Trying to describe Microsoft's Windows Live family of web-enabled tools for Windows has been a bit like the parable of the blind men describing the elephant.
Is Windows Live a photo sharing service? A file sharing service? An email service? An IM service? With the news that Windows Live is adding connections next week to many other popular Web 2.0 social networks, it's easier now to say, as ArsTechnica puts it, that Microsoft wants to:
[T]urn Windows Live into the average netcitizen's main hub for his or her social life, or at the very least to turn Windows Live into a social network.
Microsoft's teaming up with lots of social-networking partners around the world. US-based companies becoming BFFs with Windows Live include MSN, Digg, Facebook, SmugMug, and MySpace (see the full list of 31 current and new partners here).
According to a recent pilot study, students that use Facebook regularly spend less time studying and have lower grade point averages than those that haven’t even signed up for the site.
“We can’t say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades and less studying – but we did find a relationship there,” stated Aryn Karpinski, a doctoral student in education at Ohio State University and a co-author of the study. According to the report, hardcore Facebook users have GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users are packing a GPA in the range of 3.5 and 4.0.
However, more than three-quarters of Facebook’s users maintain that their use of the site doesn’t get in the way of their important study time.
A 3.0 isn’t bad, but if having a Facebook account is the difference between a 3.0 and a 4.0, I’ll be the first to close out my account! Though, I get to keep playing WoW, right?
Just one week after Facebook deployed its latest design update, the social network is quietly rolling out a pair of beta services -- Facebook Premium and Facebook Classic -- to select users. Facebook Classic lets each user opt in to the Facebook design of his or her choice. From the pre-news feed design (circa 2006) to the single-page design used through much of 2008, beta users will be able to select the Facebook interface that they’re most comfortable with. In an official status update, Christopher Cox, Facebook’s Director of Product, cited the reasons behind this move, which he feels are "in line with the Facebook's intent to both respond to user feedback and adapt the product for different usage models and forward-looking feature opportunities".
Also in beta, and available to select users is the new Facebook Premium service.
It turns out Twitter can be used for more than just reading bad haikus, it can also be used to derail 8 weeks of legal proceedings, and get a case thrown in to mistrial. Last week, a Florida juror in a high profile drug trial officially went on record and admitted to the judge that he’d researched part of the case over the Internet. Normally a single biased juror isn’t a big deal; you simply eject the person in question and continue. But when the judge dug a bit further, he was shocked to find that eight other jurors had all committed the same offence. As a result a “Google” mistrial was called, and the justice system is starting to worry about the long term trends this case demonstrated.
This isn’t the first time the internet and social media has been accused of interfering with justice either. A few weeks back an Arkansas court was asked to overturn a $12.6 million dollar judgment by claiming that a juror was releasing details of the case on Twitter. Tweets such as “a big announcement is coming Monday” might seem harmless, but to the courts, they represent a grave threat to the justice system that is nearly impossible to solve. Currently jurors are warned in advance not seek information outside the courtroom, but with the answer to almost every question at our finger tips these days, the temptation to cheat seems to be getting to the best of us.
With access to the internet via mobile devices getting easier every day, do you think this is a problem the courts will ever solve? Or will we have to lock up all the twitterholics?
Sure, you could carry around all of your personal data on a business card, but why do that when you can just carry about a Poken? These adorable little dongles allow you to carry all of your information (including your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others) and transfer it to others with the push of a button.
Mark Zuckerberg spoke about the privacy change during a press conference earlier this week, during which time he outlined a new, community driven plan in which any controversial changes will be put to a user vote.
"Last week, we put up old terms after we put up new terms," Zuckerberg said. "We took last week as a strong signal of how much people cared about Facebook and how much they want to govern it. We're happy to roll out these polices today."
To aid with the process, Zuckerberg said Facebook will form a "user council" in which it would "invite the authors of the most insightful and constructive comments on the draft documents to serve as founding members of the group."
Here's a protip for all you working teens out there: You're probably going to go through more than one job that you don't enjoy doing before settling on a career that, hopefully, will be one you like. Nearly everyone follows this path, so posting on Facebook that your job is boring is the equivalent of letting the world know you brushed your teeth this morning. Except the former can apparently get you fired, as 16-year-old Kimberly Swann found out.
"Following your comments made on Facebook about your job and the company we feel it is better that, as you are not happy and do not enjoy your work we end your employment with Ivell Marketing & Logistics with immediate effect," Swann was informed.
According to Swan, she "did not even put the company's name" in her Facebook entry, only saying that her job was boring. But according to Stephen Ivell, the company's owner, it didn't come to the decision lightly. "It is just a shame that it did not work out because she is a lovely girl. For a small company, when a decision is made, one thinks long and hard about it."
Do you agree with Ivell's decision? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
What Facebook essentially did was grant themselves the right to all user-uploaded content for, well, forever. It no longer mattered if you removed anything from the site, because it would remain in Facebook's archives, giving the site free reign to use the content for as long as it likes.
To justify the decision, Facebook compared the policy change to that of sending an email to a friend. Even if you delete the sent email from your sent box, a copy still remains in the recipient's inbox, so according to Facebook, it was okay for the site to keep and use your content.
Here's one for Facebook: The squeeky wheel gets the grease.
MySpace announced this week that they’ve happily booted 90,000 registered sex offenders from their social networking site. But, as some research would reveal many of them simply took this in stride and made their way over to Facebook to do their business.
Former New York City police officer John Cardillo, and now CEO of Sentinel, a security technology firm based out of Miami, has said that Facebook is a “safe haven” for sex offenders. Notably, Facebook isn’t currently a client of his service.
After these gentlemen were booted from MySpace he did a search on Facebook for many of the same names. “We found over 8,000 offenders on their site without much effort,” stated Cardillo. “My professional opinion is that the real number is 15 to 20 times that.”
Cardillo’s Sentinel works by searching a gigantic database identify sex offenders. The database of offenders consists of more than 700,000 names, photos, dates of birth, email and IM addresses, and other “important data points.”
Well, let’s think of it this way – at least they probably don’t have access to Google’s Latitude.