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Austrian Student Group in Court Over Facebook Privacy Issues

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Social Media News, test

Campaign group europe-v-facebook is heading to court in Ireland with the goal of forcing Facebook to both offer more transparency and enhanced privacy protection for its users.

The organization, made up of Austrian students, said Dec. 4 it plans to appeal decisions by the data protection regulator in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters.

The group has for more than a year been campaigning for better data protection by the social media site. So far, it has won a petition to compel Facebook to turn off its facial recognition feature in Europe. Facebook has also been forced to divulge more information on the amount of data it has for each user.

The group, however, has said more change is needed and expressed disappointment in the results of the Ireland Data Protection Commissioner’s investigation, launched after europe-v-facebook filed a variety of complaints.

“The Irish authority is miles away from other European data protection authorities in its understanding of the law, and failed to investigate many things. Facebook also gave the authority the runaround,” the group said in a statement. “We are hoping for a legally compliant solution from the Irish data protection authority. Unfortunately, that is highly doubtful at the moment. Therefore we are also preparing ourselves for a lawsuit in Ireland.”

A Facebook spokesperson said the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has painstakingly reviewed the site’s handling of European users data over the past year.

“The latest Data Protection report demonstrates not only how Facebook adheres to European data protection law but also how we go beyond it, in achieving best practice,” the spokesperson said in an e-mail to several media outlets. “Nonetheless we have some vocal critics who will never be happy whatever we do and whatever the DPC concludes.”

Europe-v-facebook founder Max Schrems has filed 22 complaints with the Irish regulator. Categories include: pokes, synchronizing, deleted tags, excessive processing of data, picture privacy settings and the site’s new policy to name a few.

“Even though we hope for a positive outcome on all complaints, our experience tells us that we have to expect that the authority might not decide in the interest of users, on all complaints,” Schrems said in a statement.

He said a decision against Facebook would be a “landmark decision.”

“Such a case would be a landmark for the whole IT industry, equally to the anti-trust cases against Microsoft,” he said. “If this would be only about Facebook, such a procedure would rather not make sense.”

Europe-v-facebook has filed an extensive report to the Irish audit detailing all alleged breaches of European law. The report can be downloaded here.

Facebook is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States, for allegedly violating privacy rights by publicizing users’ “likes” without offering a way for them to opt out.

A U.S. judge granted preliminary approval late Dec. 3 to a second endeavor to settle the case by paying users up to $10 each out of a $20 million fund.

 

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Austrian Student Group in Court Over Facebook Privacy Issues

Facebook Makes Messenger Available to All

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Non-Facebook users will now be able to sign up for its Messenger app using just their name and phone number.

The roll out began on Android in select countries —India, Australia, Indonesia, Venezuela, and South Africa — Dec. 4 and will go international in the coming weeks. Messenger for iOS also is coming soon, Facebook announced.

The move is a bid to broaden the social network’s appeal for those who are not Facebook users, Peter Deng, Facebook’s director of communications product management, told CNet.

“It could lead to other parts of the Facebook product — post a status message or share an album,” Deng said.

It also makes Messenger more competitive with SMS, which just turned 20 this week, and other third-party messaging services such as WhatsApp, which only requires a phone number to sign up.

Deng told CNet Facebook hopes young people, who favor texting over e-mail, will opt for a more elaborate service from Facebook rather than the ordinary SMS.

“The SMS protocol has been around for 20 years. It’s designed for old phones, and it doesn’t take advantage of location or rich features like picture taking,” Deng said. “We want to let people connect to each other.”

With a new focus on mobile, Facebook has numerous compatibility issues to deal with, Deng said.

“Every single day, Facebook is accessed by 7,000 different types of devices,” he said.

Facebook describes Messenger as a free stand-alone mobile app that enables users to text friends for free using their existing data plan and reach friends on their phones and the Web.

The app also allows users to start group conversations, share photos and include friends of friends in conversations. It also informs users who has received their message and who hasn’t.

Messenger enables users to access their messages and chats as seamless conversations, receive free push notifications on their phones and switch between multiple conversations with in-app notifications.

Messenger is available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices and can be downloaded here.

 

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Facebook Makes Messenger Available to All

Technology News Briefs — Dec. 5, 2012

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Social Media News, test

Intel Launches $6B Debt Sale

Intel launched a $6-billion debt sale Dec. 4 to fund common stock buybacks as well as for general corporate purposes.

