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AUGUST 2010
 
 
 
 
 
 
Facebook faces a glitch; resolves it                                                       Aug 31, 2010
 
 
Social site Facebook faced some incidents of outages today. Many users were not able to access their accounts, on and off. This website's Facebook page, too, went on the blink for awhile. Incidentally, the downtime made news on Twitter. While the social site was still to put out an official word, looks like things at Facebook were back on an even keel later in the day. 
 
 
 
Google bags one more                                                                                 Aug 31, 2010
 
 
 
Another company has sold out to Google. SocialDeck, a company that makes social games for smartphones has been acquired by the No:1 search engine, making it the 5th such in August. Most of SocialDeck-designed games are meant to play against friends. The company that started in 2008 got an initial round of funding from Blackberry Partners Fund, and has over a million users. What is interesting though is that SocialDeck had some games that could be played on Facebook using a computer. Now, why would Google acquire such a company? Search us.
 
 
 
 
Play and earn at the same time                                                                Aug 29, 2010
 
 
In the online gaming world, there is a new gaming portal to be launched on September 1. Called FantaZ, the portal will provide online skill games like backgammon and chess, football and baseball games, among others. There is a buzz around this US-based portal because of what it promises - there is prize money a winner can take home on select online games, and the fact that it will also give members an opportunity to make money by starting their own gaming business. The portal's motto is -Play, Promote and Profit. There are 2 accounts - Player and the FantaZ Business Account, ZBO. One neeeds to register but it is by invitation only. To enroll for the "gaming venture" account, you need to put up a one-time investment of $99 dollars. To sign up for the Player account, right now, it is Free till the day the portal launches. The portal has initiated a kinda dry run from August 15 by allowing a few to play games or join the ZBO program.
 
 
 
 
Facebook now has 2 competitiors...and then the one from Google Aug 29, 2010
 
 
New things are happening on the Internet. We have just been told to mark September 15 on our calendar. That is the date when the open source Diaspora will be launched. For those of you who are hearing about it for the first time, Diaspora is yet another social networking site on the lines of Facebook (maybe not like it but somewhat similar) but "with one crucial difference", or so, say its designers. There will be no issue around privacy issues on Diaspora. There is another open-source site in the pipeline called GNU Social, which we had reported about way back in July, headed to take on Facebook. Diaspora will be a distributed network across the Net where each individual computer shall link directly to the other. Each of these computer shall be called a "seed." The guys making it are 4 programmers from New York University's Courant Institute. You can check out their names on the blog. They started sometime earlier this year to build what is being dubbed as an "open source, personal web server" that aims to put each user in charge of his/her own data. Again, like the guys at GNU Social, the amount of personal information that needs to be put out online will competely be in the hands of the user. Each user's seed shall be a personal web server that shall store all the information about the user securely which he/she can control. The guys at Diaspora maintain that being connected with each other online and privacy do not have to be mutually exclusive. The other interesting part about Diaspora is that it has raised funding from ordinary members of the public. By June 1, 2010, the guys had successfully raised over 200,000 dollars, meeting their set target for funds. People have pledged between $5 to $2000 dollars, and more. On September 15, we will finally know how the whole thing has panned out.
 
 
 
 
 
One more in Google's kitty                                                                                          Aug 28, 2010
 
 
We know by now, readers may have started feeling the PTGD or Post Traumatic Google Disorder. Our reporters certainly are. For almost every other day, Google has been acquiring some website or person in its quest launch a social site to beat Facebook. Now, the search giant has announced that it has acquired the assets of Angstro and also add its founder Dr Rohit Khare to its core team that will run the yet-to-be-named or announced Google social site. Basically Angstro functioned as a tool that would take results of search words from various sources and turn them into understandable and relevant data. The guys at Angstro called it "interoperable social networks." The terms of the deal is not known but Angstro has decided to shut down, as announced on its blog on August 20.
 
