As if people needed another excuse to use Facebook, UK's Channel Five has decided to use the social networking site as a content delivery platform. According to a NewMediaAge report, Five is close to becoming the first broadcaster to show programs on Facebook. “All systems go” is how NMA's sources described the deal between Five and Facebook. They also revealed that Five will begin delivering TV content through Facebook “within the next week to ten days.” The TV shows will be delivered by embedding Demand Five, Five's TV-on-demand player, into Facebook. UK's Facebook population stands at 26 million.
Popular VoIP provider Vonage this week introduced the Vonage Mobile application for Facebook, a free service that allows Facebook friends to make mobile calls to each other for free.
"The Vonage Mobile app for Facebook is a tangible example of our commitment to deliver extraordinary value and a better communications experience for individuals and their social networks, across broadband-enabled devices, around the world," said Marc Lefar, Chief Executive Office of Vonage Holdings Corp. "This is just the start. In the future we will expand on this service to include a wide range of integrated voice and messaging services that change the way people communicate."
The downloadable app is completely free and is available for iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices, and coming soon for the iPad. According to Vonage, it works over Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks in most countries, and only requires logging into the service one time. After that, Facebook contacts are automatically loaded and grouped by friends who can be called for free and those who can only instant message.
Hunch is a newly relaunched site that aims to offer users a personalized list of recommendations based on a brief questionnaire. Users log in with their Facebook or Twitter account, then answer around 20 questions to evaluate the user's tastes. Hunch then generates recommendations for movies, restaurants, music, books, products, and much more.
Hunch uses your seemingly random answers to build a profile based on what it has learned about other people. Some of the recommendations are also based on who is in your social circle, thus the Facebook and Twitter login. Most users find the recommendations eerily accurate. Some might feel discomfort at divulging this information to Hunch, but it's really not much different than what Facebook and Google already know about you.
Have you used Hunch? Let us know how good or bad the results were.
Who said the Internet is for porn? According to a recent study conducted by the Nielsen Company, nowadays the Internet is predominately used for two things: social networking and gaming.
Unsurprisingly, a whopping 22.7 percent of online time is spent on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which actually sounds like a bit of a conservative estimate to us, seeing as the magic of cell phone technology means that – for us, at least – Facebook is always only one five-second stretch of boredom away.
Online games, meanwhile, snagged a silver medal in the time-devouring contest with 10.2 percent, catapulting them ahead of email's 8.3 percent.
Interesting stuff, huh? What we're wondering, though, is how long it'll be before all our web activities are rolled into one writhing, Katamari-like conglomerate. After all, tools like Facebook are already replacing email, and games like Farmville encourage you to bug your buddies until they embark on an addiction-based journey of equal parts self-loathing and rural discovery, all so you can have your crops fertilized one time. It's a big loop. Games are becoming more social, and social networks are becoming more game-like. Meanwhile, everything else that Nielsen listed – instant messaging, email, videos, etc. – is getting gobbled up by social media's giant, unhinged jaw.
And that's just the present. It's all at once exciting and utterly terrifying to imagine what our media-centric, almost-disturbingly interconnected future holds if things continue at their current pace. Or, you know, you could just read Snow Crash.
If you've been dismissing the rumors that Google is about to take on Facebook in the social networking space, let this set you straight. Google has just bought social game developer Slide for $182 million. There are already murmurs that El Goog is looking to make more acquisitions of this sort soon. With this and a partnership with Zynga, Google looks to be building up to something. Google Me perhaps?
Slide makes simple Facebook games in the same vein as Zynga. Just like Zynga, these games are given value by having a community of players that can interact. This will be the biggest hurdle for Google. Just having Farmville or SuperPoke Pets on a social networking site won't cut it; there needs to be a community around it. Right now, Facebook is that community.
Google has many of the pieces of a social site with services like YouTube, profiles, Gtalk, and Buzz. They just need to be assembled with a few games for good measure. Can Google tempt people to join its own social ecosystem?