According to IFR, Intel was offering the bonds in a range of maturities from five years to 30 years.

“The offering and the final terms of the notes, including principal amount, interest rate and maturity will depend on market and other conditions at the time of pricing,” the company said in a statement.

Intel’s stock has dipped 18 percent over the past year due to investor uncertainty regarding sluggish PC sales and the firm’s lack of mobile strategy.

Intel’s shares rose 2.3 percent to $20 Dec. 4.

SoPost Turns Social Media Into Address

A U.K. startup is on a mission to ensure its users never again miss a delivery.

SoPost, a free service, allows users to use their social media accounts, e-mail address and phone number as a postal address.

“At SoPost, we’re reinventing the postal address,” the website explains. “We don’t think that an address should be a house number and zip code: it should be where you are, or where you want your mail to be sent.”

After signing up, users can add home, work, school or other addresses to their SoPost accounts and then make up a daily schedule so the service can ensure deliveries arrive at the address where the user will be. The user simply chooses one of the social media accounts or e-mail to send to and SoPost takes care of re-routing parcels based on the user’s schedule.

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could send stuff to yourself, your friends and your family without having to think about it, without ever having to enter a house number and postcode, if the act of sending something just happened and was as natural and painless as taking a breath of air?” the website asks. “That is our aim. To simplify mail. To create an address fit for the present.”

Twitter opens Office in France

Twitter is set to open new offices in Paris, one of the social network’s fastest growing markets.

Other than the U.S., Twitter also has offices in Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and Brazil.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity [there],” Katie Stanton, vice-president of international market development, told The Next Web.

“It has been one of our fastest growing markets around the world. Which has been tremendous, we’ve seen something like 150 percent user growth year over year and that’s 350 percent growth in tweets on a daily basis.”

Stanton told The Next Web a priority for the French team is to continue to foster rapid user growth by working with Twitter’s partners, as well as local television stations, publishers and the buying public.

Stanton also said Twitter would employ intense focus on France’s cities for ongoing trends, beginning with Toulouse and Bordeaux. The objective is to enable Twitter users to land anywhere on the site and automatically see what is happening, via the tweets being posted, for any location.

 

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Technology News Briefs — Dec. 5, 2012

Yahoo Acquires OnTheAir, Betting Big on Mobile

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, SEO News, test

Ever since former Googler Marissa Mayer took the reins at Yahoo, observers have been speculating about the venerable but beleaguered search engine’s new direction. A look at the company’s first two purchases since the new CEO came aboard seems to indicate a big bet on mobile apps.

Let’s take a quick step back in time to late October of this year. That’s when Mayer made her first acquisition since arriving at Yahoo. The purchased company, named Stamped, produced a recommendations app by the same name. James Niccolai, reporting on the story for CFO World, noted that the app was developed by former Google employees and had even received financial support from Google Ventures. Mayer visited Stamped shortly after the purchase and tweeted that she was “happy to be reunited with Robby and his team.”

Stamped was an iPhone app that I like to think of as an “external memory.” It let users keep track of restaurants, books, movies, and other things they like, and let their friends know about them. I say “was” because at the time of the purchase, Stamped reported that it would be discontinuing the product at the end of the  year. Users can download a PDF copy of their data. Niccolai noted in his article that they were planning to build a “big, mobile, and new” app for Yahoo, but didn’t supply details.

Yesterday, Yahoo made its second acquisition since Mayer became CEO: a video chat start-up named OnTheAir. John Ribeiro, reporting the story for the IDG News service, noted that “Yahoo sources said the acquisition was for talent, and that the OnTheAir product will not be continued.” Four of OnTheAir’s five-member team hold degrees from Stanford, the same college from which Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (and Marissa Mayer, for that matter) graduated. The remaining member of the team, according to his bio, held an interesting job before joining OnTheAir: he worked at Google on infrastructure that supports Gmail and Google+.