  
 
 
Google keeps up with time                                                                        Aug 26, 2010
 

Google has launched a new search tool called 'Real-time' search. This is a separate search with its own web address. One of the highlights of this search is a feature that tracks "conversations" on the Internet in real-time. Eg: If Mr X starts off a topic by tweeting, using Google's real-time search, you can get all the tweets and re-tweets revolving around Mr X's tweet, that too, all on one page. The feature is called the "full conversation" feature. Among the other benefits of real-time search is the facility to create alerts for a subject of your choice. Whenever there is an update on Twitter or any other form of short-form service, Google Alerts will notify you by e-mail, and you can then see for yourself what that update was. (But this feature is available even on the normal Google search engine for News). What we have not been able to figure out yet - Google search is already performs a search in real time, so why the need for a separate Real-Time tool? Maybe, this is part of Google's overall attempt to get more "social"? 
 
 

 
Now Showing: Digg V4                                                                              Aug 26, 2010
 
 
 Digg users may have realized when they logged on this morning that Digg has undergone a change. Digg Version 4 has been worked on for sometime (even this website was one of the chosen few to be asked to submit suggestions). As Kevin Rose, co-Founder of Digg wrote this morning, " ....major revision to our platform, front to back-end." The re-format will bring in more speed, more personalization and making "digging" of stories much more easier, claimed Rose. 


  
 
 
Facebook captures No:1 slot in India                                                                    Aug 25, 2010
 
 
This was waiting to happen. We had told you so in our dispatch on June 14 this year. Facebook has replaced Orkut as the No:1 social networking site in India. Thus, one of Orkut's last bastion has fallen. comScore, the agency that measures the ups and downs in the digital world, said today in a press release that Facebook had overtaken Orkut in July for the first time, touching 20.9 million users against Orkut's 19.9 million. India, by the way, ranks 7th in the world so far as traffic to social networking sites is concerned. Facebook has gone bullish on India and has also recently opened up an India office in Bangalore.  
 
 
 

Google tweaks search                                                                                 Aug 25, 2010
 
 
What's new on the Net? This development may not be of particular interest to the average Netizen but for web publishers and those who use search as their primary marketing tool, this could mean something. Google has gone and 'tweaked' its search fundamentals somewhat. But let us warn you that it is still in the "experimental" stage. Which means the search major may not ultimately implement the change, but as of now, it is testing it out in Cyberspace. The way it will work is this - so far whenever a particular domain was searched, Google would throw up 2 results of that domain. Now, it says, depending on the popularity of the portal, it may throw up as much as 7 page results. All this in the interest of "deeper" search. Our webspiders went around trying to analyze the initial chatter in Cyberspace on this one and have come away with the feeling that not many are happy with this. Even then, keep watching this space for more on this front. 
 
 
 
 
Firefox 4 Beta 4 is out                                                                                 Aug 25, 2010
 
 
 
As we had informed our readers some time ago, the BoB (Battle of Browsers) has started earnestly this week. The first round (or is it the 2nd?) has been fired by Mozilla on Tuesday when it put out the Firefox 4 Beta 4 version for testing. Browsers specialists say that this latest offering from Mozilla is trying to rectify the problem of overcrowded tasks bars, an issue that all Net users face today. The guys at Mozilla have introduced a new feature called Firefox Panorama to address this issue. What Panorama does is to provide users a whole bunch of tabs grouped together. These tabs are now in the form of thumbnails, and several thumbnails make up a Group. So, a user has now access to several such Groups for his tasks.There is another feature called Firefox Synch that synchronizes bookmarks, passwords, open tabs and so on, among different Firefox browsers that may be running simultaneously on different PCs. So, if you suddenly have to move from your own PC to your colleague's PC, both of which have Firefox, you having switched computers will not upset the flow of your work. It was way back in July that Mozilla had released the Firefox 4 Beta 2 and it was then that it had first started experimenting with the tabs business. For readers who do not understand the mumbo jumbo, allow us to just say that Mozilla is on its way of launching a new browser soon called Firefox 4, and these beta tests are a run up to that. The betas generally are to iron out glitches and get suggestions from "testers" ( users) in cyberspace. They also have a little feedback button which you can hit in case you have anything to say on that particular 'test' browser. 
 
