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I personally never saw the point of Ping myself, but Apple tried to push the social network for music, and failed. Miserably. Instead of continuing to support the sinking ship that is Ping, Apple have decided to ditch Ping and use their strong partnerships found in social networking giants Twitter and Facebook to make Apple's various software and service offerings in the social scene that customers actually care about.
Even though Ping is available in iTunes 10.6.3 and the iOS 6 beta (where it doesn't work), it will disappear in the next major release of iTunes which is due this fall. After that, Apple will use Twitter and Facebook for their social networking needs.
Did you even use Ping? Ping never really even made my radar...
It's always a difficult task to choose the next profile picture that you're going to use. You put a lot of thought into the process and probably look at several photos for a while before deciding. You may even ask a friend or two what they think. It turns out that there is also some cultural influence into the decision as well.
Your profile picture has different qualities depending on your culture. According to a new study, Americans tend to focus on the face and usually have a close-up shot where the face takes up most of the frame. This is contrary to Taiwanese users who tend to have some background visible and a much smaller portion of the frame taken up by the face.
The study was done twice after the first one found the correlation. The second time around they increased the sample size and locations in which they were drawing participants from and the findings still held true. The study also showed that Americans preferred a more intense facial expression such as a huge smile while Taiwanese tended to have a less intense expression.
The researchers explain:
Overall, the two studies clearly showed that East Asian Facebook users are more likely to deemphasize their faces compared to Americans. Specifically, East Asians living in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan exhibited a predilection for context inclusiveness in their profile photographs, whereas Americans tended to prioritize their focal face at the expense of the background.
Facebook's App Center will feature the option 'Send to Mobile', which will allow users to purchase apps on their desktop, or tablet, and will have a notification delivered to their phones. This is something already found in Google and Apple's app stores, but instead uses Facebook's notification system.
This option is said to be [hopefully] ready in time for the App Center's launch later this year. The way it works is you'll choose an app through the App Center, and you'll have the option to directly launch the app if it's not already installed, or go to the iOS App Store, or Google Play to download it if you don't.
The App Center will be the first storefront to sell apps for both platforms together. The social networking site won't be directly selling, or making money off of iOS or Android apps. Facebook want a tighter grip on the mobile market, and hope to build its App Center into the main repository for socially-oriented apps across all of the major mobile platforms.
In the midst of Facebook's IPO, Microsoft have launched their social networking site, So.cl. So.cl isn't competition for Facebook, as it's designed to give students the ability to network with peers to share information.
A Microsoft rep has said to CNET:
FUSE Labs' So.cl project is now accepting all users interested in joining the site. So.cl is an experimental research project focused on the future of social experiences and learning, especially among younger people.
Describing the app itself, Microsoft have said:
So.cl (pronounced 'social') combines search and social networking for the purpose of learning and is the latest experiment from FUSE Labs.
Social networking site Facebook are currently in the midst of their IPO roadshow, and have just updated their mobile site and apps. This includes updated apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.
Facebook have taken a leaf out of Instagram's book, which, they own now. Where the images on Facebook are significantly larger, which means the news feed shows one large post instead of two or three on the iPhone/iPod Facebook apps.
Pictures are now 300-percent larger than they were before, and Facebook haven't noted any other changes. Facebook haven't mentioned whether this will arrive to other mobile, or non-mobile devices, but it will most likely happen in good time.
Microsoft is rolling out what they are calling "the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago". The new update will roll out over the next few weeks as Microsoft introduce a new way to search that is designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts "without compromising the core search experience".
Microsoft point out that the search industry is built on keywords, links and labels - static nouns pointing to pages. Whilst this approach is great for finding sites, searching is not just about finding information or data, its about taking action. You might search flights, or accommodation, and usually when doing so, you'd like to take action in the form of placing a booking, etc. Microsoft note that 68-percent of people tell them they expect to get something done when they type into a search box.
