Social Networking And Privacy Concerns

Posted by Unknown | April 26, 2010 |


The recent developments across the social networking big-wigs, Twitter and Facebook have called for more caution on the part of users. As Twitter sets to make its vast pool of data available for third parties and its API made accessible to developers, also working on Analytical products for advertisers, what place does users privacy occupy in the present scheme of things?

In the same vain Facebook earlier last week introduced 'Open Graph' - a platform enabling the social networking site and other websites to mesh users information and automatically personalize it for public experience. The Open Graph API enables Facebook and its participating sites to blend their respective users social graph to customize their site experience for individual visitors. And users are opted-in to the social sharing service by default.

The partnership driven service automatically enables a personal and social experience on certain external web-portals. When Facebook users for instance, visits a participating site, the partner website can use the public information available for that user, which includes name, gender, occupation and pictures.

Granting access to raw users data is perhaps not without perils, given the growing concern on privacy issues online. And as such many users will definitely not wish to have their informations publicly disclosed.

The following steps, however, will stem the extent to which your information is made available: Go to> Applications and Websites Privacy settings on Facebook, check for the option 'instant personalization' at the bottom of the page, uncheck 'Allow' box, and then confirm you want to opt-out. Also ensure you effect same changes to what your friends can share about you.

In conclusion, the web have indeed shifted focus to a more connected social hub, where users with real identity occupy the center stage - quoting Zuckerberg, however, failing to quantify and identify the security implications.

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Facebook: Connected Profiles And Pages

Posted by Unknown | April 20, 2010 |


As if treading the path of collective-information sharing pioneered by Wikipedia - Facebook have announced two new features to its social networking services, Community pages and connected profiles service, according to its official blog post on Monday.


The new features aim to linking profiles to pages of interest and affiliation, with profiles now serving as a map of users interests. The service according to the blog report will initially run by displaying information gathered from Wikipedia, with users subsequently contributing to the service information.

The Community pages feature will serve as a shared knowledge base - page dedicated to topics or experiences that are owned collectively by the community connected to it. Facebook users will be able to learn more about a given topic of interest or experience, as in the instance of cooking or learning a new language. They can also connect to community pages of their school or location based on the interests they entered in their profiles.

How Facebook intends to scale through the massive information generated by users to arrive at an individually suitable and useful contents remain an illusive task. However, given the possibility of tremendous world information locked-up in Facebook, such a drive into accessing and harnessing them becomes impeccable.

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Gmail: Drag And Drop Attachments

Posted by Unknown | April 16, 2010 |

Gmail users finding it hard to attach files through the traditional upload system now have something to cheer about as a new easy file attachment feature termed 'drag and drop' has been launched for the email service. According to a report by the official Gmail blog on Thursday, the new service allow users to drag files from desktop and drop direct into their email messages.

The procedure involves dragging a file from hard drive or any open application into a green box within the compose menu, the service then uploads it in the message background. It tends to follow the same pattern as the system implemented in Google Wave service for images and other medias.

The drag and drop attachments feature, however, is restricted to users running Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox for now, with a later extensions to other browsers as soon as they can support the feature.

Mozilla Firefox users with pre-installed Mozilla Prism who are running Gmail as a stand-alone desktop app gets a whole new functionality, serving as a whole new software. The feature makes file attachments easier and more integrated into the Gmail calendar service.

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Twitter: Now Tweet Ads

Posted by Unknown | April 14, 2010 |

Following an early Tuesday morning announcement on the Twitter blog, the micro-blogging company have commenced displaying ads in its search result page - which service it terms 'Promoted Tweets.' The company co-founder, Biz Stone, iterated the company's value as an open and free information exchange opportunity for individuals and companies as against mere monetization.


How users will react to this rather protracted announcement remains a-million-dollar question. Albeit, late Monday commentaries showed mixed grill reactions - disappointments, surprises and rather unnoticed feelings across several early-bird blogs.

However, Biz, added that the ad program will be rolled out gradually and currently restricted on the top Twitter search result page. And only one promoted tweet will be found in a search page and clearly labelled.

On-the-other hand, third-party app developers, who over the years have been working on Ads serve applications for the service - had felt abandoned, given Twitter's official commissioning of BlackBerry app and iPhone app Tweetie.

Twitter aims to delivering ads relevant, resonant and useful to users by the service. And detail information on the program will be made available later today at the Chirp, Twitter Developer Conference at San Francisco.

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Google Search Site Ranking By Speed

Posted by Unknown | April 10, 2010 |


Coming as no surprise, Google Webmaster Central blog on Friday announced the introduction of a new signal in Google search algorithm - Website Speed. In line with Google's philosophy - the faster the better, website loading speed reflects how quick it responds to query.

Real-time contents streaming has called for increased demand for site speed - and generally, a variety of free speed evaluation tools have been afforded to check and improve on site performance. Such free speed evaluation tools includes: YSlow - site speed evaluator from Yahoo, and Firefox/Firebug add-on called Page Speed. Also, the site performance log thats part of the Google Webmaster Tools labs.

Webmasters on-the-other hand have been called upon to avail themselves of these free tools to improve on the speed of their websites. As failure to optimize site speed will inevitably results poor ranking on Google search.

However, Google was quick to add that the speed signal does not carry as much value as the relevance of a page, stating that only 1% of search queries are affected by the site signal in the current implementation and that the speed signal only apply for search queries in English on Google.com.

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Google Research: Machine Learning System

Posted by Unknown | April 07, 2010 | ,

Google's effort to scale massive data set, an approach to design a highly scalable learning system statistically on a small training set, solving what it called a 'hard predictions problem' which idea it conceived several years ago is back-in-project according to it official Google Research blog post on Tuesday.

The project is code-named 'Seti' on the notion that it searches for signal in a large space. It's set to scale massive data, which helps in information retrieval and machine translation - improving translation algorithms and semantic understanding.

The system is typically employed in places where machine learning will provide significant improvement in accuracy over the existing system.

It is perhaps less academically interesting to design an algorithm that is slightly worse in accuracy, but that has greater ease of use and system reliability stated Google. However, it's useful in places where there is a good chance of significantly improving predictive accuracy over the incumbent system.

Machine learning on the other hand remains an interesting area of research, as it can be applied to several real world problems comparable to modern classifiers.

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Mozilla have announced an update process for stability and security issues with its browser, according to the Mozilla developer center blog post on Thursday. And thereby have made Firefox 3.6.3 available as a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux. The vulnerability - a memory corruption flaw, that could allow a remote attacker run an arbitrary code on a PC.

The release note has it that the flaw does not affect earlier versions of the browser, however, Mozilla had advised users of older version to upgrade, and recommending that all users should get this latest release.

And users already running Firefox version 3.6 will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours.

The list of changes to the new version have been made available here. Also, the major fix in the memory corruption reported by security researcher Nils of MWR InfoSecurity at the 2010 Pwn20wn contest last month.

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