smart idea.

According to Inside Facebook, which looks to be the first to find out about the new ads, the social networking company is performing a gradual rollout. Initially the sponsored news feed posts will be limited to one per day, and won’t be shown on mobile devices. It’s not clear where Facebook plans to take the sponsored stories from there, though.

Either way, I’m not happy about this. My news feed is to find out about the things I care about, not to be pestered with ads. Add to this the fact that it may not be clear that they are ads, and it really bothers me. The only reason Facebook is doing this is because these ads will be worth a lot of money, and on top of that likely have a higher click-through rate as a result of their prominence.

Where does it end?



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I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: The best approach to Facebook privacy is to behave as if there isn’t any. As Zack Whittaker of ZDNet reports:

Facebook acknowledged there was a glitch in the system, which allowed users to access off-limit photos of other users, but claimed that only a limited number of users were affected. Facebook did not disclose how many people were affected.

Many users have their Facebook profile locked down. Only profile picture data is often available to display on some profiles. Users who took advantage of this flaw were able to ‘report’ a profile picture as ‘nudity or pornography’, which then led to the ‘reporting’ tool to display the images.

However, images of Facebook chief executive and founder Mark Zuckerberg were uploaded to image-sharing sites after his own profile was exploited.

Posted by Harry at 12:34 pm

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For my CNET blog, Challengers, I wrote about Google’s television ad for Google+, and the prospects for its social network in general: 

Google+’s best shot at success involves it becoming indistinguishable from Google. Instead of being a place, it can be the social glue that ties together Google’s search engine, Gmail, Google Apps, and scads of other services that hundreds of millions of people already use. If Google figures out how to make its whole dang world feel like a Facebook competitor, it’ll be a big deal.

Posted by Harry at 6:00 pm

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Liz Gannes and Ina Fried of All Things D say that the long-rumored Facebook phone is real and based on a custom version of Android, although it might not show up for awhile:  

Code-named “Buffy,” after the television vampire slayer, the phone is planned to run on a modified version of Android that Facebook has tweaked heavily to deeply integrate its services, as well as to support HTML5 as a platform for applications, according to sources familiar with the project.

 
Facebook is in an interesting position when it comes to phones. Apple has deeply integrated Twitter into iOS 5. Google, which clearly sees Facebook as its primary archrival, is unlikely to make Facebook support core to the off-the-shelf version of Android. So I can see why Facebook might want a phone of its very own…

Posted by Harry at 3:00 pm

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My CNET colleague Molly Wood has blogged about the latest Facebook change that’s raising the ire of users:

If your friends are using an app like The Guardian or The Washington Post’s new Social Reader, you’ll get an intercept asking you to authorize the original site’s app so that you can read the story. And, of course, so that every story you read will start being shared automatically on Facebook, thanks to the magic of Open Graph!

I try to withhold a verdict on any Facebook change for a bit–in the past, some that have been jarring at first turn out to be great, or at least okay. But I do agree that it’s disorienting to get the install-this-app prompt when you thought you were clicking on an article. And the fact that I want to read one Washington Post story doesn’t mean I want all my Facebook pals to know about every Washington Post story I read forever after.

Posted by Harry at 11:15 am

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Inside Facebook’s Amazing Oregon Data Center

By  |  Posted at 10:55 pm on Saturday, November 19, 2011

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Back in April, I attended a press event at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters, at which Mark Zuckerberg rhapsodized about the company’s new data center in Prineville, Oregon–the first one it built for itself. It was interesting. But it wasn’t nearly as interesting as visiting the Prineville facility for myself, which I got to do this week along with a few other journalists. It’s the place where Facebook lives–and an awful lot of effort goes into making sure that the site loads up quickly and reliably every time every one of those 800 million active users pays a visit.

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It’s not live on the App Store for me yet–and I like the third-party MyPad quite a bit–but there’s finally an official Facebook app for the iPad.

Posted by Harry at 2:01 pm

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Spotify’s Little Facebook Privacy Tweak is a Big Deal

By  |  Posted at 10:17 am on Friday, September 30, 2011

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Spotify is giving users an option to turn off automatic Facebook sharing, for all those times you want to jam out to Kenny G without everyone knowing.

As Business Insider reports, “Private Listening” disables Facebook’s new “Add to Timeline” feature, which automatically shares users’ listening habits with their Facebook friends. Private listening does nothing for people who haven’t opted into sharing with Add to Timeline, but for users who usually want to share, this option allows them to temporarily go dark.

