SiliconFilter

Twitter Acquires Posterous

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Twitter just announced that it has acquired Posterous, the popular minimalist blogging service. Posterous' services will remain up and running for the time being and the company's blog promises to "give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service." The Posterous team will join Twitter and will, according to today's announcement, work on "on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better."

Neither Twitter nor Posterous disclosed any financial details of this transaction. Since its launch, Posterous raised about $10 million. The company received its seed funding from Y Combinator in 2008.

Why Would Twitter Buy a Blogging Platform?

This is a relatively unusual acquisition for Twitter. Until now, the company has mainly acquired companies that were already producing products closely related to Twitter itself (including TweetDeck, for example). Posterous, on the other hand, is quite a departure from this. The service, which first made a name for itself by providing very minimalist blogging tools, isn't a clear fit for Twitter, so chances are the goal of this acquisition was more to hire the Posterous team than to integrate the blogging platform into Twitter. 

Even though Posterous was one of the first players in this field of minimalist/short form blogging tools, Tumblr quickly became the more popular platform. While Posterous tried to reinvent itself over the last few months, the service was never quite able to match its competitor's traction, though judging from most of the publicly available traffic data, the service was still growing slowly but steadily.

What Will Happen to Posterous?

Twitter says that the Posterous service will "remain up and running without disruption." At the same time, though, the company also notes that it will give users "ample notice" if it makes any changes to the service and that it will provide users with instructions for backing up their data and moving to another service. Chances are then, that Twitter isn't planning on keeping Posterous up and developing its features for too long. 



12:50 pm


6 Million Downloads Later, Microsoft Photosynth Goes Global

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Photosynth is, without doubt, one of Microsoft's more impressive mobile apps. The app lets you snap panorama pictures with your iPhone and then upload them to Photosynth.net (and you can even get them featured on Bing Maps). While the mobile app doesn't give you quite as many features as the web app – which allows you to stitch together 3D panoramas by combining images from multiple perspectives – the app has proven to be quite a hit.

According to Microsoft, 6 million iPhone users have downloaded the app so far (though, as usual, it's not clear how many active users there currently are). More importantly, though, the company also today announced that Photosynth is now available worldwide (iTunes link).

Also new in the latest version is a tighter integration with Twitter (via iOS5's built-in Twitter capabilities). 

In case you are unfamiliar with Photosynth, here is Microsoft's description of the app's capabilities:

Capture Full-Sphere Panoramas: Look and capture in all directions more easily than what most of us can do with DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras.

View immediately: With fast On-Device Processing, you can see the final panorama in a few minutes, without requiring an internet connection or data plan.  Very handy for those impromptu panoramas and immediate gratification that you captured the perfect shot. 

Save locally and on the cloud:  Your panoramas saved on your phone can also be saved and viewed online at http://photosynth.net.

Share immediately:  Share your panorama immediately via Twitter, Facebook or Bing Maps.

View in browser or app: Zoom, pan, and rotate your panorama in any direction through the Photosynth app or through the mobile browser.



11:31 am


Study: Pinterest Now Drives More Referral Traffic Than Twitter

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It looks like 2012 will be Pinterest's year to shine. Even if it's not your cup of tea, you can't ignore that fact that it is one of the fastest growing startups ever. According to the latest data from online sharing tool Shareaholic, Pinterest has now reached the point where it drives more referral traffic to other sites than Twitter. This puts it right behind Google, Facebook, Yahoo and StumbleUpon with regards to referral and search traffic. Just a month ago, Twitter still beat Pinterest by a very thin margin.

Shareaholic's data is based upon analytics from 200,000 publishers in its catalog which reach about 270 million unique visitors per month. 

Pinterest, of course, is meant to be a site that gets people to click through to third-party sites, but it's interesting that this small startup is already leaving Twitter far behind at this point. What remains interesting, too, is how StumbleUpon continues to quietly dominate these statistics.

Shareaholic doesn't specify what types of sites these services are referring traffic to, but chances are that Pinterest and Twitter are aiming for slightly different audiences. 

Google+ is Doing About as Well as Yahoo Answers…

Besides Pinterest and Twitter, the report also takes a look at how Google+ is doing with regard to how much referral traffic it generates. The numbers there are not very encouraging. According to Shareaholic's data, "referral traffic from Google Plus held steady at .05% of all traffic from January to February. For context, that’s the same percentage of traffic referred by Yahoo Answers."



