Quick, close the Facebook tab that you have open on your browser, remove the Facebook app on your phone and get into Microsoft's latest social network, Socl. Socl has just launched, and is a social networking project from Microsoft's FUSE research group.
There was a beta up until its launch that was limited to a handful of people, but now anyone who sports a Facebook or Microsoft account can sign up for free. Not that most people really care, as Facebook has (for most of us) become such an integral part of our everyday lives. I think Microsoft, and even Google, will find it next to impossible to combat this without some fundamental changes in their respective social networks.
Socl looks nice, but I'm so invested in Facebook it's hard to switch. Who knows how much longer Socl will be here for, but since it has an official launch, and it's Microsoft, you can probably place bets that it'll be around for a little while longer yet.
No matter how many times we'll hear of users attempting to rise up against Facebook due to its ongoing issues with its users' privacy, it's still a destination that is quite popular with the majority of the Internet according to a study conducted by San Francisco's Morrison & Foerster.
On average, Facebook users use the service a whopping 6.75 hours a month with around 29% of those users browsing Facebook while watching television. Other popular social media services like Tumblr and Pinterest had users averaging 1.5 hours of use per month, while Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ didn't even break the 30 minute mark, with Google+ doing the absolute worst at 3 minutes of use per month on average.
One feature of Google+ that I enjoyed when I was a heavy user of the service was its application's ability to automatically upload photos I took from my phone without needing me to manually upload them to the service. Taking a shot of something and later seeing it available on Google+ awaiting my approval to publish it saved me a lot of trouble, and it looks like Facebook is working on something similar as it has started testing an auto-upload feature that plans to offer the same experience as Google+.
As of now, the feature is only available to a limited number of Facebook users who will be able to have their photos auto-magically uploaded to a private folder marked "Synched from Phone" which will be located inside the user's Photos page.
I've been using HTTPS to access Facebook ever since the social network offered it, but with over one billion users - having it by default is a much better way of keeping your users' data more secure.
Facebook has used HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) to protect users when they submit their username and password to login - which prevents someone from diving in and accessing your username or password when typing it. But, in January of 2011, the social network starting offering users to opt in for all of their Facebook browsing to fall under the more secure HTTPS umbrella, at the time warning "Encrypted pages take longer to load, so you may notice that Facebook is slower using HTTPS."
Facebook also said that "We hope to offer HTTPS as a default whenever you are using Facebook sometime in the future." We're finally here, and they're about to press the GO button on this more secure way of browsing. A few days ago, a Facebook Developer Blog post hinted that "this week, we're starting to roll out HTTPS for all North America users and will be soon rolling out to the rest of the world".
In the land of the free, the United States, the department of Homeland Security has just approved a one-year contract which will see them investigate the effectiveness of using social networks to look for instances of bioterrorism, pandemics and other health and security risks.
The department of Homeland Security are paying Accenture Federal Services $3 million the scan the social networks for keywords in real-time, where they'll monitor if growing threats or health trends can be identified. An example would be if an individual talks of their nasty cough or cold on a Facebook status update, the software would be looking to see if key medical terminology is repeated in connected groups, or from other individuals from the same locale.
Managing director for Accenture's public safety department, John Matchette, has said that "this is big data analytics", and has admitted that the technique hasn't been proven yet, adding:
In theory, social media analytics would have shown timely indicators for multiple past biological and health-related events.
Facebook don't ever sleep, they don't ever rest, and are continuously tuning their social network, day and night. Today brings a change in terms of the visual look of its Friendship Pages, which highlights the time you've spent with a family member, partner or friend.
They've now auto-created a perfect Timeline-like profile page for couples, which gets filled with events, photos, likes, mutual friends and statuses that the two have shared. Friendship Pages works between you and any friend, not just for those with a significant other, but if you're in a relationship, Facebook.com/Us will automatically direct you to a Friendship Page of your and your partner. I just tried it and it directed me to a page about my wife and I.
The new update is rolling out today, but I have yet to have received the new-look page unfortunately. There's an included button on the page that lets you "Share Friendship", which is nice.
I'm sure you've already heard, but if you haven't, Barack Obama has just won the 2012 US presidential elections, entering his second term as Commander-in-Chief. But, there was something else at play here, as he tweeted his victory on social networking site Twitter, breaking records.
His tweet "four more years" is now the most retweeted tweet ever, which - at the time of writing - has reached an astonishing 570,123 retweets. Over half a million retweets is phenomenal and it will surely pass 1 million in the coming 24 hours or so. Twitter only recently removed their retweet counter from '50+', so this is not only a record breaker, but it will set a very high record to be broken.
Obama's tweet being retweeted only counts the social network's built-in retweet function, so there are probably thousands upon thousands of manual retweets.
