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News

Facebook announced ‘Messenger for Business’ Today

Today at the Facebook f8 conference, the company launched Messenger Platform and announced Businesses on Messenger. Messenger Platform apps can display the option for a person to install the app from within Messenger, or to reply using content from the app. If the person receiving the message doesn’t already have an app installed, they can tap Install to be taken directly to the app store to get started using the app. This means people can discover apps recommended by their friends, naturally through their conversations.

fb-messenger-business

Businesses on Messenger enables things like the following: during the checkout flow on a business’s site, a person can choose to start a conversation with a business, receive updates from that business on things like order confirmations and shipping status updates, and ask the business free-form questions about the order, receiving quick responses.

Messenger Platform also enables developers to easily build apps that integrate with Messenger; so that the more than 600 million people who use Messenger can find new, fun ways to express themselves with GIFs, photos, videos, audio clips and more. With Messenger Platform, an app’s content can be shared through private and group messages to spark conversations that are creative and expressive, while providing developers with growth and reengagement opportunities.

With Messenger Platform, developers may also see increased app engagement: If the person receiving the message already has the app installed, they’ll be able to tap Reply on an image in a message. Then, instead of scrolling through pages of apps on their phone, they’ll be taken directly to the app to reengage and respond with relevant content.

Check out https://messenger.com/business for more information.

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News

WEST mentorship program for Women: Tech Careers

Today Box, Facebook, and Pinterest jointly announced WEST (Women Entering and Staying in Tech), a one-on-one mentorship program to help more women enter and flourish in these increasingly important technical roles. By bringing experienced women from top technology companies across the industry together, we hope to build and maintain a new kind of mentorship program informed by the kind of work women are doing day-to-day and the most exciting opportunities becoming available in tech.

Mentees for the 2015 pilot of the WEST program will be early to mid-career women in the Bay Area, from those beginning their careers as interns to mid-career women looking to further their growth or take the next step. This pilot will focus on women in engineering, operations, product, design, and web development roles.

Women in technical roles from Box, Facebook, and Pinterest will serve as one-on-one mentors to this class of women and meet with mentees individually and as a group, in-person and online, over the course of a year.

Mentorship can be incredibly influential in a woman’s career, and help tackle challenges together. The Alliance believes that,  by working together and providing more direct support, advocacy, and space for community development, one can create an impactful, scalable, one-on-one mentorship program to help women build and grow meaningful careers in tech.

If you’d like to get involved and be notified when applications for the 2015, please visit www.westmentors.org.

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

How to save Facebook Posts, Links and Videos to Read Later

Facebook is a fantastic platform; you have so much of interesting information and content shared by your friends flowing on your News-Feed. Sometime you may want to archive it for your future reading or references. In such situations, we always saved the same on the browser bookmarks or used Evernote or Pocket, if you were toggling between different computers or devices. Well, you don’t need to do it anymore. Facebook has just launched a new feature called “Save,” which lets users save links, places, music, movies, TV shows, places and music for later viewing. Only you can see the stuffs you save; its private.

Save will get rolled out to all the platforms including Android, iOS and Web versions in the coming days.  Saved links and places can be accessed across devices. The saved items will be categorised and sorted too. You will also get reminders in your newsfeed so that you don’t forget what you have in your ‘save’ folder. Visiting saved links would require an Internet connection. The saved items are only available for users to view; However, if you wish to share your save list with friends, there will be a share-with-friends option coming soon. Hope, Facebook will not use the Save feature for ad targeting.

Now lets look at how you can save the items; On the Browser, you can Tap the Save icon or choose the Save option in the menu on posts in News Feed to save it for viewing later.

facebook-save-desktop Here are some quick steps on how can you save any post (Place in this sample) on the iPhone (iOS).

facebook-save-iphone

You can then reach out to your Saved items by clicking on the Saved Link in the navigation links near News Feed.

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General Google IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Google will Block Facebook / Web Services from Automatic Data Import

Google will no longer let other services automatically import its users’ email contact data for their own purposes, unless the information flows both ways. It accused Facebook in particular of siphoning up Google contact data, without allowing for the automatic import and export of Facebook users’ information.

Facebook, with more than 500 million users, relies on email services such as Google’s Gmail to help new users find friends already on the network. When a person joins, they are asked to import their Gmail contact list into the social network service. Facebook then tells the user which email contacts are also on the social network.