Perhaps it’s too soon to call it a pattern, but the similarities between these two purchases can’t be ignored. Mayer acquired two companies that included former Google employees; both firms worked on creating useful mobile applications; and both acquisitions focused on gaining the talent as opposed to the company’s actual products. Clearly, Mayer thinks Yahoo’s future involves making mobile apps.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone who was paying attention when Mayer participated in her first earnings conference call since accepting the position of Yahoo CEO. Juan Carlos Perez, reporting on the call for Computerworld, highlighted her interest in the mobile field, and her desire for Yahoo to do more, and better, in this area. “We’ve made progress, but Yahoo hasn’t capitalized on the mobile opportunity,” she said; Perez noted that she felt “it has ‘underinvested’ in its mobile front-end development.”

Furthermore, according to Perez, Mayer believed that Yahoo’s “mobile product lineup is too fragmented, with more than 76 different iOS and Android applications. ‘Our top priority is a focused, coherent mobile strategy,’ Mayer said. This will involve a significant beefing up of the company’s mobile staff.” Clearly, Yahoo took two steps in that direction by purchasing Stamped and OnTheAir.

So what are the next steps? It’s possible that Mayer will acquire one more company that fits the pattern before the end of this year, but I don’t rank that as a high probability. Rather, I expect this month to be devoted to the new guys settling in and brainstorming, with Mayer dropping some hints (to them, not us, alas) as to where she’d like to see Yahoo’s mobile apps going.

Where, exactly, is that? Count on it not being games, at least not right away (if ever). My guess is that she wants to see these mobile apps fit together in a coherent package, but continue to be useful as standalone applications. I wouldn’t be surprised if Yahoo comes up with something reminiscent of the iPad’s or Windows 8′s approach – done much better.

On the other hand, I don’t see Yahoo getting into its own hardware. I could see them creating custom mobile app packages for specific devices, and working with the manufacturers to install them on smartphones and tablets. It’s also entirely possible that this time next year, we’ll see at least three versions of some impressive Yahoo mobile apps: one for Android, one for Apple’s App Store, and one for Microsoft’s app store. It’s worth noting, at this point, that Yahoo has almost all the pieces it needs among its various products and purchases to build its own full-service computer software package; about the only thing missing is its own web browser. Or it could easily bring all these services together to build a better social site than Facebook (though the less said about Yahoo Groups, the better). We’ll just have to wait and see what Mayer and company cooks up at Yahoo, now that there are some more veteran chefs in the kitchen.

The post Yahoo Acquires OnTheAir, Betting Big on Mobile appeared first on SEO Chat.

Trendy Tech Gifts for 2012

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, test

In the sea of tech toys and gadgets that hit the shelves every holiday season, a few stand out as the year’s sure-to-sell-out favorites. With the first new console gaming system in six years and a mini-tablet war, this year is no exception.

Here are the hottest trending tech goodies of the 2012 holiday season:

Video Game Consoles

Nintendos Wii U – $299.99 for an 8GB basic, $349.99 for a 32GB deluxe – is the first new console gaming system released since the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 first debuted in 2006. In addition to the standard game controls, the GamePad incorporates a 6.2-inch LCD touch screen (which they’ve dubbed a “Personal Second Screen”) with motion control. Additional game content is beamed to the controller screen so you can see maps, complete challenges with the stylus or your finger, or use it to move your character or vehicle on the big screen. It can be used for handheld gaming, even when the TV is unavailable.

It’s the must-have item this season and it’s sure to sell out fast. If you want one, don’t wait for a sale. The best you can hope for is a bundle-deal in which retailers may package in an extra game. If you wait, you’ll risk losing out to resellers that snatch them up in bulk to mark up $100 or more and sell to the desperate on EBay.

Tablet

Despite the much heralded release of Apple’s new iPad Mini, my pick for the best seven-inch mini tablet is Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, starting at $199.

An entry-level iPad Mini will set you back $329, making the Fire’s price a big draw. Unless you are already married to Apple’s iTunes store, rest assured, the Kindle gives you access to just about all of the most popular apps, as well as the huge library of books, videos, TV shows and music housed in Amazon’s massive library. With an HD display, dual antenna for stronger Wi-Fi reception and both a USB and Micro-HDMI port (for connecting it to your home theater), anyone on your list looking for an ultra-portable mini-tablet is sure to be pleased with the Kindle Fire HD.

If seven inches seems too small to accommodate your handheld Web surfing, video watching and game playing needs, Amazon is releasing an 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD in time for the holidays starting at $299.99. Pre-order now – they expect to sell out.

