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Facebook on Top of App Sales

October 7, 2015

While Facebook is a common social media tool and it does not make headlines as much as it used to, except when it added the new GIF function and angers users by rearranging its options, it now has something even more exciting to shout about.  Business Insider reported that, “Facebook’s WhatsApp Hits Another Major Milestone” with a messaging app that it bought back in 2014.

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion and since its purchase its growth has exploded.  There are now nine hundred million active users and it could jump to one billion by the end of the year.  Compared to its competitors Viber and WeChat, however, is not bringing in much profit.  Zuckerberg has plans for WhatsApp and has asked his investors to be patience.  He wants WhatsApp to be a “natural place for people to communicate with businesses.”

” ‘The long-term bet is that by enabling people to have good organic interactions with businesses, that will end up being a massive multiplier on the value of the monetization down the road, when we really work on that, and really focus on that in a bigger way,’ Zuckerberg said.”

Zuckerberg knows what he is doing.  He is setting up a messenger platform that people trust, enjoy, and is popular.  When you have access to nine hundred million active users and want to grow it to one billion, there are definitely plans to monetize it.  We just have to wait.

Whitney Grace, October 7, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Share by from StoryCloud Reigns in Control of Online Content by Content Creator

October 1, 2015

The article titled Permission Based Publishing Lets Users Keep Control of Content on Beta News describes an innovative approach to allowing online content publishers a tighter grip on how their content is disbursed. StoryCloud, the permission-based publishing provider of Share By, explains the myriad potential uses for their platform, from teachers measuring a class’s understanding of the homework assignment to a musical group sharing a song with specific subscribers. The article explains how the platform functions,

“By using permission-based technology that is tightly integrated with social networking, analytics and ecommerce, Share By allows content providers to easily determine who sees their content, when, and from what location. Other permissions include duration, view or download limits and scheduling time periods for sharing and the devices that are permitted. Once content providers upload content to StoryCloud and determine permissions, they receive a unique URL which can be shared with any online audience, including Facebook and Twitter.”

Beyond the privacy and control aspects of Share By, there is also the ability to graphically analyze the content they have released online. For most individuals, this might just mean checking in on who really spent time consuming the content, but for companies it means monetization. They can charge per viewing and offer subscriptions without worrying about people getting the content without consent.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 01, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Bing Snapshots for In-App Searches

September 9, 2015

Developers have a new tool for incorporating search data directly into apps, we learn in “Bing Snapshots First to Bring Advanced In-App Search to Users” at Search Engine Watch. Apparently Google announced a similar feature, Google Now on Tap, earlier this year, but Microsoft’s Bing has beaten them to the consumer market. Of course, part of Snapshot’s goal is to keep users from wandering out of “Microsoft territory,” but many users are sure to appreciate the convenience nevertheless. Reporter Mike O’Brien writes:

“With Bing Snapshots, developers will be able to incorporate all of the search engine’s information into their apps, allowing users to perform searches in context without navigating outside. For example, a friend could mention a restaurant on Facebook Messenger. When you long-press the Home button, Bing will analyze the contents of the screen and bring up a snapshot of a restaurant, with actionable information, such as the restaurant’s official website and Yelp reviews, as well Uber.”

Bing officials are excited about the development (and, perhaps, scoring a perceived win over Google), declaring this the start of a promising relationship with developers. The article continues:

“Beyond making sure Snapshots got a headstart over Google Now on Tap, Bing is also able to stand out by becoming the first search engine to make its knowledge graph available to developers. That will happen this fall, though some APIs are already available on the company’s online developer center. Bing is currently giving potential users sneak peeks on its Android app.”

Hmm, that’s a tad ironic. I look forward to seeing how Google positions the launch of Google Now on Tap when the time comes.

Cynthia Murrell, September 9, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Facebook One Billion. Google Plus Not So Much

September 3, 2015

Alphabet Google can spell dominance. The problem is that in the social media department, spelling is not the same as doing. Navigate to the Zuck’s post here. Here’s the social media reality:

We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day.

The Alphabet Google thing is likely to point out that it has more users every day. So there.