“We will no longer allow websites to automate the import of users’ Google Contacts (via our API) unless they allow similar export to other sites,” Google said. In a statement, Google said Reuters that, websites such as Facebook “leave users in a data dead end.” Facebook did not immediately provide a comment on Friday. Read the complete story here

They are fighting with our data as a weapon. Being open, is definitely not open here.  Well, how many of you really read the Disclaimer / Terms of Service when you sign-up for an email address?

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General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

About.me – Your Single Online Identity Page for all your Activities.!

Most of us have multiple online profiles scattered across various services, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, and Twitter. And one problem we face is pulling all of this information together to build a single on-line identity. About.me is a new place where you can create one single dynamic profile page for all your online profile activities.

You have options to add your Facebook updates, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn Status, Blog RSS, Flickr Pictures and even custom URLs as well.  More good, you can also get analytics on how many viewed your profile and understand where they’re coming from, and what they do on your page!

Example Dashboard
Example Dashboard – Courtesy: about.me

About.me is in private beta as of now., and you cannot create your profile right away! However, you can go ahead and reserve your names – if the username you are looking for is available, they’ll reserve it for you and will send you a confirmation. Request your access here – http://about.me/

I have created a profile page for myself – http://about.me/vj

Vijay Raj

Here are few other sample pages – (About.me Team)

Ryan Freitas

Timothy Young

You would also be interested to read –

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General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Facebook Introduces Organized Secured Share, Group Chat and Email Lists

Last month when I was talking to David Kirkpatrick, he expressed a need of a Group Control in Facebook, which will enable the user to choose what gets shared and with whom.

Facebook GroupToday, Facebook has introduced tools to give users more control over personal information and let them set up cliques of friends. It’s a simple way to stay up to date with small groups of your friends and to share things with only them in a private space. The default setting is Closed, which means only members see what’s going on in a group. Using this, you can choose to share your personal album only to your family members.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said “the change – which analysts say is intended partly to mirror the various circles that people navigate in actual life -\- should make people even more comfortable publishing personal information on the service.”

You can also group chat with members who are online right now. You can even use each group as an email list to quickly share things when you’re not on Facebook. The net effect is your whole experience is organized around spaces of the people you care most about.

An Award winning blogger, Amit Agarwal has written on the benefits of Facebook Groups on his blog – Digital Inspiration ‘Lablol’ . Do Read the same for more information.

How to Create a Facebook Group:

On your web-browser, goto this url – http://www.facebook.com/groups/ ; If you have already logged in, you will be seeing this below screen.

On Clicking the Create Group Button, you will get an option to create and configure your group.

Creating Facebook Group

Configure, your group with a name, an associated icon, and just start typing the names of your friends. you will get the list of your friends, whom you can choose to add –

Adding Friends to Facebook Groups

A point worth a mention is that, you can configure the privacy of this group., on where you can choose the members and content to be public or private.

Security Privacy - Facebook Group

Once you do all the settings, and hit the create button, You will see this below screen. Now, you can add or remove friends, share content, pictures, links etc.. only to this group. and hence., making it Secure and Private..!

Facebook Group Created

Courtesy: Facebook Blog

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General Interviews IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Interview with David Kirkpatrick, Author – “The Facebook Effect”

This article is the continuation of my converation with David Kirkpatrick. In the earlier article, we spoke about the Importance of Cloud Services. If you are interested in that area, I would recommend you read that conversation here

For Folks who have landed directly on this page – Last week I was there at the NASSCOM Infrastructure Management Summit here in Bangalore, where I was invited to have a chat with David Kirkpatrick in the evening.

David KirpatrickDavid Kirkpatrick – David for many years was the senior editor for Internet and technology at Fortune magazine. While at Fortune, he wrote cover stories about Apple, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sun, and numerous other technology subjects. He created the Fortune’s Brainstorm conference series. More recently, he organized the Techonomy conference on the centrality of technology innovation for all human activity. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and appears frequently on television, radio, and the Internet as an expert on technology. He is also the author of the book – “The Facebook Effect: The inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World”.

Over to the interview –

Vijay – I was a big fan of Orkut, when I was out of college. I found a lot of my friends there. I used to go to their scrapbook, write comments, join communities, discuss in forums etc.., and then there was this paradigm shift for me towards Facebook. After being here for a while, I really do not want to get back to Orkut now. I guess, that’s the case with quite a few people. Why do you think, Facebook was able to create this kind of an Impact on a user? What are the reasons for its success to reach 50 million users in such a short span?

