Tag Archives | social networking

Path 2, a Brilliant Smart Phone App With One Annoying, Self-Inflicted Limitation

A year ago, a new photo-sharing app for the iPhone called Path debuted. It was slick and fun, but the most noteworthy thing about it was an intentional limitation: It only allowed you to connect with up to fifty other users, the theory being that it was for sharing images with your family and close friends, not the world.

Path did OK, but it didn’t become a big hit–unlike Instagram, which arrived at around the same time.

Now Path is back. The new version, Path 2, isn’t just about photos: You can share your textual status updates, your location, who you’re with, and whether you’re awake or asleep. You can also have the app automatically alert people when you travel a great distance and land in a new place. The original 50-friend limit has been bumped up to 150. And you can now push the items you post out to Facebook and/or Twitter.

The Path people now call the app a smart journal, which is as coherent a way as any to describe what it’s doing.

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Google+ Gets the TV Treatment

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.

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The Facebook Phone is Real, Says All Things D

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…

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Frictionless, Facebook?

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.

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Inside Facebook’s Amazing Oregon Data Center

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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Chime.in Opens Up

Over at my Challengers blog at Cnet, I’ve written about one of the services that’s debuting this week at the Web 2.0 Summit: Chime.in, a sort of Twitter that’s about topics rather than people::

I hope that Chime.in turns out to be interesting enough to enough people to have a bright future. I don’t need another social network–but if there’s a place online with copious smart discussion of topics I care about, I’ll find time for it. This site has a shot at being that sort of place.

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Google Buzz Buzzes Off

Google is killing some more products that never caught on, including Buzz, its 2010 stab at competing with Twitter. Buzz is famous mostly for the immediate controversy over its privacy practices; for a service built right into Gmail, it gained amazingly little traction. And now Google+ does everything it does, only better. So it’s no shock to see it go, and I wonder just how many people there are on the planet who will mourn its demise.

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

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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