Stephen E Arnold, September 3, 2015

Sysomos Partners Up with DataSift

August 31, 2015

I read “Sysomos Announces Partnership With DataSift.” The article said:

Sysomos’ social listening and analytics products—MAP and Heartbeat—will soon include the addition of the social networking behemoth’s data. With that social data, those tools will attempt to provide marketers insights into what audiences are engaged by and sharing on Facebook about events, brands, subjects, and activities.

A useful factoid in the article pegs Facebook’s user population at 1.4 billion people. Half of this social pool of relationship sharks checks Facebook each day.

Much data. Many ad opportunities.

Stephen E Arnold, August 31, 2015

Google Admits to Being a Copycat

August 28, 2015

In elementary school one of the biggest insults a child could throw a their fellow classmate was the slur “copycat.”  All children want to create original work, but when they feel their skills are subpar the work of another student their feel is superior.  Tossing in the old adage that “copying is the sincerest form of flattery” gives way to arguments about patents, theft, and even time outs for those involved.  The Techdirt podcast discussed copying in a recent episode and how big tech companies simply copy the ideas of their rivals and put their on name on it.  The biggest copycat they could find was Google: “The Failure of Google Plus Should Be A Reminder That Big Companies Very Rarely Successfully ‘Copy’ Startups.”

Techdirt points out the fallacy with big companies trying to steal the little startup’s idea:

“As we’ve discussed, in the rare cases when “copying” succeeds, it’s because the second company doesn’t really copy, but actually comes up with a better product, which is something we should celebrate. When they just copy, they tend to only be able to copy the superficial aspects of what they see, rather than all the underlying tacit thinking that makes a product good.”

The article discusses how Google finally admitted that Google Plus was a copy of Facebook, because they search mogul was fearful of losing profit, users, and Web traffic.  The biggest problem that Google Plus had was that it was “forced” on people, like the Star Trek Borg assimilating unsuspecting planets.  Okay, maybe that is a bit of a drastic comparison, but startups are still fearful of their ideas being assimilated by the bigger companies.  This is when the patent topic comes in and whether or not to register for one.

There is good news for startups: “if a startup is doing something really amazing and innovative that people actually want, you can almost always guarantee that (1) the big companies will totally miss the boat for way too long and (2) once they finally wake up, be clumsy and ridiculous in their attempts to copy.”

Also Techdirt sums everything up in an eloquent paragraph that explains the logic in this argument:

“People think it’s easy to copy because copying seems like it should be easy. But it’s not. You can only copy the parts you can see, which leaves out an awful lot of understanding and tacit knowledge hidden beneath the surface. It also leaves out all the knowledge of what doesn’t work that the originator has. And, finally, it ignores the competing interests within a larger business that make it much harder for those companies to innovate.”

In other words, do not worry about Borg assimilation if your startup has a good idea, but do be on the defensive and arm yourself with good weapons.

Whitney Grace, August 28, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Facebook and the Young at Heart Spells Trouble for Alphabet

August 26, 2015

Poor old Google. Imagine. Hassles with Google Now. Grousing from the no fun crowd in the European Commission. A new contact lens business. Exciting stuff.

Then the Googlers read “Facebook’s New Moments App Now Automatically Creates Music Videos From Your Photos.” The idea is that one or two of the half billion Facebookers who check their status multiple times a day can make a movie video automatically.

Sounds good.

But instead of doing the professional video production thing, the video is created from the one’s shared photos.

I wonder how many of the young at heart will whip up and suck down videos of [a] children, [b] pets, [c] vacations, [d] tattoos (well, maybe not too many tattoos).

The idea is

With the update, Facebook Moments will automatically create a music video for any grouping of six or more photos. You can then tap this video in the app to customize it further by changing the included photos and selecting from about a dozen different background music options. When you’re finished making your optional edits to this video, one more tap will share the video directly to Facebook and tag the friend or friends with whom you’re already sharing those photos. The option to automatically create a video from your shared photos also makes Facebook Moments competitive with similar services like Flipagram, or those automatically created animations that Google Photos provides through its “Assistant” feature, which also helpfully builds out stories and collages.

Google may apply its Thought Vector research to the problem. The question is will Alphabet be able to spell success from its social services. Why would a grandmother care about a music video of a grandchild when there were Thought Vectors, Loon balloons, and eternal life to ponder?