Bing ups the ante on this, where you're you'll be able to share virtually everything you do, where you are, who you are, all in real-time. The new updated Bing will include a "brand new information architecture" with three columns: the left will feature familiar algorithmic results, the middle provides a "snapshot" of relevant information and services, such as maps and reviews, whilst the sidebar to the right will include social-orientated results.
According to a new study done by the Harvard Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab shows that talking about oneself on a social networking site engages portions of the brain that are responsible for love, pleasure, and rewards. Curiously enough, these same sections of the brain are active when having sex.
This good feeling that is associated with posting about oneself explains why 80% of the average user's social networking posts consist of self-disclosure. These social networking posts account for 30-40% of the average user's speech output for each day. To verify this, Diana Tamir and co-author Jason Mitchell hooked participants up to an MRI to monitor brain activity while being asked questions.
The questions were about their own and others' attitudes on various subjects. The point of the two different questions was to discover if there was a difference between talking about oneself or someone else. The findings show that talking about oneself engages the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) which are both associated with rewards. As previously stated, these same regions are active during sex or eating good food.
Tamir told the LA Times, "we didn't know if self-disclosure was rewarding because you get to think about yourself and thinking about yourself is rewarding, or if it is important to have an audience."
When President Obama announced his support for gay marriage yesterday on Twitter, it was pretty obvious it was going to be a historic day. Twitter has now released some data about tweets following his announcement and the data confirms what what was already suspected. The number of tweets sent was double that of the previous record last June when New York legalized gay marriage.
At its peak, the number of #gaymarriage tweets hit 7,347 every minute. At this rate, over 1.6 million #gaymarriage were sent yesterday. This amount, double that of when New York legalized it in June of 2011. The data released also shows that the number of gay marriage tweets has steadily increased since the inauguration of Obama.
However, the percentage of total tweets has stayed basically level except for the occasional spike like yesterday or the day last June. So while there are more, that could be due to the overall increase in users and tweets. However, the spike after Obama's support certainly shows that people agree with the President's sentiments. Twitter is a great way to track people's feelings as the 160 character micro-blog is more conducive to openness.
Social networking giant Facebook have just announced App Center, a portal for the social networking site that is designed for app discovery. App Center is designed for socially-oriented apps, features an in-depth rating system that provides developers with demographic information on user ratings.
The new App Center covers both iOS and Android, making the new Facebook feature one of the only places someone can find apps from the competing stores side-by-side. Apps found within the new App Center will sport detailed individual pages laying out the apps' function.
From there, users can browse apps for their particular device, be it iOS- or Android-based, and apps that require installation on a mobile device will link users directly to the iOS App Store, or Google Play for Android users. Developers will have the keys to in-depth demographic data on app usage, with sample pages from Facebook show app ratings broken down by gender and age range. The App Center will give developers the ability to offer paid apps, as well as in-app purchases.
Apparently Twitter's security was breached which resulted in the compromise of 55,000 accounts. The credentials to these accounts were subsequently posted online. Twitter has now said that they are launching an investigation into the matter of how these accounts were compromised. Luckily, it seems as though most of these accounts were banned spammer accounts.
Twitter posted on their official communications account, TwitterComms, that "We're looking into the situation and have pushed out password resets to potentially affected accounts." They also confirm that many of the accounts were spammer accounts or duplicates. "The list of alleged accounts & passwords consists of more than 20,000 duplicates. Also suspended spam accounts & incorrect login credentials."
Still, compiling a list of accounts that big most likely wasn't done through brute force, as that would take some time. Of course hackers affiliated with Anonymous are attempting to take credit. When don't they? It would be an odd move considering how much the group uses the micro-blogging service. The accounts were released in 5 Pastebin posts and Twitter has said that many of the usernames and passwords weren't linked together, meaning incorrect combinations.
It will be interesting to see the results of the investigation. Like I stated before, it is unlikely that this was a simple brute-force attack.