SiliconFilter

Can Digital Shaming Save Lives? Town Wants to Put DUI Mugshots on Facebook

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Drinking and driving is obviously dangerous and never a good idea, but if you want to ensure that your DUI mugshot never goes viral, it’d be a good idea to stay especially sober while driving through the city of Huntington Beach, CA. According to the Associated Press, Huntington Beach’s city council is currently considering a proposal that would require the city’s police department to post mugshots of everyone who was repeatedly arrested for DUI on the department’s Facebook page.

An earlier proposal actually argued that the mugshots of every single person arrested for DUI in Huntington Beach should appear on Facebook. Interestingly, the local police department has been pushing back against this idea. According to the town’s police spokesman Lt. Russell Reinhart, the department’s Facebook page has been instrumental in “getting information to the public and soliciting tips on tough cases.” While a few mugshots are already available on the department’s Facebook page, the local police thinks routine public shaming would just annoy its Facebook fans and won’t deter repeat DUI offenders.

Huntington Beach Police Department.jpg

The Huntington Beach police department's Facebook page

Can Digital Shaming Save Lives?

Devin Dwyer, the city councilman behind this proposal, argues that the town’s DUI numbers are out of control – with 1,687 DUI arrests and 195 deaths due to alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2009, that’s hard to argue with. In an interview with the Associated Press, Dwyer said that “if it takes shaming people to save lives, I am willing to do it. I’m hoping it prevents others from getting behind the wheel and getting inebriated.” We’re not sure if he is also proposing that these mugshots will be tagged with the offender’s name and Facebook profile.

What do you think? Is public shaming on Facebook the way to go? Will it stop people from driving drunk?



10:44 am


Why I'm Not Buying ChangeWave's AT&T/Verizon iPhone Switcher Numbers

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According to research firm ChangeWave, 15% of AT&T’s mobile subscribers plan to switch carriers in the next 90 days. Even worse for AT&T, 26% of its iPhone users plan to defect to Verizon once it gets the iPhone (41% within the 90 days after the release of the iPhone and 31% within a year). With numbers like this and the general undercurrent of dislike for AT&T in the tech blogosphere, these statistics are obviously catnip for the tech press and most outlets reported them as simple facts.

But I’m having a few issues with these numbers that make me think that this survey is ultimately too flawed to be trusted:

[list type=”red”]

  • This kind of self-reported data about future purchase decisions is notoriously unreliable. Just look at the numbers. Almost 30% of those who said they would switch don’t even think they would switch within the next year. But those who answered the survey (and we don’t know enough about the methodology here to begin with) could have had lots of different reasons for telling ChangeWave why they wanted to switch (social pressure, “sticking it to AT&T” etc.). Notice how ChangeWave’s numbers about dropped calls are also self-reported.
  • The group of people ChangeWave interviews is highly self-selected. This data is not based on random phone interviews but on a survey of “credentialed professionals who spend their everyday lives working on the frontline of technological change. Nearly 3 out of every 5 members (53%) have advanced degrees (e.g., Master’s or Ph.D.) and 91% have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree.” These people opted to be part of the ChangeWave Alliance for the sole reason of being a part of these surveys.
  • The survey was conducted before Verizon had even announced the iPhone for its network. Even today, we don’t know critical information about how much Verizon plans to charge for its data plans, for example. We also haven’t seen any speed comparisons between AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks yet.
  • [/list]
    Will a lot of people switch from AT&T to Verizon? Probably. This survey, however, doesn’t really tell us much and the numbers are questionable at best.

    Let’s come back in a few months and see what the real numbers are. I’m sure if this many people really switch, Verizon will be more than happy to tell us.

    verizon-att-iphone-defectors.jpg



    12:20 pm


    Why Your Next Car Will Have an IP Address

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    One trend that has become very clear at this year’s CES is that the Internet is slowly making its way into our cars. Of course, you can already browse the Net and play music from Pandora through your smartphone, but the next generation of cars – and especially electric cars – are making the Internet an integral part of the car’s feature set.

    Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevy and most other major car manufacturers are introducing connected cars this year. These cars will all either feature fully integrated built-in Internet access through on-board wireless modules or, as is the case with Toyota’s Entune multimedia system, use a smartphone connection to enable this functionality.

