Blog Archives

Instagram could make a video move



(Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

Wildly popular photo app Instagram may be looking to grab some social status in the video arena.

Facebook sent out an invitation saying, ” A small team has been working on a big idea” in a move to tease interest in a new product announcement scheduled at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters on Thursday.

Facebook’s Instagram has seen sizzling growth on interest in mobile photo sharing, and a logical step would be to stake out videos next.

Shares of Facebook rose 1.7%, to $ 24.02, amid the rumors.

The social-networking giant reported in its first-quarter earnings that Instagram has attracted more than 100 million users, up from about 22 million when Facebook acquired the company.

App videos have become an Internet sensation as heaps of startups try to become the next mobile version of YouTube. Short ones from Vine, purchased by Twitter in October, have made 6-second videos a new message form.

Facebook and Twitter compete for social attention and have added features such as streaming radio music services to keep users glued in. Facebook last week borrowed a page from Twitter’s hashtags convention of providing search around certain subject areas to launch hashtag support on the world’s largest social network.

Facebook has a history of trying to match the features of rivals, points out analyst Greg Sterling. “They have seen the success that Vine has had and do not want to have Instagram lose favor because it does not offer that. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to do something that one-upped it.

The prospect of Instagram launching a video service saw increased speculation in media reports on Monday.  Read More

‘Lazy’ Employees Can Fix Your Social Woes, Says Yammer CTO

By Brad Chacos

If your organization’s social media initiatives have fizzled more than fostered debate, don’t despair: yours isn’t the only one. Social media has taken the mainstream by storm, but its adoption in the business world has been more uneven. Why is the road to better internal discussion often so rocky?

Adam Pisoni, Yammer CTO

Adam Pisoni, Yammer CTOYammer is a freemium enterprise social networking tool with 5 million users across 200,000 companies, and a $1.2 billion sale to Microsoft under its belt. Company co-founder and CTO Adam Pisoni says that all-too-frequent communication issues stem from the predictable, hierarchical mindset found in many businesses. The solution lies in listening to “lazy” employees, he says–and applying “bring your own device” (BYOD) principles to software as well as hardware.

“I was speaking to a very senior IT leader at a large Fortune 500 company, and she was telling me that they had spent a lot of money on a content management system for their employees,” Pisoni told me in a telephone interview. “They had this large, complex, difficult to use CMS, and for some reason, her employees were ‘too lazy’ to use it, and instead they were bringing in their own tools.

“I couldn’t help but be struck that this seemed totally backwards. She was saying that because her employees wouldn’t use this byzantine thing that wouldn’t work very well, they must be lazy. And I was thinking that the reason they weren’t using it is not because they’re lazy, but because they’re essentially trying to innovate” and work around artificial limitations imposed by officially sanctioned social media tools.  Read More

Amazon’s Zappos Combines Pinterest And E-Commerce In New Site Inc. (AMZN)’s Zappos online store has created a service that recommends purchases based on what users post on Pinterest, a move to parlay the popularity of the social-sharing site into e-commerce sales.

The new Web page, created by a team at Zappos Labs in San Francisco, is called PinPointing and suggests Zappos products, such as shoes, dresses and swimsuits, based on Pinterest posts. Consumers can see suggestions that correlate with their own personal pins or those of other Pinterest users.

Pinterest Inc., based in Palo AltoCalifornia, operates a social-networking site that lets users collect and share photos on the Internet by pinning them to a virtual bulletin board. Zappos is using the social site to help shoppers discover its breadth of products through friends and celebrities and debunk its reputation as solely a seller of shoes.

“Social shopping is a total buzzword that people throw around, but I don’t think any big brands have cracked it,” said Will Young, director of Zappos Labs, a group of developers in charge of spearheading online projects to improve the Zappos user experience. “When we talk to people and ask what they think is the best social-shopping experience, they say Pinterest, and it’s not even a retailer.”

Pinterest has seen a surge in user growth since it was introduced in 2010, and had 11.7 million visitors as of January. It raised $100 million in a financing round that valued the company at about $1.5 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said in May. Investors include Max Levchin, a founder of EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s PayPal; Bessemer Venture Partners; and Japanese e- commerce site Rakuten Inc.  Read More

How Nintendo’s Social Play is a Big Deal

By:  Colin Campbell
Is Nintendo’s Miiverse a reflection of the company’s relative sluggishness in grappling with the social networking problem, a ‘Mii-too’ play? Or is there something much, much smarter going on here?