9:30 am


Bottlenose: Fighting Information Overload With a Smarter Social Media Dashboard

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The first time I looked at Bottlenose, a web app that bills itself as “the smartest social media dashboard,” it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. It just looked like a slightly overcomplicated Twitter client at the time, but things have really changed now that the team has released its second beta version. It’s now my go-to client for checking up on what’s happening in my network on Twitter and Facebook. Support for RSS feeds is also planned in a later version.

I'm not really sure what changed (that's how little of an impression the first version left on me), but this new version feels miles ahead of the first beta. Maybe it’s the new three-pane layout that providesmore information at a glance, maybe it’s the fact that media and even web previews are now embedded in your stream, or maybe it’s just that nagging feeling that Twitter itself has simplified its own tools like TweetDeck to the point where they aren’t very useful for power-users anymore and where it feels the company is taking more steps backwards than forwards.

At its core, Bottlenose is a social networking client and its multi-column layout is quite reminiscent of TweetDeck and Seesmic. Its core mission, however, is a bit different. The service wants to help you cope with the massive amount of information that comes at you from your social media sources. Instead of just presenting you with long lists of unfiltered tweets (though Bottlenose will also do that for you if you ask it nicely), the service is more about letting you find the most important stuff. A lot of other apps obviously also promise to do this, but somehow Bottlenose makes it all feel rather natural.

bottlenose_large_multi-column

Your Friendly Bottlenose Assistants

Here is how this works in practice. Bottlenose features a tab called “Assistants,” for example, where you can easily create filtered lists of tweets. If you just want to see tweets about news that were posted by users who have more than 10,000 followers, building that list takes just a few clicks. Bottlenose’s algorithms will decide when a tweet is about news for you. In the same way, you can create a column that just shows gossip stories that also include videos and that were retweeted at least twice.

Maybe the most interesting feature of the service, though, is its “Sonar” tool. Here, you get a tree-diagram view of what the people in your network are talking about. The view changes, depending on which one of your columns you are looking at. This, more than any other Twitter tools I have recently seen, makes it easy to get a quick glance at what the most important topics of the moment are. You can, of course, click on any keyword in the sonar view and see who talked about it and what exactly is being said about it.

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Invite Codes

Bottlenose is still in private beta, but you can use the code “getsonar” to get in right now. If you have a Klout score over 30, you can also get access right away.



11:20 am


Apple Does the Right Thing: “Any App Wishing to Access Contact Data Will Require Explicit User Approval”

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Apple has finally weighed in on the ongoing discussion about the recent discovery that numerous iOS apps (including Path, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) upload their users' iOS address books to their servers. In a statement to AllThingsD, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said that the company is "working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”

Apple also told AllThingsD that "apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of [its] guidelines." Judging from this, it sounds as if Apple will add its own mechanism for requiring approval to iOS in one of the next updates.

I'm glad to see that Apple has finally clarified this. Until now, most developers apparently felt that this was a gray area, though quite a few already added explicit warnings to their apps when contact data was uploaded to their servers. Path, for example, quickly released an update to its app that added a warning and the option to opt out whenever users were about to send their data to its servers.

 



11:12 am


Address Book-Gate: U.S. Congress Members Ask Apple About its Role

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Two members of the U.S. Congress, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member G. K. Butterfield, sent a letter to Apple's CEO Tim Cook this morning, asking for Apple's role in the recent scandal surrounding apps that quietly upload a user's address book to their servers. Specifically, the two congressmen want to know "whether Apple’s iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts." Apple has until February 29 to answer the congress members' questions.

Dave Morrin, the co-found and CEO of Path, is also cc'ed on this letter.

What started out as a scandal around Path, though, has obviously moved far beyond the startup and the companies that have admitted to virtually the same practices now involve Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (though they all ask for permission before uploading your data), as well as Foodspotting (which doesn't ask) and quite a few others.

Many pundits have wondered if it isn't time for Apple to provide a technical solution to stop developers from accessing a user's address book and the two Congress members seem to be leaning in this direction as well. They also ask Apple about the rumors that "there’s a quiet understanding among many iOS app developers that it is acceptable to send a user’s entire address book, without their permission, to remote servers and then store it for future reference.  It’s common practice, and many companies likely have your address book stored in their database."

Here is the full text of the letter, including a set of questions the congressmen want Apple to answer:

February 15, 2012

 

Mr. Tim Cook

Chief Executive Officer, Apple Inc.