    Ford’s new plug-in Focus Electric, which it officially launched at CES today, for example, features a built-in wireless connection that connects the car to the cloud and allows owners to communicate with the car from their smartphones and through a mobile-optimized website. With SYNC, MyFordTouch and AppLink, Ford will allow owners of some of its cars to run apps like Pandora and control them through the car’s built-in entertainment system and control their features by voice.

    Toyota_Entune mockup

    While Ford was the first company to take this technology mainstream, a number of other manufacturers are now picking up on this trend as well. Toyota’s Entune will bring music from Pandora, Internet radio courtesy of IHeartRadio, restaurant reservations from OpenTable and search and maps from Microsoft’s Bing to some of its 2012 models.

    Indeed, Microsoft is a player on a lot of fronts here. Ford’s SYNC, for example, is based on Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Automotive platform and Bing is not just coming to Toyota but also to Hyundai.

    Third-party manufacturers are also getting into the game. Harman, for example, introduced a 4G wireless module for LTE networks that will allow drivers to bring the Internet to their older cars. This system will feature real-time traffic updates, games, streaming video and will give passengers access to the full Internet.

    What is driving this trend?

    First of all, the proliferation of smartphones has allowed us to become accustomed to having ubiquitous Internet access wherever we are. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that we expect the same from the most expensive piece of technology most of us own: our cars.

    Harman's In-Car Internet System

    Another factor that’s driving this trend is that – unless you are a real car enthusiast – the main differentiator between cars in the same category today is technology. Touchscreens, voice recognition, access to your Pandora stations and – on a more basic level – an easy and working system for pairing your phone with your car over Bluetooth can be powerful factors when consumers make their buying decisions.

    For electric cars, having Internet access in some form is virtually a must. With their limited range (generally around 100 miles), knowing where the next charging station is can make our break your trip to the grocery store. This data is changing rapidly, however, as new stations come online almost daily, so the manufacturers need to have the ability to update these cars’ navigation databases remotely. Bringing the car in to the dealership once a month to update the GPS system isn’t exactly a practical solution.

    In some ways, this is turning cars into the ultimate gadget (and is also a challenge when it comes to usability). Just look at the Focus Electric, for example, which (assuming I counted right) features 18 buttons on the steering wheel alone, has to small LCD screens right in front of the driver and a large one in the middle console.

    Full Internet Access and Any App You Want in Your Car? Not Quite Happening Yet

    For now, most manufacturers are not bringing the full Internet experience to the car yet and only allow a limited set of apps on their dashboards. There are good reasons for that. The car industry is highly focused on safety and a malfunctioning app that takes over your audio system, for example, and suddenly overrides your volume settings due to a software bug, plays AC/DC at full volume and startles you to the point where you have an accident is a major liability and could cost a company like GM millions.

    So for now, your smartphone is your best bet for getting online in your car (while you are in the passenger seat, of course), but your next car itself could be transmitting maintenance data over the Internet while you’re driving down the highway, allowing you to open and close your doors with the help of a smartphone app (Ford and GM are introducing this for their electric cars) and sending you a text message when its battery is running low or when it notices that you forgot to plug it in over night.

    FocusElectric dashboard screens

    Dashboard of the Focus Electric



    11:01 am


    3 Biggest Disappointments in Tech of 2010

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    Lots of great stuff happened in the tech world in 2010, but for every success like the iPad, Instagr.am and Roku, there was also a major disappointment along the way. The bigger the hype, the greater the disappointment, of course, so this list features the top three products and events in 2010 that, in my view, were the biggest letdowns.

    Google Closes Wave

    It’s no secret that Wave never caught on with the masses, even though it was among the most hyped products of 2009 and 2010. The fact that the team needed 1 hour and 20 minutes just to explain the concept at the introduction in early 2009 should have made a few alarm bells ring.

    google_wave_closing.jpg

    Most people never understood why they should use Wave and what they could do with it. While I always had great hopes for it (and even used it for live blogging at one point), in the end I had to concede that it was just too complicated and different for most people. Instead of giving the Wave team a chance to succeed and hone its product, though, Google decided to shut it down just a few months after opening it up for general use. Google always insisted that the Wave protocol and ecosystem was what it was really interested in, so maybe we’ll see some action on that front in the future.

    Wave’s lead developer Lars Rasmussen is now at Facebook and the rest of the team is working on other projects. Some remnants of Wave are now available in Google Shared Spaces, but it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a return of Wave as a fully featured communications platform. Shame.

