Twitter Defect Gave Third-Party Apps Access to Private Data

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

A hole in Twitter’s security enabled third-party applications to gain access to the direct messages of users who signed in to the apps using their Twitter accounts, said security researcher Cesar Cerrudo.

The chief technology officer of IOActive found the defect while testing a web application still under development — it allowed users to sign in using their Twitter accounts.

He chose to sign in with his Twitter account because he believed the social networking site would prevent the app from being able to access direct messages or see his Twitter password.

“After viewing the displayed web page, I trusted that Twitter would not give the application access to my password and direct messages,” Cerrudo wrote in a blog post. “I felt that my account was safe, so I signed in and played with the application. I saw that the application had the functionality to access and display Twitter direct messages. The functionality, however, did not work, since Twitter did not allow the application to access these messages.”

For the app to gain access, it would have to request proper authorization through the following Twitter web page:

The above page was not displayed to Cerrudo at the time. He had been playing with the app for some time, logging in and out of both it and Twitter to determine its functionality when he discovered the app was displaying all of his direct messages from Twitter.

“This was a huge and scary surprise,” he wrote. “I wondered how this was possible. How had the application bypassed Twitter’s security restrictions? I needed to know the answer.”

He logged in to Twitter to check its application settings. The page said: ‘Permissions: read, write, and direct messages.’

“I couldn’t understand how this was possible, since I had never authorized the application to access my ‘private’ direct messages,” Cerrudo said. “I realized that this was a huge security hole.”

He reported the problem to Twitter on Jan. 16 and it was addressed in less than 24 hours.

“They said the issue occurred due to complex code and incorrect assumptions and validations,” Cerrudo said.

The fix, however, does not appear to be retroactive. The app still had access to Cerrudo’s direct messages until he revoked access personally.

Cerrudo said Twitter’s disclosure policy leaves a lot to be desired — the social network has not issued an alert to its users about the now-fixed security issue.

He said millions of users could be oblivious to the fact that third-party apps had already accessed their private information.

“I love Twitter,” he said. “I use it daily. However, I think Twitter still needs a bit of improvement, especially when it comes to alerting its users about security issues when privacy is affected.”

He suggested users tweet the following:

Twitter shares your DMs without authorization, check third party application permissions #ProtectYourPrivacy (Please RT)



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Twitter Defect Gave Third-Party Apps Access to Private Data

Google – One Way or the Other, We’re Gonna Get YOU

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

I talk a lot of smack about Google, but I need to come clean with you guys about something. I simply adore the Google Chrome browser for general web surfing. It’s lightweight, highly intuitive, and a downright pleasure to use. However, I never sign into my Google account on Chrome. Google always gripes me out, chastising me by taunting, “You’re missing out!” as soon as I hit the homepage.

At first, I thought this was nothing more than a minor annoyance, but then I learned that Google recently placed a job ad with a description specifically aimed at driving up user sign-in rates. Brian Ussery discovered the listing and reported his findings on his personal blog. The most interesting part of the story, however, is Brian’s uuber-provocative write-up dissecting Big G’s motives.

Looking at the Listing

Brian was smart enough to grab the following screenshot before the Google listing disappeared into the Internet abyss:

It’s a little small, so here’s a close-up of the portion Brian highlighted above:

“The mission of the search growth marketing team is to make that information universally accessible by enabling and educating users around the world to search on Google, search more often, and search while signed-in. Research and analysis has shown that putting Google search access points at the fingertips of users is an effective way of achieving these goals. And the more users that are signed in to Google, the better we can tailor their search results and create a unified experience across all of the Google products that they use.”

Long story short, Google’s so hungry to get you signed in that the company’s willing to pay someone good money to figure out how to convince you. And do you blame ‘em? If you’re signed in, then Google gets the juicy insider info needed to provide super-personalized search results for you, and (as Brian points out) better target ads. Google+, he notes, is a major component of the search giant’s sign-in plan. However, much to the company’s chagrin, the social network has nowhere near the viral likability of rivals such as Facebook and Twitter. G+ is growing, yes, but most of the people who use the service do so for the business benefits alone.

Google’s Catch-22

As Brian pointed out in his post, Google has a serious setback hindering its growth: rival social networks block G from accessing their astronomical database of user-generated content. This lockout is detrimental to Big G’s bottom line. The majority of the blocked content contains valuable personal info that Google would love to use in order to serve relevant ads.

