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Watch out for a bot through Facebook chat

31/08 (1342 hrs IST): Red alert. If you an avid chatter on Social Network Facebook, then read this.

There's a new bot (malware) doing the rounds, according to anti-virus firm McAfee Labs. It comes through FB chat in the form of an "interesting video" from an unknown user. Once you click on it, it starts spreading through other instant messaging services like MSN chat, Skype, Google Talk, & so on. 
Once the bot, says Mcafee, enters your computer device, it bypasses the firewalls. It disables almost everything that can get in its way - Windows Update, anti-virus programs; it even modifies the Windows Start page, etc. What is even more dangerous is that it can even receive commands from remote locations to infect many more PCs.
According to Mcafee, on the positive side, the bot can be tackled easily. 
For those of you who think they may have already been infected, go to this URL to get all the details:

Mozilla's 3D desktop shooter Game

29/08 (1310 hrs IST): Mozilla has released version 15 of its Firefox Browser for Windows, Mac & Linux, along with for Android devices. But what is even more interesting is that it used the occasion to show off the strengths of the latest version by developing a 3D game which can be downloaded & played on your PC. Called BananaBread, this is a multi-level shooter game built using HTML 5, Javascript & WebGL.

Mozilla wants to show off the advancements made in Javascript & WebGL in the latest Browser version.You can play it if you have Firefox 15 version or even Google Chrome. See demo video below. You may click here to get the Game.

Meet Facebook's eldest member. She's only 101.

28/08 (1957 hrs IST): Okay, if you are a Facebook member, this could bring a smile to your face. FB's eldest member is 101 years old & her name is Florence Detlor. 

Florence is the oldest of the Network's 955 million global members as certified by Facebook itself. She recently visited FB's HQ & met up with the Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg & none other than the Social Network's co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Sandberg has posted images of that visit on her FB account. 

...& guess where does Florence stay? Right in the backyard of FB's HQ - in Menlo Park, California, USA. She has been a FB member since August 19, 2009. One of Florence's recent posts on FB - Looking for a good boom to read.

You can click here to like Florence's FB account.

IImage: Courtesy Florence's FB account

Diaspora being handed over to the community

28/08 (1414 hrs IST): Open source Social Network Diaspora has been thrown open to the community, & henceforth, shall be a community driven Network.

According to an email sent to us by co-founders Daniel & Maxwell, the reason to do so was because as a Free software social project, it was obligatory on part of its founders to take this project further, "for the good of the community that revolves around it." Putting the decisions for the project’s future in the hands of the community was one of the highest benefits of any FOSS project. From now,Diaspora will be primarily driven by users & developers. Both the co-founders clarified though that they would remain a part of this community.

Just last week, this Social Network had announced Makr.io & the opening up of signups on joindiaspora.com. 

The email went on to say: When we started Diaspora two years ago, the project kicked off with amazing reception and support from people that believed in our ultimate goal: giving users ownership over their data. It's a powerful idea, one that captured the imaginations of millions of people across the world. This vision has expanded and evolved over the past two years that we have been working on it as the project has grown.

One of the reasons that the Diaspora project had been started was to tackle the raising privacy issues prevailing around Facebook at that time. It had been initiated while the 4 co-founders were still in the  NYU. It was originally thought that the project would be done over the course of a summer, & with an expected budget of US$10,000 from their Kickstarter campaign. According to both the co-founders, the reception of this idea was so good that they had managed to reach 20 times the expected amount in donations, & the project was expanded to cover far more than just a summer. It's been over 2 years now since that date.

Today, Diaspora has 1000s of people using its software in 100s of installations across the web. There are 100s of pods that have been created by community members, & it has become one of the biggest Github projects to date. It has been translated to almost fifty languages, with hundreds of developers worldwide contributing back to the project.

Both co-founders cautioned that the decision to throw open the Network to the community would not be an immediate shift over. Many details still needed to be stepped through.  But the goal was to make it an entirely community-driven & community-run project.

Sean Tilley, the Open Source Community Manager, has been appointed to spearhead the community effort. 

Facebook to acquire Threadsy

27/08 (2025 hrs IST): Social Network Facebook has decided to acquire Threadsy, the company that operates Swaylo.com, that helps brands connect with people. The company also offers a paid service for brands called SwayloPro that helps them reach out to their audience on Facebook.

Announcing the new acquisition, Threadsy CEO Rob Goldman said, “This is incredibly exciting for us. We built Swaylo because we believe Facebook and other social media services are the digital representation of our lives. There is no better opportunity to take Swaylo’s vision to the next level than at Facebook.”

