Archive for the ‘Competition’ Category

Microsoft has officially launched an experimental social networking site called So.cl , which combines facets of social networking, search, and media sharing with a user interface resembling Google+.

Image

Advertisements

Taken from SPY GAMES:

THE terms of service of Google’s new cloud service “Drive” could allow US law enforcement agencies to access your data, without your knowledge and without the need for a warrant.

Image

Or so says the inventor of one of the first cloud computing services, TrendMicro cloud evangelist, David Asprey.

Mr Asprey told news.com.au that the terms of use of Google Drive “destroys any expectation of privacy because you license your data to a third party”.

“You give Google full right to do whatever they want to do with your data and of course one of those things is to give your information to law enforcement without a subpoena,” Mr Asprey said.

By signing up to Google Drive, users give the tech giant a global license to “use, host, store, reproduce, modify or create derivative works and to publish, publicly perform and distribute that content.”

Mr Asprey said the new terms of service extended the reach and power of the Patriot Act – which was passed shortly after September 11, 2001, giving the US Government permission to look at people’s documents without their knowledge or permission.

The new terms gives the US Government and law enforcement more opportunity to encroach on the rights of citizens worldwide, Mr Asprey said.

“Having all your data in the cloud be private, and requiring a warrant in order for it to be viewed by law enforcement will just go away over the next few years if Google allows this to stand,” Mr Asprey said.

But what does this mean for Australia?

Secretary of Electronic Frontiers Australia, Kim Heitman, told news.com.au that Australian law was “all but irrelevant” to Google Drive because the terms of service said that anyone storing data on Google Drive was subject to the law of California.

“You can try as a consumer to say that Australian consumer law in some way applies but it’s a hard road to hoe,” Mr Heitman said.

Google says they comply with US laws and legal processes “just like any law-abiding company”.

“We have a track record of advocating on behalf of user privacy in the face of law enforcement requests (including but not limited to US Dept of Justice subpoenas),” Google said in a statement to news.com.au.

“We look at each request to be sure they adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. We do our best to notify the subject named in any such requests in order to give them the opportunity to object.”

Mr Heitman said that Google’s privacy policy, which was updated last month, no longer said that it would only hand over court documents without a court order or a warrant.

“They basically said they’ll comply as these things fit,” he said.

The lawyer and certified technologist also said that Google was the only service that explicitly stated that it would scan your data in order to better market advertisements for you.

“Dropbox doesn’t do that. Microsoft SkyDrive doesn’t do that,” Mr Heitman said.

“So you’ve got this situation as ever with Google that you are the product. Whatever you have on your Google drive can be used for any of its purposes.”

“They keep changing their purpose, so as time goes on you may find yourself in the circumstance that the use of your data becomes more intrusive than just targeted ads on your search page or on YouTube.”

Google said that it made clear “what belongs to you and stays yours”.

“You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple,” the tech giant said. “Our Terms of Service enable us to give you the services you want – so if you decide to share a document with someone, or open it on a different device, you can.”

Mr Heitman and Mr Asprey said that if people were concerned about their privacy, they should encrypt their data before uploading it to the cloud.

Encryption basically allows users to “encode” their data, making it unreadable to anyone accept the user who possesses a “key”, which is an algorithm that unlocks the data in order for it to be viewed.

Early this month Microsoft has mistakenly revealed her (hybrid) search/social networking site called “Tulalip”. And on the 14th, they have taken down the splash page (pictured above) and replaced it with a message.

“Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest,” the message stated.

The splash page describes the Tulalip service as a way for users to “find what you need and share what you know easier than ever”. There are options to connect the service with both Facebook and Twitter. And the word “OPEN” on the upper left. The page also contains two rows of images that look very similar to the “Tiles” interface design found on Microsoft’s new Window’s Phone 7 operating system.

Furthermore, the splash page’s domain name socl.com is shorthand for “Social” and four lettered as a complement to bing.com.

My own opinion: Publishing the splash page was not accident, and Tulalip is not just an “internal design project”. Microsoft has realized that the future of communication sooner or later will be controlled\guided by social networks. And to that fact, they have decided to join in and give their best to win. So, revealing the site by mistake; wasn’t a mistake, but was a way to publicize its new upcoming site and give the audience a sneak peek.

In the end, this means more features for us users (for instance: when Google+ launched having “Hangout” feature, Facebook ran to Skype to partner with them to create the same feature, benefiting from their expertise).

My only one concern is: How far the social network evolution will go? Will it evolve till we won’t need to meet each other again, or physically hangout together, to really feel alive? share with me your opinion.

Facebook competing with Google+ (Google’s new social network site) video chat feature called  Hangouts that lets users chat one-on-one or in groups of up to 10:

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised that on July 6, Facebook would “launch something awesome” that the company’s Seattle team developed. On Friday, Facebook distributed official invitations for a special event at its Paolo Alto headquarters on July 6.

TechCrunch claims to have an inside scoop that the social network has partnered with Skype to develop a video chat service, according to “a source with knowledge of the partnership.”

Writes TechCrunch,

“The product has been built on Skype and will include a desktop component. It’s not clear to me whether that means it will just work if a user has Skype already installed on the computer, or if additional software will need to be downloaded even if the user already uses Skype. But it’s clear that there’s very deep integration between the products, and from the user’s perspective, the product will be an in browser experience.”

PCWorld predicts that the feature could grow into “serious competition” for Skype. Facebook currently does not offer a video chat feature.

There has also been speculation that Facebook may announce several other rumored works-in-progress, like an official iPad app, or even the super-secret Project Spartan mobile project.

As promised, Facebook has announcement on July 6, at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. GMT) at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California; a partnership with Skype that will integrate video chat directly into the Facebook platform. Group chats are also rumored to be on the docket, though some speculate that Facebook may take today to unveil a new mobile platform.

Check the announcement here: http://livestre.am/wBjp

The new features include a redesigned chat interface, group chats, and the aforementioned video chat, all explained on Facebook’s blog.

The group chat feature will let users chat with multiple friends at once by selecting “Add Friends to Chat.” According to Facebook, 50 percent of users are using the Groups feature, for things like co-ordinating events. Users can add friends that are not online at the time, and those friends will receive a summary of the chat later on. The feature rolls out today.

The chat redesign takes into account the size of a user’s browser window and adjusts accordingly. Zuckerberg noted that users have found it difficult to start chats with the previous design. A new sidebar appears when the window is large enough and lists your most-messaged friends, even ones who are not online. A simplified chat tab will give users “one-click access” to chatting with friends. The new chat design will also roll out today.

Video chat, which the company collaborated on with Skype, lets users click a video call button at the top of their chat window in order to start the call. Users can also leave video messages for people who aren’t there. Once a user clicks the video chat feature, a plug-in is downloaded to enable the call in “ten to twenty seconds.” The feature will roll out to everyone in the next few weeks, though users can get on earlier if they’re eager by going to Facebook.com/videocalling. It is not yet available on the mobile app.

Zuckerberg also revealed that Facebook has hit 750 million worldwide users, with 4 billion pieces of information shared each day.

Via HuffPost Tech.

How far will this competition go??