Stephen E Arnold, August 26, 2015

Facebook and News: Should Google Worry?

August 20, 2015

I read “Facebook Has Taken Over from Google As a Traffic Source for news.” In my experience, data about online traffic can be a slippery fish. What’s a unique? Is a visitor a human or a software script? Did the log file overwrite itself? Did the administrator dutifully make copies of log files just in the off chance that one of those FAA super redundant computers finds a way to crash?

Now to the write up. Here’s the passage I highlighted:

according to new numbers from the traffic-analytics service, Facebook is no longer just vying with Google but has overtaken it by a significant amount.’s chief technical officer Andrew Montalenti said in an interview with Fortune that the company’s latest estimates show that social-media sources (of which Facebook is by far the largest) accounted for about 43% of the traffic to the network of media sites, while Google accounted for just 38%.

Let’s assume that these data points are accurate?

Google’s revenue is the golden goose which continues to lay eggs like Loon balloons, self driving cars, and solving death. If Facebook continues to siphon traffic and, therefore, revenue from Google, excitement will ensue.

Stephen E Arnold, August 20, 2015

Facebook Number One Security Compromiser         

August 18, 2015

While Facebook is a good way for a company to engage with clients and even “humanize” the business, according to Zerofox’s article, “Cisco: Facebook Scams Are Attackers’ #1 Choice For Breaches” Facebook is the number way for a criminal to learn about organization and hack into its system.  Cisco conducted a 2015 Midyear Security Report that researches how cyber criminals are exploiting social media to their own advantage.

The article describes potential targets as easy and click-happy:

Facebook’s 1.49 billion monthly active users make it the world’s largest nation-state, used by 70% of American each day. It is, for better or worse, a nation without borders. Adversaries exploit the social media giant for its sheer size and trusted nature, making it the medium of choice for both inexperienced and sophisticated network hackers alike. For the adversary, the barriers to entry have never been lower, and the targets have never been more trusting and click-happy.”

Other security organizations confirm the findings and some of it comes from people simply being too trusting such as accepting friend requests from unfamiliar people.  McAfee discovered that employees became cybercrime victims on social media over other business applications.

While Facebook might be the number one platform to attract criminals.  Twitter is used to attack government organizations and other popular platforms are also dealing with loads of fake profiles.  It does not come as a surprise, considering Facebook is now the “Walt-Mart” of social media information.  What types of scams are people falling victim too?  Is it just stolen passwords and information or are they giving their personal information away?

Whitney Grace, August 18, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

A Call for More Friendly Enterprise Search Results

August 10, 2015

An idea from ClearBox Consulting would bring enterprise search results in line with today’s online searches. The company’s blog asserts, “Enterprise Search? We Need Some Answers on a Card.” Writer  Sam Marshall likes the way Google now succinctly presents key information about a user’s query in a “card” at the top of the results page, ahead of the old-school list of relevant links. For example, he writes:

“Imagine you want to know the time of the next train between two cities. When you type this into Google, the first hit isn’t a link to a site but a card like the one below. It not only gives the times but also useful additional information: a map, trip duration, and tabs for walking, driving, and cycling. Enterprise search isn’t like this. The same query on an intranet gives the equivalent of a link to a PDF containing the timetable for the whole region. It’s like saying ‘here’s the book, look it up yourself’. This is not only a poor user experience for the employee, but a direct cost to the employer in wasted time. I’d like to see enterprise search move away from results pages of links to providing pages of answers too, and cards are a powerful way of doing this.”

Marshall emphasizes some advantage of the card approach: the most important information is right there, separated from related but irrelevant data; cards work better on mobile devices; and cards are user-friendly. Besides, he notes, since this format is now popular with sites from Facebook to Twitter, users are becoming familiar with them.

The card concept could be enhanced, Marshall continues, by personalizing results to the individual—tapping into employee profiles or even GPS data. For more information, see the article; it utilizes a hypothetical  query about paternity leave to well-illustrate its point. Though enterprise search is not exactly known for living on the cutting edge of technology, developers would be foolish not to incorporate this (or a similar) efficient format.

Cynthia Murrell, August 10, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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