September 2010

Facebook Continues to Expand Its Business Model

As the undisputed king of social media, it would seem like Facebook has little room for expansion in the realm of online networking. But the company continues to rollout new innovations to stay ahead of competitors, and recently Facebook has even begun to branch into other industries as well. Nobody knows for sure what the ultimate goal of Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook is—aside from astronomical profits, of course—but industry insiders are now talking of a burgeoning battle between Facebook, Google and Apple for supremacy in the online marketplace and beyond.

At first blush it may not seem like these companies would be in competition with one another, but as the internet, phones, TV and other technologies are combined into a homogenous mix, it’s difficult to tell where one industry ends and another begins. One of the common grounds where all three companies thrive is advertising.

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Will Google Instant Change Anything?

The release of Google Instant yesterday has caused a lot of fuss in the online community, but will it really have any impact on searches? For those of you who don’t piously follow search engine news , Google Instant is a new feature that brings up search results as you type them into the search bar. Some people see this as a revolution for search technologies, while others find the flood of information overwhelming.

As you type your search into Google, results will automatically appear and change on the page. For example, when you type an “a”, Amazon comes up; but if you continue with a “p”, the results change and bring Apple to the top. In addition to providing instantaneous results, this revised version of Google also offers users predictions that are more accurate. If you don’t know what to type in, Google will bring up several oft searched for options after each keystroke, helping you pare down your search. Results are now catered to your geographic location and search history, further increasing the relevancy of the sites Google presents.

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Social Media Giants Announce Plans for ‘Social Good Summit’

Much of the media attention surrounding social media sites casts the industry as nefarious plotters hell-bent on peddling your personal information for financial gain. But while marketing is certainly one facet of social media, most of the sites out there have broader expectations for their company than simply turning a profit. During the week of September 20, leaders from aroundthe globe will descend on New York to take part in United Nations Week. Andin an effort to expand the effectiveness of this event, Mashable.com, CNN and several other leaders in the online community will be coordinating their own Social Good Summit, serving as a round-table for discussion on how social media and networks can be utilized to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

In the true spirit of social media, speakers at the event will participate both in person and through video calls on Skype. Among the leading speakers are Chris Hughes, the co-found of Facebook and media tycoon Ted Turner. The event will also be open to any andall who wish to attend, as users will be able to interact online while the Summit is taking place.

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New Businesses, Legislation Look to Address Online Privacy Concerns

The rampant use of social media sites and online networks has made personal information more readily available than ever. And with sites like Facebook constantly having their privacy settings and policies called into question, people are becoming increasingly concerned with monitoring and managing their online image. The issue of online privacy has helped spawn a completely new industry with startups offering a plethora of services centering on targeted marketing and persona information.

There are always two sides to any story, of course. Some of these companies are seeking to help businesses capitalize on this new and readily available personal information, while others take the opposite approach by helping individuals maintain online privacy and monitor how their information is being utilized. According to Forrester Research, online identity protection is now a $2.5 billion industry, and it continues to grow by 12 to 15 percent each year.

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Apple Announces Plans to Branch into TV, Social Media for Music

For the last several years, Apple has been a trailblazer when it comes to computers and music players, but the company has recently announced several plans to expand the breadth of their products and services. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a slew of new software, programs and devices that will be yet another step in the company’s efforts to dabble in all forms of media.

One of the headline innovations is Ping, a social network for music fans that has been integrated into the latest version of iTunes. Much like Twitter, Ping users will be able to follow friends to find out which artists and songs they’re listening to. The new social network will also allow users to receive breaking news from their favorite bands and receive the most up-to-date concert listings. In the same vein as the Genius feature, which was introduced a couple of years ago, Ping will work to help users discover new music that is catered to their tastes.

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Facebook Earns Patent for New Targeted Search Algorithm

With thousands of companies vying to be the next internet success story, protecting new software, algorithms and other proprietary information is always a concern. Companies are constantly fighting to prevent competitors from taking advantage of their innovations, and like most other industries, the best way to get legal protection is by filing for a patent.

Searches are one of the most lucrative and widely used aspects of the internet, as is evidenced by the massive success and ubiquitous nature of Google. On numerous occasions we’vediscussed how searches are becoming increasingly personalized, leading to more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. Capitalizing on this trend is obviously a top priority for internet companies, and Facebook has just established itself as the leader in this race thanks to a patent on a new search algorithm.

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