December 22, 2010

Facebook Redesigns News Filter, Adds More Options

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Facebook LogoThe Facebook News Feed has been the topic of much discussion over the past year, so much so that Facebook won a patent for their feeds design and now they have begun rolling out a new way to filter that News.

In the past we had Top News and Most Recent stories, which as their names suggest would show top posts through the use of a Facebook algorithm, while Most Recent showed posts as they are posted in real time.

Now users visiting the “Most Recent” option will notice a drop-down menu that shows a bunch of new options including Pages, Links, Photos and Status Updates along with Games and several other choices.

Now, the Most Recent option has been turned into a drop-down menu that reveals a slew of options. You can now choose to see only stories related to Games, Status Updates, Photos, Links and Pages and you can filter further to only show stories based on a specific group you belong to.

Under the systems individual filters you can even choose if you want to see more or less stories from a specific user.

If you click on any option that options news will be shown, for example Games will show game related content, while Status Updates will show only status updates with no photos or extra finds, just straight test. read more

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The Wait For Drupal 7 Is Almost Over

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After beta testing their latest version over the past few months, it looks like we will finally see Drupal 7 publicly unveiled to the masses early next year.

In order to celebrate Drupal 7 entrance into the world, the community is asking fans to throw a party in order to help raise awareness of the platform.

To celebrate the release of Drupal 7! On January 7, 2011 the Drupal and open source communities will be having world wide local release parties for Drupal 7. Host or attend a party with your local groups! Everybody who is a fan of making the Web better should attend.

Welcome new users and fans of open source! Releasing Drupal 7 is a huge accomplishment and we are happy to be celebrating this milestone in our history, so let’s just take some time to have fun and reflect on everything we have accomplished. With a refined and more intuitive user interface, and hundreds of enhancements under the hood, Drupal has never been more powerful. A new release of Drupal is the perfect excuse to meet up, spread the word, plan our next move and, of course, party down. (Official Drupal Blog)

The Drupal community is planning on raising awareness to the public through not only parties but apparently via fancy animation on the side of a corporate buildings as well.

While Drupal’s approach to celebrating their release may seem eccentric to some, the community is probably trying to thwart the rise of WordPress as the latter defeated Drupal as the preferred CMS platform amongst users (despite the fact that WordPress is designed more as a blog than a general website).

It will be interesting to see whether Drupal 7’s release will increase user adoption amongst the masses, although with the community rolling out competitive services (like Drupal Gardens and Acquia Hosting), 2011 could be the year that Drupal finally gets its groove back.

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Promoted Blogs For Tumblr: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?

TumblrDespite receiving a large amount of investment funds, media attention and massive traffic (which resulted in a major outage earlier), Tumblr has for the most part focused on growth rather than formulating a business plan.

However after a Tumblr employee revealed the companies plans on helping users find relevant sites, some are wondering whether the company will consider advertising via promoted blogs (sort of like Twitter’s promoted tweets) in order to help bring in more revenue for the micro blogging platform.

This is pretty cool in and of itself, but something tells us this might be the start of a new advertising play from Tumblr. After all, the Tumblr blogs that are highlighted in these channels are going to get a slew of new followers. And the companies that are increasingly starting Tumblr blogs to market themselves want to get more followers for their Tumblr blogs. So it would make sense for Tumblr to sell some spots in these channels (with all disclosures, of course). (Business Insider)

Even though this idea would help the micro blogging site bring in some revenue (among other ideas), truth be told Tumblr has for the most part avoided advertising of any kind (although users can insert their own ads upon their sites for free).

Currently Tumblr makes most of its revenue through selling premium themes as well as for listings within its blog directory, although the latter users can obtain for free if their sites become popular enough.

While the idea of promoted blogs probably makes sense on paper, it’s still unclear how users would react to marketers attempting to “invade their space” (which could result in a backlash from users).

Either way hopefully the company can find a way to generate some revenue in the not-to-distant future, especially since Tumblr may be one of the few platforms that can actually combat the decline of blogging as a whole.

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December 21, 2010

Facebook Partners With TripAdvisor For “Instant Personalization”

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Trip Advisor Partners With FacebookTripAdvisor today revealed their newest partnership with Facebook, a setup that allows users to receive “Instant Personalization” when visiting the site with an active Facebook account. Using the new system TripAdvisor users can check out their friends’ travel experiences before planning their own trip.

Under the system, users who are already logged into Facebook can view friend’s reviews of various locations, while checking out places their friends visited during their travels. Users are also treated to a “most popular” destinations screen based on their friends cumulative travel information.

Facebook’s Tiffany Change Black explained on the official Facebook blog:

“For example, when you’re researching a location, hotel or restaurant, you’ll see friends’ reviews first, so you can make better vacation decisions” while adding “And if you need some inspiration, the new personalized TripAdvisor home page will now show a world map with all the places friends have said they’ve been using TripAdvisor’s Cities I’ve Visited app. Don’t just look through your friends’ vacation photos on Facebook; get tips from them and go on your own adventure.” read more

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Christmas Comes Early For Squarespace iPad Fans

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After announcing their intentions in June, the much anticipated iPad app for Squarespace has finally arrived! Although similar to its iPhone sibling, the iPad app pacts more features thanks in part to the larger screen size.

