Friday, September 30, 2011
The streaming movie service is facing increased pressure from competitors such as Amazon.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Jennifer Garner Doesn’t Want Boys?–Girls Talkin Smack Lindsay Lohan Models for Designer in Italy–Tonic Gossip Britney Spears Rocks Russia–Bitten & Bound Desperate Housewives: Secrets Leaked–The [...]
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
As promised, Google has updated its Google+ iPhone app with a slew of new mobile features, most notably the ability to participate in Hangouts group video chat.
Google announced the new features earlier this week, when it unveiled an updated …
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
The changes that Facebook is making to the profile via the Timeline and media sharing are some of the biggest to ever come to the platform. Yesterday at Facebook's developer confererence, f8, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said with a smile, "We have been working on this for a year, we are extremely excited."
The Timeline, with its new media and lifestyle sharing features is a significant boost to Facebook's social graph. What Zuckerberg announced yesterday was the equivalent of putting the Open Graph API on steroids. That is good for Facebook and good for users, to a certain extent. But claims of invasion of privacy by Facebook and its ecosystem will skyrocket as well. What will Timeline do to user privacy and how will users respond?
Timeline's Metered Rollout
After the f8 keynote, Facebook's top executives sat down for a press conference with Silicon Valley's pool of tech reporters. Inevitably, the questions turned to privacy.
"It is not like people are going to log in one day and everything has changed on their profile. The last profile redesign we did we spent a couple months rolling it out by giving several weeks of a window to opt in," said Facebook's head of product Chris Cox. "Because early adopters were able to play with it and explain it to their friends, it became an easier process to get through. That is what we are planning on doing here. We are basically helping you take over more of your page and tell more of your story. It is completely under your control what is there and what is not there."
What Facebook wants you to believe is that all your data in completely under your control. For the most part this is true and has always been true. Your social networking data consists of what you do and do not share. Yet, the consternation of privacy advocates is how Facebook acts on that data once it has been shared.
The River of Data In the Open Social Graph
The "Like" button brought sharing and the Facebook social graph into the wild Facebook. Facebook, like Google before it, all of a sudden had its tendrils deep within the backbone of the Web. "Read, Watch, Listen" is going to take that a step farther. What many users do not often know is that when a website puts a button on a page (like the AddThis button from Clearspring, for instance), the company that publishes the button has insight into everybody that visits that site, regardless if they click the button or not. Facebook is likely no different. They are working on traditional data via the Like button but also the social graph data. Facebook knows more about its users than even the most paranoid privacy advocates think.
That does not mean that users should worry. This type of stuff has been happening for years. At the same time, Facebook is giving users more control over the information they share, the information they see and how that information is spread. Zuckerberg would no doubt love that Facebook be completely open, all the time, but that is not a realistic scenario. With the subscribe button, new filters and inline sharing options, Facebook is trying to give users as many privacy options as possible while still maintaining the line of the "open" social graph.
Inline Sharing and "Transparency Control
"This is actually, I think, a really big step for transparency control on Facebook," said the company's CTO Bret Taylor. "We have been working with a number of privacy groups on this process of developing a product."
There are several items with Timeline and open graph apps that Taylor said would give users more control.
"The first thing is the new authorization dialogue you get when you install an app. One is that you will see screen shots of exactly what the app is going to look like on your profile," Taylor said. "With the old dialogue it is really easy to read the text and analyze it. In practice we have seen that a lot of people give it a cursory glance and click a button. By displaying visually what people we think that people are going to give a lot more thought into what they are doing when installing apps."
There are also inline privacy controls on Timeline, the same way that Facebook has issued new privacy controls across the entire site. That is not going to change because of Timeline. It will also apply to apps. So, if you install the Spotify music widget but only want a couple friends to see what you are listening to, that can be done through the new inline controls.
"Everything is inline," Taylor said. "You don't need to learn some privacy settings in a page somewhere to actually be able to change your privacy settings. So, we are really excited about that aspect of the product."
