Tag Archives: facebook

Are you in the Google+ circle?

The current times might be a watershed moment in the social media world, not just in Pakistan but all around the globe. The company that may or may not cause this revolution is Google.

In the past, Google has eliminated whatever competition came in its path of it’s search engine to the extent that “Google it” has replaced “search for it” in our vocabulary. It did the same when it integrated photos via Picasa and documents via Google Docs.

It has however not been able to make a place for itself in the social networking world but then the company’s only attempt was the half-baked Google Buzz. Now, Google has decided to take on the giants with its latest project Google+, a complete social networking stream and site, the likes of which we have never seen before.

Although it is closed for the general public right now, I received an invitation to check out its Beta version.

So, what is the difference between Google+ and Facebook? I think we can limit this down to three broad areas:

1. Google+ Hands on and Circles

The basic content stream may look Facebook-ish, but the approach is entirely different under the hood. First of all, instead of categories among friends we have ‘circles.’ You can add and subtract your contacts to these circles.

What is really cool is how you can target different circles and share different content streams with them without going crazy with privacy settings ala Facebook. For instance you can say “I hate you all” in a status update and share it with a circle called ‘losers’ – very streamlined.

The ‘like’ button has been replaced by the ‘plus one’ button and there is a separate box aggregating this in your profile as a ‘brag it’ badge.You can add the usual pictures, videos and all that jazz to any content stream and they show up in a much wider space as well – so less scrolling, more ogling.

2. Hangout

Not being satisfied with taking Facebook on, the brains behind G+ have thrown a challenge at Skype as well.

This feature is not available everywhere in Pakistan at the moment (do we have to wonder why?) but will involve your name showing as online and ready to “hang” if allowed. Through this an audio/video conference can be initiated between the parties. Don’t ask me how I tested this but I found it very fast and streamlined.

The feature also offers YouTube integration, letting users collaboratively watch videos and create running commentaries in the chat, or verbally using the new Google Voice Search technology. Imagine live cricket match replays on it – with all of your friends.

3. Huddle

To me, the best feature of the new G+ social network is its ability to cross platform chat. Yes, Facebook has its chat but then that’s just plain annoying and this module is very similar to Gtalk and even faster in its mobile version which is available in the G+ app for android. So, as soon as it’s available for Nokia, Blackberry and iPhone, we can say “bye bye” to Whatsapp and that cave to cave… umm… Blackberry to Blackberry network known as BBM.

Facebook, Skype keep Japanese citizens in touch

Facebook, Skype, and Twitter are proving to be the best way for people living in Japan to communicate as the nation struggles to deal with the effects of a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake in northern Japan and subsequent tsunami.  At least 300 people have died in the disaster so far and there are more than 500 people missing.

Telephone networks were extremely congested so carriers like NTT DoCoMo are severely restricting incoming voice calls, particularly in the northeast which was hit by tsunami waves that reached 30 feet (10 meters) in height.  Subscribers say they have been able to  contact friends and family using DoCoMo, but not on other networks.  Residents say they can’t send text messages or make voice calls.  Carriers like Au and Softbank were also affected by the disaster.  NTT DoCoMo restricted its incoming telephone calls by up to 80 percent.

“Facebook and Skype are proving to be the best ways to stay in touch” said Brian Chapman a journalist living in Tokyo.  Chapman said a lot of people forced to spend hours walking home because subways don’t work can be seen talking on their mobile phones, but there are also long lines for every pay phone that functions.

Simple Photo-taking and Photo-sharing App:Instagram

Instagram, the hottest iPhone startup right now, isn’t complicated or even revolutionary.

It’s a simple photo-taking and photo-sharing app that has taken over Silicon Valley and is filling our Twitter feed with fun, cute photographs.You can get it for free from Apple’s App Store.

What’s it for

First, Instagram is for taking pictures, adding filters to make them look retro, and then for sharing them with sites like Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook.

And second, it’s a simple social network of other people’s photos. You can “like” or comment on the photos, and see what’s new. It’s easy and doesn’t take much time or effort. This is one of the reasons it has become so popular so quickly.

A Photo-Based Social Networking Feed

The idea behind Instagram seems to be less archive-oriented and more feed-oriented. That is, instead of something like Flickr, which acts as a repository for your photo collection, Instagram is an app from which you share the random photos you snap on your phone from day to day. You can add effects, share your photos with your Instagram followers, and even upload them to other networks like Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Facebook. You can even have it check you into Foursquare when you upload a location-enabled photo. It’s actually a pretty neat app, even if you don’t have any friends on it—browsing through the “Popular” feed is entertaining in its own right. Hit the link to check it out.

Instagram is a free download for iOS, and supports cameras on the 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4.

Why Flickr didn’t create Instagram

Specifically, someone asked the question: Why did Flickr miss the mobile photo opportunity that Instagram and picplz are pursuing? The mobile photo space is red-hot right now with several players beyond the two mentioned vying to become a common app on smartphones. And one of them, Instagram, was able to gain over a million users in less than three months. So why wasn’t Flickr, with all the resources of Yahoo behind them, able to dominate this space first?

The simple answer, according to Elliot-McCrea, is “Innovator’s dilemma”. That is, if Flickr had wanted to create a successful service that leveraged Twitter’s social graph, they would have had to sacrifice their own login system for that of Twitter’s — which until more recently was considered very insecure. “The Yahoo! Paranoids would have shut us down in a heart beat,” Elliot-McCrea says.

Finally,you can find me in Instagram @wintbros.

Tumblr can do many, but not all, things well

Wondering what the whole deal with Tumblr is all about?

Part blog, part sharing platform and part social, Tumblr has seen serious growth in 2010.

To give a rundown of the platform, you have a choice of type of post: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio or video. It’s a great multimedia-sharing tool.

Here are a few types of people it would work well for:

VISUAL CREATORS: Photos and images display beautifully in Tumblr. Because Tumblr is also social, it’s easy for a good photo to go viral through sharing with links back to your Tumblr. Downsides: Multiple photos are not as simple to post, unless you want to create a slideshow elsewhere and post.

THOSE WITH A SARCASTIC SENSE OF HUMOR: Tumblr is full of sarcastic niche blogs, such as “hipster puppies” (puppies dressed in hipster garb with snarky subtitles) and “On the Bro’d,” described as “every sentence of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, retold for bros.”

NEWS JUNKIES: Looking for the lighter side? Many large media organizations, including The Atlantic and Newsweek, have Tumblr accounts that link to interesting content, be it theirs or someone else’s.

SOCIAL MEDIA ENTHUSIASTS: You can follow your favorite Tumblr blogs, reblog others’ posts, and easily connect with other social networks.

If you have a longer or more complicated post than is logical for Twitter or Facebook, Tumblr is a good place to post that can automatically link to your social media accounts.

DESIGN SNOBS: Design-wise, it’s a better blog service than WordPress — you have a better choice of templates. However, WordPress handles text better (particularly for long posts) and has great mobile options.

SOME SMALL BUSINESSES: Share a photo of the day of your appetizing food or drink special or pose a question to get feedback from what your customers want. A video explaining a holiday program or special could be easily uploaded, and laid-back office jokes (the ones that can be told in public) can be shared in “chat” format.

But it’s not the best platform for everyone.

If you’re looking for your blog to be the destination and interaction isn’t important to you, Tumblr might not be the platform you want.

If you write long, eloquent posts with little to no visual accompaniment, WordPress would likely be a better fit.