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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Premature Memories Best Forgotten

Facebook is red faced over the premature code leakage of new designs for its brand pages and a new photo section called "Memories".

Location-based Places checkin functionality will also eventually appear so that page "likers" can check in.

An example can be seen on Ellen DeGeneres's page.

Facebook has since put the site back up and has said:

“Some internal prototypes were exposed to people and resulted in us disabling the site briefly. It’s now back to normal.”

It is quite a drastic action to shut down a site of this size and deprive 550 million users of their Facebook fix but to their credit the site was up and running half an hour later.

No doubt the perosnal responsible for the inadverent release of these new designs will be having nightmarish "memories" of his or her own.
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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Head In The Cloud/s

Google Chrome OS Concept"The Cloud" has become an almost repetitive term in the past decade, but the withdrawal of service by for WikiLeaks demonstrates a potential and strategic weakness.

If cloud-based services can be influenced in such a way by governmental pressure, will businesses feel comfortable putting all their transactional eggs into this online basket?

With the above in mind consider the implications of the recently launched Google Chrome operating system, which all intents and purposes has turned the Chrome browser into an cloud-based operating system.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says:

"With Chrome OS, we have in development a viable third choice in desktop operating systems. Before there was no cloud computing alternative—now we have a product which is fast, robust and scalable enough to support powerful platforms. It’s something computer scientists have been dreaming about for a very, very long time. The kind of magic that we could imagine 20 years ago, but couldn’t make real because we lacked the technology".

While ChromeOS does not handle flash very well at this time, such glitches are to be expected during its testing period.

Where Google hopes it will beat its competitors is in speed and security; two business essentials.  The four guiding security principles for the product have been:
  • The perfect is the enemy of the good.  
  • Deploy defenses in depth.  
  • Make it secure by default.  
  • Don't scapegoat our users.
That terrible whirring sound that is the precursor to a hard drive meltdown might just have become a thing of the past.

As Jeremy A. Kaplan of Fox News put it:

"Stop worrying about when the hard drive in your computer will die. Google wants to kill it permanently anyway"

But the nagging question still remains, are users and businesses prepared for a shift to purely cloud-based computing?

Amazon's action may have given them pause for thought.
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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

There Is No Second

It is a truism that those companies who are first out of the blocks with an innovative idea are often the most successful. While 'first user advantage' doesn't last for long, it does set the pace for others to try and follow.

This is equally true in the wonderful world of social media. Those who come to the table late are left with the crumbs.

Witness AOL's purchase of Bebo for $US850 million . They dropped it from their company portfiolio this past summer for under $10 million.

Rick Aristotle Munarriz of the Motley Fool says that:

"MySpace is trying to do what Friendster,, Bebo, and any social network that squandered its 15 minutes has failed to do."

"I guess MySpace missed the memo. You only get one shot to matter in Web 2.0, and its time came and went. News Corp. should have either cashed out of MySpace when it was hot -- or at the very least, peaking. We're living in Facebook's world now, until that site somehow stumbles."

or one could take the Microsoft route and try to buy the most world's successful social media platform.

David Kirkpatrick stated in his book “The Facebook Effect” that Microsoft made an offer of $15 billion for Facebook:

"Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had flown to Palo Alto to visit his young counterpart twice. As Zuckerberg is wont to do, he took Ballmer on a long walk. Zuckerberg told Ballmer that Facebook was raising money at a $15 billion valuation. But Ballmer had come with something more sweeping in mind. “Why don’t we just buy you for $15 billion?” he replied, according to a very knowledgeable source. Zuckerberg was unmoved even by this offer. “I don’t want to sell the company unless I can keep control,” said Zuckerberg, as he always did in such situations.

Ballmer took this reply as a sort of challenge. He went back to Microsoft’s headquarters and concocted a plan intended to acquire Facebook in stages over a period of years to enable Zuckerberg to keep calling the shots. But Zuckerberg rejected all the overtures. What Ballmer finally agreed to instead was an advertising deal that included a provision for Microsoft to pay a huge amount, $240 million, for a sliver of Facebook, 1.6%. Microsoft’s investment gave Facebook an implied value of $15 billion.

Microsoft's Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Acquisitions Fritz Lanman  has since confirmed that this offer took place

Quite apart from acquisitions, companies are beginning to realise that social medai responsibility needs to be embedded within an organisation and not reside soley in the hands of a few specialist staff.

The New York Times for example have just eliminated it post of social media editor in an acknowledgement that such activity is a shared responsibility.

Social media can’t belong to one person; it needs to be part of everyone’s job. It has to be integrated into the existing editorial process and production process. I’m convinced that’s the only way we’re going to crack the engagement nut.” says New York Times Social Media Editor Jennifer Preston.

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Monday, 13 December 2010

Social Media Browsers

Image representing RockMelt as depicted in Cru...There's a new kid on the block, or should that be something new about to leave the blocks?

RockMelt aims to make browsing and social media networking a seamless activity as the video below explains.

The browser is developed by the same team who produced the first commercial browser Netscape, 16years ago.

The Telegraph reports that "It is majority-funded by major technology investor, and also Netscape’s co-founder, Marc Andreessen, who has also backed the likes of Foursquare and sits on the board of Facebook".

It will need to compete head on with the likes of Flock and Firefox which have been the social media browsers of choice in recent times.

Scobleizer questions whether this browser has what it takes as a start up?

1. Power users may be frustrated by the fact that the browser only has an answer for Windows and Macintosh

2. It requires a download and most people are download adverse.

3. It requires a login and people are not used to having to log on to their browser.

4. It changes search behavior as RockMelt asks you to use two separate boxes again, which clutters UI and asks you to change your expectations of how search should work

5. The Twitter client isn’t full featured. It doesn’t support real time, for instance

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