Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Facebook Experimenting With “Reply” Button On Comments
Facebook is experimenting with a reply option for comments posted to Timeline. The move would make it much easier for users to respond to individual comments left on wall posts. The news comes as Facebook is also testing a new alert notification that emits a ping sound when someone writes on your Timeline, sends you a message or invites you to an event.
Pinterest Introduces Secret Boards
This week, Pinterest introduced a “secret boards” feature which limits the visibility of pinned items only to the creator and any collaborators they might invite. Private boards may be switched from on to off one time before it becomes permanent. The major drawback is that you can’t hide existing boards because others may have already repinned from it. When you add a pin to a secret board – it won’t show up anywhere on Pinterest.
Foursquare Gives Locations a New Kind of Rating
Foursquare has launched a new ratings system to help users make better decisions about the locations they visit and give their business to. The company is now attaching a number score to locations when you find them in the Explore tab. When you are browsing, each location will show a number between one and ten. That number is an indicator of “how much people love it,” according to Foursquare. Foursquare hasn’t revealed the exact algorithm for how they get to those numbers, but we do know that it’s a combination of tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, etc. from the nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people using the platform.
Facebook’s iPhone App Lets You Send Real-World Gifts
From the Events section of the iOS app, you can view friends who have upcoming birthdays in addition to upcoming events on your Facebook calendar. You can now send a real-orld gift, by tapping the gift icon beside his or her name. Facebook offers a number of real-world gifts that you can send or you can let your friend choose. You can send a virtual card, which you can select from several choices and personalize with with a message.
Twitter Prepares to Launch Promoted Products in the Middle East
Twitter is looking to ramp up its revenue efforts in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). Twitter will localize and target its Promoted Products in Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. MENA is one of the fastest growing Twitter regions and the product launches in this area will help Twitter expand their revenue capabilities here.
Facebook is Lobbying Europe on Unreasonable Privacy Reform
The European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU Data Protection law, which would come into effect in the next few years. The proposal was unveiled back in January by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. A large plank of the strategy is aimed at giving EU citizens more control over their data, including granting people the right to have data companies and organizations hold on them deleted on request (aka “right to be forgotten”), and a right to have their data ported to another service. Data holders must also notify users of serious data breaches within 24-hours. The new rules will apply to companies processing EU citizen data, even if the company does not operate inside Europe. Violators of the new rules could face hefty fines. Facebook would be the main target of such a proposal and have been lobbying the Commission on key portions. Facebook has a team of lobbyists based in Brussels to try and sway the Commission to do away with items including the “right to be forgotten,” clause. Facebook has of course built their entire business around remember users and their data. Commissioner Reding hinted that she is unlikely to be swayed by Facebook (and Google) lobbying efforts.
China Blocks Google.com
The Chinese government has blocked Google.com, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Google Drive, and many other Google services as the Communist Party of China holds the 18th Party Congress. The latest censorship is part of a long term dispute between Google and the Chinese government going on for years. Subdomains with Google.com have all been blocked which means that websites including the search engine are not accessible. Not even an outside DNS server will help. Chinese Netizens can however find ways around the block by using a VPN or other circumvention tool. You can still access other domains for Google that do not have “.com” including www.google.co.uk. Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website. If Google stays blocked, many more people in China will become aware of the extend of the censorship there. It is unclear if the move is temporary or not. They could reinstate access after the congress is over.
A Photographer’s Journey Ties Travel Images to Real-World Exhibition – Curated on Facebook
Le Meridien and Air France recently launched an innovative Facebook promotion that pairs travel lust with Facebook “likes.” The promotion, titled “A Photographers’s Journey,” follows international photographer Jimmy Corhssen on a one month, ten flight journey around the world. Jimmy visited Tahiti, Bora Bora, Shanghai, Istanbul and Paris, snapping vivid images to capture the travel imagination. The best part of the campaign was the integration between the online world and off. Facebook users are encouraged to “like” Air France and Le Meridien and participate in a 3-week voting process for their favorite images across three themes: Style, Voyage and Art de Vivre. Users can vote on up to 10 photos under each weekly theme. The most popular photos are curated into an offline traveling exhibition, premiering in NYC on December 11. The images inspire travel lust as well as integrate both Air France and Le Meridien. The Facebook application encourages social sharing and allows users to enter to win a trip to one of the locations visited by the photographer.
NBCUniversal and AmEx Join Forces for Mobile Shopping/TV Mashup
NBCUniversal and American Express have announced a strategic alliance that allows consumers to purchase products “inspired by” NBCUniversal programs directly from a mobile device, while the show is airing. Early plans are for NBCUniversal’s DailyCandy.com, to curate a list of exclusive products inspired by Bravo’s “Life After Top Chef,” E!’s “Fashion Police,” and Style’s “Tia & Tamara.” The program will use zeebox, the companion TV viewing app to provide two-screen technology that combines television and social media with commerce. Within the zeebox app, NBC viewers will get information on how to buy in-show inspired items. Plans are for each participating show to have their own page tailored to reflect its style – meaning there will be content (games, trivia, fun facts, etc.) surrounding each show in addition to purchase opportunities. The campaign includes a series of 30-second custom vignettes that will run on-air beginning this week. American Express will give card members a one-time $35 credit when they make a purchase with an AmEx card, which needs to be synced with Facebook and/or Twitter to be eligible.