Hence, Google+ jumped to the top of G’s list of priorities. Although the company has a much greater audience reach than Facebook, Facebook has exponentially more personal data on each member. Google+ is a way for Big G to counteract this problem by harvesting more personal data from searchers than it could uncover otherwise.

But Google’s still waiting for that goldmine. James Whittaker, a former development director for Google, wrote about the company’s new direction in a blog post manifesto defending his decision to leave. James grew frustrated with G’s shift from innovator to relentless competitor, and he noted this about the company’s push to make G+ a success:

“A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.”

Obviously, Google needed to do something bold to make G+ catch on. The answer? Tie all Google’s offerings together under the umbrella of a verified Google account and focus on forcing sign-ins.

Google: Multiple Services, One Goal

Last January, ZDNet reported that Google was testing the idea of automatically creating a Gmail account and a Google+ profile for people who set up new Google accounts. The author updated the post in November, stating that Google began a full-scale (and very hush-hush) rollout of the new automatic signup feature. This is the statement G’s PR people issued when questioned about the quiet new change:

If you’ve signed up for a Google account any time during the last year or so, you have a Gmail account and a Google+ profile – whether or not you decide to use it. But Google’s not stopping there. According to Google Support, if you want to use Google Play on any of your mobile devices, you’ll need a Google account for that as well. Plus, you’ll need a Google Wallet account tied to your Google account if you want to buy apps or any other paid content.

See what they did there? Google is slowly filling in every possible escape hatch for users who want to avoid signing in. That’s their answer to their whole “lack of personal user data” conundrum. G’s given up on trying to entice you to use its services – the search titan has opted to pursue the easy route instead: leveraging its reach and Internet domination to penetrate every aspect of your online life and quite literally force your hand.

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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Google – One Way or the Other, We’re Gonna Get YOU

Daughter of Google Exec Dishes About North Korea Trip

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

The daughter of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who was part of a recent controversial private delegation to North Korea with her father, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Google executive Jared Cohen, is describing the trip as an eye-opener.

“It’s impossible to know how much we can extrapolate from what we saw in Pyongyang to what the DPRK is really like,” Sophie Schmidt wrote in her blog.

“Our trip was a mixture of highly staged encounters, tightly-orchestrated viewings and what seemed like genuine human moments.  We had zero interactions with non-state-approved North Koreans and were never far from our two minders (2, so one can mind the other). The longer I think about what we saw and heard, the less sure I am about what any of it actually meant.”

The private delegation led by Richardson was for two purposes: politically, to win the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour guide from Washington who was detained by authorities last November and, technologically, to discuss the country’s ban on the Internet.

Neither purpose was successful. Bae, who has been accused of “hostile acts” by the North Korean government was not released, although Richardson was assured Bae was well and judicial proceedings were set to begin soon.

Schmidt was also unable to meet with the country’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong-un, during the three-day delegation.

“As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world,” Schmidt told reporters Jan. 10 at the Beijing airport. “The government has to do something — they have to make it possible for people to use the Internet, which the government in North Korea has not yet done. It is time now for them to start or they will remain behind.”

Sophie described the life of an average North Korean as being in “a near-total information bubble, without any true frame of reference.”

“My understanding is that North Koreans are taught to believe they are lucky to be in North Korea, so why would they ever want to leave?” she wrote in her blog “They’re hostages in their own country, without any real consciousness of it.  And the opacity of the country’s inner workings — down to the basics of its economy — further serves to reinforce the state’s control.

“The best description we could come up with: it’s like The Truman Show, at country scale.”

The group was warned to expect little privacy during the trip. Bugs, they were told, could be in phones, cars, rooms, meetings and restaurants.

“My father’s reaction to staying in a bugged luxury socialist guesthouse was to simply leave his door open,” she wrote.

“Since we didn’t have cellphones or alarm clocks,  the question of how we’d wake up on time in the morning was legitimate.  One person suggested announcing  ‘I’m awake’ to the room, and then waiting until someone came to fetch you.”

The Kim Il Sung University e-Library was eerie, according to Sophie’s account of the visit. With 90 computer stations in the room, each one occupied, it should have been a flurry of online activity.  But as Sophie’s blog indicates, “no one was actually doing anything.”

