It looks like Twitter may add another feature to its Timeline on the desktop to generate revenue: Promoted Accounts, with the option for people to follow them directly with a button embedded in the Tweet. Read More
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
Facebook on Monday introduced a new design for Facebook pages, making things such as key performance indicators more easily visible for managers, and location info easier to find for fans.
However, this move also signals that Facebook is moving away from tabs — which have been a popular tool for many Facebook marketers to draw attention to contests as well as get users to visit other entities such as an Instagram feed or website. Page admins can still draw users to the company website, a contest, or anything else, but it’s becoming clear that this will have to be done through News Feed posts and not direct visits to a page’s timeline.
When many page admins and marketers saw the new design, they wondered, “Where did the tabs go?”
Tabs will still be supported, but they will be tucked into the “More” module and without images. Here’s a preview:
The redesign makes the page timeline look a little more like a person’s timeline:
While some marketers will see this is a ploy by Facebook to get pages to invest more in advertising, this move could be evidence that users aren’t that likely to visit a page’s timeline and would rather engage with a brand by seeing content in their News Feed. Does this mean more advertising to get into more users’ News Feeds? Well, that’s up to the individual pages. Facebook may be free for users, but much like any other platform, it’s going to cost either time or money (or both) if you’re looking to grow your business or generate sales through Facebook.
Facebook offers companies and marketers several ways to get a message out to their fans. While it’s important to have all pertinent (and fresh) information on the page’s timeline, most fans likely won’t click to view the page after they like it. If they do come back, it will be a rare instance. The most efficient and predictable way to get a brand’s message in front of a fan (or potential fan) through Facebook is through the News Feed — whether that means organic or paid. The redesign de-emphasizes tabs by placing them into the “More” box, prompting page admins to find other ways to let fans know what’s out there.
It’s not a malicious move to get more ad revenue; it’s Facebook trying to get pages to post better content and calls to action in the News Feed, where fans eyeballs are most likely to be.
However, Facebook PMD Woobox doesn’t think this is a death knell for tabs. In a recent blog post, the company gave their take on how marketers can still use Facebook tabs in light of this redesign:
Page Admins are concerned that their page tabs will no longer be relevant, and won’t be visible to their fans. However, when you look at a side-by-side comparison, you will notice that the new tab links are much closer in proximity to the News Feed – the old timeline had a whole lot of real estate between page tabs and page posts, which is where engagement occurs. The new layout places the tab links directly above the News Feed and the simple, non-cluttered layout grabs your attention!
Readers: What do you think this will mean for tabs on Facebook pages?
Article courtesy of Inside Facebook
This will not roll out immediately, though some page admins might have this new design today. Facebook noted that this will roll out throughout the course of the week.
The right-side column of the timeline will show all the page’s posts. All posts will appear consistently, in one line, as it does on a person’s timeline and on News Feed. The left-side column will hold information about the page or business, including a map, hours of operation, phone number, website URL, photos and videos. Key indicators, such as ads running, likes, post reach and unread notifications will be in a bar off to the right of the posts.
What does this mean for marketers?
Facebook says that these changes will help make it easier for page admins to find information they need. There will also be a Pages to Watch feature in the Page Insights tool for admins, allowing marketers to keep tabs on pages similar to their own (or competitors) and track those pages’ performances.
Here’s a look at how Pages to Watch will look within the Page Insights feature.
Facebook explained the new layout in a blog post:
No matter where you are on your Page, you can now view information about the ads you’re running and new likes on your Page, as well unread notifications and messages. You can click on any section in the This Week section for more detail.
We’ve also added new navigation options to the top of the Page, making it easier to access your activity, insights and settings. The Build Audience menu at the top of the Page offers direct access to your Ads Manager account.
Page admins: What do you think of the new design?
Article courtesy of Inside Facebook
Facebook plans to reveal new ways for developers to grow and monetize their apps. Today it announced it will hold its F8 developer conference on April 30th in San Francisco. It will have been almost three years since Facebook’s last F8 when it unveiled Timeline and the Open Graph platform in 2011. The audience at SF’s Design Concourse will include “More than 1,500 mobile and web… Read More
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
As more and more people talk about current events on Facebook, brands are looking for some way to join the conversation. So to offer companies a solution into the data behind trending topics on the social network, Facebook announced Friday the launch of Public Content Solutions.
Public Content Solutions (PCS) offers support and resources to partners using Facebook’s Public Feed API and Keyword Insights API. Partners who take part in PCS will receive a badge to display, as well as support from the PCS team and access to Facebook’s Media Partnerships team. Initial partners in the PCS program include Arktan, telescope, never.no, Timeline Labs, Tagboard, Vizrt, Reality Check and SnappyTV.
Facebook Partner Engineer Manager Bob Morgan introduced PCS in a blog post:
Whenever something important happens in the world – from the Sochi Olympics to the crisis in the Ukraine to the results of the Oscars – people immediately take to Facebook to discuss it. With more than a billion people using Facebook and engaging in real-time conversations during these moments, it’s important for us to work closely with media companies to help them tell these stories.
In the past year, we’ve launched a series of products and resources – like our Keyword Insights API and Public Feed API – to help partners leverage the massive amounts of data and content associated with these events. As a result, we’re seeing tremendous innovation coming from amazing partners in this space, such as data analysis and visualizations, intelligent curation of popular photos, videos and posts, fan voting and polling tools, broadcast and venue integrations and much more.
Readers: What do you think about PCS?
Article courtesy of Inside Facebook
Haven’t filled out all of your timeline information? Your Facebook friends can ask you to do so. Some users are seeing prompts on mobile and desktop to ask their friends for information that isn’t present on timeline, such as phone number or address.
