Monthly Archives: May 2012

Facebook Shares Down As Opera Surges By A Quarter

There must be some very frustrated people at Facebook right now. Since the social network went public less than two weeks ago, the price of shares has being steadily going down, with yesterday seeing a 9.6% drop in value.

On Tuesday Facebook shares closed at $28.82, which means that they have lost almost a quarter of their value since the IPO. One reason that this has happened is because yesterday was the first day that options on Facebook stock began trading. It appears that most investors are betting Facebook shares will head lower.

[For a brief explanation of how 'options' work, see this article on Investopedia]

As if tumbling stock prices weren’t enough of a headache for Facebook, salt will have been rubbed into the wound by the news of Opera Software’s share value.

After suggestions that Facebook is looking to buy the Norwegian mobile technology firm, shares in Opera surged by a quarter on Tuesday morning. So for Facebook it must be incredibly frustrating that their hinted association with another company makes that company’s market value increase, while Facebook’s own share price continues to drop.

To add to Facebook’s woes, a group of investors has issued a class-action lawsuit against the social network, based on the allegations that Facebook revenues were revised down because of a surge in the number of people using mobile devices for apps and connection to websites. Targeted in the suit are Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg, as well as the banks behind the flotation, including lead underwriter Morgan Stanley.

‘Airport Bomb’ Tweeter Paul Chambers To Have Appeal Heard Again

Any regular readers of this blog might remember a couple of articles about Paul Chambers. He jokingly sent a tweet threatening to blow up Robin Hood airport amid closures due to snow in January 2010, and was subsequently convicted in May 2011 for sending a “menacing electronic communication”.

Well it looks like he might have another chance to clear his name now that two judges in the High Court have ordered a new appeal hearing. After Mr Chambers was found guilty by Doncaster Magistrates an initial appeal was dismissed by a judge.

Chambers, from Doncaster, now living in Northern Ireland, said that the whole thing was a joke and that he never thought anyone would take it seriously. However, he was fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 in costs.

His plight did not go unnoticed, with celebrity Twitter users such as Charlie Brooker, Stephen Fry and Al Murray coming out to defend him and raise money to pay the legal fees.

Chambers’ legal representative said that the new appeal, which is to be held before three judges, it yet to receive a date.

Facebook To Make Foray Into Browsers With Opera Acquisition?

Having recently floated on the stock market, purchased Instagram and reportedly been developing its own smartphone, Facebook is now rumoured to be expanding its portfolio by sizing up web browser Opera as its next acquisition target.

Although Opera only came fifth on a list of the world’s most popular web browsers, it is still carving itself a tidy niche on Apple and Android mobile devices. Statcounter’s data showed that Google Chrome has now overtaken Microsoft Internet Explorer as the most popular browser.

With all the cash now readily available to the social network following its highly anticipated IPO earlier this month, buying a web browser would allow Facebook to push its own functionality through plug-ins and tool bars.

At present Facebook is reliant upon the likes of Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari to push traffic to Facebook.com and the mobile sites, but if the Opera purchase goes through it will be able to compete with rather than depend on these browsers.

The report from Pocket-Lint said that there is no indication of a timeframe for when this rumoured acquisition might take place, nor what the sums of money involved might be.

If Facebook were to acquire Opera and have its own browser, what sort of features would entice you into using it?

New Google+ 2.0 For Android Exceeds iOS Functionality

A few weeks ago saw a big update to the Google+ iOS app, and now Android customers can breathe a sigh of relief as Google have now overhauled the Android OS. And what is more, Android users can celebrate the fact that their update has more features than its iOS counterparts.

The new Google+ app for Android has all of the same aesthetic improvements that the iOS update had, but it goes one step further by affording Android users the ability to initiate Hangouts straight from the app.

In terms of the Google+ 2.0 app in general, the changes are seeming to please the majority of users. While in the past the previous version of the app was much like the mobile version of the Google+ website both in appearance and functionality, version 2.0 of the app gives crisper fonts, larger images and the Google+ stream as a whole is easier to navigate.

