When Google+ rolled out Google+ Pages for business, I suspected it wouldn’t be long before Google Places was integrated into the mix. Now it has happened.
Google announced today that it was rolling out Google+ Local as “a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+.” The 80 million or so Google Places were automatically converted to the new Google+ Local pages this morning.
Google acquired Zagat last September and has been working to integrate it into everything Google since. Zagat was rolled into Google Search, maps and is now available on a new side tab in Google+. “Zagat has offered high-quality reviews, based on user-written submissions and surveys, of tens of thousands of places for more than three decades. All of Zagat’s accurate scores and summaries are now highlighted on local Google+ pages, says Google.
Here’s a list of what I’ve been able to discern has changed:
Google Places pages are now Google+ Local pages
Google+ now sports a “Local” tab
Zagat reviews are now available to Google+ users and they’re free
Google search and Google maps are now integrated with Google+ Local pages and can be seen from your handheld mobile device
A new filter for your Circles allows you to find reviews from your friends
Google has dumped its star ratings system and implemented Zagat’s 30-point rating system.
Here’s an example of how Zagat scores and summaries are now highlighted on local Google+ pages:
Here’s and example of what you may see if you’re searching for a place in Google Search or Google Maps and you’ll see the same image on your Android device:
A search on Google Maps
Google+ Local on Android phone
Here’s an example of how reviews and photos from your friends are now integrated into your search:
Google told business owners:
If you are a business owner, you should continue to manage your information in Google Places for Business. You’ll still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. For those who use AdWords Express, your ads will operate as normal as they’ll automatically redirect people to the destination you selected, or your current listing.
Google isn’t finished yet. It announced more changes are coming. For now, it appears these changes will be good for consumers, once they adjust to the new look. We’ll continue to use Google search as we always have with the new benefit of Zagat ratings and integrated maps. Maybe this will increase the number of active Google+ users around the world.
Facebook Adds Trending Videos To News Feed, Redesigns Trending Articles.
Facebook’s flurry of tweaks and new features since its initial public offering May 18 shows no signs of slowing, with the addition of a trending videos component to users’ news feedsand a modification to the design of its trending articlescomponent.
The Next Web was the first to report on the trending videos section in the news feed, pointing out that while the potential new feature could be good for video applications — sister blogInside Facebook highlighted a few that are using open graphintegration, including Socialcam, Viddy, and Chill — users may not agree, as reaction to the introduction of trending articles was lukewarm, at best.
As for trending articles, Inside Facebook pointed out that the gray bar atop the older version was replaced by a header, which includes Facebook’s news icon, and the thumbnail is more centered, as opposed to flush left. A small preview of the next article was also added, including either a green icon if clicking that link will share activity on users’ timelines, or a gray icon if the activity will be hidden.
The trending videos test and trending articles redesign join the following tweaks or new features Facebook has implemented since May 18, older to newer:
Giving users more notifications control options.
Testing a redesigned header for timeline profiles.
Including more application-related content under tabs.
Rolling out the Pages Manager iPhone app, and tweaking the news feed on its iPhone app.
Testing region-specific versions of pages.
Introducing feed gaming, which allows users to try out games directly via their news feeds.
Testing an open-graph action aimed at convincing users to retry apps they have uninstalled.
Running sponsored stories from Target on the top of users’ news feeds.
Facebook has proven itself to be a strategic purchaser of companies, having paid $1 billion for Instagram just after its release on Android. After being made available for Google’s open source OS,Instagram installations exploded to total more than 50 million subscribers. Now, with Facebook a public company having to answer to its legion of stockholders, the company is seeking to buy another company where it can use its large number of subscribers to make a ton ofcash. One such company apparently in Facebook’s sight is Oslo, Norway based Opera Software. Opera’s stock soared 26% on Tuesday due to the rumors of a bid for the third party browser firm.
Opera’s browsers allow for a pleasant surfing experience, even on those phones on the low end of the technology spectrum. Opera Mini uses the company’s own servers to load up a web site before compressing it and sending it to a phone, thus potentially saving the user from some data charges. Over 168 million people use Opera Mini. Opera Mobile is a third party replacement for a smartphone’s stock browser and uses the phone’s own technology to render sites.
“It’s a classic challenge for a company like this. They’re like the Switzerland of mobile. Someone would have to derive meaningful value to take them off of that independent path.”-Reuters sources,talking about Opera
Investment bankers say that Opera has been up for sale for some time and said that Yahoo and Google would not be interested in the company. Other bankers said that Facebook would be interested in Opera as a way to enter emerging markets. Still, others aren’t clear if a deal would end up in an outright sale of Opera or just close partnerships. One source told Reuters that while there is interest in the company, there is no “For Sale” sign on the software firm.. One thing that Operas might not want to lose is its strategic partnerships with companies like Google which it might have to drop in a Facebook acquisition of the company.