David – There is a whole lot of answers to that. I think the single biggest answer, why Facebook has stolen the thunder from Orkut, MySpace, Friendster and other services is that, it’s more a technologically sophisticated service and evolves itself as a product more rapidly. It’s only the paranoid survive approach. Andy Grove is the one who said that and I think Zuckerberg absolutely operates that way. He really believes that, if Facebook remains static for very long, someone is going to come up its tail-pipe and eat it. Orkut despite been owned by Google has not had that kind of aggressive evolving mentality. I think, even though people complain about the changes on Facebook, the quality of the Facebook product has remained the state of the art from the beginning. I mean, today it’s most seen in the platform, which now extends to the entire internet. Orkut does not have anything like that. Facebook says that, its ‘Facebook Connect’ and ‘Open Graph API’ – has been implemented in over a million sites. That’s after that, it was just launched in April, 5 months later, it’s over a million sites. The other sites are trying to copy those things, but Facebook is just more sophisticated as a product and leverages as a platform.

Vijay – I agree on it David. In fact, even I have a Facebook widget on my weblog at the end of every article and It really works. Well, I have been hearing Zuckerberg more times from your mouth; can you talk about him a little? How does he work? Is he planning for an IPO for Facebook?

David – Fundamentally, beside all the platform benefits which Facebook offers, I think all of that flows from Zuckerberg’s basic mindset, and he has the absolute control of the Facebook. He has an absolute dictatorial control, unlike any other social networking company. His mindset has always been that, we want to make Facebook for everybody, everybody on the planet. Everything he does and all of his decisions are based around that long term vision. “Make it to reach more people and making it more stable, how to market it and how to position it and virally extend it”. I don’t think, any other social network has that kind of passion and intensity about growth. And because of that, they have this software centricity, this simplicity of interface design and all these other features.  The fact that, Zuckerberg has been so dubious about advertising has kept Facebook feeling relatively non-commercial and it’s simple. It’s kept its interface quite clean., and that’s something he believes in very deeply.  The Google Success was built on top of the most bare bone interface you’ve ever seen, and Facebook came along with somewhat similar approach, with far more complex architecture in reality but still kept it look simpler. Kept the ads to the bare minimum, and what i think that did is, not only made it look cool and clean, it made people feel that, it could be for anyone and everyone. So it didn’t have the feeling of just being for kids, it was so neutral that, anyone felt that they can use it and that has been the key to its growth. I think, he is also kind of acknowledging the idea of an IPO, in order to give the employees more liquidity….but not right away, may be in 2012.

Vijay – What would be the business model for Facebook? Where and how do you think, they can make money from?

David – I think the long term business model for Facebook will arise from distributing ads as a part of the platform, as a part of the Facebook connect social API, and open Graph APIs. When you think about it, Today in your blog, you have a like button, there is no reason why, Facebook couldn’t come to you and say, “Hey we know the people, who are coming to your site and liking the contents, we know their gender, their geographic location, why not you let us sell ads for you and target them to those people with a percentage revenue sharing model?”,  With around a million sites having implemented it, it would be almost impossible for you to refuse this offer. You might now probably use Google AdSense or any ad network; I think, Facebook ads might be more effective, especially when you have the like button or a fan page widget. That to me is the biggest business opportunity which they haven’t even started to take the advantage of, they haven’t even done it yet.

Vijay – I am really amazed of the way, how Twitter and Facebook has pushed all the companies towards social Media. I am not aware of any company now, which doesn’t have a Twitter handle or a Facebook page.  Their interaction with the people has just changed.  The feedback mechanism and support is getting too easy these days. It’s nice to see Nestle and other folks, interact to people via their fan page.

David – Oh yeah. Indeed, Nestle got into some kinda trouble earlier, until they realized and came back soft on their Facebook page. So I agree. This is changing the way, people think about business and communications.

Vijay – I see that, we can have more than one pages for the same brand or product, are you aware of any process that, Facebook makes it a Verified Page? Pretty much similar to Twitter Verified profiles.

David – I am not aware on any process of that kind as of now. However, you can always go to the company’s website and see what link they point to! Also, Facebook only approves canonical URLs for pages which has an embed code or widget added to a website/blog. So that could be one way to find the right one. I will post this feedback to them.

Vijay – Sometimes, a feature which comes in very handy and helpful for me is Facebook Chat. Though it’s not a highly sophisticated chat engine, it does the job for me. Now, are my chats stored somewhere? Few days back there were some issue regarding the Blackberry chat option, being used for terrorist activities. What is the Facebook’s Standpoint on this, as I don’t see these chats saved somewhere?

