Is Facebook Preparing to Launch Video Chatting In a Partnership with Skype?

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

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Tal Ater from Green Any Site, found a hidden (?) piece of code when he was writing an application for Facebook. It is a programmable object called ‘VideoChat’. The object has several properties, some of them are related to Skype.

You can read the full entry here.

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What Facebook forgot to mention in their announcement today (I told you so…)

The Facebook Man. Facebook is celebrating its ...

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I have just read this on the The Microsoft Office Blog by Office VP Takeshi Numoto:

Facebook‘s new messaging platform integrates the Office Web Apps to enable Facebook users to view Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents with just one click. As you know, Office helps you create stunning documents that bring your ideas to life. Now you can easily share those ideas with your friends and family on Facebook.  I’m really excited about being able to make it even easier for people to use Office to access and share information across different devices, networks and platforms. With the Office Web Apps on Facebook, you have even more ways to express yourself with Office and easily share your thoughts with people that are important to you.

When you receive a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document attachment in your Facebook message, click "View on" to view it in the browser in high fidelity via Office Web Apps or click "Download" to download the file to your computer (where you can open it in Office on your computer).”

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Facebook Statement: “It is not Email”

In my post yesterday I suggested that Facebook may add email to their services. Today Mashable confirms “It is not email”. Messages3

Apparently this Facebook messaging system will be a more seamless, chat-like experience with a ‘social’ inbox. This would mean that the inbox will reflect the relationship you have with a sender or recipient of the email (I got that part right).

The system will run on multiple platforms, including phones.

I certainly hope it is not like Google Wave.

All is explained in this blog post from Facebook’s Joe Seligstein.

What I noticed:

  1. It is like a unified messaging system because it creates threads of conversations, indifferent if the messaging was done by text, email of Facebook writings.
  2. It will come with a ‘’ email alias.
  3. There is a reference to voice in the blog: “Relatively soon, we’ll probably all stop using arbitrary ten digit numbers and bizarre sequences of characters to contact each other.”
  4. They make a good point that the system should find out what the best way is to get a message to a person. Some may prefer email, others may prefer texting. By just entering the message, the system should figure out the delivery method.
  5. They make a point of not needing subject lines – messages are sorted by the people they got send to.

There is a good video explanation on the blog entry by Joe.

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Is the web better with friends?

A segment of a social network

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On the Facebook webpage about Instant Personalization it says:

“See your friends’ reviews first when you search for a movie to watch.
Hear your favorite songs automatically when you visit a music site.
Experience a Web tailored to you and your friends.”

This statement has an important verb associated to it: “Search”.

On October 13, 2010, Facebook announced a partnership with Bing, allowing Bing to research the biggest social network in the world when you search the web.

This collaboration enhances the search experience of Bing because you not only can find the information you are looking for, you also can see how your social network rates the things you are searching for. The very important Facebook “Like”-button aggregates all this information.

When you search for a restaurant, it will show you if you have friends in your network that “liked” that restaurant, but because the web has a digital reference to almost anything, this scenario also plays when you are looking for a book, a computer, a travel destination and even your neighbor.

So lets shift our viewpoint here: how do you make money with search? Through advertisement right? Google knows this; they also know you make more money with targeted advertisements. The more you know about a person, the more money you can make.

Who do you think knows more about you? Facebook or Google? Of course Google may know about your searching habits, but how much info about your personal life is in your Facebook pages?

You may argue that you only publish public info on your Facebook pages and that is probably true (you are a responsible and good net-citizen). But what about your 500 or more friends. What they share with or about you is now also searchable by Bing.

It is like a big game of trust. I trust my ‘friends’, I trust Bing and because of that I trust Bing to trust my ‘friends’; or better still I trust my ‘friends’ to trust Bing (Facebook offers an opt-out possibility, but can you find it in the settings?).

So, is this bad? Not if you want to trade some privacy to get a good search experience. But it is bad if someone in your friend network starts misbehaving – do you really want a friend that starts pressing every ‘like’ button he or she can find on a lot of very questionable sites or forums? You may be on holiday while somebody starts posting very strange texts on your wall. If it becomes searchable throughout your whole social network it may be something you do not ‘like’ (pun intended).

On the aspect of Facebook only containing your public information, I want to make another point; according to TechCrunch, we can expect Facebook to announce on Monday, October 15, 2010, their next step: Facebook Email.

Facebook email will make a lot of sense; because Facebook knows who and what is going on in your network it can help prioritize your email. You can also very easily integrate the contact data – that is probably why Facebook and Google had a fight over importing contacts from one to another last week. It is a natural extension to the wall postings and your email probably contains information that can then be of interest to any targeted advertising.

This may all be seen as paranoia and some of it probably is. After all if we want technology to work for us, we need to provide it with information it can work with. I would however very much ‘like’ it, when these companies gave us some kind of overview what type of connections and level of privacy access I have created. Some openness on my social profile would help me understand the impact of my actions.

Two thoughts to leave you with:

  • It would be fun if Facebook based its email on Microsoft technology (including the online Office components) – this would ready create a headache for Google.
  • To worsen your conspiracy feelings: would you connect your XBOX Kinect to your Facebook account?


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