Thursday, February 25, 2010
  • Gavin O'Malley, February 25, 2010, 12:09 PM
  • Ensuring an increasingly open and transparent social universe for us all, status updates from Facebook Pages -- those platforms for marketing rather than personal content -- will now show up in Google's real-time search results. The agreement marks the first time the search giant has indexed content from Facebook in its real-time results, and follows on the heels of similar deals with Twitter and MySpace.

    Still, "The key thing to remember, however, is that Google has much more limited access to Facebook's real-time data than its competitor, Bing," notes Digital Beat. "Microsoft has deeper ties to the social network, as an investor in Facebook and as a search provider for the site."

    Indeed, Microsoft has the ability to index public status updates, while Google's access is limited to updates from Pages. Yet, "While Bing is getting more data than Google ... it has yet to make any of it findable," Search Engine Land points out. Presently, there are more than 3 million active Pages on Facebook with a total of 5.3 billion "fans."

    "That information could occasionally be useful, but the power of real-time search comes from having a large number of contributors," TechCrunch says of Facebook's Pages. "Facebook has a huge amount of data from its 400 million active users, but it isn't sharing most of that with Google."

    Also of note, "Unlike Twitter, which is reportedly making money off of its search deals with Bing and Google, Facebook isn't charging the search engines for its data."

    Facebook, says Search Engine Land, is likely fine with this arrangement because it brings people back into its fold.

    Google, meanwhile, is doing everything in its power to increase its social currency. Buzz was part of that broader effort, along with its recent acquisition of social search service Aardvark for a reported $50 million. Read the whole story...
  • According to ReadWriteWeb, watchdog site Cryptome was recently "removed from the Web" for refusing to take down a copy of a certain Microsoft document. Named the Microsoft Online Services Global Criminal Compliance Handbook -- or "spy guide" -- the document apparently gives details on how law enforcement can grab user data from a wide range of Microsoft services, from Windows Live ID to Xbox Live to Hotmail.

    "Microsoft holds and can reveal a huge amount of data on individuals through their social networking and file-sharing services," notes ReadWriteWeb. "These data include IP addresses, credit cards, chat logs and much more." Most alarming, however, is the fact that "LE and government officials are often given user data by companies such as Microsoft without having to provide any kind of justification -- not legal documents, not proof of criminal activity and not evidence of guilt," sources tell ReadWriteWeb. Read the whole story...
  • As anyone who watched Bravo last night may already know, up-and-coming location-based social network Foursquare just ran its first TV spot. It apparently appeared alongside the always riveting docu-drama "Sheer Genius" between the hours of 9 and 10 PM. The 20-second spot was actually created by Bravo to highlight its recently announced partnership with Foursquare, which includes virtual Bravo branded "badges," and prizes for Foursquare members who "check-in" via mobile device at various Bravo themed locations.

    Bravo is inviting marketers to participate through promotional elements such as partner sweepstakes, which will be tied to users' unlocking the various Bravo badges. "This," notes TechCrunch, "is believed to be one of the deals currently earning Foursquare some revenue. While such broad TV exposure could change matters, Foursquare is still quite niche with less than half a million users. Following its partnership with Bravo, Foursquare more recently announced partnerships with Zagat, Warner Bros., HBO, the History Channel and ExploreChicago. Read the whole story...
  • Whether black was required dress is unclear, but Google held several "funerals" on Wednesday for five Gmail Labs features that were deemed to be unpopular among email users. The search giant also "graduated" six Gmail features -- part of a history of graduating and "killing" test features that has been going on since Gmail Labs debuted back in mid-2008.

    "At Google, in general, the philosophy is to get things out quickly in front of our users and not make huge promises," Ari Leichtberg, a Google engineer, tells CNN. "Gmail was a beta app for a while in itself." Graduating Gmail features include search autocomplete; forgotten attachment detector; YouTube previews; custom label colors; and vacation dates, which sets up away-from-e-mail messages to coincide with trips, according to CNN. Read the whole story...
  • Social seems like a natural progression for many companies and services, today, and eBay's PayPal is no exception. The popular pay service is now going after developers of social-media payment applications -- "whether or not the product is branded with the PayPal name," notes The Wall Street Journal's Digits blog.

    Alluding to all the innovation surrounding social, today, EBay CEO John Donahoe says he wants PayPal "to be the platform on which some of these social-media applications get built." As an example, Donahoe used Twitpay, a service that lets users send payments via Twitter. Bigger picture, Donahoe said there's room in the e-commerce industry for multiple players - though we doubt each of them would agree. Read the whole story...
  • Rupert Murdoch's grand plans to put his vast kingdom of content behind pay-walls is "completely antithetical to the way everything is going," insists The Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger. Still, Rusbridger welcomes the strategy because he believes it will likely result in his paper becoming the biggest English-language newspaper in the world.

    In the greater interest of journalist and the societal role it plays, Rusbridger implores publishers far and wide to consider "open" publishing models. "If you are open, that means you want to be part of the way the web works rather than simply on the web," he said during a conference on Wednesday. Read the whole story...