    Google Buzz Doesn’t Catch On

    Google launched Buzz, its latest and greatest social initiative in early February and immediately got lots of bad press thanks to major privacy issues that Google’s should have noticed long before it launched it. While Buzz looked like it could recapture some of FriendFeed‘s greatness (after all, it looks and works almost exactly like FriendFeed did before Facebook bought it and its developers moved on to bigger and better things), it’s mostly a wasteland today. Even though Google pushed it into millions of Gmail inboxes, it’s hard to find any real interactions on Buzz today. Instead of going to Buzz, most people just share their links and thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

    Sadly, Google never quite figured out how to move Buzz to the next level. While I don’t think the company will abandon it the way it dropped Wave like a hot potato, it remains to be seen for how long Buzz will remain in Gmail. Maybe Google’s next social initiative can breathe new life into Buzz, but I highly doubt it at this point.

    Apple’s Ping Fizzles

    Apple isn’t known for getting “social” right, but just like Google pushed Buzz into millions of inboxes, Apple baked Ping right into iTunes, the world’s most popular (though not always loved) music management software. Still, after botching the launch by not asking Facebook if it was okay to use its API to connect millions of iTunes users and promptly having to shut that system down, Ping never quite recovered. Without the Facebook integration, users had to hunt their friends down by their email addresses and few people ever bothered to do so.

    Not being able to share songs that were already in your library didn’t make it any more useful. For something that bills itself as a “social network for music,” Ping just isn’t social enough.

    apple_ping_lady_gaga.jpg

    In its latest version, Ping now makes it easier to share songs from your existing library and you can now import your Twitter friends, share playlists and tweet your “likes” out to the world. Still, even with these new features, NPR rightly called Ping one of the “worst ideas of 2010” and I couldn’t agree more.

    When was the last time you even looked at Ping?

    What’s On Your List?

    So that’s my list for 2010? What’s on your list? What were the apps and services that disappointed you the most? Flipboard, which looks cool but isn’t that useful? The iPad, because it’s just a giant iPhone? Windows Phone? Android tablets?

    Let us know in the comments?



    3:47 pm


    After a Year of Hype, Augmented Reality Finally Gets Useful

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    Augemented reality was one of the most overused buzzwords of the year, but for the most part, the applications we saw weren’t really augmenting reality. Instead, like Layar and others, they take a phone’s camera picture, GPS coordinates and compass heading and provide users with an overlay of nearby sights and shops. For some apps – especially stargazing apps like Star Walk – this is fine, but for most use cases, it’s not really useful.  Another type of augmented reality (AR) app that’s hot right now uses paper markers and replaces them with 3D animation on your phone’s screen – even Hallmark is getting in this business now, but it’s more of a gimmick than a useful application of AR. The real promise of AR reaches far beyond this, however.

    According to a new report by Forrester analyst Thomas Husson, AR is indeed ready to become more than just a gimmick. Husson thinks that “in the years to come, it will be a disruptive technology changing the way consumers interact with their environments. It will bridge the real and digital worlds, enabling new ways to engage with customers via advanced digital interactivity. Because mobile AR makes the most of unique mobile attributes, it will help in transforming mobile phones as the new remote control of our personal daily lives.” Indeed, the first apps that get close to this vision are now making their way to users’ phones.

    Word Lens

    Last week, we got our first glimpse at what real augmented reality can look like. Word Lens takes the live video from your iPhone’s camera and automatically translates any text it sees. Right now, you can only buy Word Lens’ English/Spanish and Spanish/English translations as in-app purchases, but more languages will soon arrive as well.

    Using this app is an eye-opener. Not only do you get the translation, but Word Lens actually replaces the text in the live video with the translation. That’s something we haven’t seen before and that gives me great hope for the next generation of AR apps that will interact with the actual images from your phone and not just the GPS and compass.

    Wikitude Drive

    Another app that pushes AR further is Wikitude Drive, which was just released for Android in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The app should come to other platforms and locations soon.

    At its core, Wikitude Drive is a turn-by-turn navigation app, but unlike similar apps, it can display live video in the background. Thanks to this, you never really take your eyes off the road as you drive down the street and the AR mode shows you exactly where you need to go. The app doesn’t interact directly with the camera images, but it clearly shows an area where current apps can be extended with AR views that provide lots of additional value.