For several years now, Craigslist has been the go-to site for anyone looking for local classifieds with many people content with its overall use. A number of Craigslist-like websites have popped up recently such as Backpages, but none have been able to make any sort of dent in Craigslist's dominance in the classifieds world. Although, if today's report turns out to be true, Facebook could finally give Craigslist a run for its money.
According to a report by The Daily, Facebook is currently working on a tool that would allow for users of the social network to publish listings that would announce things like apartment rentals, furniture for sale and even job listings. The section, which is being called Marketplace for now, will also give the user the ability to share their listing that would show up in their friends' news feeds.
Social networking site Twitter has opened its wings and flown across the pond to Korea, where they hope to focus on localised features and building partnerships with brands and celebrities in the country. Yonhap News is reporting that Twitter has looked at Korea as one of its most important markets, which is mostly thanks to its increasing Internet users as well as the quality of service in the country.
Vice president of the Marketing Department for the Asia-Pacific region, James Kondo, said that the areas that Twitter would focus on when it came to furthering their business were partnerships with handset manufacturers such as natives Samsung and LG, mobile operators, media companies, celebrities and talent agencies - hopefully they give Psy a call.
Othman Laraki, Twitter's vice president of Growth, International and Revenue, the social network are already working with Daum (Korea's second most popular web portal) and LG Uplus, who are Korea's third-largest mobile operator. Laraki adds:
[Korea is] a country where we've seen a lot of early adopters that have taken to Twitter in a very energetic way and we don't necessarily see that in all countries.
Facebook passes 1 billion monthly active users, has had more than 1.1 trillion likes since February 2009
We knew it was coming, but Facebook have confirmed some amazing stats for the biggest social network ever. Facebook reached their one billion monthly active users (MAU) on September 14, at 12:45 PM Pacific time.
Since the launch of the social network, they've experienced 1.13 trillion likes, 140.3 billion friends connected, 219 billion photos uploaded, 17 billion location-tagged posts and check-ins, and 62.6 million songs have been played 22 billion times - enough music to fill around 210,000 years of music.
Facebook's numbers found that the median age of a Facebook user is 22, with the top five countries connected to Facebook when they reached the one billion MAU milestone were Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the US. The social network enjoys an insane 600 million mobile users.
I feel really weird typing Mars, NASA, social networks and check-in all in the same sentence, but here we are. NASA have announced that their Curiosity rover had "checked in" on Mars through Foursquare.
This has given NASA the bragging rights of checking in from an entirely different planet, and will use the location-based social network to share updates and pictures whilst roving around on Mars. Now all the space agency has to do is become the Mayor of Mars, and they'll be one step closer toward being a true, space hipster.
In space, no one can hear you check-in, or can they?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to announce something that is being dubbed as a "historic milestone" during an interview with Matt Lauer on the TODAY show, tomorrow. Zuckerberg's interview will be the first television interview post-IPO, and with the historic milestone being thrown around, most people are wondering what the Facebook founder could announce.
We know that Facebook could smash through 1 billion users, but are they all active? This could be the announcement, and the social network probably burst through 1 billion users a while ago, but daily active users is a completely different number - this could be the 'historic milestone' - one billion active users. No other site can claim this, and no other site is even close. Competing social network, Twitter, has 555 million users for example.
Digital marketing agency, iCrossing, examined Facebook's usage and based on the site's growth rate, the firm estimated that Facebook would hit one billion users sometime in August this year. Facebook have also had quite an amazing last six months, growing from 800 million users, to close to one billion. In the past three years, we've seen the social networking site go from 300 million users, to close to (if not more than) a billion now. Insane.
Facebook have just unveiled something very new: Facebook Gifts. The idea behind Gifts is to let you purchase, and send real-life gifts to friends and family. Facebook have said that members would be able to buy gifts as part of a birthday reminder, or by visiting their friends' Timeline.
RIght now, Facebook Gift options are limited to a few items such as Starbucks gift cards, cupcakes, chocolate and the usual stuffed animals - the social networking site have said that there will be new gifts added every day. When giving a gift, you can post the present straight onto the recipient's Timeline, or through a private message.
The receiver can then "unwrap" the gift with the option to keep it, exchange it for something in another color, size or choose something else entirely - as long as its of equal value. Facebook Gift payments can be done at the time of the purchase itself, or the gift-giver can be billed at a later time. Gift notifications, once received, will have the recipient needing to supply their mailing address - so that the physical item can be delivered.
Facebook felt like it really hit a brick wall a few months ago, where it seemed to stand still (for me at least) on its feature set. Not anymore, we're seeing huge strides in the social networking sites abilities, with the latest news that Dropbox are rolling out a feature with Facebook that will let you share your Dropbox files directly to Facebook Groups.
