Google+ is officially on the market, and it’s being released in small doses in the form of invites. Much like how Gmail was initially spread in beta, the invite only model creates a sense of exclusivity and belonging. Facebook also used this method to market their network to college students, and eventually became part of the global definition of social media. Whether Google+ mirrors this success is anyone’s guess, but until that time it is time to get to know the features.
When it comes to great ways to discover and share new music or the tunes you’ve loved for years, the internet has already set the bar pretty high. From sketchy p2p services like the original Napster, to great services like Rdio, Last.fm and Spotify, modern music listeners are spoiled for choice. Turntable.fm--our Cool Site of the Week--takes everything that makes finding and sharing music online great and turns it up to 11, making for the best musical social experience we’ve ever seen.
Google has its proverbial fingers in a lot of pies, but one space they have yet to really investigate is gaming. If a new job posting is to be taken seriously, The Big G is about to change that. The company is looking for a product manager for a product called Games at Google. Can’t really get more clear than that.
Google has made it known this afternoon that It has acquired social RSS startup Postrank. Details like price were not immediately available. But this deal definitely show how serious Google is with its “social everywhere” strategy. You might never have heard of Postrank, but you’re going to wish you had. New registrations are closed already.
Digg versus Reddit; Reddit versus Digg. Much could be written about the unfolding war for your attention that’s taking place on the battlegrounds of news aggregates come and gone. That was pretty poetic, wasn’t it? Look, here’s the raw deal: Whether you’re a Digg enthusiast, Reddit convert, or vice versa, there’s no reason why you should have to live your online life using the simple, raw tools that either site has provided for you.
No, there are plenty of unique tweaks and twists that you can build into your conventional Reddit/Digg experience—provided, of course, you’re rocking either Firefox or Chrome as your browser of choice. And if you’re using something else or, for that matter, using another site on the Internet for your daily news updates… well, you’re out of luck in this week’s Freeware Files.
So, for those that are left, get ready to see how you can kick your Reddit or Digg surfing to new levels of awesomeness (really, usability!) We’ve split the extensions/add-ons up by browser and by site, with a special little bonus in the end for anyone who sticks around that far.
To write about the death of Digg would be to step into a time machine, back to the late August launch of the fabled “Digg version 4” which singlehandedly managed to unwind nearly six years of continued growth and excitement in one, crappy swoop.
Here’s the real secret though: In Digg’s grand quest to somehow reinvent itself back to mainstream acceptance (a code phrase for “profitable traffic numbers”), the site’s various, changing overlords fail to recognize that the pin on the grenade has already been tossed to the floor. Amongst the geeks and the traffic-shapers (more on them later), Digg is irrelevant. Its power to toss tens of thousands of users to a give site or piece of content has been nerfed nearly as badly as its submission system.
Yet, we really only have ourselves to blame. We helped Kevin Rose create his monster and, in doing so, forever proved that you just can’t have direct democracy on the Web without some jackass(es) screwing it up. We broke Digg.
Trying to pick the best Youtube videos of X time period is a lot like trying to pick your favorite flavor of ice cream when you haven’t eaten for two weeks. Everything just looks so good and tasty—or viewable—that it would be impossible to concoct a meaningful “Best Flavors Ever” list with even the slightest bit of accuracy. Everything just looks so scrumptious!
Well, the same problem is happening in our attempt to catalog the 25 greatest Youtube videos of 2010. And, to stretch the analogy even further, we’ve noticed that not everyone likes the same flavors of ice cream: Your Rocky Road of groin-hitting videos is our Orange Sherbet of pranks; Your Strawberry Katy Perry music video is our Chocolate cat movie; et cetera. In short, what you love isn’t necessarily what we love, and vice versa.
So how, then, do we come up with a “best-of” list? And more importantly, what's on it?
It’s not very often that one sees one’s life posted on one of the larger news/technology aggregates/communities/linkdumps on the web. But there I sat the other day, idly browsing the web the other day, when up came a chat window from Future US co-star Andy Salisbury. Andy, as it turns out, had stumbled across a rather interesting picture in Reddit’s submission queue and was curious to know if I had any further details to share.
I clicked the link without really thinking much about what could lie beneath. And you can thus imagine my surprise in discovering that I was basically staring at the back of my car. Yes, my car. Somebody had taken a picture of my (extremely clever and/or witty) license plate and uploaded it for the world to see. The votes on Reddit were slowly a-climbing and, based on a quick scan of the third-party that was actually hosting the image in question, roughly 10,000 people or so had already checked out my car’s butt.
[04.09.2010 Update] Hey all. Just wanted to chime in real quick and note that Blizzard has caved in and reversed its "First Name Last Name" forum policy as of 9:47 a.m. (PST) today. That's Murphy's Law: 1. Blizzard: 0...
Ugh. I was all set to write this totally awesome column about how World of Warcraft's latest Real ID measures are The Lich King's gift to proper forum management, and it's just one more reflection of much of what I talk about in this weekly column--the idea that the walls are slowly lowering between our various online identities as we transition our lives into a tell-all kind of digital tale.
Of course, resident Maximum PC gaming pundit Nathan Grayson beat me to the punch. With respect to Mr. Grayson, however, I don't think that he's really covered enough ground in regards to Blizzard's announcement that any World of Warcraft players seeking to post on the company's forums will now be identified by their first and last names--the "Real ID" I speak of.
What I find most curious is that this situation blows open the various degrees of user permissibility in an open world of data. What does that mean? Simply put, there are varying levels of sharing that people are comfortable with in the digital age, and it's funny that so many are complaining about an unsheltered digital lifestyle that we're headed toward anyhow.
Every now and then, I'm reminded of the Internet's power to really screw things up.
As I go about my normal day as a technology journalist, half of the stories I catch across the wire are usually something related to the unfolding social landscape of the Web 2.0. Google's catching Facebook; Facebook's catching Google; Someone is making a new way to interact with Twitter (oh joy!) I find this relatively disinteresting, save for the fact that each new announcement heralds in just one more way by which every action in our lives is transforming into an accessible, traceable record for all to see.
One of my friends unfortunately learned this lesson a little too well this past week. It cost him a pretty solid gig at the ol' Washington Post, and now has me forever wondering if my "Apple Rules, Woo" comments throughout Maximum PC's various articles might, too, have gone a step too far...
But I don't blame me; I blame our growing culture of online social oversharing. And with new products and linked networks coming in on a near-weekly basis, at what point do we stand up and wrest our digital lives back from everyone else's radars? Is it already too late?