Of the iOS version of the Google+ app, a Google spokesperson said to TechRadar: “Our overall goal is to create a consistent, beautiful and simple experience for all mobile Google+ users… We aim to get new updates for our mobile apps in the hands of users as quickly as possible.”

Have any of you tried either the iOS or Android Google+ 2.0 apps? How do you rate the user experience compared to other social mobile apps such as Facebook or Twitter? Please leave a comment with your views.

Don’t forget that if you are a Google+ user, you can use SocialSafe to backup your Google+ profile, public posts, comments and +1s. We’re also working on backing up shared posts, circles, photos and videos – so stay tuned!

Facebook Testing New Design For Timelines

Facebook Timelines might be subject to another aesthetic change if the company gets a good response to the latest features it is testing.

It’s nothing too big, but screenshots posted on Talking Points Memo on Tuesday morning show how a user’s details (name, occupation, location, education) are now situated on top of their cover photo, rather than beneath it.

As well as this, the boxes originally next to the ‘About’ section (friends, photos, likes, places etc) have now been shrunk to small thumbnails. Facebook has also added a small ‘Summary’ thumbnail next to the other standard boxes (that are now thumbnails).

The new look:

new facebook timeline

The old (current) look:

old facebook timeline

This isn’t exactly a major overhaul, but as this article on Mashable points out, it isn’t clear whether users will be able to change the colour of the writing over their cover photo so that it contrasts legibly with the image beneath it. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

Twitter Temporarily Blocked In Pakistan Over Images Of Mohammed

Over the weekend Pakistani authorities blocked access to Twitter, reportedly over representations of the Prophet Mohammed circulating on the micro-blogging network and the fact that Twitter refused to block these images. Islamic culture considers it blasphemous to depict the Prophet Mohammed in any illustrative manner, and there have been other cases in recent history images of Mohammed causing controversy and unrest.

However, taking religion, faith, and morality completely out of the equation, at the centre of this story is the fact that Twitter users in an entire country were temporarily (Twitter is now back up in Pakistan) unable to access any of their information. I doesn’t matter who may or may not have been at fault in this situation, the fact is that there will have been plenty of innocent users that were affected. Plenty.

Social networks and other sites do run the risk of temporary or even permanent closure if those with the power to do so believe that it is for the best that they are shut down. With social media accounting for more and more of the world’s professional online activities – not just photos from a big weekend or a game of Farmville – therein lies the risk of losing valuable business information if there is a blanket ban imposed for any period of time.

People often take for granted the ease with which content and data can be accessed, but when the authorities lock the communal filing cabinet you suddenly can’t check who requested an information pack on your company or look at that phone number someone DM’d you on Twitter.

SocialSafe allows you to unite your social networks, creating a searchable offline journal populated by your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Viadeo accounts. If losing access to your social network content could have a detrimental effect on your business, creating a searchable offline backup would be a good place to start.

SocialSafe v6.2 Released – Further Instagram Integration And Bug Fixes

Late last week we released version 6.2 of SocialSafe that includes further backup and integration on Instagram accounts and some other changes.

Previous versions had a more limited set of capabilities for backing up Instagram, with only photos, comments, tags and likes being brought down from the cloud. Now with SocialSafe 6.2, all of your profile information and contacts are backed up, and integrated into the journal. This means that your Instagram content will be visible through the calendar, and you can now also search across all of your tags, likes, comments and contacts associated with your account.

search instagram backups

We also had a minor niggle with Google+ by way of the fact that users would have to sign in each time they wanted to sync their account – a bit of a pain, especially if you’d been taking advantage of the scheduled backup function. Well, our developers worked swiftly to re-instate unlimited authorisation for Google+ backups so everything should be running smoothly again for that.

Those two main changes aside, there were some other minor bug fixes and UI enhancements incorporated into SocialSafe 6.2, so please show your appreciation for all the hard work that our development team continually put in by leaving a comment or ‘Like’ to tell them how much you enjoy the product they have created.

Facebook Make Changes To Notifications To Allow Easier Granular Filtering

New this week is a small short-cut within the Facebook notifications management that allows you to more easily filter out notifications that you really aren’t that bothered with.

