In mid-August 2012 Google decided to give a select number of users custom URLs for their Google+ profiles. My colleague Joe Wilcox is one of the lucky few who received one. The change would make profiles easier to link to and share as the address is simpler to remember, read and write, with the Plusser's name replacing the string of numbers usually associated with it.
Late-yesterday, Google announced that all Google+ users will be able to take advantage of custom URLs for their profiles. The option is rolling out "throughout the week", to those who meet the search giant's permissive eligibility criteria.
Very little fanfare is being made about it, but Twitter is changing the way photos and videos are displayed in timelines. When someone you follow tweets a picture or video, there's no longer any need to click a link to see what the tweet is referring to -- previews are displayed right there in the timeline. To see a larger version, you'll still need to click or tap through, but at least you'll be able to get an idea of whether it is worth doing so ahead of time.
In a blog post entitled "Picture this: More visual Tweets", the new feature is explained, and a Vine video shows it in action. The video also shows how mobile users benefit from the addition of easily accessible replay, favorite and retweet options.
Finding the right staff is crucial to the operation of any business. But often the people that are right for a role aren't necessarily looking for a new job. San Francisco-based analytics specialist Identified thinks it has an answer to this with a new product that combines social media and big data techniques to create a massive searchable candidate database.
Identified Recruit claims to have a billion potential candidates available making it the largest source of professional profiles. You may think that this is like LinkedIn, but the difference is that Identified Recruit uses multiple data sources so it isn't limited by its own user base.
In a bid to foil plans to create a backup of the site, isoHunt closes its doors ahead of its planned shutdown. On 16 October, isoHunt founder Gary Fung struck a deal with the MPAA, bringing to an end a series of court battles that have waged for several years.
Fung agreed to pay damages of $110 million and to shut down isoHunt -- along with TorrentBox, www.podtropolis.com and www.ed2k-it.com -- within seven days.
With Android handsets and iPhones taking the lion's share of the smartphone market, Windows Phone is quite often overlooked by most consumers in their purchasing decisions. The popularity, or lack thereof, of devices running Microsoft's mobile OS likely plays an important part but it also detracts folks from getting the smartphone that may be right for them. Ask yourselves how many of your acquaintances have been in this position.
Many do not even take Windows Phone into consideration and the ones that do easily find a couple of reasons to dismiss the platform and jump on the Android or iPhone bandwagon. Yes, Windows Phone may not be the right answer for everyone but it might be for more people than naysayers think. And I have got 10 good reasons why consumers should give Windows Phone a chance.
Business automation specialist Automation Anywhere has launched a new application aimed at helping businesses identify tasks and prioritize them based on the crowd-sourced wisdom of their user community.
Called Cumulus (could this possibly be using the cloud?) the application is launching via the Yammer enterprise social network. It will be available as a featured application via Yammer's app directory. Using Cumulus, anyone in an organization will be able to suggest a task to be automated, vote on the tasks that seem most valuable, contribute suggestions to existing initiatives, and track any active automation projects.
Facebook fans running Microsoft's tiled OS need no longer turn to third party solutions -- the official Facebook app is now available in the Windows Store.
It has been a very long time coming, but the social network finally has its own official app, arriving just in time for the release of Windows 8.1. The app has the look and feel of Modern UI apps and includes a live tile that is used to display updates.
We've looked at Huddle's drive to create a connected desktop environment allowing people to collaborate via the cloud before, but now the company is aiming to take things a step beyond. Announcing a collaboration with TIBCO Software's enterprise social network tibbr it aims to further streamline the sharing process.
This will allow users to socialize, share and manage content in the cloud in a seamless way. From within the tibbr environment, users will be able to quickly and easily attach Huddle files to their updates for information and feedback. The files remain stored within Huddle's secure cloud and retain all of their security, permissions, and versions. The end result is a unified work environment bringing together people and information in real time.
The internet is an amazing tool, especially for children looking to learn. It is essentially the world's biggest library available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But the web also has a darker side, and parents have to ask themselves the question "when is the right time to let my child go online?" Or, as Director of Online Safety at Microsoft, Kim Sanchez puts it "How old is too young to go online?".
This is a far more complicated problem than it used to be. It is not all that long ago that the average household had no more than one computer, which may not have been connected to the internet. Now, however, we live in a time when households could have multiple computers. There might still be one shared "family" computer, but it is also very common for children to have their own computer or laptop. There are also phones and tablets to think of. Pester power is an incredible thing, and it’s a strong parent who is able to resist giving into demands for a tablets when "all my friends have one".
Twitter is changing the way direct messages work. Up until now DMs could only be exchanged between people who were following each other. But now all that changes as Twitter is making it possible for users to opt to receive direct messages from any of their followers, regardless of whether they are following them in return.
The setting is switched off by default, but once enabled you can receive direct messages from any one of your followers.
It looks as though Facebook is trying to help reduce the costs of using the social network on the move with its acquisition of Onavo. Onavo specializes in mobile data compression and data usage tracking, with a goal of helping people use mobile data more efficiently. The company has an office in Tel-Aviv, and this is to be turned into Facebook's Israeli office.
The acquisition comes a couple of months after Mark Zuckerberg launched Internet.org with a view to making the internet available to a larger number of people around the world. Onavo joining forces with Facebook is not unrelated, and the company says it is "eager to take the next step and make an even bigger impact by supporting Facebook's mission to connect the world".
Folks are increasingly using Twitter while watching their favorite TV shows. A couple of days ago, Nielsen announced that viewers were becoming more engaged with television as a result. However, I argued that this could potentially distract users from both the programming and advertising. Today, Twitter and Comcast announce a partnership that looks to bring users to the TV with the power of tweets, rather than pull them away, with a feature called See It.
"It's a simple, but exciting tool that helps people more easily watch the shows they read about or discover online. See It lets people tune-in or record their favorite shows -- directly from the conversations happening on Twitter. In a typical week, #thevoice generates more than 350,000,000 Twitter impressions. What’s missing is how to seamlessly move from that conversation to consumption. And that's where See It comes in", says Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer at Comcast.
You know how frustrating it can be when you hear a track on the radio or TV and miss the announcement that tells you what it's called? With the public beta launch of its new Playlister tool the BBC aims to offer a solution to that problem.
Using Playlister you can tag tracks from across the BBC's web services which will be saved to a personal playlist. Once you've created a list you can export it as a PDF or print it out, but more usefully you have the option to export the list to Spotify, Deezer or YouTube so that you can stream the tracks. Other services are expected to be added in future.
My first contact with Microsoft's homebrew Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 revealed one of the least desirable social experiences that a smartphone user can have on any modern mobile platform. The first iterations of the company's offering were terrible, but luckily things started to pick up after the beta version that arrived in late-April.
Microsoft released a couple of major updates since then, bringing the Facebook experience on Windows Phone 8 to a decent level of usability. Some oversights can still be pointed out, such as the lack of a built-in security code generator but, generally speaking, all the important bits are there. And, today, Microsoft issued another update which brings the version number to 5.1. Let's take a look at what's new.
As the Internet gets bigger and more crowded it can be increasingly difficult to find a catchy domain name. Startup company Panabee aims to provide a simple tool for individuals and businesses to find great domain names and it has just reached the milestone of 10 million monthly searches -- up 50 percent from 2012.
Given the scarcity of available names, Panabee offers a new interface for brainstorming alternatives besides dot-coms. As consumers become more Internet savvy, it allows businesses to embrace different domain endings like .co.uk, .biz, .net and more.