Video Games

Call of Duty – $60 for XBox 360, Playstation 3, Nintento Wii U and PC – is going to be the hottest video game of the season. This first-person shooter game has developed a huge fan base since the series first launched in 2003, making it the biggest-selling title on Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system. Holiday sales of the annual game releases have outpaced all other games for the last four years and this season will be no exception.

Players battle it out online over a variety of “maps” and game styles. New “map packs” are released regularly to keep game play fresh. Just keep in mind that content is mature so it’s best saved for the older gamers on your holiday shopping list.

Music

Trendy music lovers are clamoring for the pricey but oh-so-fashionable Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. The colorful can-style headphones are about style even more than sound, though many swear by the quality and durability. With many versions available, the entry level Beats Solo HD will set you back about $200, though many retailers are offering them on sale for the holiday shopping season.

With eight colors to choose from, they sport an in-line control and microphone to easily switch from your tunes to an incoming call. Reviews are mixed with users seeming to love or hate them, but they’re unquestionably popular.


Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service for consumers and businesses. Andrea is the writer of two weekly columns, Computer Nerds On Call a nationally syndicated column for Scripps-Howard News Service, and Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She regularly appears on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, Good Morning Arizona and MORE Good Day Portland, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle and gadgets.

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Trendy Tech Gifts for 2012

Identifying Social Media User Types

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Social Media News, test

There are many different social media channels and many different people using those channels. Not all people have exactly the same needs. There are different users who need to get different results from their efforts.

Although there are many social media channels from which to choose, not any one channel generally fulfills all of an individual’s needs. On the reverse side, it is also difficult for marketers to understand all of their customers needs and wants from a single channel. From the perspective of the search engines, they can only tell what people are interested in. The search engines don’t have any sense of what has gone before the search for information. Analytics are critical to your success as a business owner. If you are not able to get your hands on the metrics, it will be difficult to grow your business. There are several different types of social media users, which will be discussed here:

• Fill it in and forget it: These are the users who filled in a profile on the sites that they have chosen and that was the end of it. The users in this category are most likely not particularly comfortable with social media and may not truly understand the power that it holds for them. Additionally, those individuals don’t want to communicate online with others about what they are doing.

• Newbies: Newbies are just as passive as the Fill it in and forget its, however, they are also not comfortable with the concept of having a strong presence. How they differ with people in the first category is that they recognize the importance and impact that social media may have on their business. They also recognize that social media will help them to develop relationships online and strengthen their already-existing online relationships from the past.

• Watching from the outside: These are social media users who don’t actually get involved with other people too much. They will post articles once in a while but their presence is not felt a lot. Their main reason for being connected to social media is to find out what other people are doing (without a great deal of sharing about what they are doing). They are often paranoid about sharing too much information about themselves and their business.

• The “in” group: These users are active on whichever channels they have chosen. Often, they are only active on one particular social media channel (Facebook, for example). A large portion of their communications involve graphics (photos) and they are very comfortable with letting their online connections know what is going on (personally and professionally). They are often thought of as influencers within their limited social media community.

• Mix with the crowd: These social media users are extremely comfortable with a high level of activity on multiple social media channels. They are consistent with their activities and interactions and they love to follow other people’s brands and offerings. They want to be “the first to know.” They totally understand the power of social media and they also respect and appreciate the importance of the individual’s privacy. Many of the relationships they enjoy were formed online and they are very comfortable with online interactions.

• Shining stars: These social media users are the most involved of all of the different types. They express themselves frequently and easily through social media. They do have a strong sense and respect for privacy; however, they are also comfortable with online interactions. They are the users who engage with the most social media channels and they often want to be the ones to lead discussions. They are very comfortable speaking about brands and are very likely to share information from various businesses with people they know. They are the people who are the most likely to turn a post viral.

• Conclusion: With the different types of social media and all of the various social media users, it isn’t enough to use a one-size-fits all concept. You will find that some users are more enthusiastic and positive than others. You should also expect there may be some users who fit into more than one category. Customization is important and it will be much easier to meet the needs of individuals with that approach. It is also critical for business owners to understand clearly who the various users are and what they expect to get out of the various channels.


Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has more than 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. For a free assessment of your online presence, let’s have coffee.

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Identifying Social Media User Types

Bing Scroogles Google in Epic Showdown

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, SEO News, Social Media News, test

Raise your hand if you remember Scroogle.