David – Well, Facebook is not saving the chat history and is not making it available. However If police has a proper legal channel to ask, as the platform and architecture is more extensive and open for changes, Facebook can give that data to the Police and Government if needed. But they don’t give routine access to Government as it is contrary to the company’s general law. But they must re-think about it, if Zuckerberg targets on entering China.


Vijay – What do you think, would be a nice feature to add on Facebook?

David – Friendgroup is something which Facebook needs. Sometimes, you tend to add people whom you meet. But, you want to see updates only from few. For example,   More about families and friends, and less about people whom you added.., just because you didn’t wanted to tell a no. Also this group must be easily manageable. Kavitha also popped in with an idea of having a dislike or thumbs-down option for the people who put nonsense status message would be a nice addition.  at least it would cut a lot of crap!

Vijay – What do you think if Twitter comes up with Promotional Tweets as one of their business model? Would that work?

David – That could be offensive, we don’t perceive twitter to be a kind of place where we get unsolicited message. I think, it should be done with caution and I think they would. The features which they just announced last week are really nice. It needs to be much more a web portal. Like I said earlier, it also needs to introduce a group control. One of the reason, i don’t follow many people is that, most of the interesting things gets lost when you follow many people. I think, twitter is for the people who want to sell something. May be a product, idea or something else.., because, you are not a person to them…you are just a follower! The marketing folks have started to realize how hard it is to reach the people, because you tweet a message, doesn’t mean your followers read it. However the story is different in Facebook, where there are algorithmic tools, which gets your page view analytics and when you spend more time on a page or a person.., you tend to see them on your newsfeed, which absolutely makes sense.

Vijay – What is the message you would give to the developers and readers?

David – Well, do not expect the Facebook to stop growing. Make the best use of the Facebook and Open Graph APIs, and instead of just having a fan-page create apps which can consume the information and spread it to the people. That way, you nourish the platform and get the best of it for you and your users.

Vijay – I read that you spent over 2 years researching about Facebook, while writing your book. How did you manage to do that?  and., what would a reader get out of your book “The Facebook Effect”?

David – I had the full cooperation of Facebook’s key executives in researching this fascinating history of the company and its impact on our lives. This book will explain how Facebook was created, why it has flourished, and where it is going next. Its successes and missteps, and gives readers the most complete assessment anywhere of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the central figure in the company’s remarkable ascent. How did a nineteen-year-old Harvard student create a company that has transformed the Internet and how did he grow it to its current enormous size.  It will talk about a company that has changed social life in the United States and elsewhere, a company that has become a ubiquitous presence in marketing, altering politics, business, and even our sense of our own identity. This is the Facebook Effect. This is the Facebook story that can be found nowhere else.

Vijay – Great to hear that. I am sure, everyone will be really eager to read this book. Thanks for your time David, It was great talking to you and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Have a great stay in India and hope to see you again soon.

David – I liked the conversation too. I also got to talk about something else for a change.  You could see, I can think about the other stuffs too. It also makes me feel that, i know other things in technology and not just Facebook.  I would love to come here to India again. Thank you for your questions and this interview!

If you want to buy David’s book, you can buy the same from Amazon here. You would also be interested in joining the Official Fan Page of “The Facebook Effect”. It was a great experience for me to interview him. Do let me know your comments and thoughts. Of-course, the biggest takeaways for me would be the knowledge gained through discussion and this picture which I clicked with him.

David and Vijay

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Buzzom New look and Features

Just came across these leaked feature list and snapshots of the all new Buzzom – Twitter Account Management Tool.

Buzzom helps you tweet through web based application. Something HootSuite has been offering but Buzzom has a Facebook like interface, which no one has tried yet. and it looks impressive. No columns, no tabs- everything in one single column!

The home page looks much much better than the earlier one. Personally, the colours which was earlier used didn’t impress me. This one looks coool.!

New Buzzom Home Page

Few of the other key features noticed were,

  1. Facebook integrated: You can view your Twitter and Facebook stream and post updates in both.
  2. Spam Control: You can choose to hide user, application as well as keywords (through hash tags). Once you hide these, you stream would always remain clear from the spam words.
  3. Tool Bar: Firefox and chrome plugin for updating status updates from your browser to 9 social networks including Google Buzz.

Few other Snapshots –

Hide Spammer from the Twitter page Stream

Buzzom Page

The official press-release is expected to happen this evening. If the souces are right, we can see most of the features which are described above!

Also Read – How often and When do you check your Twitter and Facebook? and Buzzom: A solution for Twitter Account management

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Download Android SDK for Facebook

Facebook released its first official SDK for Android, offering developers on Google’s mobile OS an easy way to tie their Android native apps to Facebook Platform.