“A few scrolled or clicked, but the rest just stared. More disturbing: when our group walked in–a noisy bunch, with media in tow — not one of them looked up from their desks.  Not a head turn, no eye contact, no reaction to stimuli. They might as well have been figurines.”

The visit, Sophie said, made them question if the people were real students or if they were props in a scene staged for the delegation’s benefit — perhaps in a bid to convince them the country was not as closed to its citizens surfing the Internet as it appeared.

The following excerpt from the blog describes Sophie’s take on the North Korean technological front:

Everything that is accessible is accessible only in special tiers.

Their mobile network, Koryolink, has between 1-2 million subscribers. No data service, but international calls were possible on the phones we rented. Realistically, even basic service is prohibitively expensive, much like every other consumption good (fuel, cars, etc.). The officials we interacted with, and a fair number of people we saw in Pyongyang, had mobiles (but not Smartphones).

North Korea has a national intranet, a walled garden of scrubbed content taken from the real Internet.  Our understanding is that some university students have access to this.  On tour at the Korea Computer Center (a deranged version of the Consumer Electronics Show), they demo’d their latest invention: a tablet, running on Android, that had access to the real Internet.  Whether anyone, beyond very select students, high-ranking officials or occasional American delegation tourists, actually gets to use it is unknowable.  We also saw virtual-reality software, video chat platform, musical composition software (?) and other random stuff. 

What’s so odd about the whole thing is that no one in North Korea can even hope to afford the things they showed us. And it’s not like they’re going to export this technology.  They’re building products for a market that doesn’t exist.  

Those in the know are savvier than you’d expect. Exhibit A: Eric fielded questions like, “When is the next version of Android coming out?” and “Can you help us with e-Settlement so that we can put North Korean apps on Android Market?”  Answers: soon, and No, silly North Koreans, you’re under international bank sanctions. 

They seemed to acknowledge that connectivity is coming, and that they can’t hope to keep it out.  Indeed, some seemed to understand that it’s only with connectivity that their country has a snowball’s chance in hell of keeping up with the 21st century. But we’ll have to wait and see what direction they choose to take.  




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Daughter of Google Exec Dishes About North Korea Trip

The Changing Face of Campaign Management

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

Few aspects of running a successful business have changed more drastically in the last few years than campaign management. More specifically, the content included in campaign management has shifted from a traditional distribution platform and into the world of mobile marketing.

Content marketing has always been a process filled with trial and error. That is truer today than ever, especially with new trends that have recently emerged and additional strategies on the horizon for 2013. Those people who can identify these trends and learn from them have a great opportunity to position themselves for success. Those who cannot identify the trends and fail to learn from their mistakes are doomed to be left behind.

The changing landscape

In the past, campaign management was much more broadly focused than it has become. The goal was to get your brand in front of as many people as possible. With the landscape transitioning toward not just a mobile environment but a social one, these methods are no longer able to guarantee the same type of success. The message itself — that your brand or product is the solution to a customer’s problem or needs — has not necessarily changed. The delivery method, on the other hand, has changed drastically.

Campaign management has focused on a variety of different areas. Promotion through social networks like Facebook and Twitter allows users to share information about a product more easily than they’ve been able to in the past. Likewise, targeted e-mails designed for mobile devices allows those customers to carry your message with them wherever they go.

One of the key components to successful campaign management in a mobile environment is the identification of unique buyer personas. Accurate customer analysis can help you more easily identify why a specific type of person is more likely to be interested in your brand over that of a competitor’s and vice versa. It can help you identify why your brand is most likely to be important to a particular segment of the population and how your product can help make their lives better.

New trends for a New Year

The continued use of social media marks one of the biggest continuing trends throughout the campaign management landscape. Ten years ago, it was common for every brand, product or service to have its own website. Now, many brands focus primarily on Facebook pages and dedicated Twitter profiles to spread their message. Companies will continue to focus on building loyalty-based relationship with customers. As in all relationships, however, those companies must realize a relationship is a two-way street. The customer needs to have the ability to opt out of any aspect of a relationship they don’t like, enjoy or actively agree with, including campaign delivery methods like e-mails and SMS text messages.

The face of campaign management has always evolved naturally over time, but it has never evolved as quickly or as drastically as it has in the past few years. To succeed in the ever-changing landscape, you and your company need to identify not only where the industry is, but where it is going. Failure to do so will result in your brand being left behind as customers flock to those who are more accurately able to meet their needs and desires in a new, mobile world.