1 Infinite Loop

Cupertino, CA  95014

 

Dear Mr. Cook:

Last week, independent iOS app developer Arun Thampi blogged about his discovery that the social networking app “Path” was accessing and collecting the contents of his iPhone address book without ever having asked for his consent.[1] The information taken without his permission – or that of the individual contacts who own that information – included full names, phone numbers, and email addresses.[2] Following media coverage of Mr. Thampi’s discovery, Path’s Co-Founder and CEO Dave Morin quickly apologized, promised to delete from Path’s servers all data it had taken from its users’ address books, and announced the release of a new version of Path that would prompt users to opt in to sharing their address book contacts.[3]

This incident raises questions about whether Apple’s iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts.

The data management section of your iOS developer website states:  “iOS has a comprehensive collection of tools and frameworks for storing, accessing, and sharing data. . . . iOS apps even have access to a device’s global data such as contacts in the Address Book, and photos in the Photo Library.”[4]The app store review guidelines section states:  “We review every app on the App Store based on a set of technical, content, and design criteria.  This review criteria is now available to you in the App Store Review Guidelines.”[5] This same section indicates that the guidelines are available only to registered members of the iOS Developer Program.[6] However, tech blogs following the Path controversy indicate that the iOS App Guidelines require apps to get a user’s permission before “transmit[ting] data about a user”.[7]

In spite of this guidance, claims have been made that “there’s a quiet understanding among many iOS app developers that it is acceptable to send a user’s entire address book, without their permission, to remote servers and then store it for future reference.  It’s common practice, and many companies likely have your address book stored in their database.”[8] One blogger claims to have conducted a survey of developers of popular iOS apps and found that 13 of 15 had a “contacts database with millions of records” – with one claiming to have a database containing “Mark Zuckerberg's cell phone number, Larry Ellison’s home phone number and Bill Gates’ cell phone number.”[9]

The fact that the previous version of Path was able to gain approval for distribution through the Apple iTunes Store despite taking the contents of users’ address books without their permission suggests that there could be some truth to these claims.  To more fully understand and assess these claims, we are requesting that you respond to the following questions:

 

  1. Please describe all iOS App Guidelines that concern criteria related to the privacy and security of data that will be accessed or transmitted by an app.

  2. Please describe how you determine whether an app meets those criteria.

  3. What data do you consider to be “data about a user” that is subject to the requirement that the app obtain the user’s consent before it is transmitted?

  4. To the extent not addressed in the response to question 2, please describe how you determine whether an app will transmit “data about a user” and whether the consent requirement has been met.

  5. How many iOS apps in the U.S. iTunes Store transmit “data about a user”?

  6. Do you consider the contents of the address book to be “data about a user”?

  7. Do you consider the contents of the address book to be data of the contact?  If not, please explain why not.  Please explain how you protect the privacy and security interests of that contact in his or her information.

  8. How many iOS apps in the U.S. iTunes Store transmit information from the address book?  How many of those ask for the user’s consent before transmitting their contacts’ information?

  9. You have built into your devices the ability to turn off in one place the transmission of location information entirely or on an app-by-app basis.  Please explain why you have not done the same for address book information.

 

Please provide the information requested no later than February 29, 2012.  If you have any questions regarding this request, you can contact Felipe Mendoza with the Energy and Commerce Committee Staff at 202-226-3400.

 

Sincerely,

 

Henry A. Waxman

Ranking Member

G.K. Butterfield

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade

 

cc:        Dave Morin

Path, Co-Founder and CEO



8:54 am


Tweet Safer: Twitter Makes HTTPS the Default for All Users

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The title really says it all. Last year, Twitter started giving its users the option to use HTTPS to keep their connections safe over unsecured Internet connections. Today, the company announced that it is now making secure SSL connections the default for all users.

HTTPS ensures that the traffic between the server and your browser is encrypted and can't easily be intercepted over unencrypted wireless networks, for example. This is essentially the same protocol you use when you access your online bank accounts, for example.

With this move, Twitter is following in the footsteps of other companies like Google, which made HTTPS the default for all Gmail users in January 2010 and for all signed-in Google Search users in late 2011. Facebook, too, users HTTPS whenever a password is sent to the service, but users have to manually activate secure connections for all of their other activity on the service.

In addition to adding these secure connections to Twitter.com, the company also announced that it plans to improve HTTPS support on its web and mobile clients in the future.