Once the deal is done, people will no longer be able to access their Sway scores on Swaylo.com. But SwayloPro will continue to operate as separate, independent company owned by its current investors.
You can go to this URL to read the rest of Rob's post: http://blog.swaylo.com/post/30124398996/our-new-adventures

Bing goes with Quora

23/08 (2055 hrs IST): One is a Q & A Site, the other is a Search Engine. Microsoft's Bing has decided to bolster its Social Search by integrating with Quora

This is what Misha Birman, Program Manager, Bing Social Team wrote on Quora today:

At Bing, we believe that by tapping into the expertise of friends on Facebook, experts on Twitter and foursquare, and now contributors on Quora, we can improve the search experience because we know that getting things done often involves others. Whether it’s making a purchase, choosing a great restaurant, or figuring out which movie to see this weekend, the new Bing design brings friends, experts and enthusiasts into the search experience to help you make faster, more informed decisions. As part of our focus on social search we’re committed to building an experience that’s compelling and useful for our users. A big part of that is partnering with the best brands in the industry that you know and trust to bring social content to search in an interesting and relevant way. The Bing team worked with Quora understand the best ways to create a great social search product experience with the wealth of shared knowledge on Quora. We hope you like it!

US-based users of Bing have already started seeing Quora results in the sidebar but it is not clear when the rest of the world, will.

The rude & the infamous twitters of USA

22/08 (2110 hrs IST): This is fun. There's a new project labelled Twitter Heatmap that claims to show where the most polite & impolite Twitter users reside in the U.S. The developers have done this by mapping Good Mornings and F*** Yous.

The project was developed to show a density map of tweets distributed in time. The team at Vertaline which created the map, scanned tweets in 462 specific U.S. locations. The phrase “Good Morning” was tracked between June 20 & July 1, & “F*** You” was tracked between July 14 & 24.

We will not reveal the regions that were found to be the rudest or more polite here but we would like many more such maps of nations throughout the world. 

 Indians use Internet for Socializing, then to entertain themselves

20/08 (1210 hrs IST): Indians used the Internet primarily for Social Networking in June 2012 followed next by entertainment, according to web monitoring service comScore, Inc.

In a press release issued today, the agency said Social Networking accounted for 25.2% of all the time spent Online by Indians in that particular month. This was slightly higher from June 2011. Entertainment followed next at 10%, again, higher than in June 2011. Using the Net to send off emails had come down slightly in June 2012 at 8.1% as compared to 8.6% in June last year.

Among the other statistics provided by comScore, Google Sites ranked as the top Online destinations in India, reaching 57.8 million people of age 15 and older accessing the Internet from a home or a work computer. Facebook followed with 50.9 million visitors (83.4% reach), followed by Yahoo! Sites (65.5% reach) & Microsoft Sites (48.1% reach). 

To read up on the rest of the press release you may click here.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery gets facelift

17/08 (0522 hrs IST): The StumbleUpon Paid Discovery platform will soon undergo a facelift. We are told that the process is on. For a few users, this Websites discovery platform has sent out emails asking them to try out the new paid discovery platform & give feedback.  The Paid Discovery platform is where you pay to get your URL inserted into the StumbleUpon stream with guaranteed visitors.

3 billion add-ons of Mozilla Firefox downloaded so far

16/08 (0621 hrs IST): It was not so long ago that the 3 billionth add-on for Browser Mozilla Firefox was downloaded. To mark the occasion, Mozilla has put out the Top 8 add-ons for Firefox - the most used. 

Click here to read up on those 8 add-ons

Klout gets a product update, more features

15/08 (1830 hrs IST): Klout, the Social media influence measurement Site has undergone what it dubs as "the most significant of its updates" so far. 
A Blogpost by the Site said, "Today, we’re introducing some of the most significant product updates in Klout’s history. With these updates, we’ve concentrated on helping everyone to gain a clearer, more accurate understanding of how they influence other people through the ideas they share.

Here’s what we’re announcing today:

* Increased accuracy with an updated Klout Score that now includes significantly broader data sets and signals, including our first steps towards including real-world influence.
* We now include many more actions from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more, and for the first time incorporate Wikipedia as a signal.
* More transparency with a brand new feature called “moments” that showcases your most influential social media activity—the times when your ideas most impacted and touched the people in your world.
* New, elegant site design that emphasizes your best content from across your connected networks."

Do you have it in you to be an Upstart?