To share with your Facebook group, click 'Add File' on the group's page. Once you choose to link Facebook to your Dropbox account, you'll be able to search through your Dropbox and select what you'd like to share. Docs, photos, and videos shared from Dropbox will show up on the group's wall and can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.
This feature is definitely something suited for businesses, where they can share files quickly and painlessly. It saves having to have a web browser tab open with Dropbox, and shifting between Facebook and the cloud storage site. But then there is the biggest question of all: are you comfortable sharing business-type files on Facebook?
Facebook has advertisements right now, down the sides of its website, as well as mobile apps - but now the social networking site will push ads on other handset-optimized websites and smartphone apps.
It has been reported by TechCrunch that Facebook have entered into beta testing of a new ad network that uses user data to display hyper-relevant ads on third-party territory. Normally they would rely on normal tracking cookies to get info on visitors' interests, but this platform scoops up information such as age, gender, likes, location, which apps your friends have used and other data points that get taken when a user logs into a site, or application with their Facebook credentials.
Facebook's new mobile ad solution lets advertisers bid on certain demographics, and uses existing networks like iAds and AdMob to push out appropriate ads based on anonymous ID's linked to Facebook accounts. Right now, Facebook are only pushing these ads to the mobile market, but don't be surprised if you see them hit your monitor in the near future.
Apple are shutting down their music-powered social network, Ping. Apple have announced that they will be no longer accepting new members, and they "thank you for your interest in Ping". This interest just wasn't enough to keep the doors open on Ping.
There's not much else to talk about regarding Ping, as it was nice and short. Ping is shutting down on September 30, and will no longer be available, directly from Apple's site.
Social networking giant, Facebook, have announced plans that might anger some users - they're allowing external marketers to mine new customers from Facebook using personal information. This information would include phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Facebook users' unique UID code, and other details.
This new targeting option is said to be available to advertisers as soon as next week, with the social network saying that advertisers will have to ask their customers' permission before using the data for marketing purposes before they proceed, if that makes you feel any better.
Some users already had access to "custom audiences" earlier today using Facebook's "Power Editor" tool for advertisers. This allowed the selection of which specific type of information they are targeting, and then upload a comma separated value (CSV) spreadsheet with identifying information. None of the data searched is being acquired by Facebook, with the user needing to give permission for the searchable data to the network.
Facebook have just introduced a new look for Facebook Messages today, where it now sports a side-by-side layout that lets you click through your most recent message on the left, and to the right, shows the whole conversation.
The social networking site have also baked in a new feature where you can now search for a sender's name or keyword from the main messages view. Facebook have also, for "easier navigation", added keyboard commands.
A full list of shortcuts is available, where on a PC you just have to type Alt Q, or on a Mac, Control Q.
Facebook are looking to go a bit exotic with their new backup plans, with their upcoming backup looking to tap some low-power deep-storage hardware that'll be housed in a 62,000 square-foot building in Prineville, Oregon.
This is situated near their Beaver State data center, with the new back up referred to "Sub-Zero". Sub-Zero will store a copy of Facebook's data in case the social network's primary servers need to be restored in the case of an emergency. Instead of continuously powering HDDs that are only occasionally used, Sub-Zero can conserve energy by lighting-up drives only when they're actually needed.
Just a single of Facebook's existing server racks chews up around 4.5 kilowatts, whilst the ones that will be found at Sub-Zero will only consume approximately 1.5 kilowatts when they're running, which is quite the power conservation. Facebook's vice president of site operations, Tom Furlong, talked to Wired that there are talks of a similar structure to be built next to the social network's North Carolina-based data center.
Facebook begins actually deleting photos, will not allow photos to sit in content networks for longer than 30 days
Facebook have, for years now, not really been deleting your photos. Yes, they may not be on your profile (or Timeline) but they would be enjoying some cocktails somewhere in the social networking sites content network for months, if not years.
Ars Technica, after some experiments, have reported that this problem should now be over. Instead of the months-long photo storage system migration and now an updated deletion policy, Facebook will now only let photos stay on their content network stream for no more than 30 days.
After this, they're deleted, permanently. This is an improved reaction speed, at 30 days, but still isn't as good as a 'click, delete, gone' method such as other photo-sharing services. I supposed you can't really complain, it's better than them changing your news feed look, again.
Facebook have added another option in your Life Events within your Timeline, with the option to now add "Expecting a Baby". Life Events are quite simple to add on Facebook.
Life Events can include getting married, buying a new house, a new relationship, the loss of a loved one, and so much more. The "Expecting a Baby" was an addition the social networking giant should've done from day one, but at least its here now.
I didn't even realise I could add that much information through my Life Events until I read the Facebook news myself. You really can have your whole life on Facebook if you choose to! I'm in Australia (if that matters) and I can't choose this option as of yet.