Norway’s top bank, DNB, says that a buyer of Opera would have to pay 68.6 crowns, or double Friday’s close, valuing the company at $1.35 billion. There are other things standing in the way of a Facebook-Opera deal. Opera’s founder and top shareholder, Jon S. Von Tetzchner, wants the company to focus on internal growth and says that Opera should reach 500 million users by next year. He says he is not pushing for a takeover. Still, he said he is unaware of a bid but would have to support one if others are in favor of it. One vote in favor of such a deal might come from Opera CEO Lars Boilesen. The executive last October said he would “love to" work with Facebook. Boilesen said, “We are already Facebook’s platform of distribution in emerging markets like Africa and India. A big part of the Opera Mini traffic is from Facebook. So we are already their channel in these markets.”
Continuing its slump, Facebook dropped nearly 10% on Tuesday to $28.84 a share.
Pinterest and Copyright: What a business needs to know
Pinterest. The current social media darling and possibly the most controversial social platform yet?
Pinterest is a site where you can create visual, virtual pinboards to track and plan an event or project. Over 70% of the sites’ users are women and some of the most pinned images are of food. Users say it’s incredibly addictive.
Should your business be on Pinterest? Of course it should. Should you be concerned about copyright? Well that depends.
If your site is filled with commercially sensitive visuals then you will already be taking steps to protect your copyright and your images. If you haven’t already installed the “no-pin” script to prevent pinning, now would be the time to do this.
If you find that images have been pinned from your site without your permission then you can report the copyright violation and Pinterest will act upon your request. But what if you don’t have commercially sensitive images?
As an online marketer, I can’t see any reason why you would want to prevent your images from beingpinned unless you would like to lose your competitive advantage.
Reading a Pinterest /Copyright post from former direct marketer, Elaine Sturgess, I have to agree with her points –
the idea that there is much of an issue [Copyright] at all rather bemuses me. After all, what Pinterest does is offer a completely free method of providing promotion and exposure; it means people can express their interest in your product, service or art, including wonderful photography – and then share that interest with others – and if it means you can get an idea about which product, services and ideas customers are interested in, where’s the issue?
It’s also a fact that the photos that appear on Pinterest are low resolution and small – in other words, their practical use for any other application other than providing you with that free marketing exposure is extremely limited – you can’t use them for print or any other application requiring a high resolution quality photograph – and if you take the time to watermark them, they can hardly be used for anything else online either.
As Elaine correctly points out, the images and resolution are too small for offline use and when watermarked they are barely useable in the online world. Still protective of your images? Or are you starting to see things in a new light? Well that’s not the only reason you should be on Pinterest, you need to be part of their community too. Although mainstream marketers have only just discovered Pinterest, it’s been established since 2010. You need to comment and interact with people there, just like you would any other community.
But you do have to be careful when it comes to copyright and that’s when it comes to pinning and re-pinning images from Google.
Why you should never Pin directly from Google Images…
Pins from can be embedded in blog posts and when that happens the Pins are attributed correctly from the source site. This can be another problem area for corporate content creators. If a person pins an image from Google, then Google is attributed as the source of that image on Pinterest.
If you are searching for pinnable images to create a vision board or relevant services related board, you should never pin from Google images.
You must go to the original source of the image. If you are using Google Images to find your photos, click to view the original page and click the “X” at the top right corner of the image. That will bring you to the original web page and you can pin from there. This ensures correct attribution for the image.
If you see a pin that you must repin, then track it back to its original source. A few minutes work here will see that you are on the right side of attribution when it comes to copyright. If you click the Pin, it will take you to the page the image was pinned from. If that’s Google then click the X at the top of the image and visit the image in its natural habitat. Scroll down and see if there is a link to the photographer / designer image, if there is then you need to click that link and pin from there as that is the original source of the image.
Seems like a lot of work? Possibly, but it’s the safest way to pin and repin images using Pinterest.
Noise-Canceling Tech Lets You Quietly Dine in Noisy Restaurants [VIDEO]
How many times have you gone out for some fancy food, and ended up spending the evening yelling into the ear of your dinner companion? An accomplished sound engineer has figured out a way to solve that problem, using technology similar to that of noise-canceling headphones.
Using 123 cleverly hidden speakers, an array of highly sensitive microphones and noise-canceling technology, sound engineer (and now restaurant owner) John Paluska has teamed up with Meyer Sound to create a way to make the noise of conversation cancel itself out, letting him control the ambient sound levels in his restaurant using an iPad app.
National Blueberry Cheesecake Day May 26th, 2012 Some say cheesecake isn’t good for you, but don’t believe the hype. Cheesecake started out as a food for athletes during the 776 Olympic games. That’s right. Athletes. And blueberries, well everyone knows those are loaded with antioxidants and those are good for you’ whatever they are. So if you think about it, blueberry cheesecake could be the world’s healthiest food. Do your body good and have some today.