2:04 pm


Tweetbot 2.0: The Best iPhone Twitter Client Just Got Even Better

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As Twitter has decided to focus on simplicity, its iPhone app is now a shadow of its former self for more advanced users (and for Twitter, search and lists apparently qualify as advanced features). Thankfully, there are some very good alternatives on market and among those, Tweetbot has long been my favorite. Today, the app's developers launched version 2.0 of Tweetbot and it’s a worthy upgrade to what was already – in my view – the best iPhone client for iOS.

Speed and New Features

The first thing you will likely notice when you start Tweetbot 2.0 is that it is significantly faster than previous versions. Searches, for example, now feel like they take a quarter of the time to appear on your screen.

Besides the speed, though, the app also now sports a number of new features. The updated timeline view, for example, now lets you immediately click on links and usernames. Before, you first had to select a tweet before these links became active. The timeline now also features in-line image thumbnails that let you quickly view an image with just one click.

Another nifty new feature is support for Readability as a mobilizer service. Just like Apple's Reader feature lets you see a text-only view of a website, you can now set Tweetbot to immediately see a text-only view of any link you click on (or you can toggle back and forth between the Readability view and the regular page).

Here is the full list of new features:[list]

  • Updated timeline view
    • Image thumbnails in timeline
    • Links now colored and single-tappable
    • “Retweeted by” bar now integrated and tappable
    • Cell colors adjusted for better contrast
  • New direct message view.
  • Redesigned “New Tweets” bar (Can be dismissed by tap and configured in Settings > Display)
  • Timed auto-refresh (timeline, mentions, and DM’s will refresh every 5 minutes)
  • Readability added as mobilizer service
  • Much improved tweet replies view
  • Links in user’s bio now tappable
  • “Huge” font size option in Settings > Display
  • Improved scrolling performance[/list]


11:37 am


McDonald’s: A Glutton for Social Media Punishment

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McDonald's has been an active but somewhat timid participant on many social media platforms for a long time. For the most part,  but lately, the company's efforts, especially on Twitter, have been quite a disaster. What's even more astonishing is that the company's social media team doesn't seem to be learning from its earlier mistakes.

Earlier this week, McDonald's used the hashtag #McDStories in a few tweets. That hashtag quickly took on a life of its own and people started making fun of the company within minutes. Virtually no tweets with the hashtag were positive and most simply related how people found finger nails in their fries and how much they hate McDonald's in general. Talking to PaidContent earlier this week, the company's social media director explained that the company "carefully selects the words or phrases used to describe its promoted tweets."

Today, however, McDonald's made yet another mistake by using the #littlethings hashtag in a tweet and actually asking its followers for a response. As expected, the response so far has been similar to the previews event:

What's even worse, hotel brand DoubleTree used the same hashtag just a little while ago, too, and used it in a promoted tweet campaign.

As the Next Web's Stefan Meeuws noted when McDonald's ran the original #McDStories campaign, the company's efforts failed partly due to the simple fact that the hashtag was so vague that anybody could attach virtually any meaning to it. On Twitter, that's basically an open invitation for punishment, especially for a company like McDonald's which must surely be aware of its many detractors.

It's hard to say what McDonald's should have done differently, but it's its best solution right now is probably to lay low for a while and just let this latest storm pass.



11:00 am


Google+: It’s Time to Let the Teens In

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Facebook, Twitter and even MySpace allow you to sign up for their respective services if you're 13 and up, so why can't Google live a little? Back in June of 2011, the internet was ablaze with reviews, commentaries, and first-hand tutorials of the seemingly stellar service, and quite a few focused on how Google+ grabbed such a stupendous size of users in a short time. Google has decided to keep one group of users off the service and is doing so at its own peril: teens.


This guest post was written by Alexander Burger. He is a teen himself and would love to join Google+, if only Google let him. Alexander usually blogs at Phone-Fritz.com.


Smartphones have spread like wildfire in the past few years and more and more adults, children, and especially teens, have them. With Internet-capable devices in hand, teens can do more than just text or tweet… the revolution of what one has on them now has grabbed hold and is sticking pretty hard. Teens are probably the most sought-after group of consumers. Television ads, billboards and websites all trying to grab their attention… and teenagers being teenagers – they soak it all up. One day it's Sperry Topsiders [editors note: don't feel bad, I had to look that one up, too…], the next it's Nikon cameras, all based on who wears what, what shows where, and who speaks in such a way. Let's just say, if Jersey Shore moved to Connecticut, our tourist business would go through the roof.

