Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Twittersphere hit by storm over whether political blogger had a right to anonymity | The Australian

Faster Forward - Craigslist controversy follow-up: targeted, Post drops massage-parlor ads

Xmarks Bookmark Syncing Service Shutting Down in January 2011

Xmarks, the bookmark syncing service formerly known as Foxmarks, announced today it will close its doors and delete its users' data on January 10, 2011. The always-free, cross-browser syncing service couldn't find a business model, it seems, especially among newer auto-syncing browsers. More »

[link to original | source: Lifehacker: Firefox | published: 13 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Google Voice App May Be Approved for iPhone Release

TechCrunch is reporting, from sources including one "close to Google," that an official Google Voice application received an App Store approval, allowing a full-featured Voice client to run on iPhones. If their report is correct, the app is already approved in its current form, but Google is working to implement multi-tasking and other iOS 4 features. Apple's initial rejection of the Google Voice app spurred our rather harsh take on the drawbacks of iPhones, and this is a nicely curative step. Let's just hope it's true. [TechCrunch] More »

[link to original | source: Lifehacker: Google | published: 3 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Microsoft to Close Its Blogging Platform - Migrates Users to

wordpress_windows_live_logo.jpgMicrosoft and WordPress just announced that will become the default blogging platform for Windows Live. Live Spaces' 30 million users will have six months to migrate their blogs over to and the two companies will offer a number of tools that should make this migration very easy. This announcement, which was made at TechCrunch Disrupt, comes as a bit of a surprise and will surely upset some of Windows Live Spaces' most active users. It does, however, fit into Microsoft's vision for its brand.


Six Months to "Upgrade"

Starting today, Windows Live users will be able to "upgrade" their blogs to, and new Windows Live users will be able to create their new blogs on As a Microsoft spokesperson just told us, existing users will have six months to either migrate to or export their data. If they don't do anything, they will likely lose their content, though Microsoft may offer them the ability to export their data at a later point as well.


For Windows Live, It's All About the Partnerships

It's interesting that Microsoft has basically given up on hosting its own blogging platform, but this move fits into the bigger picture of the company's plans for the platform. We hinted at this last week when Microsoft announced its partnership with LinkedIn. As Microsoft's director of product management for Windows Live Dharmesh Mehta told us last week, the company aims to integrate the best products instead of reinventing them. As Mehta notes in a blog post today, rather than invest in a competing blogging platform, Microsoft decided "the best thing we could do for our customers was to give them a great blogging solution through"


[link to original | source: ReadWriteWeb | published: 19 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Facebook Quietly Adds A Twitter-Like Follow Feature | Lifehacker Australia

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Slashdot Technology Story | Google Warning Gmail Users On Spying From China

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US busts Google, Apple, Intel over secret employee poaching pact

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VHA sees record ‘complaints' before iPhone 4 launch - Telco/ISP - Technology - News -

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Google Is Making Your Account Vastly More Secure With Two-Step Authentication

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UberStudent Is an Ubuntu System Custom-Built for Students

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Microsoft to issue blanket license to NGOs | ITworld

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Stallman calls for end to ‘war on sharing’ - Software - Technology - News -

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Security firm warns of commercial, on-demand DDoS botnet - security, Malware and Vulnerabilities, Cybercrime and Hacking - Computerworld

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Ping Is the Future of Social Commerce

I'd amend to "things like Ping" but otherwise interesting

Apple announced on Wednesday a cornucopia of new hardware and software — sleek iPods, a brand new Internet-enabled video streaming device and new versions of its iOS software and iTunes 10. However the most impressive to me by far was Ping, the music-only social network that Apple is opening up its 160 million existing iTunes users.

No, I am not blown away by the 160 million number. What I am impressed by is the thinking behind Ping.

Ping may function like a cross between Facebook and Twitter for iTunes by allowing you to follow celebrities, create social cliques and get artist updates, via an activity stream. I think it could have tremendous impact on social sharing and commerce.

From a content perspective, there are three different types of media we love to talk about – movies we see, music we listen to and books we are reading. These are accepted social norms. In fact, many relationships are made on the basis of collective love of a movie and many friendships have started with mixed tapes.

It makes perfect sense for a music service to be social. I am not alone – the popularity YouTube, the fast-growing MOG and the sadly defunct iLike and Imeem show that people gravitate towards music as a common, collective experience. A recommendation from friends on often resulted in me buying many-a-few music tracks. My friends who listened to Thievery Corporation turned me on The Broadway Project and Chris Joss, which I ended up buying on the iTunes store or via Amazon's MP3 store.

This click-and-go-somewhere-to-download model of affiliate links can never match a unified experience. Amazon(s AMZN), for example, encourages bloggers and others to link to things they like and then get a piece of the action. This separates social from commerce and treats them as two discrete activities. On the post-Facebook Internet, I don't think anyone can afford to keep these two actions distinct.

Ping, from what little I saw during Steve Jobs' demo, allows a similar level of social interaction. It can tell me who my friends think are cool and the top 10 favorites of people in my social graph. Some of my friends are famous deejays. Others just have eclectic musical tastes. They can collectively sift through over 10 million songs and help with the discovery of music. This social-powered discovery is part of the biggest theme of our times: serendipity. About two years ago, when I wrote about serendipity, I said:

The problem is that there's too much data coming online too quickly, and the traditional method of search that involves first finding and then consuming the information is not going to work for much longer. There just won't be enough time for us to do that and still have a life. It's a problem, and therefore solving it is an opportunity — a very big opportunity.

My belief has only been affirmed by growth in the amount of data available. With 12 million songs and 250,000 apps, the best way for Apple to enhance the iTunes store – aka its shopping experience — is through the use of social. Back in 2007, I argued that social networking was merely a feature that had to be embedded into applications to enhance their value. Apple has done a great job of that. But it has gone one step further – it has not only added a social networking layer to iTunes, it has meshed it with its commerce engine, the iTunes Store. And it's made this experience available on both the desktop and its devices.

Apple received much of this social capability with the acquisition of Lala, an online music service, which as a standalone company used sharing of social objects to drive folks towards paid music downloads. Now they are only closing the loop by further sharing what they bought. I wouldn't be least bit surprised if the sales of music on the iTunes store rocket upwards, thanks to social discovery.

Amazon, which recently started experimenting with Facebook Connect, has similar ideas but its implementation leaves a lot to be desired. On Amazon, I am reduced to reading reviews from absolute strangers, when I have a handful of friends who have impeccable taste in non-fiction business books, are all members of Amazon and they already use email to share new book suggestions with me.

What if they too could share their likes and dislikes via a social layer inside Or how about, me being able to follow my favorite authors and get updates on their books. Just like Apple, Amazon owns book-based social service, Shelfari, and should find ways to embed the social layer inside of all Amazon products and connect its tens of millions of users.

Like Apple, Amazon too has a lot more data about its customers and they behaviors to create a compelling discovery experience. I believe with tens of thousands of products in its store, the retail giant needs to figure out ways to surface content and other offerings smartly.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req'd)Why Google Should Fear the Social Web

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[link to original | source: GigaOM | shared via: feedly]