Want to know when items you pin on Pinterest go on sale?
Now you can — up to a point — thanks to a new feature launched this week at a site called Lyst.
Lyst, a London-based startup, is a little like Pinterest. The site invites you to follow designers, stores, bloggers and your friends, from which it creates a feed of clothing and accessories you can add to your own “lyst.”
If an item on your lyst is discounted, you’ll be notified by email.
Now, if you connect your Pinterest account, you’ll receive an email notification when an item you’ve pinned on Pinterest goes on sale, too, so long as that item is also indexed on Lyst.
Lyst’s index is limited largely to fashion brands and retailers — so if you mostly pin books or furniture, this tool isn’t going to be terribly useful to you.
To see which of your pins are recognized by Lyst, check out your “Collections” under “My Lyst.”
A bonus: If an item you’ve pinned from one retailer (say, Neiman Marcus) goes on sale somewhere else (at Nordstrom, or Endless), you’ll still get notified.
Lyst also offers a Runway Tracking tool that lets you know when your favorite runway looks arrive in stores. The tool was launched during New York Fashion Week last September.
The London-based startup is currently exploring additional methods for tracking the fashion goods you may be interested in purchasing.
Less than two months after announcing its plans to acquire photo app company Instagram for $1 billion, Facebook has released an iOS app that looks and functions almost identically to Instagram’s.
Facebook Camera, which is now available in the App Store for free, sincerely improves upon the photo capabilities offered by Facebook’s primary app for iPhone and iPod touch devices.
Like Instagram, your friends’ latest photos are displayed in a single scrolling feed. You can also now simultaneously upload multiple photos to Facebook; Facebook’s main app only allows you to upload photos one at a time. And like Instagram, the app allows you to crop, rotate and apply filters to your photos.
Interestingly, none of the app’s 15 filters were developed by the Instagram team, Facebook product manager Dirk Stoop told The New York Times. The app, the Times suggests, has been in development for much longer.
The Camera App is the second mobile app dedicated to one of Facebook’s key features. The first, a dedicated messaging app, was released last April. These apps, we feel, are smart ideas: Facebook simply has too many features and tools to bundle into a single mobile app.
It’s likely more such apps will be released this year. In an address to 200 investors leading up to Facebook’s IPO earlier this month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that mobile is Facebook’s number-one priority.
‘Thank You Facebook’ Song Will Change Your Life [VIDEO]
Some people don’t just ‘like’ Facebook, they love it.
Deborah Torres Patel, Gianluca Verrengia, and Jeffery Anaba — the creators of the above videos — are clearly in the ‘love’ column. Naturally, they’ve even made a Facebook page to show it.
If you ever wondered what a Facebook IPO theme song would sound like, chances are you didn’t expect it ringing to a similar tune as the Golden Girls, with a little bit of rap thrown in. We’re not sure if the song is an endearing anthem or a well-done joke, but you can’t deny the lyrics will get stuck in your head.
The European Commission is giving Google a “matter of weeks” to settle an ongoing antitrust case by changing several of its business practices which some say have given the company an unfair monopolistic advantage on the web.
If Google refuses to comply, the Commission could slap Google with antitrust charges and, eventually, fines.
“Today I’m giving Google an opportunity to offer remedies to address concerns that we have identified,” said European Commission Vice President for Competition Policy Joaquin Almunia in a statement issued Monday.
Europe began looking into Google’s search results in November of 2010, after Microsoft and other smaller firms complained that the U.S.-based search giant was giving its own products a higher-than-natural ranking in web searches while decreasing the rank of competitors’ services. Google has been fighting hard against the antitrust claims.
Almunia specified four areas where Google must change in order to avoid financial penalties in a letter he sent to Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt:
1. Google’s displaying of links to its own specific search products, such as Google News, in general search results, which the Commission argues reduces competition. 2. Google’s taking of content, such as restaurant reviews from other services, for its own products, which the Commission believes might reduce the creation of original content on the web. 3. Google’s exclusive advertising deals with partners, which the Commission worries unfairly squeezes out Google’s competition. 4. Google’s limitation on data being transferred from AdWords to competitors’ services, which the Commission said limits software developers’ ability to create products that utilize cross-platform search advertising.
Should Google comply with that list of grievances, said Almunia, it can avoid immediate formal antitrust proceedings in Europe.
“If Google comes up with an outline of remedies which are capable of addressing our concerns, I will instruct my staff to initiate the discussions in order to finalize a remedies package,” said Almunia. “I hope that Google seizes this opportunity to swiftly resolve our concerns, for the benefit of competition and innovation in the sector,” he added.
Google made its disapproval of the Commission’s arguments known through a spokesperson.
