Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Netflix Adds Social Options, Facebook Tie for U.S. Users
Netflix, this week, began offering U.S. subscribers the ability to peer into each others’ digital movie libraries through an expanded partnership with Facebook. Users who opt-in will see two new rows added to their Netflix home page that show friends’ activities, and have the option to post films or television shows to Facebook and comment on them.
Facebook Working on Incorporating a Hashtag
Facebook is working on incorporating one of Twitter’s most iconic markers, the hashtag, into its service by using the symbol as a way to group conversations. Facebook is testing whether to follow Twitter’s lead and allow users to click on a hashtag to pull up all post about similar topics or events so it can quickly index conversations around trending topics.
Google Reader is Dead
Google Reader, the eight-year-old RSS reader that became an industry standard, is being shut down permanently. Statement from Google: “We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.” The news has disappointed many loyal users who have organized an online petition to save the tool – which currently has over 100,000 signatures.
YouTube One Channel Now Open For Everyone
YouTube has opened up its new design for channels to all users. The YouTube One Channel, as it’s called, gives users the ability to add a big header (Channel Art) on top of their channels and have a video trailer which starts playing for all visitors who haven’t yet subscribed. Users can also better organize their playlists and videos, having more control over what content subscribers see.
FTC Updates Truth In Advertising Disclosures
The Federal Trade Commission updated dot-com disclosure guides recommend that marketers clearly and conspicuously disclose all terms, conditions and disclaimers to consumers – including those who access on small mobile screens. Full disclosures also need to be included in Tweets, with the FTC recommending advertisers include ‘Ad’ in the beginning of a tweet to signal to consumers that the message is a paid endorsement. Read through the entire policy here.
Germany’s New Copyright Bill Allows Google To Publish Small News Excerpts
Google has won a copyright battle in Europe after Germany approved a watered-down version of the copyright bill which would make search engines like Google provide excerpts of newspapers articles without paying any charge. The new law will allow Google to publish small bits of text from news stories in search results. Google’s victory comes after the persistent lobbying that included a campaign against the proposed German copyright law. Search engines will have to pay a fee if they publish longer versions of news articles.
UNICEF Transforms Facebook Profiles To Raise Money for Clean Water
The UNICEF Tap Project has turned to Facebook to spread its message. Users can help provide children around the world with access to clean water and sanitation by donating a small amount or raising awareness. The national campaign has transformed Facebook into a water network for World Water Month. The app turns users into ‘taps’ and their connections into ‘pipes’ ready to be filled with water. People can donate $5 to the Tap Project via text or PayPal to turn their ‘tap’ on and choose two friends to receive water and the opportunity to also donate. As more people are encouraged to keep the network growing with donations of their own, they will be able to see the web connections around them carrying water from friend to friend and the impact of their donation.