    3:27 pm


    5 Services that Deserved More Attention in 2010

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    As the year draws to an end, it’s hard not to look back and think about all the cool apps that I looked at over the last 12 months. I’ll talk a bit about my favorite apps and biggest disappointments in other posts, but I also wanted to highlight some of the coolest apps and Web Services that I use all the time but that didn’t get a lot of mainstream (or even tech blog) coverage in the last year and that deserve another look.

    Without further ado, here is my list for 2010:

    My6Sense

    my6sense logo

    Building good recommendation engines is tough. In the world of reading recommendations for RSS feeds, nothing currently beats My6Sense. The app – available for iPhone and Android – also works as a straightforward RSS reader, but the real power is in its reading recommendations which learn from your behavior as you use the app (did you click on the story? Did you recommend it to others? How much time did you spend reading it?). The great thing about the app is that you don’t have to start over – you can just import all your Google Reader Over on ReadWriteWeb, we rated it as one of the top 10 RSS and syndication services of 2010, but overall, My6Sense has been flying under the radar for too long. Hopefully, with the addition of Louis Gray as the VP of marketing, My6Sense will get more visibility in 2011.

    Producteev

    producteev logo

    Over the last year, I tested far more productivity and task management apps than I’m willing to admit, but the one that stood out for me – mostly thanks to its simplicity and ease of use – was Producteev. I currently use the service for my own task management needs, is large parts thanks to its integration with Google Apps, but also because of its full suite of other services, including its iPhone app, Gmail gadget and the ability to create tasks by simply sending an email to the right address. For the near future, Producteev also promises to release a Mac desktop app, which should make it a great choice for GTD disciples on the Mac.

    Pearltrees

    Pearltrees logo

    “Curation” was the biggest buzzword of late 2010, yet while various Twitter-based services like Curated.by got a lot of buzz this year – and even link shortener Bit.ly now offers a curation feature – Paris-based Pearltrees remained relatively unknown. While the service now has plenty of money in the bank and has over 60,000 active users, its innovative interface and easy to use social curation features didn’t get near the buzz it deserved (though it’s worth noting that some people really don’t like the service’s interface). With even more social features and the ability to import all the links you share on Twitter, Pearltrees’ feature set made great strides this year. Hopefully, it’ll get a bit more buzz next year, as using it gets more fun the more people join in.

    Microsoft Office Web Apps

    Office Web Apps.jpg

    I admit, this is an odd choice given the size of the Microsoft Office empire, but at least in the tech blogging world, most people tend to underestimate Microsoft’s products and prefer to push Google’s offering instead. In this case, the new Microsoft Office Web apps are far ahead of Google’s offerings and offer (no surprise) better compatibility and – and this is the biggest reason for me – better document fidelity. When I export a file to Google Docs, I never quite know what will happen to it when I export it again. With the Office Web Apps, the documents – with few exceptions – remain perfectly intact as I move them in and out of the Web apps.

    EchoEcho

    EchoEcho.jpg

    With all the focus on check-in apps like FourSquare and Gowalla this year (though this hype has died down quite a bit by now), location apps with real utility remained a bit under the radar this year. Among those location-based apps that are actually useful (beyond collecting boy scout-style badges), EchoEcho is one of my perennial favorites. Available on virtually every platform, EchoEcho allows you to quickly and privately exchange your location with a contact. It’s simple, works and oh so useful. For more background, see my ReadWriteWeb review of the EchoEcho iPhone app from early 2010.



    7:00 am


    Let's Cut the Hype: Facebook's Email Service Won't be a "Gmail Killer"

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    facebook_logo.jpg

    Facebook is launching an email service on Monday. While that’s only a rumor for now, I think it’s a well substantiated one and there is little doubt in my mind that Facebook mail is exactly what we are going to get at Monday’s event in San Francisco. Sadly, though, the meme that this could really be a “Gmail killer,” as the project is apparently internally known at Facebook, is already making its rounds in the tech blogosphere and won’t let up until Monday.

    My guess is that the reality of Facebook mail will be far more banal. Facebook will give every user an @facebook.com address and a basic email service that will kill Gmail as much as Gmail killed Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail/Windows Live Mail.

    So let’s get away from the whole “Gmail killer” idea (the tech blogosphere has always been obsessed with “xyz killers”). What matters is that this email service – if it really launches on Monday – shows how Facebook doesn’t just want to own our social network but how it also wants to be our messaging service. Groups were a step in this direction, Facebook chat was a step in this direction, as is bringing Facebook chat to Windows Live Messenger. Adding email to this is just the logical next step, but just as tagging a social network on to email didn’t make Google Buzz a Facebook killer, adding email to Facebook won’t kill Gmail.