 
 
 
Alternative to Facebook in last stage....& we ain't talking about the one by Google  Aug 24, 2010
 
 So, what's new on the Internet today? Remember, way back in July, we had written about these guys at GNU Project who were working on an alternative to Facebook called GNU Social? This social networking site will be a "decentralized" one - something that you can install even on your own server. Shorn of the technical stuff, GNU Social's makers claim it will not have any of the privacy concerns surrounding other social sites because of the way it is gonna be structured. Because of the code resting on your server, you, the user, shall have the power of issuing instructions on how much or how little of your personal details would you want to be public. If interested, you can start using a very, very early version of the GNU Social by installing it but you need to have PHP 5 (general purpose scripting language) plus MS SQL 5 (a data-based management system that runs as a server) to do so. Right now, work on the various plugins  is on. Also, these guys had initiated a contest to chose a logo for the new social site, and had initiated a kind of open forum for it, asking all Netizens to send in their entries. On August 10, the final logo was released to the public which we have published here. The new social site is expected to be ready for testing by September 30, 2010, but has already generated some interest in the WebWorld.   
 
 
 
 
Tumblr crosses the 1 billion posts mark                                                 Aug 24, 2010
 
Microblogging site Tumblr has today crossed the 1 billion posts mark. The official staff blog logs the development. The site has over 7 million users and is growing. Tumblr has heralded in a different kind of microblogging and evidently, it has succeeded.
We guess congratulations are in order. 
 
Acquired! Many more to go?                                                                                      Aug 21, 2010
 
Did we not just tell you that the way in which Facebook and Google are going about it, acquisitions and buy-offs are becoming rather mundane developments? At the risk of sounding almost boring to our readers, the search major has now gone and acquired Like.com, a visual search /shopping e-commerce portal for an "undisclosed" sum. The U.S. based Like, headed by Munjal Shah and his team, it had kinda "revolutionised" the online shopping experience when it had started in 2006 by bringing visual search to shopping. On the deal, Munjal has written on his portal, " We see joining Google as a way to supersize our vision and supercharge our passion". Nothing is mentioned about the money that may have exchanged hands or the future plans of Like.
Then the question that we would like to ask our Readers is: Do you think the Internet will soon become the monopoly of 2/3 mega players? Send in your views to tellus@whatsnewonthenet.com  
 
 
  
Hot potato gone cold?                                                                                                    Aug 21, 2010

This time it is not Google but Facebook that has acquired another site. The way the Big-2 are going about acquiring or funding websites, it is becoming almost routine. Facebook has acquired for an all-cash deal (10 million USD) social activity and check-in provider Hot Potato. Hot Potato was more an i-phone application that allowed users to build a social stream around events when it launched last year, before emerging to what it is today. It had started off with a US$1.42 million start-up fund. But it is not yet clear what Facebook plans to do with Hot Potato. There are already reports in cyberspace that this is the death knell for the latter. The guys at Hot-P themselves have indicated so while announcing the deal, saying they will now be "winding down". Ouch. So the reports could be true. Atleast, Hot Potato is not taking any more registrations, that's a fact. 
 
 
 
 
Here I am...                                                                                                     Aug 18, 2010
 
The Google Facebook face-off just took another turn. Of late, Google has launched an aggressive campaign to tap the small business market using mobile devices. It also plans to soon launch its own social networking site (or so, all of us presume based on signs emerging from the Google camp). Facebook, too, has done its own stuff to remain numero uno. As part of its strategy, the social networking major domo today announced the launch of Facebook Places. The guys at Facebook have described this development very simply, yet aptly - Who, What, When, and.....now Where. FPlaces now enables you to tell all your friends where you are at the present moment in time. Of course this is nothing new. There are already other networking sites like foursquare which have the same facility for mobile phones. The FPlace logic, too, is similar - you have your friends and your favorite places. If you are at one of your fav spots, you  wanna see if any of your friends are around to alert them to your presence. This is an option. It is not that everytime you move around, your movements will be broadcast. A Facebook user needs to check in first to that particular place and then check if other friends, too, have checked in at the same spot. As of now, this feature is available for users in United States and only on iphones. Obviously, it will soon be extended to other smartphones and other countries.
 