“We’ve only just started to look through the Commission’s arguments,” said a Google spokesperson. “We disagree with the conclusions but we’re happy to discuss any concerns they might have. Competition on the web has increased dramatically in the last two years since the Commission started looking at this and the competitive pressures Google faces are tremendous. Innovation online has never been greater.”
Anonymous Hackers Claim to Take Down Chicago Police Website
he Chicago Police Department website is down, and “hactivists” from the group Anonymous are taking credit. It’s part of a protest in Chicago against the NATO summit, where U.S. President Barack Obama is meeting with world leaders.
Activists are protesting NATO’s policies, holding signs such as “War (equals) Debt,” and “NATO, Go Home.” Members of the hacker group Anonymous, calling themselves “AntiS3curityOPS,” posted a video on YouTube with an ominous message to the Chicago Police Department, but that video has since been made private. We added a full transcript of the video to the bottom of this post.
In the bold video manifesto, the group responded to what it perceived as police brutality against the protesters on Saturday night, and vowed to take action:
“We are actively engaged in actions against the Chicago Police Department, and encourage anyone to take up the cause and use the AntiS3curityOPS Anonymous banner. For those able, chicagopolice.org should be fired upon as much as possible. We are in your harbor Chicago, and you will not forget us.”
Police are investigating the possible hacking of the city of Chicago’s website, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Law enforcement officials told the AP late Saturday they planned to arrest people committing violent acts. Said police superintendent Garry McCarthy, “If anything else happens, the plan is to go in and get the people who create the violent acts, take them out of the crowd and arrest them. We’re not going to charge the crowd wholesale — that’s the bottom line.”
At press time, the site, CityofChicago.org was still inaccessible. According to Cyber War News, the Anonymous group also claimed to have taken the NATO website offline, but it was accessible early Sunday afternoon.
Here’s a transcript from the Anonymous video that has since been removed from YouTube:
Greetings fellow citizens of the world. We are AntiS3curityOPS.
While this has come to no surprise, the NATO protests are already reaching a boiling point. As tonight we have already witnessed the Chicago Police Dept sending out a request for two water cannons deployed on Michigan Avenue, which the protesters briefly were able to close off the street completely. Just a few moments ago we witnessed cops on horses seemingly all too content with the destiny that has turned their hearts cold, trampling over protesters trying to intimidate. And you know what we saw during this? Protesters locking arms and holding their ground. A few had Anonymous masks on, a few were girls who looked like they belonged safely off on the sidelines bravely charging cops with shields and on horse. All the while the protesters are chanting “Take those animals off those horses,” drowning out any attempts by the Chicago police to get a word in. Everyone of you are heros to us.
What we saw tonight watching a bit of the protest was everyday, average people fighting back and finally refusing to stand down. The NATO Summit is being utilized in such a way, and we couldn’t have predicted it more accurately. On the video we saw mothers, teenagers, elderly, the anarchists, white, black, Hispanic — this movement sees no skin color. Every sort of person is well represented in these actions.
This is not a time to have our differences divide us; this is a time we all need to come together and rally around our brothers and sisters bravely in the streets of Chicago risking their lives to make the one voice they have, heard. If every single one of us has a voice, one opinion, let us unite and show the violent Chicago police, and the government big brother tactics that we are not going to take this.
We are actively engaged in actions against the Chicago Police Deptartment, and encourage anyone to take up the cause and use the AntiS3curityOPS Anonymous banner. For those able, chicagopolice.org should be fired upon as much as possible. We are in your harbor Chicago, and you will not forget us.
So for those unable to engage in attacks online by ddos, share with everyone you know what’s presently going on in Chicago, Tweet celebrities on twitter with the #SolidarityWithChicago #FuckNATO #FTP hashtags and get it trending. Also keep watching the live feeds, and spreading the live feed links all relevant places. Together, we the people, are going to take the power back. We are AntiS3curityOPS. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forget. We do not forgive. Chicago Police Department, expect us.
Sunday Solar Eclipse: How to Safely Photograph the ‘Ring of Fire’
On Sunday, May 20, the western half of the United States will be treated to a spectacular solar eclipse as the sun sets in the western sky.
The so-called “ring of fire” will last four and a half minutes as the moon blocks the sun will be visible to observers along a narrow track that stretches from Northern California to the Texas Panhandle.
The last time an annular eclipse was widely visible in the United States was May 10, 1994. After Sunday, the next one to be seen in the country won’t occur until Oct. 14, 2023.
If you’re planning to shoot this weekend’s eclipse with a digital camera, particularly a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, here are a few pointers to increase your chances of success:
1. Use a proper solar filter: Never look at the sun with your naked eyes, or through a telescope, binocular or camera viewfinder without a safe solar filter. Failure to do so can result in serious eye injury or blindness.
Use a No. 14 welder’s glass filter, or purchase special solar filters from companies such as Thousand Oaks, Kendrick Astro Instruments, or Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, and fit them securely in front of your equipment.
