Noah J Nelson on Friday, Aug. 12th
In the Game of Buzz you win, or you suffer the endless ridicule of a 1000 snarking bloggers. A fate, we assure you, that is worse than death.
- Twitter: Tampering with the feature set of the big social media services often leads to revolt (see Facebook’s status this week), so a fresh feature rollout on Twitter is always a big risk. There seems to be no downside to the new Activity streams (http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/10/twitter-activity-streams/ ) on the microblogging service, which now show not only who has mentioned or @reply’d you, but who has retweeted and added you, and who your friends have started to follow as well. This new insight adds some transparency to the social network, presenting the opportunity to see exactly what impact your tweets are having, and how the edges of your “social graph” are growing.The current downside: it’s a slow roll out. The bigger downside: I had the new feature set for all of a day, and now it has disappeared! Boo!
- Amazon: What do you do when Apple tries to squeeze out your profit margin on content? Well, if you’re a small time developer you throw a fit, which goes nowhere. If you’re a behemoth like Amazon you make a really kick-ass web app version of your Kindle reader software, and just cut out the middleman. The Kindle Cloud Reader has gotten rave reviews all this week, giving Amazon a win after a few weeks of bad buzz on their Amazon App Market practices.
- Google: The big buzz remains around Google+, if only because that’s where Google is having their most public successes and failures. On the one hand, they began rolling out the Games tab on G+ . Awesome, at least in theory, as Angry Birds keeps crashing for me while Bejewled Blitz works fine. (Uh, oh. Life = over.) This a major leap forward in their competition with Facebook. The Big G is even offering better terms to developers, asking for just a 5% cut, as opposed to Facebook’s 30%. Of course, we’re talking about a smaller cut of a much smaller pie at present.Yet that pales in comparison with the story that will not die: the “real names” fiasco. Google wants its users to use their real names, and some of the (most awesome) users don’t want to be forced to. We covered this in last week’s G.O.B. and it’s come back, zombie-like, here at the end of the week on Gizmodo, Venture Beat , and All Things D getting in on the act. Google is missing a real opportunity to differentiate itself from Facebook here, and it will cost them.
- Facebook: The Social Network faced one of it’s periodic panics when users discovered the existence of the Facebook Contacts — the feature that aggregates users smartphone contacts with their Facebook friends — and started posting status updates that Facebok was publishing your friends phone numbers without permission. We broke this all down in a post earlier in the week . And so did the New York Times, Gizmodo, TechCrunch. Everybody.The sad thing is that these privacy scares don’t motivate any real action. And in this case, the scare was only a scare… at least until someone at Facebook decides that using those numbers to make money is a good idea. Oh, wait, you mean they already did?