Joseph Baker has worked in the business world for more than 10 years, specifically in management. He has led development and management teams, and implemented budget reductions both professionally and as an independent contractor. He is also an avid blogger and inbound marketer, with published topics ranging from social media trends to search media metrics and algorithmic trends.

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The Changing Face of Campaign Management

New MySpace Launches, Garners Little Attention

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

The New MySpace launch got lost in the Facebook shuffle this week.

The former social networking titan launched its revamped site Jan. 15, the same day of Facebook’s Social Graph announcement which captured and held the attention of the media and technology buffs alike.

The site is now open for registration and, those who do sign up, will be able to stream pop star Justin Timberlake’s Suit & Tie, the new single featuring Jay Z, for free. Prior to this week, site membership was by invitation only.

Visitors to the site will be greeted by a large picture of Timberlake and the option to login or sign up.

Those who want to sign up for the New MySpace can use their Facebook or Twitter information to sign in. Former members can login with their previous MySpace username and password.

The site, owned by Timberlake, Tim Vanderhook and Chris Vanderhook, has a new look and a new focus: music. The redesign, which entered beta last July, lends professional and aspiring musicians a forum to present their music to the public and interact with fans. With that focus in mind, the New MySpace will no longer be competing with Facebook, Twitter and other general social media sites, but instead is pitting itself against services like Pandora and Spotify.

The site allows members to create and access playlists, listen to singles or albums, connect with their favorite artists and receive updates from those connections. Members also can share musical interests with fellow users.


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New MySpace Launches, Garners Little Attention

Another Cutts Video on Negative SEO: Deciphering the Subtext

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

Heads up, my interweb amigos! Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, has just released another Webmaster Help video on YouTube. This time, the topic de jour is negative SEO and ways in which webmasters can fight back against the practice.

You may remember the subject rearing its ugly head a few months back. What am I talking about? Many of you likely remember it vividly given the sheer volume of threatening e-mails sent to webmasters before the “disavow links” tool made its belated appearance.

For those of you who dodged that bullet, let me bring you up to speed. Blackhat SEOs would target a site doing well in the SERPs and point links from “bad neighborhoods” to it. Then, the blackhat would contact the webmaster and demand a ransom payment in exchange for removing the offending links.

Sketchy, right? But wait, it gets worse.

In another case, competing webmasters would do a little “Google bowling” by knocking out sites ahead of their own in the SERPs. How? Simple – they’d point dirty links to the site until it dropped into Google oblivion.

And it worked. Really well.

Regardless of the method of attack, negative SEO had definitely become a monster of a problem. Webmasters the Internet over bemoaned the practice, and those who enjoyed even a small amount of search engine success lived in fear that a blackhatter would come along and rip away all their hard work overnight.

Never fear, says Cutts, Google’s got a tool for that.

Negative SEO: A Thing of the Past?

In his video, Cutts first notes that Google designs every one of its new algorithms defensively – that is, they have many different safeguards in place to protect webmasters from bad guys who want to manipulate the changes to hurt them. G constantly tests, he says, for holes or security flaws in the algos that spammers could potentially use to hurt others. Google’s system is not perfect, of course, which is why each and every algorithm has a wave of changes and updates that follow its initial rollout.

Google’s maturing as a company, and it’s becoming much better at what it does. Matt gives the example of the great blog network takedown earlier this year – he says G is becoming more sophisticated at determining link quality and deciding how to rank sites accordingly.

For those times when Google fails to get it right, however, Cutts says to look to the “disavow links” tool to save your site. If you discover that some creep launched a negative SEO attack against your website, don’t fret. Simply log into your Google Webmaster Tools account and use the handy little tool to disavow any links that you deem untrustworthy or don’t recognize. Once you do this, Google will no longer count those links toward your site’s ranking. Translation: you’re officially free from the negative SEO attack.

There is one thing that the spammers will be able to steal from you, however, and that’s your time. If an attack is massive enough, you could potentially lose days cleaning up the mess in your Webmaster Tools account. No sweat, says Cutts – for cases such as these, you can request that Google ignore entire domains. That way, you won’t need to waste even more time disavowing each link individually after an attack.