    Facebook mail invitation

    It’s even hard to think how Facebook could actually make email better. Sure, this service will nicely integrate with the rest of the Facebook platform, but the great thing about email is that you can use it no matter what platform and server you and the people you write to are on.

    Maybe Facebook could build a better Priority Inbox, but somehow I doubt that. It will surely also make it easy to email photos (Facebook is already the biggest photo service on the Internet). But it won’t get a lot of people to turn away from Gmail or the even more popular Yahoo and Windows Live email services. Email is extremely sticky. Most people never switch. It’s just too hard and almost never worth the effort. Professionals definitely won’t use it.

    We should remember, though, that for some people, the idea of an @facebook.com email address actually sounds like a good idea. Those are not the people who leave critical comments on stories about Facebook mail today, though. Those are the people who will be surprised to hear about it on Monday and will leave barely readable comments on the Facebook blog, asking where to find new tips and trick for playing Farmville and how to write on their wall. That won’t make it a Gmail killer either, though.

    Bonus: I got an email this morning from this blogger who discovered Facebook’s mail.facebook.com page. At first, I thought this would make for a nice scoop, but after actually looking at the site for 10 seconds, it quickly became clear that this was Facebook’s internal email. The site runs Microsoft Exchange and there is no way that Facebook would want to use Exchange for powering 500 million email accounts even if Microsoft is going to partner with Facebook and integrate its Office web apps into the new service. Of course, this story still found its way into the tech blogosphere in the form of a Friday afternoon linkbait post on TechCrunch that some actually took at face value. Sigh…



    12:25 am


    Google Puts Renewed Focus on Real-Time Search with New Social Search Test

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    Somehow I completely missed the fact that those blue “shared by” links on Google’s search results page that I started seeing a few days were new. Given the pace of the search giant’s development cycle, I have to admit that I’m sometimes actually rather confused about what’s new and what’s been around for a while on Google…

    But these “shared by” links are clearly new – and more and more people are now seeing them, too, so this seems to be more than just one Google’s many bucket tests and could be here to stay. These links tend to appear underneath links to news items in the OneBox news results section when you search for recent events. Another new feature is a live count of recent updates that now appears underneath the “Recent Updates” box when you search for keywords that are currently popular or trending on Twitter and Facebook.

    google_more_social.jpg

    All of this points to a new emphasis of real-time search results in Google. Over on Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan speculates that Google could soon restrict these searches to just your friends, which is entirely possible and would make sense in light of Bing’s recent addition of more social features, but I actually find the new focus on real time more interesting. All of these new links, after all, point to Google’s real-time search feature, which was mostly hidden from sight until now. Instead of just pointing to a somewhat cryptically names “Updates” section in the sidebar, this new test actually explains that these updates come from “Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and more.”



    11:06 pm


    What Should the Next Generation of Tech Blogs Look (and Feel) Like?

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    As I’m thinking about the sale of TechCrunch to AOL and Jason Calacanis’s ideas for how to take tech reporting to the next level (in the form of an email newsletter), I can’t help but think about what the next generation of tech blogs will look like. Since the early days of tech blogging, the field has become more professionalized and the major blogs now have plenty of full- and half-time staffers who ensure that no nuance of the tech world goes uncovered. While Twitter and Facebook have changed the way these publications find readers for their stories (in the early days, RSS feeds used to be a huge source of traffic), the blogs themselves all still look pretty much the same (one exception – at least with regards to their homepage – is the rapidly expanding The Next Web).  (more…)



    6:26 pm


    Can The New Version of iTunes Breathe New Life Into Apple's Ping?

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    Apple just released a new version of iTunes for Mac and PC that makes some much-needed changes to how the company integrates its social network Ping into the application. Until now, not only was Ping somewhat hidden in iTunes, but you could also only really interact with it from within the iTunes store and not from within your iTunes library. Unless your friends are compulsive music shoppers, chances are that few of them ever went through the store to mark their favorite songs. Now, however, in the new version of iTunes (10.0.1), you can very easily like songs right from within your music library and you can choose to see a sidebar with the latest activity from your Ping friends while browsing your library. Chances are that this will raise the activity level on Ping, though it remains to be seen if this will be a dramatic change.

    ping_hasselhoffIn an ideal world – where Apple was following the Lala model it acquired not too long ago – you would be able to not just see what your friends like, but also play those songs in full once or twice. As of now, seeing your friends’ likes is great, but you can’t really do much with that knowledge unless you buy the song or album. For the most part, Ping is still too closely linked to iTunes to be genuinely useful.

