Google+ grew to over 90 million members in short order, and for the most part, it did it without the benefit of teenagers flocking from Facebook (not counting the ones who slipped through the cracks and were previously able to open an account). A change in policy now allows teens age 13 and over to join Google's social networking service, but will they find it fun enough to stick around?
Twitter on Thursday introduced a new version of the microblogging service, one that's built around a simplified design intended to make it easier to follow content you care about, connect with others, and discover something new. Those are Twitter's official intentions, anyway. Unofficially, Twitter is reinventing itself as somewhat of a more traditional social network (think Facebook, Google Plus, and MySpace), even if it won't admit it.
What makes you, well, you? That’s the kind of question that can keep big-brained philosophers pondering for decades. We’re no Nietzsches here at Maximum PC, so we’ll just report on the facts, thank you very much – and the facts says Facebook thinks part of you actually belongs to them. Well, kind of. Facebook refused to turn over a complete log of the personal data the social network had collected about an activist group’s founder over the years, because apparently, the company considers some of your personal data – such as “Like” history – to be their “trade secrets or intellectual property.”
Facebook has given its users plenty to rage about the over years, from bungled privacy settings to a constant repainting of the social network's canvas. But one thing you can't fault Facebook for is charging subscription fees. Contrary to rumors, Mark Zuckerberg isn't planning to roll out tiered subscription plans, no matter how many people on your Friends list post otherwise.
Even though Google used an invitation system to control access to its new Google+ social network, the thing took off like gangbusters. It was the fastest network to ever reach 25 million visitors in its first month, and Facebook has been rolling out feature after feature that look suspiciously similar to offerings on the Goog’s service. If you couldn’t score an invite and have been wondering what all the hub-bub was about, today’s your day; Google+ is now open to all comers.
Before today, if your annoying Uncle Ronnie acted like a moron on Google+ -- flooding your stream with tons of pointless posts and tagging you in every message, let’s say – the only way to stop the madness was to block him entirely. And as we all know, nothing makes for an awkward Thanksgiving faster than blocking Uncle Ronnie on G+. Someone at Google must be related to Uncle Ronnie, too! Today, a kinder, gentler "Ignore" button rolled out on Google’s social network.
Hey, Tremors fans; we still don't know if you're actually only six connections away from having a BBQ with Kevin Bacon in your backyard. If you're looking to advance the technology that could one day put that question to rest, though, you should check out the Small World Experiment. No, it doesn't have anything to do with Disney rides; it's a joint venture between Yahoo! and Facebook to put the whole "six degrees of separation" thing to the test by tapping into the social network's 750 million member-strong user base.
As far as social media is concerned, Microsoft's more of an awkward wallflower than the fun-loving center of the party. They've toed the waters before, sure – Bing Social, the "awesome" Skype announcement and the company's 1.6-percent stake in Facebook are all proof that Microsoft's at least eyeing the field. But a slip-up on the Microsoft-owned socl.com hints that the boys and girls from Redmond may be considering at least wading in the social network pool, if not quite jumping in head first.
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.
"Starting today we'll provide you with the ability to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS. You should consider enabling this option if you frequently use Facebook from public Internet access points found at coffee shops, airports, libraries, or schools. The option will exist as part of our advanced security features, which you can find in the Account Security section of the Account Settings page," the company wrote in a blog post. Eventually, HTTPS will be made the default setting.
Social authentication is another new security feature introduced by the company: “Instead of showing you a traditional captcha on Facebook, one of the ways we may help verify your identity is through social authentication. We will show you a few pictures of your friends and ask you to name the person in those photos. Hackers halfway across the world might know your password, but they don't know who your friends are.”
These security updates come close on the heels of two high-profile hacks. FB founder Mark Zuckerberg and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have both had their official fan pages hacked in the last few days.