A Warning to Negative SEOs

Spammers aren’t the only ones who turn to the dark side of search. A few grayhat SEOs have been known to dabble in negative SEO from time to time to manipulate the SERPs. Before the tool, it was a case of low-hanging fruit looking a little too easy to pick. Now, though, Cutts says those considering the dark path need not bother.

For those of you tempted to continue with the practice – don’t. It’s now a waste of time – time that would be better spent building up your own website and succeeding in the SERPs aboveboard. Remember, rankings fluctuate 24/7, and the websites in the top 10 for a term today may not be the same bunch tomorrow. That’s why directing a negative SEO attack at a website is counterproductive. Imagine you do pull it off, only to discover a whole new set of websites you need to attack a week later, after a new algo rolls out.

Instead, focus on creating great content, adding to your site, becoming known as an authority in your niche and networking with your peers. These are the only lasting ways to generate truly organic traffic. Then, once your site is popular, you will begin ranking without even realizing its happening. Search engine traffic will be nothing but gravy on top of a full meal of referral traffic. That’s when you’ll know you’ll never have to worry about negative SEO again.

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.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Another Cutts Video on Negative SEO: Deciphering the Subtext

9 Ways to Rock Twitter

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

You can be an awesome tweeter! It won’t happen overnight but, with a little time and patience, anyone can grow an audience and build rewarding relationships with mentors, peers and followers.

I learned a lot by trial and error but you don’t have to do it the hard way. Here are nine of the most useful lessons I learned from my stumbles and from tweeps that rock twitter.

1. Learn the Lingo and Use Proper Twitter Etiquette

If you want to build a following, don’t tweet like a newbie! Take the time to read about Twitter basics and etiquette before you dive in. Here are 3 excellent resources to help you to get started.

2. Define Your Audience

Your tweets will be lost in a vast ocean of tweets if you try to be all things to all people. If you are trying to drive traffic to your blog, you should target those who will be interested in your blog’s subject matter. If you are selling products and services from a website, you need to focus on those that need them. Choose an audience and focus on their needs and soon they will begin to see you as one of them!

3. Follow People and Companies Interesting to Your Audience

Imagine yourself as one of your followers and try to find information you would find useful and interesting. Follow experts in those subjects. Follow their blogs as well as their tweets. If you want to keep followers, you have to stay interesting and relevant to them.

4. Stay Focused on Your Subject

Staying on subject is critical. It is tempting to chase new audiences and subjects. But, if you want a loyal following, you will need to devote all of the time you can to learning and sharing information that is relevant to them. If you are always wandering around aimlessly, your followers will drop you like third period French!

5. Engage Your Followers

The power of social networking is in the “social.” Retweet your followers’ tweets. Mention them. Thank them for retweeting. Engage them in conversations. You won’t be able to develop deep relationships with all of your followers but, I guarantee that your most loyal followers will be the ones you engage.

6. Tweet Original Content

If you have a blog, keep your content fresh. Tweet about your new posts. Don’t just retweet. Read blogs that would be interesting to your audience. You may not be the author of the blog post but, you can be the original author of a tweet that links to the post. Be yourself, have fun, and add something new to the conversation. You will develop your own unique twitter personality.

7. Use Hashtags

Once you develop your subject you will want to grow your audience. The best way to get your tweets noticed by those who don’t follow you is to use hashtags. Hashtags are keywords that are preceded with the # symbol.

Twitter users often use hashtags to search for tweets about topics they are interested in. By using Twitter’s search feature to search for hashtags, you can find popular subjects that are getting a lot of attention. If you tweet something about one of the subjects, you can add those hashtags and your tweet will be noticed by a much wider audience than just your followers. For example:

“Great article on WordPress security! – #WordPress #security”

You can also create your own hashtags. Create hashtags to describe special events. If you host webinars you can “brand” them with a hashtag, i.e.: “#TPCwebinar.” If you consistently use that hashtag in tweets about upcoming webinars, your followers will soon associate it with you and will be alerted to your upcoming webinar.

Use hashtags to generate buzz about a topic, service, event or product. Once you understand a little about them, you will begin seeing how they are used in tweets. Just remember: hashtags cannot contain spaces, and they count toward your 140 character tweet limit.

8. Use Lists to Organize

A Twitter list is basically a group of people and their twitter streams. You can organize your twitter users into lists based on anything you want such as topic, city, coworkers, family, etc.