For those of you who need a little refresher, Scroogle was a web service that enabled Internet users to search Google anonymously. The service was wildly popular in its heyday, boasting 350,000 daily search queries and ranking in the top 4,000 websites around the world.

Scroogle blocked all Google cookies and eliminated log files for searchers. Then, in 2012, everything came crashing down. A sudden barrage of search requests by Google combined with an anonymous DoS attack nailed Scroogle’s coffin shut.

By February, Scroogle was no more.

Then, on November 28, 2012, Bing resurrected Scroogle – sort of. The Microsoft company launched a full-scale war on Google Shopping by using the domain “Scroogled.com” and a tongue-in-cheek reference to the brand. Bing has even released YouTube videos as part of the overall attack strategy.

Fighting Google on its own turf. Ouch.

Why is Bing after Google Shopping, Anyway?

Microsoft would have you believe you’re getting royally “scroogled” by Google Shopping. Right in time for the holiday season, Microsoft has come out swinging against Google & Co. in a mighty big way. The company has lashed out at Google before, but this new campaign is downright dirty.

Let’s start with the YouTube videos. This is undoubtedly an underdog power play – pretty brazen to post these attack ads directly onto a Google-owned website. The first video ad is deadly serious; it’s one of those “scare-you-into-switching-to-us” kinds of spots. The ad displays a page of Google Shopping results for toy dump trucks, and the narrator ominously asks the viewer to figure out which results are paid listings.

“Easy,” he chides. “They’re all ads.”

The most shocking part of the spot is the tailor-made definition of “scroogled” – the new Google practice of selling their shopping results to the highest bidder. Yikes. Microsoft really has the claws out in this one.

The second ad Microsoft uploaded to YouTube tries (rather unsuccessfully) to tap into the whole “funny” angle – perhaps a play to gain some viral traction. The ad features an overacting couple discussing the dishonesty of Google Shopping results while cooking dinner. What I found interesting about both ads was that each repeated the catchphrase “for a more honest search, try Bing.”

Frankly, this sounds a little loaded coming from Google’s biggest search engine competitor. Bing’s setting forth the idea that attention should be drawn to May 31, 2012 – that’s when Google Shopping changed its listings to include only paid results. In an SEC disclosure, Google justified the change by declaring, “after all, ads are just more answers to users’ queries.”

Bing held its fire until Google had completely rolled out the change. The switch went full-scale back in October, and Bing was there waiting with an ad campaign designed to make you blush. For your viewing pleasure, here’s a screenshot of the homepage of Bing’s new Scroogled website:

Image 1:

The website is a smear campaign of massive proportions, but all the facts on the website are right on the money. For example, the sidebar features quotes from official Google correspondence in 2004 and 2012, and the difference is marked, to say the least:

Image 2:

At the time of this writing, the website has been live for roughly a day. It’ll be fun to see how long it stays that way.

Part of a Bigger Problem?

Bing is, of course, doing this for publicity. Also (obviously) the ulterior motive is to persuade search engine users to switch to Bing. Although their intentions are less than honorable, the ad campaign does shed light on Google’s shady practices when itcomes to its shopping platform changes.

But let’s back up for a minute.

When I searched deeper for this article, I found a CNET guest post by none other than SEO extraordinaire Danny Sullivan. In his post, he pointed out that Bing has been doing the exact same thing that it’s blasting Google for.

Really.

When Sullivan searched the term “lego death star,” he found Google Shopping at the top of the page. Here’s a screenshot of what he found when he searched for the same term on Bing:

Image 3:

But wait, it gets better. When I searched for the same term in Google, I found the same results as Sullivan. However, when I searched the term in Bing, the “Bing Shopping” vertical was nowhere to be found.

So what’s that all about?

I call foul. Bing’s attempting to call Google out for something it’s been doing itself for quite some time. The real issue here is not Bing; it’s the relative legality of all-paid Google Shopping results appearing inside the organic listings under the guise of found content.

My opinion? Google has every right to display ads wherever it pleases. However, it’s rather ironic that G makes such a fuss about webmasters utilizing the “nofollow” tag and labeling private ads when the search giant itself sneaks unlabeled shopping results right into the organic SERPs.

Label it Google – just call it what it is.


Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the ‘net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.

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Bing Scroogles Google in Epic Showdown