 
 
Search Yahoo! for Bing results                                                                                Aug 18, 2010
 
 
As we had said a while ago, Yahoo! search will start being powered by Bing of Microsoft by the end of this week. To begin with, it will be for the US and Canadian markets, and then slowly to the rest of the globe. The announcement was made on Yahoo! blog by Shashi Seth, Vice President, Yahoo! Search Products Operations. Search results on Yahoo! will start showing "Powered by Bing" sign at the bottom of the search results page. One more step towards the final search merger. 
 
 
 
 
  Sizeable chunk of German mobile subscribers log on to the Net using phone
 

 We have always maintained that we are solely about the Internet. So any development remotely connected with cyberspace will find its way to the pages of this website. Of course, the only other criteria it should pass is that it should be of some interest to Netizens. In that spirit, today we run this report on a survey that has shown that as many as an (astounding) 10 million German mobile users regularly access the Internet through their phones, which is about 17% of the total mobile phone users community in that country. Perhaps making them get a rank in the 'Top-5' global population (size-wise) to use cellphones to log on to the Net. The survey was carried out by Germany's Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, BITKOM. The story is in cellular-news, have a look.
 
 
 
 
 
IE9, V4 or C6? Which will it be?                                                               Aug 16, 2010
 
 
The China vs Google war is old hat, Facebook or Google as a search engine is a question which still begs an answer. Now, a new war will hit cyberspace in the coming weeks - between browser makers. Actually, the guns were out a while ago but they may start blazing full up in the coming weeks. That's because by the end of September all 3 major players would have had released the beta versions of their updated browsers. Microsoft will release Internet Explorer 9 on September 15, Firefox will come out with its version 4, while Google's Chrome 6 beta is already out in the open. Firefox has been steadily but surely gaining grounds over IE. The latter's 9th edition with its "revolutionary" features is expected to put up a great fight in turn. So all you guys out there, watch out for action on this front in the coming days...of course on your fav website. 
 
 
 
 
 
 The Chinese gambit                                                                                    Aug 13, 2010
 
 
Something's happening in China. Oh, well, atleast in the Chinese web space. Earlier this week, we had reported on how one of the most popular search engines in that country Sogou was planning to offload some of its shares. Now comes the news that China's official news agency, Xinhua has tied up with China Mobile, touted by some as the world's biggest mobile carrier, to set up an Internet search company. It is not yet very clear though whether the search platform would be only for mobile phones or across all tools. 
 
 
Twitter's very own "re-Tweet" button                                                    Aug 12, 2010
 
 
Every day, we get to hear of new things on the Internet. Today, we got to know of micro-blogger's Twitter getting into the act like others and launching a widget or button allowing users to share Tweets. The Twitter Button, as it is being called, is like any other share button. Web publishers need to put it on their website or blogs, allowing users to click on them whenever they like some Content and share it with friends, family and whosoever. Already, over 15-odd websites have integrated the button. More can join it. But hidden away somewhere in the announcement is the fact that the idea came primarily from TweetMeme, third-party creator of the popular 'Retweet' button. These guys have grown to re-tweeting 750 million times daily. Whew! Now, Twitter says, when you click on the Meme button, it will re-direct you to Twitter's own 'Tweet' button. On Meme's part, they say they have entered into a "new partnership" with Twitter, and shall assist the latter with the technical challenges involved with the new button. The Meme blog does not elaborate on the financial arrangements but does promises some new products soon. 
 