2. Use a telescope or telephoto lens with a focal length of 400 millimeters or more: This helps to get detailed, close-up shots of the eclipse. This will give you a reasonably large image of the sun’s disk in the frame.
3. Use a sturdy tripod or mount: Make sure your tripod and head are strong and stable enough to support your camera gear. Keep your setup as portable, light and easy to assemble as possible in case you need to relocate in a hurry to escape clouds.
4. Set the camera to its highest resolution: To record as much detail and color information as possible, use your camera’s highest-quality (least-compressed) JPEG setting or “lossless” (uncompressed) image formats, such as TIFF or RAW.
5. Use a high ISO setting: Set your camera to ISO 400 (or higher) to keep exposures very short and prevent blurring from vibrations.
6. Switch to manual: Set your camera to “manual” (M) so you’ll be able to control its focus as well as exposure and white-balance settings.
7. Focus carefully: Don’t let poor focus ruin your images. If possible, prefocus your camera the night before the eclipse using a bright star. Otherwise, focus carefully on the sun’s edge (or on sunspots, if some are visible). Place a piece of adhesive tape on your telephoto’s focus ring (or lock the telescope focuser) to keep it from accidentally being moved during the eclipse. Be sure to recheck your focus as the eclipse progresses and refine it if needed.
8. Minimize vibrations: The mirror slap in DSLRs can cause blurred images. If possible, use the camera’s mirror lock-up feature before each shot to keep vibrations to a minimum. You should also operate the shutter with an electronic cable release to eliminate camera shake. Lastly, choose an observing spot that is shielded from the wind.
9. “Bracket” your exposures: It’s a challenge to determine the correct exposure beforehand, so shoot the eclipse at various shutter speeds.
10. Use a fresh battery: DSLRs can easily drain their batteries, especially if you use the LCD screen continuously. Make sure you have a fully charged battery right before the eclipse begins, and have a spare one handy, just in case.
11. Test your imaging setup: Be sure to try out your actual setup before the eclipse. This will reveal any potential problems with focusing and vibrations, as well as internal reflections or vignetting in the optics. Take some test shots of the sun to give you an idea of what exposure to use with your solar filter.
12. Try to shoot the sun in hydrogen-alpha: Unlike “white light,” the visible light from the sun, H-alpha is the red light given off by hydrogen atoms in the sun’s atmosphere. A portable H-alpha telescope offers a wealth of stunning details of the sun at a wavelength of 656.3 nanometers.
13. Process your images: Since the camera’s output is already in digital format, it’s easy to enhance the images’ brightness, contrast, sharpness and color balance using image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. You can also “stitch” the frames together to create a movie.
Shooting the Eclipse with Video
As with digital cameras, you need a proper solar filter over your camcorder when recording the sun.
Today’s camcorders have zoom lenses with up to 40x (or more) optical magnification. To shoot footage of the eclipse, simply mount the camcorder on a tripod and zoom in on the filtered sun to the lens’s highest power. (Hand-holding the camcorder can result in shaky footage.) High-end camcorders have manual controls for adjusting the gain, f-stop and shutter speed so you don’t overexpose the sun’s disk.
Again, it is best to test your setup before the eclipse. On the day of the event, be sure to use a fully charged battery and bring a spare one as backup. Take two- to three-second clips every two to five minutes to produce a time-lapse sequence that compresses the eclipse’s hourlong partial phase into just under a minute.
High-end DSLRs are capable of shooting HD video. (Check your camera manual.) In a pinch, you also can use your cell phone camera to shoot video (or still images) through a filtered telescope. Low-cost webcams can also be useful.
After all the hullabaloo about Facebook’s IPO, this is how it ends, with a mere $0.23 jump in share price? That kind of movement is what happens after Procter & Gamble announces a more absorbent type of Pampers.
Yet it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Facebook’s opening day on the NASDAQ had all the excitement of a Matlockrerun. While no one knows exactly why Facebook landed with such a thud, there are a handful of good reasons that the company got poked by Wall Street. Among them:
1. It Was Priced Just Right
Call it the Goldilocks theory. This assumes that a lot of thought went into that $38 price, and the reason that the stock didn’t double is that the esteemed underwriters at Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs did their job right and accurately priced the stock.
That, however, depends on what your definition of “accurately” is. James Brau, professor of finance at Brigham Young University, says that over the past 40 years of IPOs, the average first-day pop is 18%.
So, if Facebook was looking to perform along those lines, it should have priced its shares in the low 30s.
In addition, underwriters don’t aim for a flat performance on the first day because of a practice called “leaving money on the table,” which rewards institutional investors for getting on board. Though that looks like a kickback of sorts, Brau says there’s no clear-cut reason why IPOs always factor leaving money on the table in.
“There are at least 50 different academic studies I know of that that have 35 different theories,” Brau says.
