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Living in a Fool’s Paradise

San Francisco must change. "...the current state of permitting regulations for building and the glacial pace of infrastructure projects in San Francisco benefit very few people and risk turning it into a caricature of its former self for tourists and residents rich enough to live in a fantasy, not a living city. If there was ever a time when San Francisco needed to embrace a dynamic, expansive policy for building housing, offices and transportation, it is now." (Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
posted by ambrosia on Jul 6, 2014 - 72 comments

Peak Advertising and the Future of the Web

"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 3, 2014 - 173 comments

Hippies in the Boardroom

How Silicon Valley Became The Man The Harvard Business Review's Justin Fox interviews Stanford historian Fred Turner about how the New Communalists molded the Valley in their image.
posted by Diablevert on Jan 10, 2014 - 29 comments

Tech rivals unite against surveillance

Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and Aol have all teamed up to oppose widespread government surveillance. In an open letter to the US president and members of congress, the companies urge the government to reform its digital spy apparatus. Live reactions at the Guardian.
posted by brina on Dec 9, 2013 - 126 comments

If your suffering leads to our suffering, you may be liable for damages.

The new documentary "Terms And Conditions May Apply," about the privacy overreach of major tech companies, presents its trailer on a cleverly written page of terms and conditions.
posted by mark7570 on Jul 11, 2013 - 11 comments

Alternatives to Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, etc.

Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored by the FBI and NSA, with Dropbox "coming soon." So what can you do? Use some alternatives. As Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, told NPR: "we made the choice to just not track people so there is nothing to turn over."
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 26, 2013 - 118 comments

Google Reaver

With the deeply unpopular shutdown of Google Reader less than two weeks away (previously), plenty of would-be replacements have jumped into the mix, including the newly web-based Feedly, Newsblur, Digg, and possibly even Facebook (a particularly bitter irony, as obsession with defeating Facebook has been the alleged impetus behind CEO Larry Page's abandonment of beloved Google hallmarks like 20% Time, Google Labs, and open platforms like Reader). But while there's no shortage of attempts to replicate Reader's look and feel, there's one little-known aspect that none can match, and that will be lost forever come July 1st: the vast cache archive of every article from every website, living and dead, that has ever been subscribed to in Reader. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 20, 2013 - 148 comments

Free Speech on the Internet

The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2013 - 27 comments

There's No Avoiding Google+

Google is challenging Facebook by using a controversial tactic: requiring people to use the Google+ social network. The result is that people who create an account to use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services—including the Zagat restaurant-review website—are also being set up with public Google+ pages that can be viewed by anyone online. ... The impetus comes from the top. Google Chief Executive Larry Page has sought more aggressive measures to get people to use Google+, two people familiar with the matter say. ... Some users of Google's services are startled to learn how far the integration can reach.
There's No Avoiding Google+ from the Wall Street Journal
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jan 2, 2013 - 200 comments

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down

"To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants [...] but they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be." Anil Dash laments The Web We Lost, and offers some suggestions for moving forward.
posted by oulipian on Dec 13, 2012 - 74 comments

Everything is fleeting

"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 1, 2012 - 109 comments

"But I say, you have to put your ego aside and play by the rules so you can get to the top and change things."

Female executives at Twitter, Yahoo and Google discuss work/life balance at the top of the tech industry, how women should negotiate at work, and whether women view job satisfaction differently than their male colleagues. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Oct 6, 2012 - 57 comments

Google and Facebook are now irrelevant

We will never have Web 3.0, because the Web’s dead.
posted by Brent Parker on May 2, 2012 - 118 comments

"And with millions of chicks checking in daily, there's never been a better time to be on the hunt...."

A column by John Brownlee over at Cult of Mac yesterday highlighted his privacy concerns about the app Girls Around Me -- which used a mashup of FourSquare check-ins, Google Maps and Facebook public profile information to show the user women who were nearby. In response to the story, Foursquare cut off the app's API access to their data, effectively knocking it out of commission. CNET: How to prevent friends checking you into locations at Facebook Places. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2012 - 99 comments

Coalition of the shilling

Focus on the User, Google! says a coalition of engineers from Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. They have created their own 'Don't be Evil' bookmarklet to rearrange Google's social search results to remove G+ bias, using Google's own APIs. Caution: Bookmarklet does not work with IE or in areas without Google's new social search features. May choke smaller ferrets.
posted by Sparx on Jan 23, 2012 - 91 comments

Redefining the you that is you

You Are Not Your Name and Photo: A Call to Re-Imagine Identity.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 30, 2011 - 48 comments

...the product being sold.