Nintendo is one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world but unlike many of its rivals, it didn’t embrace Twitter and Facebook. Here is a company with a long and notorious history of splendid isolation, of doing things at its own speed and eschewing much of what goes on outside its own direct interests. Witness the company’s incredible tardiness in modern online play and the move from cartridges to disks.

However, at E3 Nintendo showed us a few glimpses of Miiverse, its online social community for the Wii U, and planned also for 3DS and even (in some capacity) non-Nintendo devices.

In a recent interview with Kotaku, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata spoke about his vision of Miiverse, and it’s clear that he and his cohorts have been doing what Nintendo does best – thinking hard about how people like to play and about how they connect emotionally with games.

In the past, this was a one-on-one transaction; we each bonded individually with Nintendo characters, games and mechanics. Playing with other people or talking about Nintendo games on, say, the school bus were ancillary social activities, connected tenuously with the activity of playing.  Read More

It’s Like Facebook, but You Pay for It is a new social network that costs $50 a year. It could be the future of the Web.


In August 2004, Google was readying its first public stock offering. Pundits were skeptical that the upstart search company could ever live up to its $23 billion valuation. A New York Times article reported that Silicon Valley luminaries were “overwhelmingly bearish” on the firm, seeing little potential for sustained growth in its online advertising business. “I’m not buying,” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak declared. Serial entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan told the Times he had warned his mother to steer clear of the stock.

In our universe, that Times article is good for a laugh today. But what if, in some parallel universe, it turned out to be sadly prophetic? What if it soon became clear that Google’s astronomical valuation had been based on a faulty assumption: that massive Web traffic could lead to massive profits, even if you didn’t charge users for the service you were offering them. What if the Google IPO was the beginning of the end of the free Web, a point at which users reluctantly accepted that you get what you pay for online, and that any site claiming to offer a service free of charge would eventually clutter it with annoying ads and mine its users’ personal information.

In this parallel universe, Dalton Caldwell would not have launched a paid social networking platform called this week, because it would’ve already been invented in 2004. Back then, an ambitious young Harvard undergrad might have been watching Google’s stock tank and thinking about what it meant for his own project, an online social network for his fellow Ivy Leaguers. When he rolled out Facebook to the general public, perhaps he might have charged users a small admission fee, assuring them that a $20-per-year subscription would keep out the spammers and porn bots that were already beginning to clog the market leader, MySpace.  Read More

Social Networking for Cars to Enhance Traffic System and Promote Greener and Safer Journey

Social Networking for Cars to Enhance Traffic System and Promote Greener and Safer Journey

In recent times, Social networking has turned out to be the most well established and popular way of exchanging information. The innovative step of introducing ‘social network’ for cars has been launched by the largest ever real-world trials of ‘car-to-X’ (C2X) communications in Germany, with lead partner Daimler. They are all set to show the adaptation of this concept to increase the road safetyand efficiency of motor cars. The ‘SimTD’ (Safe Intelligent Mobility – test field Germany) trial will have 120 vehicles that will take to the roads of the Rhine-Main region until the end of the year. A network link will be established between every car which will also include the traffic infrastructure, in addition to updating each other with the existing situation.

Daimler says, C2X technology has the potential to alert drivers if traffic is blocked, or helps prevent pile-ups by providing drivers with information about an impending emergency stop earlier than otherwise possible. SimTD project leader Dr Christian Weiss explained the field trial, pointing out that it is premeditated to test the suitability of the system for day-to-day use in real-life traffic conditions.“We are convinced that C2X communication is going to play an important role in the mobility of the future,” said Weiss, who is incidentally in charge of cooperating systems at Daimler research and advance development.    Read More

Three Facebook execs bow out of the social network


At a tense time for the newly public company, three top executives announce they are departing from the social-networking giant, all in one day.

It was a three-in-one blow today for Facebook execs announcing their departure from the company.

All Things Digital reports that Director of Platform Partnerships Ethan Beard first said he was planning to leave the company; then, Platform Marketing Director Katie Mitic said she had plans to leave too. And finally, Facebook’s Mobile Platform Marketing Manager Jonathan Matus also announced his departure.

All three employees made the announcements on their Facebook timelines and said that they’ve had good experiences working at the social network. Beard wrote, “I’ve had the pleasure of helping build an ecosystem of incredible developers from innovative startups and established companies.”