One popular theory is that it’s a way of rewarding such investors for honesty. The argument goes like this: During an IPO road show, the company and bankers are looking for an accurate read on what investors plan to spend.
If such investors didn’t know that they would be rewarded for telling the truth, then they would intentionally low-ball the amount they intend to buy at. If an institutional investor thought that the stock should be worth $10, say, then they might say they’ll spend $8 to enjoy the ride on the opening day.
2. It’s NASDAQ’s Fault
NASDAQ bungled Facebook’s opening, not offering the stock until 11:30 am EST, 30 minutes later than planned. In addition, the stock exchange didn’t finish filling orders for the stock for about two-and-a-half hours. Kevin Pleines, an equity market analyst with Birinyi Associates, says the resulting confusion didn’t do Facebook’s stock any favors.
“It threw it a bit of a curve,” Pleines says. “It may have held it back a little bit.”
3. Investors Are Wary of Social Media Stocks
The media may love the story of the scrappy twenty-something building a $100 billion company from his Harvard dorm, but investors have seen this movie before. Of the 19 social media IPOs of 2011, 82.4% were trading below their opening-day prices by year’s end. Only three were above their opening price.
4. It’s GM’s Fault
General Motors landed a well-timed blow against Facebook on Tuesday, when reports surfaced that the company planned to pull all its advertising from Facebook because it wasn’t working.
Though no other advertisers appear to have followed suit, the move didn’t reassure investors who were already nervous about Facebook’s first-quarter revenue slide and its admitted inability to transition its ad model to mobile.
5. It’s Overvalued
Facebook’s valuation of $100 billion-plus, like most valuations, is based on expectations of future performance. In Facebook’s case, these expectations are wildly optimistic. After all, at its current valuation, Facebook is worth more than McDonald’s.
The Golden Arches, with restaurants all over the globe, close-to 100% brand recognition and a proven business model, posted $27 billion in revenues last year and a $5.5 billion profit. Facebook made $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenues.
Not surprisingly, 79% of investors in a recent Bloomberg poll thought that Facebook was overvalued. As Espen Robak, the president of Pluris Valuation Advisors, told The Atlantic, Facebook’s valuation is plausible because of the company’s tremendous reach.
But, as Robak told the publication, no one knows how Facebook will be able to monetize that reach.
“Think of it this way,” said Robak. “Google has a pretty standard price-earnings ratio right now — around 15 to 20. That’s where Facebook will ultimately have to get. They need vastly larger profit.
“How many more ads can they sell? Four times more in the next year? I don’t think so. They have to get revenues from somewhere else.”
Robak thinks that maybe — just maybe — Facebook will be able to tap into its user data to provide a new solution to advertisers.
6. Retail Investors Are Taking a Wait-And-See Attitude
If you’re an average joe, you probably couldn’t get your hands on a share of pre-IPO Facebook stock. So, the logical thing to do is wait until the hype dies down and then assess the stock. Pleines’ research shows that waiting at least a month is a good idea.
According to Pleines’ data, no matter how well the recent social media IPOs did on opening day, their stocks were still down — across the board — after the first month.
But it’s not just a social media thing: We may not remember it well, but Google’s stock languished for a month or more after its debut. “While Google did not trade lower in its first month of trading, it did trade back its original open price of $100,” Pleines wrote in a recent note to clients. “But after that it never looked back, trading as high as $196 over the next three months.”
Pinterest Raising $120 Million to Fund International Expansion
Pinterest is raising $120 million in a funding round expected to be announced Thursday or Friday morning, according to multiple sources. The investment, Pinterest’s third, places the two-year-old social bookmarking site’s valuation in the range of $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
AllThingsD reports that Japanese commerce giant Raukten is leading the round with a $50 million investment. Ben Silvermann, Pinterest’s CEO and cofounder, is reportedly still deciding what other financing offers to accept.
Partnering with Raukten could open doors for Pinterest in Asia. The startup, which is still in invite-only beta, has enjoyed increasing mainstream recognition in the U.S., but has made little headway abroad. Meanwhile,clones are popping up like weeds.
One sign that Pinterest’s focus is growing increasingly international: a recent post to Pinterest’s corporate blog calling for translators for local-language editions of the site. French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish are the company’s first priorities, it said; Dutch, Greek, Italian, Korean, Malay, Polish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish and Turkish are next.
Pinterest has left its business model undefined — at least publicly. For a time, the startup was quietly earning money through an affiliate revenue scheme, but quickly shut it down after media caught wind of it. Still, Pinterest seems to have great revenue-earning potential, given that the network is already driving sales for some retailers.
Pinterest has raised $37.5 million in venture capital to date. Current investors include FirstMark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz and Ron Conway.
Rumors that Pinterest was raising a round in the range of $1 billion were first reported by The Next WebWednesday.
