Meebo enlists Google, Microsoft in new social networking standard

With social networking services booming, website operators are increasingly looking for ways to make their sites play well in the social world.

Witness the clutter of “share this” buttons on websites urging surfers to share a video or an article with a litany of social networking services that the user may or may not belong to.

xauth2Now Internet chat and toolbar company Meebo is introducing another option that it says will allow websites to custom tailor the experience to each visitor’s personal social networking predilections.

With XAuth (Extended Authentication), Meebo says it has developed a standard framework for the Web that allows sites to automatically detect which social networking or communication service a surfer is logged onto — when the person visits another website they can quickly begin interacting with their friends on the site and quickly share the site’s content across their network.

Meebo says the idea of XAuth is to provide an open technology standard that all social networks and online publishers can join to improve the social features on their sites. So far Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and MySpace are among the Internet players that have joined the effort.

Twitter wants to be @anywhere

Twitter announced a new service on Monday for embedding its functionality into other websites. Called @anywhere, the technology gives websites tools for letting users follow Twitter feeds or share media.

“Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page,” Twitter said on its blog.

Twitter Chief Executive Evan Williams, demonstrating the service at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas,  said launch partners will include Amazon, The Huffington Post and the New York Times. He didn’t give a kick-off date for the service, which is Twitter’s answer to the Facebook Connect tools embedded in sites such as the Huffington Post.

Google walks into privacy Buzz-saw

Google touted its 176 million Gmail users as a key advantage in its latest attempt to break into the red-hot social networking market, dominated by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. But email may turn out to be Google’s Achilles heel.

Less than four days after introducing Google Buzz, a social networking service that is built-in to Gmail, the company is already moving to address a growing privacy backlash.

GoogBuzzAt issue is the network of contacts that Buzz automatically creates for new users based on their existing email contacts, saving people the laborious chore of manually building a social graph from scratch.

from The Great Debate UK:

Are publication bans outdated in the Internet era?

IMG01299-20100115-2004The debate over freedom of expression and the impact of social networking on democratic rights in the courts is in focus in Canada after a Facebook group became the centre of controversy when it may have violated a publication ban.

The group, which has more than 7,000 members, was set up to commemorate the murder of a 2-year-old boy in Oshawa, Ontario.

The breach of a publication ban could lead to a mistrial, a fine and even jail time. Violating a ban could taint the opinions of witnesses or jurors, and the news media must wait to report information protected under a publication ban until after the trial is over.

from FaithWorld:

Malaysia’s “Allah” row spills over into Facebook

allah herald

The word "Allah" in a Malay-language Catholic newspaper, 29 Dec 2009/Bazuki Muhammad

More than 43,000 Malaysians have protested online over a court ruling allowing a Malay-language Catholic paper to use the word "Allah" for "God," signaling growing Islamic anger in this mostly Muslim Southeast Asian country.

A group page on social networking site Facebook was drawing 1,500 new supporters an hour on Monday as last week's court ruling split political parties and even families.  Among those who signed up for the protest were Deputy Trade Minister Mukhriz Mahathir, the son of Malaysia's longest serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohamed, while Mahathir's daughter Marina called critics of the court decision "idiots" in her blog.

Facebook privacy backlash in FTC’s hands

The grousing about Facebook’s recent privacy changes is now an official complaint.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, along with eight other groups, filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday urging the regulator to open an investigation into Facebook’s new privacy settings.

FB11Facebook’s privacy changes “violate user expectations, diminish user privacy and contradict Facebook’s own representations,” reads the 29-page complaint, which accuses the world’s No.1 Internet social networking company of engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.

from Summit Notebook:

Zynga CEO: Half of social web users will be social gamers

Don’t ask Zynga’s Mark Pincus how much money his company is making.

The founder of the hot social gaming company, which is operating at a more than $200 million yearly run rate according to sources familiar with the matter, said sharing such information would contribute to the kind of hype that would be bad for the nascent industry.

“I just hope that we can all partner to try to get the story out in a balanced way, so that the media doesn’t necessarily have to go back and forth, ‘This is the next great coming,’ and hyping it, and then two or three months later, ‘Oh they didn’t deliver on these very high expectations that we’ve all put out there,’” Pincus said in a conversation with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit.

He noted that Zynga, whose games include FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has been profitable for eight quarters and sees no reason to raise capital in a public stock offering anytime soon.

from The Great Debate UK:

Remembering how to forget in the Web 2.0 era

Amid ongoing debates over the hazards of excessive digital exposure through such Web 2.0 social networking platforms as Facebook and Twitter, a new book by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger extols the virtues of forgetfulness.

Since the emergence of digital technology and global networks, forgetting has become an exception, Mayer-Schonberger writes in "Delete".

"Forgetting plays a central role in human decision-making," he argues. "It lets us act in time, cognizant of, but not shackled by, past events."

Cease & Adapt: Dealer of Facebook friends responds to legal threats

Remember Leon Hill, the controversial peddler of Facebook souls?

Not surprisingly, Hill said he has received a letter from Facebook’s lawyers informing him that his service selling Facebook friends ran afoul of the site’s terms of service and possibly a slew of trademark and computer fraud laws.

After some back and forth with the lawyers, Hill said that he has stopped offering one of his two Facebook marketing services and will no longer solicit friends for customers that have standard Facebook accounts. And he’s removed Facebook’s logos from his site.

“If they did want to take me to court over anything I’d probably be screwed, to be honest,” Hill said, citing Facebook’s deep pockets (He may also have been thinking about the $711 million in damages Facebook recently won in an anti-spam case).

Playdom gets acquisitive

Fresh on the heels of its $43 million financing round, social gaming company Playdom announced a pair of acquisitions Thursday in a move to expand its portfolio of games. It acquired Facebook game developer Green Patch and Trippert Labs, which develops games on Apple’s iPhone. Terms of the deal were not released.

Playdom Chief Executive John Pleasants said in a phone interview that while the company’s main goal is to develop its own titles, it will make acquisitions opportunistically. “We have ample cash to do deals on our own,” he said.

Social gaming companies are suddenly on investor’s radar screens. Earlier this week, Electronic Arts said it would pay $275 million in cash for Playfish, a Playdom rival, along with other consideration that could eventually lift the company’s valuation to $400 million. Social gaming companies earn money by selling virtual goods to players.