Lists can be public or private. If you make a list public, other users can follow your list. You can also follow other users’ public lists. When you follow a list you don’t have to actually be following everyone on the list. A single list can have users you are following, users who follow you, and users you don’t follow. A list is a separate twitter stream of the list member’s tweets. Its stream is not part of the stream you follow. This is one way to keep from being overwhelmed by too large a stream.

Lists can be used in many ways to organize tweets, users and streams. You can provide a curated list of interesting tweets for your followers. For example: I created a public list you can follow at It is a recommended list of tweeps, tweeting about trends and current topics for the technical Internet, software and computer community.

9. Use Tools to Automate Tasks

Tweetdeck is an app from Twitter that allows you to arrange multiple feeds in customizable columns. A feed can be a filtered search, a list, or a normal twitter stream. It will allow you to monitor and manage unlimited accounts. Two of its most powerful features are notification alerts for new tweets and tweet scheduling. I usually schedule tweets from two different accounts spread out over a couple of days at a time.

Tweetdeck saves a tremendous amount of time. It will even schedule Facebook posts! Be sure and check out the Chrome extensions for Tweetdeck and Tweetdeck launcher too.

Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule the great content you find. Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day. Simply keep that Buffer topped up to have a consistent social media presence all day round, all week long.

Tweepi is an essential part of managing my Twitter account now. The free version allows you to easily flush your “unfollowers,” follow your followers, and identify inactive followers. The premium version has many more tools and features that will help you automate Twitter tasks.

Managing Twitter can seem overwhelming when you are following a lot of tweeps. Using tools to automate tasks and methods to organize users and feeds are essential components to your success as a Twitter pro!

Tom Ledford, Owner – South Side Tech
3849 Wyndsong Trl, Lexington, KY 40514 – 859-577-2403

Blog: The Practical Computer
Twitter: @tcledford

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9 Ways to Rock Twitter

Look Out Google: Facebook Takes on Search

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

Watch out Google. Facebook has finally upped its search game with Graph Search, a feature that will allow the social network’s one billion-plus users to sort through information shared by their friends to answer simple and sophisticated queries alike.

The tool, which entered beta Jan. 15, will initially be tested on a small group of the network’s English-speaking members. But, if Graph Search catches on, it could become a serious competitor for other search engines, such as longtime rival Google, as well as for rating services.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Graph Search at a much-anticipated press conference at the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif, Jan. 15.

“This is one of the coolest things we’ve done in awhile,” Zuckerberg said.

Graph Search is very different from a traditional web search. While web search offers generic results based on the searcher’s keywords, Graph Search combines user’s phrases to give personalized results.

For instance, using Graph Search, a user can type in queries like: NFL fans who live nearby? Photos of Melbourne, Australia? Friends who live in New York? Good Italian restaurants in Chicago? and get answers based on is or her social circle.

“Most people today don’t think of Facebook as a place where they can discover places to go eat or things to go do, but with this product, it is so natural to be able to do that,” Zuckerberg said. “Today we’re starting off with a few basic types of things you can search for: people, photos, places, pages for businesses and that’s just the start. We view this as a product we will be working on for years and years to come and, as it gets more complete, it is going to be this amazing resource for a lot of people around the world to use.”


Although Graph Search is far from complete, it was released to obtain user feedback so improvements can be made, Zuckerberg said.

Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When a user makes a query, that search not only determines the set of results, but also serves as a title for the page. Users can edit the title to create their own custom view of the content they and their friends have shared on Facebook.

Graph Search also keeps user privacy in mind, according to a Facebook press release. While the feature makes finding new things easier, Graph Search follows users’ current privacy settings, meaning users can only search for content that has been shared with them or is public.

Interests is another key component targeted by Graph Search. Users can type in queries like: music my friends like? movies liked by people who like movies I like? strategy games played by friends of my friends? movies liked by people who are film directors? and so on.

Graph Search also has the potential to help users meet other Facebook members with similar interests, said Facebook engineering director Lars Rasmussen.

“Facebook in the past has been primarily about mapping out, staying in touch with and communicating with the people you already know in the real world, but now we’re building a product that can also be used to find people you should know, people with common interests or people you want to work with.”

To get on the Graph Search waiting list, go to

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Look Out Google: Facebook Takes on Search