But Google doesn't buy that. It doesn't see how you need to snatch up the socialites and get within the walls of schools and football fields. Does the G-Giant think Farmville flourished because of my mother's addiction to the game? No. Did Words with Friends get big because the scholars in our society decided to spend their time unscrambling letters to hit that triple word tile? No. Teens rule this terrain, teens decide whether you win, or lose, and if Google wants its social venture to come out golden, they have to play the game, they have to let them in.

So where does this leave our lack-luster social network, the one that Google keeps trying to back up with ideas like "Search Plus Your World?" It leaves them with questions about when they will open the gates and let the sea of younger students surge in and get a hold of all that popularity and more importantly, profitability.

Google+, to its credit, is a slick take on social, and one that could really be preferred over Facebook, but at the moment… it's a vacant wasteland collecting dust, pictures of cats, and absolutely no kind of human activity.



3:28 pm


Ducksboard: One Real-Time Dashboard for All Your Metrics

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If you run a website or web service – no matter whether it’s small or large – chances are you are constantly tracking numerous metrics to see how things are going: visits and pageviews, Twitter mentions, Facebook likes, how fast your pages are loading and numerous other statistics, all while managing customer support tickets and internal communication with your team. It doesn’t take much for this information to become overwhelming and close to unmanageable.

What if you could see all this info on just one page, though, with information that updates in real time? That’s exactly what Ducksboard does. The service provides you with a highly customizable dashboard that allows you to plug in about 45 data points (with more coming soon) and monitor them on just one screen.

If you are publisher, for example, you can monitor your Google Analytics data, your page load times from Chartbeat (or your real-time visitor numbers), the results of your latest email campaign on MailChimp and reactions to your latest story on Twitter all on one page.

ducksboard_large

Among the other supported services are Zendesk, Prefinery, GoSquared, Highrise, Lighhouse, Feedburner, Foursquare and Facebook (just showing likes on pages right now). Ducksboard also allows you to have multiple dashboards. This should be especially useful for those who manage multiple sites or services.

Setting up your dashboard shouldn’t take more than five minutes and given that most services now allow you to authenticate without providing your credentials to Ducksboard, your data should remain safe.

Sadly, Ducksboard is still in private beta. You can sign up for an invite on the service’s homepage or take a look at the real-time demo here.



5:59 pm


iStatus+: Post to Google+, Facebook and Twitter With Just One Click

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As of now, Google isn’t making it easy for developers to create apps that can write status updates to the service, but that didn’t stop Nadan Gergeo from building iSatus+, a little iPhone app ($0.99) that lets you post to Google+, Facebook and Twitter at the same time. I’m a big fan of simple apps that only do a few things, but do those right. iStatus+ is exactly that kind of app. You enter your account information for any of the networks you want to use – and if you are in the market for this kind of app, you’ll probably put in all three anyway – and start posting. It really couldn’t be any easier.

Istatus iphone update google plus

Given that Google+ isn’t actually giving developers the ability to post status updates directly yet, Gergeo had to hack his own way to do this, but it works perfectly fine. You can even choose which circles you want to post your updates to. Because of this, tough, you are currently also relegated to just posting text updates. The app doesn’t support any media uploads (yet).

As it also supports Twitter, the app is probably best suited for short updates under 140 characters, but you can easily exclude Twitter from longer updates by just tapping its icon above the keyboard.

One additional small caveats: the app doesn’t handle links very elegantly. On Google+, likely due to the nature of how it’s accessing the service, links won’t show up as snippets and there is no auto-shortening of Twitter links either (so they count as part of your 140-character limit).

If you want to give the app a try, just head over to iTunes.

 



9:26 pm


Follow Me: Facebook Launches Subscribe Feature to Fight Off Google+ and Twitter

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Facebook today announced a major new feature that could put renewed pressure on Google+ and Twitter to out-innovate the social networking market leader. Facebook users can now choose to allow others to asymmetrically follow them thanks to the new (and optional) “subscribe button”– just like on Twitter and Google+. This is an opt-in feature, so you may not see it on every Facebook profile. The fact that Facebook even decided to go into this direction, however, shows that it may be changing its views on how “relationships” on the service should work and that it took a closer look at the success that Twitter and Google+ are having with this model.

subscribe_to_scobleAfter all, many of us are more than happy to share some things publicly and there is no reason others would have to become our “friends” just to be able to easily follow these updates. Facebook obviously wants you to use this feature to follow journalists, celebrities and political figures – exactly the type of users who have taken to Twitter to post their updates because it’s easier for them to get followers there without the hassle of managing lists of friends or fan pages.