14/08 (0648 hrs IST): There's a new method that allows collegians to turn entrepreneurs. Formed by ex-Google executives, it's called Upstart. In Beta, this Startup kinda is based on the old formula of entrepreneurs & VCs but with one essential difference - investors bet not on your business or idea, they bet on the entrepreneur
To become what is called an Upstart (nice play on words), you need to raise capital based on a certain portion of your income spread over a certain number of years. Wannabe entrepreneurs who think they have an idea for a Startup & do not want to join regular jobs after they pass out of college, can join Upstart, create a profile & tell potential investors about their goals. Once that is done, Upstart calculates the dollar amount you can raise per 1% of your income. The wannbe entrepreneur can then choose how much money to raise & what portion of income he/she wants to share (up to 7%).
Once the entrepreneur's profile is approved, he/she can promote the offer. Upstart will review & clear backers who are willing to lend money in batches of US $1000. Some may even offer mentorship. Once done, the collegian is officially an Upstart & can go about starting up.  Students can use the funds for 4 purposes: To startup, to pay off education loans, to do freelance work or work to learn.
There are a different set of rules for investors called Backers. It is open for now for accredited investors.
Upstart is "piloting" itself through some of the well-known US universities for now. A kinda campus recruitment approach. 
The idea for Upstart was seeded nearly a year ago, says founder Dave Girouard, in a Blogpost.  What influenced his thinking was the fact that many, soon-to-be grads who had some rather good business ideas, instead decided to take the "safer" options of proper jobs, though they were least inclined.

Confirmed: Twitter's rival on the way

13/08 (1950 hrs IST): If our readers may recall, just  last week we had written on this very page (scroll down)of a competitor on the way for micro-blog Twitter. App.net will be completely advertising free, according to its developer, Dalton Caldwell. The thing is Dalton's initial aim was to raise funds through the crowdsourcing way. The target was US $500,000 by August 13, 2012.
Well, Twitter should now be worried because by the time of the writing of this story, App.net had already raised $685,050 & had over 10,000 investors backing it.  It is being reported Online that App.net will be user-driven where each user may have to shell out US $50 a year for an account here.
Watch this space for further developments on this front.

Zynga announces new Game

10/08 (2000 hrs IST):  Social Gaming leader Zynga has announced a new Game. It's called Gems with Friends.

The Game, say some Online reports, is a combination of other Games like Bejeweled, Matching With Friends & Sudoku. Essentially, players need to match tiles in color & number to the ones already positioned on the board, but they have only 2 minutes. You are scored & then it’s time for your friend to play. Best out of three rounds wins.

Gems..... will be out on iOS devices first.

Google's voice assisted Search on iPhone & iPad 

09/08 (0720 hrs IST):  Search major Google Inc today said it was adding its voice powered Search to its App on the iPhone & iPad. This will be a slightly altered version of the Google Now version included in the Android Jelly Bean.

For all of you who do not know this, Google Now is a voice activated virtual assistant much like Apple's Siri. Essentially, it will reply to any factual question that you pose to it. Eg: What's the weather in New York today?
See the video below to see how it works on Android

Real money gambling comes to FB in UK

07/08 (2100 hrs IST):  Now, it's real. Gambling with real money on Social Network Facebook has become a reality from today. 
Gamersys, a UK-based Gaming company, has launched Bingo Friendzy, a FB App that allows you to play Bingo & slot games. But you need to be above 18 years of age. Players can by-pass the FB credit system & use their credit cards to pay up.  But before all, a user has to fill in a lot of details while signing up for a special account & also fill in his physical address. 

Just as an aside, the new Game has already started raising eyebrows in Britain.

Amazon launches Gaming division

    07/08 (0709 hrs IST):  Game developer Zynga has new competition on its hands. Amazon has just announced a Social Game called Living Classics for Social Network, Facebook. Not only that, it has launched a full-fledged Social Gaming division called Amazon Game Studios.
So, what's Amazon doing entering into Zynga's space? Here's what it has written on its company Blog: Good question! We know that many Amazon customers enjoy playing games – including free-to-play social games – and thanks to Amazon's know-how, we believe we can deliver a great, accessible gaming experience that gamers and our customers can play any time.
Coming to the Game: Living Classics is a “moving object game.” In it, a family of foxes have wandered into vibrant, animated illustrations from their favorite books including Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, & King Arthur. Players help to reunite the foxes by exploring beautifully illustrated scenes and spotting moving objects. You can visit friends, share rewards you’ve earned, rediscover famous stories, and reunite fox families.
Go to this URL if you wanna play this game : http://apps.facebook.com/livingclassics/

Erase your private data from the Internet

06/08 (2100 hrs IST):  For all of you out there on the Web who find their private, personal information floating around in cyberspace, here's some good news. There's a company called Safe Shepherd that claims to erase your family & your very own identities from the Net, if you so wish. This company has been available for this task from October 2011.
What it does is remove your private info from Websites who sell such info. Now, whether that means erasing your complete identity from the Net or only from the record books of specific companies holding such info, is unclear. What these blokes claim is that data brokers, etc who let on personal info about you to marketing cos, etc, are on their target list. If you so wish, you can approach Safe Shepherd with such a request & it will in turn scan the Internet for all our personal info, & then erase it. And, it's free. So go on,  try it & see for yourself.