    For the time being, Ping is also still a completely isolated network without a connection to Facebook and Twitter. Not only is it still too hard to find your friends on Ping (due to Apple’s inability to come to an agreement with Facebook).

    With this update, Apple has addressed one of the major grievances that most early users had with Ping (the inability to like items from the music library). Is that enough to breathe new life into Ping? Probably not. Until Ping is connected to other social networks, it remains a silo where you can put information in but can’t get any of it out to the rest of your friends.



    11:32 am


    The Microsoft Tanker Has Turned and You Ignore it at Your Own Peril

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    Whenever I hear people discussing Microsoft, it usually doesn’t take long before somebody mentions that the Redmond-based giant is like a huge oil tanker. It takes a while to turn such a huge company around and get it back on track. When Microsoft stumbled after the dotcom boom and couldn’t even produce a viable browser to compete with the open-source offerings of Mozilla, quite a few pundits assumed that the age of Microsoft was about to come to an end (the less said about the disaster that was Windows Vista, the better).

    Microsoft Today

    Flash forward to late 2010. Windows 7 is a huge success. Internet Explorer 9 has the potential to be one of the best browsers on the market. Windows Phone 7 is about to be released (and after seeing it in action during a short trip to Redmond earlier this week, I’m convinced that it will be a huge hit). Bing is bringing much-needed competition to the search engine market. Windows Live is becoming a great little social media aggregator for its users and a central hub for all of Microsoft online consumer tools. Hotmail – as much as it is ignored by the tech press – is still one of the most popular email services on the planet and continues to quietly innovate. The Windows Live Essentials desktop tools can easily hold their own in comparison with Apple’s tools. The Office Web apps easily beat the offerings of Microsoft’s competitors in both design and functionality.

    What’s interesting is that most of these apps and services are only one or two iterations removed from really horrible products like Windows Mobile 6.5, Internet Explorer 7, Live Search.

    Turning the Tanker Around

    Spending some time earlier this week on the Microsoft campus, I couldn’t help but think that this is a very different Microsoft from the company we all loved to hate not too long ago. Instead of trying to build its own Facebook clone, for example, Microsoft is using Windows Live to aggregate other social networks. Just ten years ago, Microsoft would have never done that. Windows Phone 7 isn’t just a copy of the Android and iOS operating system and neither is it some weird adaptation of a desktop OS. Instead, Microsoft developed a vibrant new user interface based on its experience with the Zune (a good device, no matter how it failed in the marketplace) and the XBox.

    Of course, there are still areas where Microsoft struggles (and the Kin was quite a disaster), but it’s hard not to think that the tanker has now turned and is sailing ahead at full steam.



    10:34 pm



    What's the Point of Checking In?

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    I used to think that location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite and all of their clones represented the next big thing in mobile. The reality, however, is that even though these companies are still growing (or at least say they are), I just can’t figure out why I should continue to check in when I arrive at a restaurant or bar. As of now, I am getting absolutely zero value out of checking in.

    Maybe it doesn’t help that not a single one of my friends outside of the tech blogosphere bubble uses any of these services (they don’t use Twitter either, by the way). But even then, what value would I get out of seeing that they are at a certain restaurant or bar nearby right now? It’s not like I’ll go there and ruin their romantic evening by sitting at their table. 

    Lots of Badges but No Real-World Value

    And don’t get me started about the “game mechanics” (which – at least for location-based services is really just code for “badges“). If the only value I get out of checking in is a virtual badge, then taking the phone out of my pocket to check in is clearly not worth the calories I burn in the process. Also, at least here in Portland, the promise of coupons for mayors hasn’t materialized yet (or at least not at the places I frequent). Even if it did – I’m not a regular anywhere, so becoming the mayor of anywhere but my house is out of the question anyway.

    For the time being, I’m not getting enough value out of using Foursquare, Gowalla and the rest of them to make checking in worthwhile. Maybe that will change at some point, but for now, I’m checking out.

    What’s Your Experience?

    What about you? Are you still checking in or has ‘check-in fatigue’ set in for you as well? If you are still checking in, what’s the value you are getting out of it?


    12:52 pm