Facebook recommends that brands and businesses continue to use Facebook Pages to engage with their audiences. This makes sense, especially given that Pages comes with a number of tools – including stats – that users with personal profiles don’t have access to.

To turn this feature on, just click here and follow the instructions. It’s really just a one-click affair. Your friends who want to subscribe to your updates can then also choose if they want to see all of your updates, most of them or just the important ones (how Facebook then decides how to categorize your updates, I’m not sure about, to be honest).

Stemming the Tide

With its renewed focus on lists and now this subscribe feature, Facebook is clearly chasing Twitter and especially Google+. While it’s currently the market leader, the trend recently has been towards asymmetric following and away from the explicit “friends” model that Facebook imposed upon its users until today. Make no mistake, this may just look like a small feature, but it’s a major cultural shift for Facebook. This shift doesn’t just show that Facebook is worried about Google+ and Twitter, but it also shows that these competing networks are slowly changing the nature of what users expect from a social network.



6:10 pm


GClient Brings Google+ to Your Desktop

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Google+ doesn’t yet offer an API, so creating Twitter-like desktop clients isn’t an option at this point. That isn’t stopping enterprising developers from trying to work around these limitations, though. Indeed, the first Google+ desktop client – GClient – just made its debut. In the end, though, this is really just a wrapper around the mobile Google+ site.

gclient_clientGiven that it is just a window into the mobile site, it has the same limitation as that version of Google+. You can’t really share links well and while you can +1 posts, you can’t +1 comments or easily post + replies. As the mobile site expects to run in a window with a fixed width and length, you also can’t resize the GClient window on the desktop. While testing the app, we also had some issues with crashes.

Just Use Fluid for Now

GClient is an interesting way to keep tabs on what is happening on Google+ without having to have a tab open for it at all times. For now, though, I would rather use an application-specific browser like Fluid on the Mac or Chrome’s application shortcut feature (or Mozilla’s Prism) to let Google+ run in its own window. This solution gives you the full functionality of Google+ without having to make any compromises. Once Google+ gets an API, we will likely see more interesting, Tweetdeck-like re-imaginations of its interface that make more sense on the desktop.

[Source: The Next Web]

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4:18 pm


Google+ vs. Twitter: Planned Community vs. Organic Growth

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In many ways, the story of Google+ and Twitter is that of a planned community vs. organic growth. Twitter was never conceived to be what it is today. Its success was purely accidental and thanks to being in the right place at the right time. Its early years were chaotic. Users invented features that Twitter later canonized (@ replies, RTs etc.). Now, Twitter has grown to be a major success, but even after all these years, the company still struggles to explain what it really does and the old conventions that made perfect sense as it grew up now make potential mainstream users feel like they don’t understand how it works.

Compare that to Google+. As GigaOm’s Matthew Ingram rightly points out today, all the major features and attributes that venture investor Mark Suster praises about Twitter can also be found in Google+. It’s social and features real-time updates, an open architecture, asymmetric following and has all the hallmarks of a system where content can go viral.

Google+ = What Twitter Could’ve Been if it had Known What it Wanted to Be

While many pundits prefer to think about Google+ in terms of what it means for Facebook, I’ve argued elsewhere that Twitter should be more concerned about it than Facebook. The reason for this, I think, is that Google+ is very similar to Twitter, the difference being that Google+ was always meant to be what it is today. Instead of retweets, the @ namespace and other clunky conventions, Google+ uses a vocabulary and design that encourages sharing. Instead of having to write public replies, you just click the “comment” button. Want to share a story with one of your circles? Just click the ‘share’ button. Twitter makes it hard for new users to get started, but you don’t need to learn any new conventions to use Google+.

Google’s Advantage: It Knows What it Wants Google+ to Be

Google had the benefit of seeing what worked and didn’t work on other networks. Twitter obviously didn’t have this luxury. Instead, it is now stuck with trying to rein in its chaotic ecosystem. That ecosystem, of course, is what’s still missing from Google+. A Google+ API is forthcoming, however, and we will likely see most of today’s Twitter services (or at least those that are still under active development) hook into Google+ as well.

Celebration, FL vs. New York City

For Internet users, just as for those who live in Celebration, Florida (Disney’s planned community), the question will be if Google+ is the more interesting service, or if the chaos that stems from Twitter’s organic growth makes it a more vibrant community. Currently, it seems like Google+ could win this fight.



7:17 pm