This SDK is said to be more advanced than the iPhone SDK because it features Facebook’s Graph API, which was unveiled at its f8 developer conference last month. You can start integrating the following Facebook Platform features into your Android applications today:

  • Strong authentication using OAuth 2.0
  • Making requests to the new Graph API
  • Publishing stories back to Facebook via Feed forms

Download the Android SDK for Facebook to begin with!

Courtesy: Facebook Developer Blog

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General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

How often and When do you check your Twitter and Facebook?

If you had any doubt about the extent social platforms have taken over people’s lives, stats like these should help put them to rest. A recent study by Retrevo surveyed just over 1000 Americans and asked questions such as when, where, and how much time they spend on sites and services like Facebook and Twitter. These Stats are interesting and it worked pretty cool with me..!

Almost half of the respondents said they check in on the social media scene in bed, during the night, or as soon as they wake up in the morning., and no surprise here: users under the age of 25 tweet more at night than older users.

Check Update Facebook and Twitter After bedHalf of social media users are so involved with Facebook and Twitter that they check the sites first thing in the morning — 16% say this is how they get their morning “news”.

iPhone owners use Facebook and Twitter more often and in more places: 28% of iPhone owners visit Twitter or Facebook before getting out of bed in the morning, compared with just 18% of all social media consumers under age 25 and 8% of those age 25+. Similarly, 26% of iPhone owners check in with Twitter or Facebook before turning on the TV, compared with 17% each of all social media consumers.

Read this Full Story from Pam Dyer on her Weblog Pamorama!

Featured Thoughts from the Comments Section:

Tom Dixon, A web developer and business owner explains his thoughts on this topic..!

As a business owner, it is important to allocate an amount of time to responding to social networks at least once a day for “Direct Messages” & “Urgent Updates”, but probably only 2 to 3 times a week for generally trolling though FaceBook (walls, Inbox, invites, birthdays, posts) / Twitter (mentions, topics of interest, other user interaction) / LinkedIn (inbox, connecting, networking groups). I used to try and respond to everything as it was happening but found that my average billable hours of work were slipping and I was not getting as much client work done.

I think that 15min a day for urgent stuff then, 2-3 hrs 2 – 3 times a week is all the time you should really be spending on all Social Networks combined for non-urgent usage. Generally the blocks of time you choose to use the networks should not be during work hours (unless you have a slow day) If you are serious about actually keeping your mind on your work at hand and completing jobs then well, try avoid the distraction.

I generally spend 1-2 – 2hr sessions on social networks during week after work hours & 1-2 – 2hr sessions on the weekends (depending on other plans I may have made).

You have to remember these services, great as they are, should not be allowed to interfere with a working day and control your life. They should be used as additional outlets to collaborate, share & possibly market your ideas, websites, business or products. (whatever it may be). Its all about not letting those reminders in your in-box distract you. Move them into a folder and check them out when you have made time to do so, not when they want you to.. hehe..

Everyone works differently though, that’s just my opinion!!

Raghav Parthasarathy, A socio blogger explains his points on how few people use Twitter..,

Twitter usage is more prevalent during the weekdays than during the weekends. This can be attributed to the fact that most folks whose full time work involves using a computer log on to twitter to check/post updates. This is a proven statistic although employers would hate to admit it. To really understand this , we need to realize that although tweeting is a fun activity, it does take some effort to post sensible content for which you don’t have to answer unnecessary questions or face any complication. In that sense, tweeting does consume your energy and that is probably the reason why people who like to relax in the weekends stay away from it.

Another observation is that humour bloggers who maintain a twitter handle , tend to tweet a lot. This is because even if most of their tweets don’t make sense they can get away with an excuse that people didn’t really get the joke ! Gosh I wish they tweeted less !

People who don’t log onto their accounts regularly tweet a lot during the short period of time when they are using their account to make up for their inactivity. Their usage pattern would contain multiple spikes rather than a smooth curve.

Twitter usage is also greater for people who focus on a specific type of content . This is one reason people tend to create multiple twitter accounts to target a specific audience. A tech blogger/tweeter  would dilute his content by posting other information.

Hence his usage would be greater If he/she maintains twitter accounts dedicated for a purpose. On the other hand, a regular user might think twice or even reduce his tweeting when his followers contains people with whom all the information cannot be shared. Would you update on twitter about the movie you are watching if your boss is following your updates ?

Whats your take on this? When do you check your Tweets and Facebook updates? – Do add in your comments!