The Google Search of the future is here. Now. Today. The long-talked-about semantic web — Google prefers “Knowledge Graph” — is rolling out across all Google Search tools, and our most fundamental online task may never be the same again.
Starting today, a vast portion of Google Search results will work with you to intuit what you really meant by that search entry. Type in an ambiguous query like “Kings” (which could mean royalty, a sports team or a now-cancelled TV show), and a new window will appear on the right side of your result literally asking you which entity you meant. Click on one of those options and your results will be filtered for that search entity.
To understand the gravity of this change, you need to know about the fundamental changes going on behind the scenes at Google Search. As we outlined in our report earlier this year, Google is switching from simple keyword recognition to the identification of entities, nodes and relationships. In this world, “New York” is not simply the combination of two keywords that can be recognized. It’s understood by Google as a state in the U.S. surrounded by other states, the Atlantic Ocean and with a whole bunch of other, relevant attributes.
As Ben Gomes, Google Fellow, put it, Google is essentially switching “from strings to things.”
To build this world of things, Google is tapping a variety of knowledge databases, including Freebase, which it bought in 2010, Wikipedia, Google Local, Google Maps and Google Shopping. Currently, Google’s Knowledge Graph has over 500 million people, places and things and those things have at least 3.5 billion attributes.
That’s a lot of things. According to Google, search users will see these new knowledge graph results at least as often as they see Google Maps in results. In fact, this update will have a greater initial impact than the updates that brought Google Images, videos, news and books, combined. It’s big and it’s probably going to be everywhere.
Against all odds, you likely know someone who still hasn’t succumbed to the lure of Facebook. Maybe you’re a beginner yourself. Or perhaps you just haven’t had the gosh darn time to explore every last corner of the world’s most expansive social network.
Below, we offer a refresher course for those eager to learn more about the basics of Facebook. Let’s take a social stroll through the network’s main features, policies and culture norms.
Even if you’re a pro, it’s fun to look at the platform through a beginner’s eyes. If you were a Facebook virgin, what would you think of the social network?
Before you begin searching for friends, it’s important to complete your Timeline (aka your personal profile), which includes everything from uploading a profile picture and cover photo to outlining your employment history to determining your relationship status (OK, that’s optional). It’s called a timeline because you can include information, important milestones and memories spanning your entire life. Timeline is incredibly nuanced, and encourages you to include as much detail as possible, and many, many people do — so, don’t be shy!
Once you’ve filled out a healthy portion of your Timeline, start searching for and adding “friends.” Trust us, you won’t be at a loss. Chances are, many of your co-workers, family members, classmates and neighbors are already on the network. Search for them in the search box that appears on the top of the site.
As you accumulate friends, Facebook will be able to suggest additional contacts as its algorithm generates connections among your growing network. You’ll see a list of suggested friends on Facebook’s homepage, in the “People You May Know” sidebar.
3. News Feed
Finding friends on Facebook is incredibly important, not simply to connect for connection’s sake, but to stay up to date on their latest news, thoughts, activities, whereabouts and tastes. And the place to access that information is the News Feed.
Once you’ve logged into Facebook, the first thing you’ll see is the News Feed. There you’ll view friends’ status updates, new photos, links to articles, etc. One of the most recent changes Facebook made to its News Feed is the order in which updates appear. Facebook’s algorithm and your own activity determine what “news” is most important, and thus, whether it makes the top of your News Feed. Think of it like the front page of a newspaper, determined by an algorithm rather than an editor. Therefore, you won’t necessarily see updates in the order they’re posted, but in order of timeliness and “importance.”
If you prefer to see things in chronological order, simply click the “Sort” option at the top of your feed and select “Most Recent.”
4. The Status Update
A status update is anything important to you at a particular moment in time that you deem shareable with Facebook friends. Through a status update, you can communicate your present activity or whereabouts (via a “check-in”), post a link to an interesting article or site, share photos and videos, and even create a poll.
Create a status update either from the News Feed or from the top of your Timeline.
However, I recommend first taking a look at many of your friends’ status updates before launching into your own. Each person has his or her own style and frequency, but many newbies aren’t aware of typical Facebook “etiquette” when it comes to updates. In general, Facebook users resent “spammy” updates — in other words, sharing every single activity on your schedule and thought in your brain (“I just boarded the 6:05 train”). Boring. These days, Facebook is a space for sharing valuable information and fostering conversation. It’s not a platform for minutiae.
Although a major part of Facebook, friends are not the only entities with whom you can interact. Most major brands and a growing number of small businesses use Facebook to engage with, share deals and seek feedback from consumers and fans. Companies like Coca-Cola and Disney have tens of millions of fans interested in the latest company news and culture.
Take stock of the brands you’d like to follow, search for their timelines and “like” them on Facebook. You’ll start seeing their updates appear in the News Feed right alongside those of your friends. Feel free to interact with brand updates.