The iPad’s extra real estate gave us much more room to breathe and allowed us to pack quite a bit more into the mobile Squarespace experience. If you’ve used Squarespace for the iPhone, you’ll feel right at home with the iPad version. […]

The post editor is now one of the most powerful iOS text editors this side of Pages.  A good portion of the web editor has made it into the iPad app.  Just like in the iPhone version, you can change editing modes (Text, Markdown, Textile, Raw HTML), but now, if you’re in Markdown, Textile, or Raw HTML, you’ll be able to bold text, italicize, mark quotations, insert photos and links, and even set an excerpt!  Plus, you’ll find a very handy pair of undo/redo buttons in the top left. (Official Squarespace Blog)

If it were not for the lack of video uploading (which the WordPress iOS app has), I’d say that Squarespace has probably produced the best app for mobile blogging on the iPad, one that allows bloggers to easily create and edit content without having to fire up the notebook.

Squarespace’s embrace of the iPad is long overdue, and thus far this makes them the fourth company to officially embrace the device (as WordPress, LiveJournal and LiveDoor from Japan have launched official apps upon the iPad).

With the iPad not available to the masses, we may see the company finally focus on creating an Android app in order to help Squarespace compete against rival platforms.

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Twitter Assimilates Fluther

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Twitter has just announced that they have acquired the engineering talent behind Fluther, which is a Q & A service run by a small team of engineers.

Unlike a few previous companies Twitter has assimilated however, the company has decided to keep the lights for the Fluther website.

Today, we’re adding four engineers and one designer through our acquisition of the team at Fluther, Inc. During our conversations with Fluther’s team, we were continually impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and much of the thinking behind the question-and-answer product they’ve spent the last couple of years building.

When the Fluther team joins us they will focus on helping users discover the most relevant content on Twitter. Their product, Fluther.com, is not part of the acquisition and will remain separate from Twitter. (Official Twitter Blog)

Taking a cue from Facebook (who previously bought Friendfeed), Twitter will be allowing the service to continue, although the Fluther team has stated that users should not expect to see any more updates to the service in the future.

While Twitter’s social follow has been very useful in finding new people to follow, locating interesting tweets outside of Twitter trends has been underwhelming at best (at least for this author).

Helping users find more relevant content could help the service not only attract more users (especially in the US), but also help Twitter catch up to Facebook (who currently boasts over 500 million users).

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December 20, 2010

Blogger.com To Rivals: How Do You Spell Perfection?

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Regardless of whether you love Google’s publishing platform or prefer another service, the results apparently speak for themselves.

After testing 5 major blogging services, Blogger not only defeated rivals like WP.com, Typepad and the ever popular Tumblr, but also was the only service to boast a perfect uptime.

The winner was without a doubt Google’s Blogger. The Blogger blogs didn’t have any downtime whatsoever during the two months we monitored them, followed by WordPress.com which had very little downtime. Typepad deserves an honorable mention here as well. Posterous had somewhat mixed results, but overall receives a passing grade. Tumblr was the only service in the test that truly failed. (Royal Pingdom)

WordPress.com came in second, followed by Typepad, Posterous and Tumblr (the latter who received a failing grade due to their recent downtime).

According to Pingdom tests, Posterous apparently is having trouble with fans using custom domains, as the those blogs not only loaded much slower than sites underneath the corporate sub-domain, but also timed out much more frequently.

The perfect uptime of Blogger is a testament to the engineers behind Blogspot, who have in the past fought against DDoS attacks as well trying to provide enough resources to scale the platform (as Blogger has yet to be dethroned by rivals like WordPress.com and Tumblr).

Google is already celebrating the news which could help the company convince Google App users to adopt Blogger as their preferred publishing platform instead of choosing to self host their blog (or even select one of their competitors).

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Amazon Exec Scooped Up By Groupon, Speculation Begins

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Jason ChildWhat do you do after turning down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google? If you’re the Groupon team you head out and hire Jason Child, a former Amazon financial executive

Over the last several months rumors have surfaced that Groupon would go public and with the man behind $14 billion worth of Amazon sales at the helm of the company those rumors may in fact be correct.  Child handled that cash most recently as Amazon’s VP of finance.

Child also served as Amazon’s director of investor relationship and VP of finance for the Asian market.

Regardless of the reason for Groupon’s new hire, we can probably expect some type of financing to com Groupons way, either in the way of an IPO or big rounds of investor funding.  Also with Groupon acquiring several competitors in Europe and Asia over the last several months, Child’s experience in those regions could help grow the company’s reach in those regions.

What do you think about the acquisition of Jason Child from Amazon?

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Foursquare iPhone App Now With Photos And Commenting

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Foursquare Photo and Comments - iPhoneFoursquare, the popular location based check-in service today announced the addition of photos and commenting capabilities for their iPhone application.

Using the new option you can now check-in at your location and attach a photo to that check-in place of origin. You can then add comments to your check-ins or to the check-in locations of your friends, creating for a more social experience.

The photo option will provide a prompt to add a picture as you use the service, much in the same way you are asked if you would like to add a “shout.” Foursquare users can also choose to add a photo after they check-in which is then added to that check-in details page, the same page where your check-in comments are hosted.

Your photos, just like your check-in locations will only be available to those you choose to share them with, such as your Foursquare friends or social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc). Comments on the other hand are only viewable and active for your Foursquare friend base which will help eliminate spam worries. read more

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Take Advantage of Creative Bursts When You Blog

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So often we hear that bloggers should write every day in order to keep up their blogging momentum. The idea is that writing posts every day trains your mind to be active, so that way you can fight off writer’s block whenever it hits you. It really is a good idea. Lots of novelists swear by it and write every day. How do you think Stephen King has written so many books?

But what if this process doesn’t even work for you? What if, no matter how often you try to get your writing done every day, you just can’t do it? If that’s the case, then you might be someone who needs to get all of the writing done at once to take advantage of when inspiration hits you. You might be a blogger who tries to write the majority of your content all at once, so that way you can focus on other blog-related duties when you can’t write. In other words, always have a chunk of time set aside for your writing and try to create enough content for some solid pillar posts for the week. read more

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