Damian Radcliffe

Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links: mid-October to mid-November 2010

In Monthly round up: Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links on December 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Useful stuff I bookmarked in the last month, and wanted to share. As ever, comments, feedback and suggestions welcome. Like the Murphy’s, I’m not bitter.

 General

2bn Internet users worldwide by the end of the year (a/c to the International Telecommunications Union).

Keeping up with social networking sites: How much is enough? “The academic in me feels like, ‘Oh, this will be interesting,’ ” says Zeynep Tufekci, a professor of sociology at University of Maryland Baltimore County who studies social networks. “The user in me goes, ‘Oh nooo, another one!’ “

MIT’s 10 Emerging Technologies 2010: “The question that we ask is simple: is the technology likely to change the world? Some of these changes are on the largest scale possible: better biofuels, more efficient solar cells, and green concrete all aim at tackling global warming in the years ahead. Other changes will be more local and involve how we use technology: for example, 3-D screens on mobile devices, new applications for cloud computing, and social television. And new ways to implant medical electronics and develop drugs for diseases will affect us on the most intimate level of all, with the promise of making our lives healthier.”

Chris Gibson on the LSE blog on the links between digital literacy and functional literacy:“…putting people online may also be affected by problems of illiteracy and innumeracy that are closely related to digital and social exclusion. Research by the then Department for Education and Skills in 2003 suggested that 5.2 million people lacked functional literacy and 6.8 million people lacked functional numeracy. More recent research suggests that around 20 per cent of 16-19 year olds are functionally illiterate and innumerate.”

Google

Google has announced a donation of $5 million for innovation in digital journalism — $2 million will go to the Knight Foundation and $3 million will go toward international news efforts

Google has agreed to pay $8.5m to settle a US class action lawsuit over alleged privacy breaches linked to its Buzz social networking service. In a statement, the group said: “The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz.”

Google has launched Place Search, a new feature which returns location-specific results to search queries. In a blog posting, product manager Jackie Bavaro described it as a “new kind of local search result that organises the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go”.

Google third-quarter profits climbed 32% to $2.2bn. Their mobile ads business is on track to generate $1bn in annual revenue.

Location Based Services

US users of Facebook Places will be able to access instant discount vouchers when they check in to shops. Businesses will use a self-service interface to publish their offers, and Facebook will not take a cut from the deals. There is also a charitable component. Starbucks will donate $1 for each presented check-in to Conservation International, and McDonald’s will donate $1 for each presented check-in to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The BBC reported that Gap plans to run a campaign offering a free pair of jeans to the first 10,000 users who check in to their local Gap store using Facebook’s mobile application.

A Pew Research Centre report has identified small and apparently static user numbers for location-based internet services, such as Foursquare and Gowalla, added that does not preclude rapid growth in the future. The New York Times highlights that in August 2008, for example, 6 percent of adults used status-updating services like Twitter. By September 2010 that proportion had quadrupled.

Starbucks and L’Oreal have become the first major brands to launch mobile marketing campaigns via O2 in which texts are sent to users when they are in the proximity of stores stocking their goods.

Smartphones

YouTube accounts for 13 percent of mobile data report The Register with video streaming from all providers making up 35 per cent of data carried over the mobile networks.

An Analysis Mason study forecast more than 16bn devices will be web-connected by 2020, with smartphones expected to act as a portal to the so-called ‘internet of things’, such as remotely controlled domestic appliances.

  Newspapers

ABCes for September showed Mail Online enjoyed its ninth consecutive month as the most-visited UK newspaper website. It had a total of 46,910,754 browsers during the month, an average of 2,670,371 per-day. This was a 3% rise on August’s total. Guardian.co.uk retained second spot, up 5% month-on-month with a record 2,038,493 average daily browsers – a 16.2% year-on-year rise. Independent.co.uk, had the biggest month-on-month rise in average daily browsers, up 12.9% from August to 553,593.

 Australian ‘futurist’ Ross Dawson has created a newspaper extinction timeline, claiming they will die out in the UK by 2019 while hanging on in France for a further decade in part due to state support. He forecast there will be “a transition of what newspapers currently do to other channels of various kinds”, adding “(The) big overlay in all of this is we’ll get digital paper that combines all the qualities of print and the benefits of digital within the next decade”.

News Corp plans to launch The Daily, a tablet-only US digital newspaper, by the end of the year. in six weeks, It will charge $1 a week for the service.

Microsoft

Microsoft has launched a fully cloud-based version of its Office applications suite, initially as a test in 13 countries, before being offered worldwide on a subscription basis next year.

Microsoft said it anticipates selling 5m units of its new Kinect video games motion-controller over the holiday season. The NY Post reckons this could provide a $750m boost to revenues.

Social Networking

10 things about Facebook that aren’t in the movie – some useful stats c/o Experian Hitwise.

Skype has integrated Facebook‘s news feed and phone book into its service. Skype users can video-call Facebook friends who are also Skype users for free, while users can make a voice call to Facebook friends who are not Skype members via its paid-for service. Skype director of product management Mike Bartlett said “Rather than create social functions ourselves, it made much more sense to partner with Facebook. It’s a natural marriage.”

Electronics Arts announced it has agreed a five-year strategic relationship with Facebook, adopting Facebook Credits as its exclusive payments option under a 70:30 revenue split.

LinkedIn has added a product reviews and recommendation service as a way of increasing revenues. CEO Jeff Weiner said: “A big part of what we’re working to do is becoming the essential source of information for our membership.”

Internet Security Firm AVG has published a study which claims 5% of babies under 2 have social media profiles, 7% have an email address, and 81% of two-year-olds have a digital footprint. This is shown in a neat graphic here.

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