6. The “Like” Button
One of the most powerful tools on Facebook, the “like” button not only communicates your support of activities, brands, articles and products to fellow users, but also to Facebook and third parties. The “like” button lives on nearly every piece of Facebook content: status updates, photos, comments, brands timelines, apps and even ads.
However, you’ve probably also seen Facebook “like” and share buttons on external sites: shopping, news publications, mobile and social apps, and ads. These sites are utilizing Facebook’s social plugins. When you “like” something outside of Facebook.com, it appears on your timeline, where friends can comment on the activity.
When Facebook expanded this functionality outside of Facebook.com, it opened up a rich social layer that most social networks had never before imagined. On the other hand, keep in mind that Facebook keeps track of your “like” activity and uses it to “improve the quality” of ads on the site. If sharing that kind of data makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Just be mindful that Facebook can share this behavioral data with third parties. For more information, see Facebook’s full data use policy.
Facebook tagging means you can mention and directly link to another Facebook user, whether in photos, status updates, check-ins or comments. For instance, when you tag someone in a photo, that user will receive a notification, and the tagged photo will appear on his timeline — that is, unless he has disabled the tagging feature.
The tagging tool fosters conversation and creates additional connections among users. If I want my mother to see an article I posted on Facebook, I’ll tag her in the update by typing her name — Facebook autofills with friend suggestions for easier tagging (see above). “Hey Anne Warber (a.k.a. mom), I thought you’d like this article about pandas!”
Check-in and photo tagging work a little differently. When you check in at a location, you can add Facebook friends who are with you by searching for their names, and thus, tagging them. Tag friends in photos by selecting the “tag photo” option at the bottom of the selected image.
Frankly, we could write an entire book on Facebook privacy. But in the interest of time, we’ll mention the major types of privacy you need to be aware of as a Facebook user.
Inter-user privacy:Friends with your bosson Facebook? Consider adding him or her to a “list.” Then you can choose what updates they can view. You may also choose to limit certain lists from viewing posts other people tag you in by visiting the basic privacy settings.Public profile: You can control the information non-friends can see on your public profile. Almost every feature of your profile has an edit option, which allows you to select who can view that information (public, friends only, only you, etc.). Learn morehere.Third-party access:In order to use FacebookOpen Graphapps likeSpotifyandPinterest, those companies need to access certain information on your profile. They’ll ask for permissions before you begin using the app. Be aware that each app hasdifferent privacy risks. If you don’t want that information to be accessible through Facebook’s APIs, learn how toturn off access. Similarly, you can alsoopt out of Facebook social ads— the ads that appear to you based on brands your friends like.
9. Facebook Apps
Built on the social network’s Open Graph (a collection of your preferences, likes, interests and activity on Facebook and from around the web), Facebook apps allow you to personalize and enhance your participation on the social network. They can add anything from games (FarmVille) to photo albums to quizzes to music (Spotify). Most of Facebook’s apps come from outside developers that use Facebook’s API. Many represent strong partnerships and add additional social layers, like Washington Post Social Reader and Foursquare.
Enabling each Facebook app means granting that app permission to access data on your profile and post on your behalf. This often means sharing on your Timeline how you interact with that app. For example, when you use the Spotify app, the company will share songs you listen to on your Timeline for your friends to see and interact with — unless you choose to hide that activity. (Keep in mind many of these sharing options can be customized.)
A word of caution: Well-made apps can add a fun and engaging layer to y
Twitter will soon begin emailing you a weekly digest of your own feed.
The summary will include tweets and links that are likely to be important to you based on what the people who you follow share.
It will also include the “most engaging” tweets and stories those people saw in their own feeds, if they retweet or favorite them.
“Stories feature a design similar to the recently updated Discover tab, emphasizing who shared each story beneath summaries to help you decide which ones matter most to you,” reads a Monday post on the Twitter blog.
“Click any headline to finish reading the story, add your take by tweeting directly from the email, and see related Tweets from the people you follow.”
The announcement makes Twitter’s recent move to hire the team behind RestEngine, a personalized email marketing provider, less mysterious.
Twitter also acquired a startup called Summify earlier this year, which offered a product similar to this new email digest. Before it was acquired, Summify emailed users five stories that they should read based on what their friends on social networks shared and engaged with.
“You get your stories once a day or every few hours … and then you’re done,” Summify co-founder Mircea Paşoi told Mashable months before the sale. “That’s the feeling that people actually enjoy — that they’re done and there’s not more that they need to read.”
Making information that is shared on Twitter easier to absorb for all Twitter users makes sense for the social network. As of October, 40% of Twitter users who actively log into Twitter don’t ever Tweet. They’re there to listen.
Email digests are set to roll out to everyone “over the next few weeks.”
Do you think a weekly Twitter digest will be helpful? Or will it just create more spam in your already overflowing inbox? Let us know in the comments.