The only reason I log into Facebook anymore is to dick around with my cover/profile photos.
Paul Ford, at New York Magazine:
Facebook, a company with a potential market cap worth five or six moon landings, is spending one of its many billions of dollars to buy Instagram, a tiny company dedicated to helping Thai beauty queens share photos of their fingernails. Many people have critical opinions on this subject, ranging from “this will ruin Instagram” to “$1 billion is too much.” And for many Instagram users it’s discomfiting to see a giant company they distrust purchase a tiny company they adore — like if Coldplay acquired Dirty Projectors, or a Gang of Four reunion was sponsored by Foxconn. Paul's take on this is excellent.
Nick Bilton, at The New York Times' Bits blog:
We skitter around the world with our smartphone cameras, taking pictures of leaves and sugar cubes and sunsets, then applying filters and making even the mundane look beautiful. Clearly, design is becoming increasingly more relevant to people. Google Plus doesn’t seem to understand that. Google’s iPhone app, for example, looks like a sketch that was never finished. And if you think the iPhone isn’t important for a good social network, just ask Instagram, an iPhone-only photo app that has more than 27 million users. That’s a quarter of Google Plus’s users, and Instagram didn’t need the Google homepage to get there.
Andy Baio, writing for Wired:
Yahoo's lawsuit against Facebook is an insult to the talented engineers who filed patents with the understanding they wouldn't be used for evil. Betraying that trust won't be forgotten, but I doubt it matters anymore. Nobody I know wants to work for a company like that. I'm embarrassed by the patents I filed, but I've learned from my mistake. I'll never file a software patent again, and I urge you to do the same. For years, Yahoo was mostly harmless. Management foibles and executive shuffles only hurt shareholders and employee morale. But in the last few years, the company's incompetence has begun to hurt the rest of us. First, with the wholesale destruction of internet history, and now by attacking younger, smarter companies. Yahoo tried and failed, over and over again, to build a social network that people would love and use. Unable to innovate, Yahoo is falling back to the last resort of a desperate, dying company: litigation as a business model. Yahoo is now a patent troll. This fact makes my worry about the future of Flickr grow greater still.
Ben Brooks, writing on Brooks Review:
Byron Acohido reporting on Facebook tracking cookies:
Facebook thus compiles a running log of all your webpage visits for 90 days, continually deleting entries for the oldest day and adding the newest to this log. If you are logged-on to your Facebook account and surfing the Web, your session cookie conducts this logging. The session cookie additionally records your name, e-mail address, friends and all data associated with your profile to Facebook. If you are logged-off, or if you are a non-member, the browser cookie conducts the logging; it additionally reports a unique alphanumeric identifier, but no personal information. Later Arturo Bejar, Facebook’s engineering director, is quoted as saying: “But we’re not like ad networks at all in our stewardship of the data, in the way we use it, and the way we lay everything out,” Bejar says. “We have a very clear and transparent approach to how we do advertising that I’m very proud of.” So I guess the real question is, do you trust Bejar, and therefore Facebook, in general when they say these things? What about now: Adding fuel to such concerns, Arnold Roosendaal, a doctoral candidate at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and Nik Cubrilovic, an independent Australian researcher, separately documented how Web pages containing Facebook plug-ins carried out tracking more extensive than Facebook publicly admitted to. I just don’t buy anything Facebook is saying these days. Ben has been on a roll with good commentary. I quoted entirely to much of his piece, but did so anyway because I didn't know how quote just one part without leaving out the main point of his piece. Therefore, please please go to his site and subscribe to his RSS.
When Ping was first released last year, very briefly, it was possible to connect your Facebook account to your Ping account to share your Ping activities or find new friends on Ping. This feature was pulled at the eleventh hour due to breakdown in negotiations between Facebook and Apple. Ping launched without support of a major social network to piggyback off of for friend recommendations. Sometime over the past year, and I'm not sure when as I only noticed it recently - which goes to show how often I use Ping, Twitter was added to Ping. Under your Ping account, it is now possible to connect Ping to Twitter to have it share your Ping purchases & likes. Clearly this would not have happened if Apple & Twitter had not formed some sort of relationship and began working together. This brings us to yesterday's announcements where Apple revealed that Twitter will now be deeply integrated into iOS 5. Twitter now sits on the main settings menu alongside items like Mail, Phone and Safari. On the details screen of the Twitter menu, users can log into their Twitter account directly or, if they don't have it, click a button and install Twitter's official Twitter client. That is huge. Apple clearly has doubled down on Twitter. They've integrated Twitter on various send menu's throughout iOS such as in the Camera app or Maps app. Notice they didn't even mention Facebook once during the whole keynote. To me, this sounds a lot like what happened when the original iPhone came out. Apple knew they needed a carrier to launch the iPhone on. They approached Verizon. Negotiations fell through. They turned and found AT&T more receptive and went with their second choice. Apple approached Facebook. Negotiations fell through. They turned to the second biggest social network and found Twitter more receptive and went with their second choice. The only part of the story we don't know yet is, will Facebook come crawling back to Apple in 3 years asking for equal treatment that Twitter got? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not sure this is as an important issue as being able to carry a handset on your mobile network, but the whole situation just seemed oddly coincidental to me. I think if someone with proper sources could ever discover the details behind all of this, it would make for a good story.
Remember Firesheep? Well, the cookie snatching Firefox extension now has a more portable cousin called FaceNiff. This Android app listens in on WiFi networks (even ones encrypted with WEP, WPA, or WPA2) and lets you hop on to the accounts of anyone sharing the wireless connection with you. Right now it works with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Nasza-Klasa (a Polish Facebook clone), but developer Bartosz Ponurkiewicz promises more are coming. You'll need to be rooted to run FaceNiff -- luckily, we had such a device laying around and gave the tap-to-hack app a try. Within 30 seconds it identified the Facebook account we had open on our laptop and had us posting updates from the phone. At least with Firesheep you had to sit down and open up a laptop, now you can hijack Twitter profiles as you stroll by Starbucks and it'll just look like you're sending a text message (but you wouldn't do that... would you?). Lovely