 
 
 
Offline journalism looks to online media                                                          Aug 11, 2010
 
 
We live in interesting times. Or, let's just say interesting "online" times. Occasionally, we have reported on the 'Real World' meeting up with the 'Web World'. Today is one such day. Two developments have caught our attention; both have got to do with 'Real World' journalists, having understood the power of the online medium, trying to bridge both media. The New York Times has reported today that a ginger group of former magazine and editors was contemplating publishing a weekly digital magazine seeking to create content specifically for mobile phones. The magazine is called 'Nomad Editions' created by a New York startup of the same name. The journalists include a former Newsweek President, too.  You can read the story at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/business/media/11nomad.html?_r=1&ref=technology.
But that's not all. This morning, we got an announcement in our 'In-Box'. Remember, way back in the first days of July, we had written about Hack/Hackers? This is about them. Click here for the rest of the story.
 
 
 
Changes on Gmail                                                                                       Aug 10, 2010
 

Okay guys, Gmail seems to have made some changes. It has rolled out what it dubbed as the "overhauled version of Contacts from today. The layout, too, has been tinkered around a bit to allow a user easy access to the revamped Contacts section. There is a new keyboard shortuct now built in to go to your full list of friends/contacts; you can even put sort out personal details of your contacts under custom labels like mobile number and birthday. 
 
 

 
China's popular search engine to divest                                                   Aug 9, 2010
One of China's leading Internet portals Sohu has decided to offload 32% of its Sogou search engine to investors. Sogou (it means search dog in Chinese) is China's top dog search engine was launched in 2004. It has about 10 billion pages indexed. Sogou is touted as one of the fast growing search engines in that country. According to reports filed by global financial wire agencies, the Alibaba Group and a fund owned by its Chairman Jack Ma will buy 16% while the other 16% will be bought by a fund led by Sohu Chairman Charles Zhang, thus helping Alibaba, one of China's largest e-commerce site expand.
 
 
                        
Google buys a social site application maker. So, is Google Me on?   Aug 6, 2010
 
Yet another move that indicates that search major Google is on its way to launch a social site like Facebook . It has gone and acquired Slide Inc. a well-known social networking application maker.So? Okay, here's the catch. Slide is the company that has made some of the oft-played online social games like SuperPoke and FunSpace. Right. 2+2=4. Clearly, Google's attempt in propping up competition to Facebook seems to be going in the direction of concentrating more on the social gaming aspect than just pure socializing. We had already reported some time ago of Google providing around 100 million dollars to Zynga, the gaming portal behind such famous games like Farmville.  The game is truly on. 




  
Now, play games on Kindle                                                                                          Aug 5, 2010
 
 
A recent survey by Nielsen showed how a large chunk of Netizens used Facebook to play social games. The growing importance of social gaming may have been at the back of their minds when developers recently designed 2 games for the e-book platform Kindle, recently.  Both were made using the Kindle Development Kit. Kindle so far was meant exclusively to read e-books but now, with this development, things are going to change, we suppose. The 2 games are called Every Word and Shuffled Row, both words games like  Scrabble.  Are you listening Facebook?

 
 


 
Twitter-like business microblog gets fresh funds                                          Aug 4, 2010


What Twitter is to social microblogging, StatusNet is to the world of business communication. Almost 16 months after it launched its beta version, the Montreal, Canada-based StatusNet Inc today announced that it had landed its second round of funding from the New York-based FirstMark Capital and some others, taking the total investments in this site to 2.3 million USD. StatusNet is used by commercial enterprises to enable secure communication between their employees, and can be installed within their secure firewalls. The guys at this microblog believe that the day is not too far when e-mails will be replaced with microblogs running on social networking platforms. So if things go well for them, if you work in any 'Real World' corporation or multinational outfit, you may soon be communicating with your boss on the move, using a microblog.
 

 
 

 
The 20 billionth Tweet                                                                                 Aug 2, 2010
 
 
Do numbers mean anything to you? Well, they would when they represent milestones, right? So in the case of social networking site Twitter that crossed its 20 billionth Tweet on Saturday. Sent by a user in Japan, the Tweet was rather inconsequential sounding for such a momentous occasion - GGGGGG0 Lets Go. 
 
We guess, congratulations are in order.