Foursquare over the weekend revoked API right for “Girls Around Me” a social app that allowed visitors to find girls who were within their vicinity.
The app would use Foursquare and Facebook location information to determine the sex of a mobile user and then list any personal information that person made available which was overlaid on a map.
After the app was discovered by John Brownlee at Cult of Mac it went viral however critics soon worried that the app would be used by predators.
While none of the information that was pulled from the Foursquare API violated any terms of service the company chose to proactively remove the program in order to protect female Foursquare users. The issue of morally questionable content has been highlighted in various cases lately, most recently by Tumblr which chose to remove self-harm blogs from its platform.
Apple also apparently felt strongly about the “Girls Around Me” application, removing the program from the Apple App store just hours after the developer lost access to the Foursquare API, of course at that point the application was already useless since it couldn’t pull the location information needed to operate. read more
However, privacy is a very thorny issue, even more so than most areas of law online. The reason is that much of what we think of as privacy law is actually decided on a state level, meaning in the U.S. alone there is effectively 50 interpretations of privacy law. This says nothing, obviously, about the international implications.
So, no matter what you think of the new Facebook features and tools, it’s important to be aware of the potential legal and ethical implications of using them and, to that end, it’s worth taking another look at privacy. read more
Google is finally letting developers take advantage of the Google+ social networking system, company officials on Thursday revealed the first APIs for the platform.
The API information will be used in the creation of apps and for integrating the social network into existing applications.
In a Google+ post Google Developer Chris Chabot said of the move:
“I’m super excited about how the Google+ project brings the richness and nuance of real-life sharing to software, and today we’re announcing our first step toward bringing this to your apps as well by launching the Google+ public data APIs.”
At this time the API offering only provides users with public data, allowing users to retrieve public posts and public profile data, but not allowing them to send information to the network. read more
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on Thursday posted a message to Twitter developers, asking them to provide “candid feedback” about the creation of the company’s next generation Twitter API’s and tools.
The move comes after Twitter has been on the prowl against developers, oftentimes shutting them out in an attempt to gain control of their own product base, including the blocking of third-party ads from streams.
In his letter Dorsey says developers have been a key part of the company’s success and ensured them that Twitter will be providing them with the ‘structure, tools, resources and support’ that they need to build their applications for the Twitter platform.
Developers can start discussions in a thread in the Discussions group that will allow developers to share ideas with the entire Twitter team.
Here’s what Dorsey had to say about the future of Twitter, specifically within the iOS system: read more
Though a number of mobile Twitter clients have been able to add their own level of geographical information to tweets, Twitter has now officially added geotagging capability to its API (Application Programming Interface).
It doesn’t change how the web interface works, but given that many mobile users (where geotagging is most useful) will use third-party clients, this isn’t much of a problem. read more
Do we really need yet another URL shortener service? I guess we do, if nothing else but to get even shorter URLs for our slightly compulsive microblog link pushing. The most recent one is to.ly, created by Jonas Lejon, who also did the Twitter backup service. So why did he venture into URL shortening? Aren’t the competition good enough?
I’ve got so many crazy ideas about what is possible to do with an URL shortening service and I needed to use one for my projects. Also, I couldn’t find any PHP code examples on any of the popular services.
While this could be seen as another day-in-the-life update, the warning came with an interesting twist:
Do note that while we are recommending users move away from Adobe Reader, we are not recommending any particular replacement.
…Instead, we recommend users to find their own Adobe Reader replacement.
This way we get more heterogeneous userbase, which is a good idea security-wise. Nobody wants to repeat what happened with the great IE —> Firefox switch. As 40% of users switched to Firefox, about 40% of the attacks switched to target Firefox.
Monocultures are bad.
In the new world of online social, more and more people using the same tools, putting us all at risk as hackers and attackers move towards the natural migration of popularity. Monocultures are bad as they open the door to mass risks. read more
12seconds.tv is something of a Twitter for video. The site lets you share videos of up to 12 seconds length, which by itself is something of a challenge. Personally, I’m not convinced, I just don’t see why I should use the service.