The social graph is neither. Maciej Cegłowski, owner/founder/operator/sole employee of Pinboard (recently), blogger of idle words, lays down some science and thoughts about the charting of your personal connections, and why it's doomed.
posted by ardgedee on Nov 9, 2011 - 78 comments

The Great Tech War of 2012

The Great Tech War of 2012: Apple v. Google v. Amazon v. Facebook
posted by OmieWise on Oct 18, 2011 - 98 comments

"Google+ is a Prime Example of Our Complete Failure to Understand Platforms"

"Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product." "Last night, high-profile Google engineer Steve Yegge mistakenly posted a long rant about working at Amazon and Google’s own issues with creating platforms on Google+...The most interesting part to me, though, is Yegge’s blunt assessment of what he perceives to be Google’s inability to understand platforms and how this could endanger the company in the long run." It's quite long, but there's some interesting insight - all the more because it wasn't initially intended to be made public. (via SiliconFilter/via G+) [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 12, 2011 - 174 comments

Google+ multiplies anger by subtracting pseudonyms

Not so fast, internetpseudonym, on signing up for that Google+ account. Turns out you can only use your real name or face account suspension. Users don't like it and some are worried about safety, but Google isn't budging: "To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you...You can use pseudonyms to upload videos in YouTube or post to Blogger."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 16, 2011 - 201 comments

Girl questions.

“Sheryl is putting together a new-girls network inside Silicon Valley.” She neither flaunts nor hides her ambition, and she talks about her guilt at not being home more; she takes command in meetings, yet she’s comfortable describing Mark Zuckerberg as “my boss,” and as “the Steve Jobs of his generation.” She is emblematic, Gruenfeld thinks, of a post-feminist woman who believes that “when you blame someone else for keeping you back, you are accepting your powerlessness.”
posted by availablelight on Jul 4, 2011 - 95 comments

The plus means better!

Last night Google quietly rolled out Google+ to a limited beta release. Unified across all Google sites, Google+ is the company's latest and perhaps most serious attempt to enter the social networking space. As Facebook surpasses Google in some key user metrics, Google's efforts may already be too late [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jun 28, 2011 - 178 comments

Egg on their Facebooks

Last Friday, USA Today reported that two people from PR firm Burson-Marsteller had been contacting various news outlets and bloggers, pushing a story about how Google's "Social Circle" gmail feature violates users' privacy. The pitch was made on behalf of an unnamed client that The Daily Beast now confirms was Facebook. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 12, 2011 - 104 comments

First they came for......

It was December 14 when Twitter first received the sealed order to turn over information on several of its users. Twitter could simply have provided the information requested, instead of acting, on January 5, to have the order unsealed. The unsealing of the subpoena allowed the Twitter users in question to become aware of the situation, and it allowed them an opportunity to dispute the order--an opportunity they would not otherwise have had.
US wants Twitter details of Wikileaks activists.
WikiLeaks demands Google and Facebook unseal US subpoenas. One of the subpeoned accounts it that of Birgitta Jónsdóttir, activist and Icelandic Member of parliament. A resolution proposing the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), has already been unanimously passed by the country's parliament.
Icelands intention is to become an international transparency haven.
posted by adamvasco on Jan 8, 2011 - 86 comments

Can Google beat spam?

"[U]sers ... are beginning to find that when they try to do searches to evaluate or buy consumer items--such as dishwashers, or iPhone 4 cases--or to find a site that will give them some useful answers, that Google's results are awash with spam." Is there "Trouble in the House of Google?" Is Google the next Yahoo? ... or worse? Why we need a better Google, and how Facebook likes, Blekko, and Bing are "changing search." (Previously; more previously)
posted by mrgrimm on Jan 4, 2011 - 67 comments

FB > GOOG ?

How Facebook Can Become Bigger In Five Years Than Google Is Today [more inside]
posted by gwint on Oct 12, 2010 - 91 comments

All Your Online Lives Are Belong To Us

'It's optional if you want to remain anonymous, but what's the point anymore?' A new generation doesn't mind sharing every detail of their lives online. So familiar online companies increasingly don't bother letting you control privacy options from the start, and make it difficult to detach. Are the privacy-concerned folks mostly older individuals who don't see the benefits of connectedness? Or are the people who share just about everything lined up with a pro-corporate culture pushed by marketers? [more inside]
posted by cashman on Feb 16, 2010 - 128 comments

"I WANT TO TAKE GOOGLES OFF OF MY HOME PAGE"

Yesterday, ReadWriteWeb, which "provides analysis of Web products and trends to an intelligent audience of engaged technology decision makers, Web enthusiasts and innovators" posted an article titled "Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login." What happened in the post's comments taught them a lesson about users who aren't in their target demographic: internet users browse by search, because they think browsers are search engines. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 11, 2010 - 190 comments

It's not dead, it's just resting

Privacy is dead - get over it [part 2] is a talk by private investigator Steve Rambam. It's a talk he has been giving for a number of years where he shows how privacy is being taken away, not by sinister plots but because people are giving it away. With people putting up everything and nothing on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on, as well as a growing quantity of data held in private databases, he shows how easy it is to find out enormous amounts of data on just about anyone. [more inside]
posted by bjrn on Sep 2, 2008 - 65 comments

Facebook to blue screen shortly

Microsoft buys stake in Facebook. Microsoft has paid $240m (£117m) for a 1.6% stake in Facebook that values the hugely popular social networking site at $15bn (£7.3bn). Facebook spurned an offer from Microsoft's rival Google, which was also keen to invest the site. Microsoft will also sell internet ads for Facebook outside the United States as part of the deal that took several weeks of negotiating. Mark Zuckerberg started the online social networking site in his Harvard University dorm room less than four years ago. [more inside]
posted by Tommy Gnosis on Oct 25, 2007 - 114 comments

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