A competitor to Twitter may just be around the corner

04/08 (1324 hrs IST):  This could turn out to be interesting. A San Francisco, USA-based developer, Dalton Caldwell, who recently lambasted Micro-blog Twitter for allowing advertising, has now launched an Alpha version of a Social Service feed called App.net.
All those of you interested in joining up can go to the Site. But you may have to donate some money first, not a compulsion but App.net is trying to raise US $500,000 by August 13, 2012, through crowdfunding. By now, it has raised $159,000. But if it does not meet that target, there perhaps will be no App.net.
Dalton had recently blasted Twitter on his own Blog.
He says he has launched App.net with the aim of keeping the interests of users & developers, first & foremost.  According to Dalton, advertising run Social Services are at odds with allowing advertising. Dalton & his team have been designing Social Service & other platforms for the last 9 years.
So, if you are interested in joining up App.net, please click here

WordPress gets Retina ready

03/08 (1643 hrs IST):  Blogging platform WordPress has decided to keep up with the changing times. In today's world of Retina Display, it has gone and changed tings around to give users a high resolution feel.
For starters, the images you will henceforth see on any WP blog will be high resolution. This is because devices made by Apple like the Macbook Pro have the hardware, so the software/content needs to keep up with the technology.
Check out the difference between the normal and Retina ready high def images:
The WP guys have also made all of Gravatar retina ready
But for both platforms, some participation is required to make it high def friendly. 

Launched by Facebook: FB Stories

03/08 (0628 hrs IST):  Social Networking Site Facebook has just launched a brand new Site. It's called Facebook Stories  This is a Site essentially for FB users to share their thoughts, ideas & stories about how FB changed/affected their lives.  You may share your life's big moment or that extraordinary thing that happened to you or your struggle with an illness.

For example: There's one story uploaded on this Site about a 29-year-old man from New Delhi, Mayanak Sharma, & how he lost his memory due to meningitis. 

Each month, FB Stories shall have a different theme & FB members can them submit stories around that theme & tell others on how FB helped them. 

You may click here to read up more about FB Stories.  

DropBox admits some user accounts hacked

01/08 (1907 hrs IST):  Well-known Online storage service DropBox has acknowledged that some user accounts were recently compromised by hackers using stolen passwords.

In a BlogPost today by Aditya Agarwal of DropBox, the company said it had investigated complaints from some of its users."Our investigation found that user names and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of Dropbox accounts. We’ve contacted these users and have helped them protect their accounts," Agarwal has written.

Offering an apology, Agarwal has further posted that a stolen password was also used to access an employee Dropbox account containing a project document with user email addresses. "We believe this improper access is what led to the spam. We’re sorry about this, and have put additional controls in place to help make sure it doesn’t happen again."

Dropbox says it has initiated several security measures in the wake of this incident including implementing a two factor authentication.

 Hotmail to be renamed Outlook 

01/08 (1558 hrs IST):  Hotmail lovers are in for a shock. Software giant Microsoft, owner of Hotmail, have decided to rename the service as Outlook

The world’s largest software company is not only renaming its service, it is also revamping its design & making it more Social Networking ready (read Facebook).

The revamped service will help sort messages as they arrive (the aim is to de-clutter the Inbox) & allow users to make Internet calls on Skype.
In addition it is taking steps to link the Outlook account with other services the user might have subscribed to.

“We are giving you the first email service that is connected to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google, and soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email,” the firm’s Chris Jones said on his Blog.

Google+ traffic climbs

01/08 (0558 hrs IST):  This June it turned a year old. Social Network Google+ has seen its user base take a big leap in the last few months. According to comScore, the Internet traffic monitoring agency, the total unique visitors to Google+ in the U.S. went up from 15.2 million in November 2011 to 27.7 million in June this year. 

Worldwide, too, Google+ visitors jumped from 66.7 million to 110.7 million in the same period, marking a 66% increase, stated comScore.