The ‘un-follow this post’ option has been around for a while. I’ve found this particularly useful for when I’ve left a comment such as ‘Congratulations!’ on a friend’s update about an engagement or pregnancy, as un-following that sort of post stops my phone from beeping for the next three days as all of their other friends catch up on the news and leave a comment.

However in its continual efforts to streamline the way users can garner the sort of content they want from their news feeds and notifications, Facebook has made it easier to manage notifications. Simply hover over an alert in the drop-down box that stems from the globe icon at the top of the page and click the ‘x’ to turn off notifications from that certain app, group, event or post that you commented on.

It used to be the case that you’d have to navigate to the Notifications Settings page and wade through all the different options just to turn off the one thing that was getting on your nerves. Now you can just silence the offending items as and when they appear as notifications. Another change to the actual drop-down notifications panel now allows you to scroll down and go further back through your alerts instead of having to click ‘see more’.

These changes haven’t hit all accounts yet, but according to TechCrunch they should be rolled out within 24 hours or so, with the exception of app alert controls, which are still in testing.

With More Mobile Users Will Facebook Ad Revenue Survive Post-IPO?

There’s been an awful lot of talk recently about the Facebook IPO and what the future will hold for Mark Zuckerberg’s social creation. While many are sure that the behemoth network will continue to grow and share prices will soar, there are also those who are beginning to see cracks appear that might well lead to some serious problems.

It’s been argued that there is too much tinkering with the original layout and functionality that will cause some users to pack up and leave. The quiet grunts of discontent when Facebook Timelines first reared its head are turning into louder protests with each poll on the issue, and according to some research, 88% of users are concerned about the privacy implications of all the data that Timeline aggregates.

Ad revenues are the lifeblood of Facebook, yet not all companies are that enamoured with the ROI that Facebook has given them. General Motors – one of the three biggest advertisers in the US – is pulling all of its Facebook ads due to lack of effectiveness. But why is this happening?

People primarily use Facebook to ‘hang out’ and interact with friends. You just don’t want to be bombarded with adverts when you’re commenting on a photo or replying to a message, the same way that you don’t want someone to come up to you and reel off a sales pitch while you’ve out for coffee with a friend. Services such as Google’s AdSense have proven to be more affective as it actually targets people who are looking to buy – or at least research – a product.

Another contributing factor to the apparent decline of Facebook’s average revenue per user is the increased access from mobile devices. There simply aren’t any adverts on the mobile apps, so that’s a whole chunk of the target market taken out right there. Facebook even admitted as much during its S-1 filing, by saying that more people were using the mobile apps than originally thought, and revenue was going down.

Please be clear - I don’t see this as the death knell for Facebook – it’s still head and shoulders above the competition in terms of user base and reach. There simply isn’t another service out there that can connect you with as many people and on as many levels as Facebook does. However, everyone thought MySpace was going to rule the world, and then Facebook came along.

So the questions are these… What must Facebook do in order to keep its revenues climbing, and what would need to come along to cause a wholesale exodus from the world’s largest social network?

Facebook Blog About Privacy Re. 3rd Party Apps

In a blog post last Friday, Facebook went into quite some depth about the privacy of your data when it comes to connecting with third-party apps, and when users you are friends with connect with them. You can read the whole entry on the Facebook Privacy blog, but we’ll just cover a couple of points here.

Somewhat worryingly, it appears that even if you remove an app from your profile, they will still have all the data that you initially granted them access to, and they will only delete it if you contact them directly and explicitly ask them to do so. While Facebook can’t help you with this by asking them to delete it for you, they do ensure that apps are contractually obliged to delete data when requested.

However, it’s not just your own actions that you might want to be mindful of, as the Facebook Privacy blog explains:

“Your friend might also want to share the music you “like” on Facebook. If you have made that information public, then the application can access it just like anyone else. But if you’ve shared your likes with just your friends, the application could ask your friend for permission to share them.”

So essentially any information on your own profile that a friend can view is also accessible to any third-party apps that they use. Even though we’ve made this point recently, we’d just like to remind you that while SocialSafe allows you to backup your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media accounts, we never actually see nor store any of your data. There’s more about this in a separate blog that you can read here.