MediaFile

First Look at the Google+ social network: The Top Secret Demo

One thing that’s clear about Google is that they’ve mastered the art of subterfuge.

At a time when leaks about product launches, acquisitions and potential hires are rife, Google resorted to extraordinary measures to ensure that word of its new social network, Google+, did not slip out ahead of Tuesday’s official announcement.

The company reached out to Reuters late on Friday about a special briefing related to some undisclosed YouTube news, even tasking a YouTube PR-man with a curious sartorial style to coordinate the meeting, to complete the red-herring.

So it was surprising to discover a grinning Vic Gundotra, Google’s head of social, and VP of Product Management Bradley Horowitz, in the meeting room at Google’s headquarters.

Clearly we weren’t here to talk about a new YouTube media partnership.

The pair quickly revealed what they had up their sleeve and proceeded to give a tour of a new social networking service that’s been one year in the making.

Mashable Follow feature picks up traction

The technology and culture oriented website Mashable has met a new milestone, netting some 100,000 users as participants for its new “Follow” feature. Launched in April, Follow lets readers keep tabs on topics of interest and share news with others in their social network.  Readers can tailor the subject matter they are interested in by clicking on the Follow button alongside an article or by hitting the Follow button on a list of topics. The green button also lets readers share content with their Twitter, Facebook and others in additional social networks in one fell swoop.

Meanwhile, Mashable announced that Robyn Peterson has joined the company as senior vice president (not vice president as previously reported) of product. Peterson was most recently the head of product at Next Issue Media,the media group dedicated to tablets founded by Time Inc, Hearst, Meredith Corp, Conde Nast and New Corp.

Tencent, De Wolfe among interested buyers for Myspace

De Wolfe and Murdoch in happier times (Photo: Reuters)

De Wolfe and Murdoch in happier times (Photo: Reuters)

Chinese Internet holding company Tencent, Myspace founder Chris De Wolfe and Myspace’s current management team are among the 20 odd names kicking the tires at the once might social network to see whether it’s worth buying outright or partnering in some sort of spin-out with current owner News Corp.

Tencent has previously said it is interested in possible US acquisitions.

The names come up in Reuters’ Special Report on ‘How News Corp got lost in Myspace‘,  a behind the scenes tale on how the focused Facebook beat the partying Myspace. (We have the story in a handy PDF format here)

In the story, we highlight some of the key problems Myspace faced,  some well-known and some not often mentioned:

from Reuters Investigates:

Myspace and Facebook: the numbers tell it all

Yinka Adegoke delves into what happened at Myspace in his special report today: "How News Corp got lost in Myspace."

Weak technology, management in-fighting and a rival called Facebook led to the rapid decline of the once dominant social network.

Read the special report in multimedia PDF format here.

These two graphics are telling.

Google sprinkles search results with social networking, but leaves out Facebook

GOOGSocSearch1Google is turning up the volume on social networking content within its Internet search results.

The company unveiled some changes to its search engine on Thursday that will infuse search results with more social elements, such as links and information shared by your friends on services like Twitter, Quora and Flickr.

It’s easy to see how this improves search: If you’re looking for an accountant for instance, instead of simply getting a list of accountants’ Web sites, Google might include a snippet showing that your friend has posted a Twitter message lauding a particular accountant, and rank that accountant near the top of your search results.

Social networking’s next frontier: the Boob Tube

IntoNowScreenYou already tell your friends which bars and restaurants you’re hanging out at, thanks to social networking tools like Facebook Places and Foursquare.

A new company called IntoNow, led by a former Google and MTV executive, thinks television is the next frontier.

The company has developed a technology that scans the audio waves emanating from your television set and identifies the program you’re watching, similar to how the popular iPhone app Shazam magically informs you of what song is playing on the radio.

For Rent: Office space with the Friendster founder

FoundersDenJonathan Abrams ignited the social networking craze by making it easy for people to connect with groups of acquaintances on Friendster, the first successful social networking Web site launched in 2002.

But for his new project, a shared-work space/private hangout for up-and-coming Web startups and entrepreneurs in San Francisco, Abrams has made it so that not just anyone can join the club.

“We want to be very selective. We’re choosing companies that we think are cool and people we think are cool,” Abrams said of the project. “Because if you’re an asshole, or if you just want to sit in your corner and never talk to anybody, what’s the point of coming into a shared space and being part of a community?”

Should you trust Facebook with your email?

INTERNET-SOCIALMEDIA/PRIVACY- Michael Fertik is the CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender, the online privacy and reputation company. The views expressed are his own. -

Facebook already knows a massive amount about you.  They know your age, what you look like, what you like, what you do for fun, where you go, what you eat, whom you know, whom you know well, whom you sleep with, who your best friends and family are, and, again, how old they are, what they like, and so on.

On top of that, Facebook has a well-known history of privacy breaches or at least snafus.  Publicly they seem committed to the notion that privacy is dead.  Their CEO and Founder has said as much.

LinkedIn’s secret anti-Facebook weapon: Keg Stands

BeerKeg LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has two words that reassure him that his professional social network is not threatened by Facebook: Keg stands.

Weiner took a moment to explain the ever-popular college tradition of imbibing beer directly from the tap of a keg while being suspended upside-down by drinking mates during his talk at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

“While many of us in college probably were at parties having a good time, doing things like keg stands, or being exposed to keg stands, I don’t know that many of us would look forward to having a prospective employer have access to picture of those events,” Weiner said.

Nielsen Says – In: social networking; Out: email

INTERNET-SOCIALMEDIA/PRIVACYAnyone with a Facebook account knows how addictive social networking can be. But a new report by analytics firm Nielsen illustrates just how central social networking has become in the Average Joe’s day-to-day life.

Nearly a quarter of Americans’ online time is now spent on social networks, according to Nielsen. And all that time spent on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter is coming at the expense of traditionally popular Web activities, particularly email.

Email accounted for 8.3 percent of Americans’ online time in June, down from 11.5 percent a year earlier.