So, privacy at Facebook really comes down to two fundamental aspects: 1) how the company shares and acts upon data within the open social graph and 2) the surface-level user experience as dictated by inline privacy controls. From a superficial point of view, Facebook has given users options and filters to control who sees what and how. Yet, the deep river of data that Facebook holds on its users through the open graph is what scares privacy pundits.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
After months of speculation and rumors, the iPhone 5 will be unveiled in two weeks. The device is expected to launch at Apple's next media event, which will be held on October 4, according to AllThingsD.
With so many supposed leaks and rumors flying around every day for the last few months, it can be dizzying to keep track of, let alone know for sure which features the device will include. A complete, accurate picture of the iPhone 5 hasn't yet emerged, but a few details are nearly certain to be true. Others are less certain, but can't be ruled out.
A Faster Processor and Better Antenna
The iPhone 5 is widely expected to have a faster processor on the inside. Rumors and purported photo leaks point to the same A5 processor that powers the iPad 2. Either way, an increase in computing power is to be expected with a significant hardware upgrade such as this.
After all the commotion over the iPhone 4's flawed antenna design, which eventually resulted in the company issuing free "bumper" cases to customers, we can reasonably expect the next iPhone to have an improved approach to its antenna design.
New Hardware Design: Thinner and Sleeker
Unlike the iPhone 4, the new iPhone's physical appearance has not been leaked to the public. That's because even though an iPhone 5 got lost in a San Francisco bar (like its predecessor), the missing handset was never found and sold to a tech blog. While we don't know exactly what the new device will look like, a few hints have emerged, based largely on the design of protective cases.
Despite earlier reports that the iPhone 5 would resemble the iPhone 4, new information points to a different visual appearance. It will most likely be thinner than its predecessor, and may have a wider screen. From the looks of some of the protective cases purportedly manufactured for the device, it looks sleeker than the iPhone 4, with rounded edges more akin to the iPhone 3G and 3GS.
All the Features of iOS 5
The next version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 5, was first unvieled by the company in June. It's in the final stages of beta development now and should be available to all iOS device users by the time the new iPhone reaches shelves. As far as iOS updates go, this one's a biggie. It will include wireless syncing of calendars, contacts and content across devices, an overhauled notification system, deep Twitter integration, an SMS-style messaging protocol and a number of other features.
A Better Camera, Probably With 8 Megapixels
Another feature that would be shocking for Apple to leave out would be an upgraded camera. Most of the rumors circulating around the Web suggest it will be an 8-megapixel camera. Sony CEO Howard Stringer (accidentally) confirmed in April that the company is selling camera sensors to Apple for the iPhone, and additional evidence points to those sensors packing 8 megapixels.
An upgraded camera wouldn't come as much of a surprise, since its such a commonly-used feature. The iPhone 4 is now the most popular camera across all of Flickr and of course mobile photo-sharing apps like Instagram have exploded since the last iPhone was released. One of the new features in iOS 5 will be the ability to snap photos using a physical button on the phone, which serves as further evidence that Apple is paying attention to the camera feature on its mobile devices.
The Maybes: iPhone 4S, an NFC Chip and More
In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple is expected by many to launch the so-called iPhone 4S, an entry-level smartphone intended as the next iPhone 3GS. The device would be a sort of 'iPhone lite' intended to be sold at a lower price point than the iPhone 4 and 5.
One feature that's often speculated about is the inclusion of an NFC chip for things like mobile payments and wireless data transfer. Early reports suggested the iPhone 5 would not include NFC, but a recent story in the New York Times points to the device's use of a chip from Qualcomm that supports the technology. There is not yet overwhelming consumer demand for NFC, but many of Apple's competitors in the smartphone space, most notably RIM and Google's Android, have already made the technology available in new handsets.
There's no doubt that Apple's presentation will reveal many more details pertaining to the iPhone, if not also other product lines like the iPod Touch and iPod Nano. It remains to be seen what those details will be, but the rumor mill will inevitably churn on for the next two weeks.
What else do you think the iPhone 5 will bring? Are there any features you're dying to see in the device? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.Discuss