Have you been on Facebook today? How about Twitter, YouTube, or any other of the scores of social networking sites scattered across the Web? Chances are you've visited at least one of them, and if Nielsen's latest stats are correct, you'll spend about six hours this month on social networking sites and blogs.
According to Nielsen, users are now spending 23 percent of their Internet time on social networking sites, a leap of 7 percentage points from this same time last year. This ranks as the biggest jump for any of Nielsen's online categories, which also include checking email, using Web portals, and playing games. And if we widen the social umbrella to also include communicating via blogs, personal email, and instant messaging, that number jumps to 36 percent.
"Despite the almost the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the Web, nearly half of U.S. online time is spent on three activities -- social networking, playing games, and emailing," says Dave Martin, vice president of primary research at Nielsen.
Other activities, like shopping and random Web searches, haven't changed a whole lot, while watching online videos increased slightly from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent from June 2009 to June 2010.
It turns out that your nosey neighbor isn't the only one interested in that cache of 100 million Facebook profiles that showed up on torrent trackers. Some major companies that you do business with are getting the package as well. By connecting to the torrent and recording IP addresses that are also in the swarm, some have noticed the extent of interest here.
Among the companies seen downloading the data are Apple, Boeing, Church of Scientology, Disney, Intel, Pepsi Cola, Sony, and Viacom. It is worth noting that the mere fact that connections from these companies are present, does not mean this is a sanctioned action. All it means is that someone inside the company is downloading it. But our experience with corporate IT leads us be suspect Pepsi and Disney aren't in the habit of allowing employees to go around downloading torrents on their own.
Things aren't looking so hot for MySpace, the once dominant social networking site that has since taken a distant backseat to Facebook. According to comScore, MySpace's traffic declined 49 percent in the course of a year, dropping from 6.5 million visitors in May 2009 to a mere 3.3 million in May 2010.
Adding insult to injury, Facebook is in a celebratory mood after having recently reached 500 million registered users. That's 400 million more than MySpace claimed at its peak, and despite a recent revamp of the site, it doesn't appear as though MySpace is going to be able to turn things around.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. paid $580 million for MySpace back in 2005, and in the past six months alone has lost two chief executives.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a message for all the social networking haters out there: Facebook is doing just fine without your support, thank you very much. He didn't actually say that, nor did he need to - the numbers speak for themselves.
"As of this morning, 500 million people all around the world are actively using Facebook to stay connected with their friends and the people around them," Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post. "This is an important milestone for all of you who have helped spread Facebook around the world. Now a lot more people have the opportunity to stay connected with the people they care about."
To celebrate the occasion, Zuckerberg and company launched a new app called "Facebook Stories" so you can tell the other half billion members what brought you into the social networking scene and what you use Facebook for.
Not hokey enough for you? Not to worry, the Facebook team also assembled a photo album filled with their messages of thanks. Maybe at the one billion members mark the company will spring for a celebratory video.
Most of you reading this have probably opened up a Facebook account, right along with 500 million others. But are you happy with the social networking site's customer service?
According to a new study from ForeSee Results, Facebook isn't doing so hot at keeping its members happy, scoring a 64 out of 100. That ranks as one of the lowest scores of all businesses measured, putting the social networking site in the company of airlines and cable outfits.
"Facebook is a phenomenal success, so we were not expecting to see it score so poorly with consumers," Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, said in a statement. "At the same time, our research shows that privacy concerns, frequent changes to the website, and commercialization and advertising adversely affect the consumer experience."
This is the first time ForeSee Results has included social networking sites, and the scores were pretty bad across the board. Compared to other social sites, here's how it all breaks down:
All Others: 72
While Facebook's score is nothing to brag about, the social networking site isn't oblivious to the need for improvement.
"We haven't reviewed the survey methodology in detail, but clearly we have room to improve," a Facebook spokesperson told CNet. "Building a simple, useful service is the best way to earn and sustain the trust people put in us. That's why we spend so much of our time and energy focused on improving the products we offer and introducing new ones. We look forward to the next survey."
How do you feel about Facebook, or social sites in general?