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Apple, Don’t Build a Social Network. Work With the Social Networks I Already Use

By  |  Posted at 9:52 am on Monday, September 26, 2011

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Over at Cult of Mac, Mike Elgan is warning Apple that Facebook is a threat to its dominance of digital entertainment:

Facebook will enable the discovery, sharing, buying and renting of movies and TV shows via Netflix, Hulu, Blockbuster, IMDB, Dailymotion and Flixter.

And just as the iPad is gaining traction as the electronic newspaper of choice, Facebook announces partnerships with the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Slate, the Associated Press, Reuters, Yahoo News and others to make Facebook the default online newspaper site.

Facebook is now more directly threatening to Apple’s business model than Microsoft, Google and Sony combined.

Mike is right that if Facebook’s new media-consumption and -sharing features could start to steal customers away from Apple. And he has a solution in mind: Apple needs to build its own social network. Something way better than Ping, which doesn’t seem to have changed iTunes that much, let alone the world.

If Apple were to come up with a cool social network, it would be…cool! But I fret that it’s not in the company’s nature to wade too deeply into the messy, unruly pool of user-generated content. Apple likes things perfect, not social. And an Apple that was great at social networking might not be so hot at all the things Apple is already so good at.

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Reveal More, Consume More: Facebook’s Big Changes

By  |  Posted at 7:45 pm on Thursday, September 22, 2011

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Facebook’s f8 conference started off on a light note, with Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg doing his best Mark Zuckerberg impression, but the conference quickly got down to serious business with some big changes for the world’s biggest social network.

With a huge smile on his face, Zuckerberg showed off a new kind of Facebook profile, called the “Timeline.” Think of your Timeline as a digital scrapbook that builds itself automatically through your activity on Facebook. Photos, app updates and other Facebook activity assemble in reverse chronological order, forming what Zuckerberg described as the “story of your life.” Whatever details are missing, you can add manually.

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Live Coverage of Mark Zuckberberg’s F8 Keynote

By  |  Posted at 10:01 am on Thursday, September 22, 2011

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…is about to start. Join us here.



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I’ll be attending Facebook’s F8 developer conference tomorrow. It kicks off at 10am with a keynote by Mark Zuckerberg, who will apparently talk about new media-sharing features, presumably among other topics. (I’m still holding out for a great Facebook app for the iPad.) I’ll liveblog the keynote at technologizer.com/f8, and hope you’ll join me…

Posted by Harry at 3:40 pm

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What Was Facebook’s Best Redesign, Anyway?

By  |  Posted at 3:25 pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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Over at PCWorld, I had fun looking back at the fruitless nature of Facebook redesign backlash. No one is surprised anymore when a redesigned Facebook home page–such as the one that rolled out today–causes an outrage.

But that made me wonder: what design, exactly, do people want? Was there ever a single home page layout to which Facebook users, given the choice, would happily revert? In other words, have we cooked up in our minds some ideal vision of an “old Facebook” that never really existed?

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Adventure World: A Zynga Game With a Goal

By  |  Posted at 11:00 am on Thursday, September 1, 2011

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At a glance, Adventure World looks most other Zynga games — colorful, cartoony, isometric, with lots of things to click on. But Adventure World has a rare quality among Zynga’s social games: you can beat it.

Zynga is best known for open-ended simulations. In Farmville, for instance, you cultivate an ever-expanding plot of land. In CityVille, you cultivate an ever-expanding metropolis. In Mafia Wars, you cultivate an ever-expanding criminal empire. Whereas these games provide a sandbox, Adventure World offers structure — and a break from Zynga’s usual theme of resource management.

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Fugitive’s Foolish Facebook Statuses Gets Him Caught

By  |  Posted at 10:25 am on Sunday, July 31, 2011

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Mark Victor Burgos up as one of the world’s most stupid fugitives. The 29-year-old apparently found it amusing to taunt law enforcement over his Facebook page, even going as far as to say in a post “Catch me if you can, I’m in Brooklyn.” Well, guess where cops found him.

Burgos, a Brooklyn resident, was wanted by the Utica, N.Y. Police for questioning surrounding charges of domestic violence and harassment against an ex-girlfriend. Seemingly thinking he could play games with the police over Facebook, he posted a series of taunts, even going as far as posting a video of him walking into what is believed to be an NYPD police station.

Police say that Burgos’ Facebook page was open when they finally tracked him down to an apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. U.S. Marshals and representatives of the NYPD made the arrest, and was transferred back upstate to face a judge on the charges Tuesday.

No word on what Burgos has plead or if Facebook assisted in tracking him down, but he did delete his taunts before police busted through his door — probably realizing they could be used as evidence against him. Probably the smartest thing he did in this whole mess, don’t you think?



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