Ethan Beard(Credit:

With four years under his belt at the company, Beard was in charge of developing partnerships with many of the app makers that work with Facebook, according to AllThingsD. Mitic and Matus were also on the marketing side of the platform.

The news comes as Facebook’sfirst-ever earnings reportas a publicly held company, which was released last week, saw its stock slump even as revenue rose. The company lost $157 million on revenue of $1.18 billion and the news sent Facebook’s stock plummeting in the days following the report. Facebook closed today it $20.88 a share, which is near its lowest close of $20.84.  Read More

ImageShack Launches Yfrog Social, An Ambitious New Full-Service Social Network

ImageShack founder Jack Levin has certainly experienced the short end of the stick when it comes to building a company that works with the API of a larger social network.

In February 2009, ImageShack launched the Yfrog photo-sharing service, which quickly became one of the most popular ways to share photos on Twitter — back in the day, you may remember, the only way you could share photos on Twitter was through third-party applications such as Yfrog andTwitPic. But in mid-2011, Twitter decided to get into the photo-sharing game after all and in August it rolled out its own internal photo-sharing service through a partnership with Photobucket — which, of course, immediately caused significant damage to the Yfrogs and TwitPics of the world.

You’d think that being burned by a giant like Twitter in such a way might make Levin back away from the social networking space altogether. But it turns out, it really had the opposite effect: Now, he’s going after the space in an even more directly-competitive way.

Today ImageShack is rolling out Yfrog Social, a full-service social networking platform for the web and the iPhone. You can watch Levin talk about the launch and give a demo of the product in the video embedded above.

In short, Yfrog Social looks like a mix of Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, with the high-resolution photo-sharing qualities of an ImageShack or a Flickr. The core differentiators of the product, however, are its ad-free freemium paid business model and completely open API. These two things together, Levin says, mean that developers will be able to make apps that depend on Yfrog social, with no fear of being quashed.  Read More

The Best Social Network Is Uninvestable

By Michael Lewis, The Motley Fool

Web 2.0 has been a pain to invest in. I think we all understand that the social revolution is well under way, and that its value is, though tough to quantify, truly undeniable on a global scale. But in its infancy, profits seem tough to find and a long-term vision for monetization is … well, tough to find. There is one social network that I believe has a solid business plan, that is ready to create real, significant cash flows, and that is way too expensive to warrant a dollar of your savings.

Social warfare
When the unfortunate term “social networking” rears its ugly head, the first thing that comes to mind for most is Facebook (NAS: FB) . The company helmed by somebody who looks like he could have been on Growing Pains is, no doubt, going to be an amazing investment when the company figures out how to leverage the billion people who use the service for free. I don’t know when that will be, how the company will do it, or even if I will still be shamelessly self-promoting myself on my own Facebook page. As for now, Facebook and its so-so business model remains on my “Ha-ha, you’ve got to be kidding me” list of stock ideas, not far from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

To be fair to readers, I won’t go over again my personal reasons for my distaste for Facebook, but my investing-related issues are highlighted in fellow Fool Alex Dumortier’s recent article. Plainly put, Facebook simply can’t measure up to market expectations anywhere in the near future. Not while earning $3.50 per user in revenue.

My smart money (term used as loosely as possible) would likely go to the other popular U.S.-based social network if it weren’t for one thing — the rent is too darn high.  Read More

Illinois employees ‘Like’ Gov. Quinn’s new social networking law

Illinois employees who want their privacy restored will "Like" this new law which begins January 1, 2013.

If you apply for a job in Illinois, as of January 1, 2013, employers will no longer be allowed to require your social media passwords – on such accounts as Twitter and Facebook – when you apply for or get the job.

CLICK HERE to read: Illinois New Laws 2012

To end the current trend and criticism of job applicants having their privacy trounced by employers requiring access to their employees’ social networking sites’ activities, the new bill protects the job seekers and holders. Potential employers, however, are obviously allowed to view social networking information about an applicant that is available to the general public for viewing.

This law does not stop an employer from restricting the use of social networks, email, or other Internet activities at work.

Governor Pat Quinn signed the controversial law on Wednesday which makes Illinois the second state to have such a law. The measure comes after many have complained that they were required to deactivate their profiles on social network-type accounts are even have lost their jobs after their bosses was what they’ve posted in the past. Besides individuals stating that the act of having to relinquish their passwords was unjust, the ACLU and other civil liberties groups have been involved with calling for the passage of this bill.  Read More

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