When a user visits the “About” section of the desktop or mobile timeline, they’ll see a prompt that will allow them to ask their friend (this only works for users with whom people are connected) for information.
Users can then send a note, explaining to their friend why they’re asking for this information:
Facebook announced recently that the company has made a change in the way that legacy or memorialized accounts of deceased Facebook users are viewed. Previously, when an account was being memorialized, the privacy setting of the account was set to friends-only, regardless of how the person had their profile viewable in the past.
Now, the privacy settings on memorialized Facebook accounts will be left as-is, reflecting the person’s comfort with privacy.
Additionally, those with loved ones who have passed away can request that a Look Back video can be made from their Facebook profile.
Facebook announced this is in a Newsroom post:
Based on conversations inspired by these questions, we’ve decided to make an important change to how we preserve legacies on Facebook. Up to now, when a person’s account was memorialized, we restricted its visibility to friends-only. This meant that people could no longer see the account or any of its content unless they were Facebook friends with the person who passed away. Starting today, we will maintain the visibility of a person’s content as-is. This will allow people to see memorialized profiles in a manner consistent with the deceased person’s expectations of privacy. We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see.
Click here to request a Look Back video for a Facebook user who has passed away.
Article courtesy of Inside Facebook
Google’s long-rumored smartwatch is real, and still “officially” expected to begin shipping in mid to late March. However, many members of the smartwatch team inside Google believe that date will either be pushed back to June, or the watch will end up shipping incomplete with a smaller feature set than originally intended. As it stands now, the timeline for the watch’s release is far from being set in stone.
The smartwatch prototypes are currently on lockdown in a Google building, under high security, and they’re not able to be taken out for fear that news will leak. (Oops.)
According to people familiar with the matter, an early prototype of the watch had a Pebble Steel-like metal band, square face, and a colorful digital display featuring a gradient background where colors gently fade from one to the next. It also seemed to have a more masculine vibe, also like the Pebble Steel.
But we’re hearing now that Google has settled on shipping a watch with a plastic band instead for the initial release. The band was one of many concepts the company was exploring. Like the previous prototype, the watch has a full-color display, with an LCD background that basically looks “like a cheap smartphone,” we’re told, which is capable of displaying a full-color image.
The whole idea behind the watch’s concept is that you shouldn’t have to take out your phone for various ambient alerts, like finding out who’s calling you or who just texted, for example.
The watch’s software supports notifications made possible through Bluetooth LE pairing with Android smartphones. It doesn’t sound like it’s yet capable of enabling a range of apps like Pebble’s watch does today. Third-party developers may be able to build for the watch at a later point following future updates.
Interactions with the watch are very gesture-driven. That is, swiping alerts and tapping to select.
Like others, including The Wall St. Journal, we’ve been hearing rumors of the forthcoming Google smartwatch for many months now. The WSJ had also previously reported that the watch will support “Google Now” alerts, which is a type of default notification on newer Android smartphones which includes personalized information like weather, traffic, events, meeting alerts, flight times, dinner reservations, sports scores, stock updates, reminders and more.
Development for the watch is being led by a team inside Google that includes designers from the Android team. That makes sense because the watch is being viewed as an accessory – an additive – to the Android phone, rather than being a standalone wearable device that others (including, say, iPhone users) might buy.
Interest in wearables has been heating up, with some analysts predicting the smart band segment alone will reach 8 million shipments in 2014, growing to more than 23 million units by 2015, and over 45 million by 2017. In addition to Pebble, top Android device maker Samsung also launched its own smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear. But Galaxy Gear reviews have been tepid at best, and the return rate on the watch is reportedly high. Apple is also rumored to be working on an “iWatch” of sorts, whose focus will be more so on health tracking, according to reports.
The problem with many of the current devices today include limited battery life and feature sets – things that could improve over time but may turn off a wider range of consumers in wearables’ earlier days.
Illustration by Bryce Durbin
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
The core advancement of the Internet was the capability to move information very quickly across a decentralized network of nodes. That advancement was predicated on the development of protocols like HTTP, SMTP and Bitcoin that codified how such data should move to accomplish our tasks.
Despite this level of progress, we continue to lack the ability to request labor over the web using a standardized protocol. It’s not for lack of trying. Elance was one of the first attempts to aggregate freelancers online through a bidding marketplace, all the way back in 1998. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk was launched in 2005 to create a processing infrastructure for work units that could be easily handled by humans but were difficult for computers to process. Newer startups like TaskRabbit have tried to take the lessons of these pioneers and make labor marketplaces more approachable.
We need to do better than this if we want to create a more globalized and efficient talent system. Today, seeking out and hiring workers remains one of the most onerous tasks for many companies, from startups to the largest Fortune 500 corporations. Why shouldn’t requesting work be as easy as requesting a page from a web server, or moving money through the web with bitcoin? That sort of simple protocol is what I am proposing here.
While many labor tasks can be complex and consuming, we can simplify our thinking by breaking the process of work into three different types of information. Inputs are all the data, information, and knowledge that a laborer needs to accomplish a task. The output is the desired work product. And in between, there is some sort of communications feedback loop to connect the worker to the requestor to handle clarifications or to send other messages.
Essentially, we are connecting workers (“servers”) to employers (“clients”) together using a medium of exchange. Requests for work could be handled in a way not unlike DNS – our communications stack could route our request as it learns more information and gets feedback from the network. This allows the network to remain decentralized and flexible, while adapting to changes in labor.
Let me give an example. Let’s say you have an article you want to publish, but first you want it revised by a professional editor. Editors, who could be anywhere in the world, are available on this labor network and might be independent, or part of a larger “association server,” which aggregates similar types of workers. I can send a request out over the network with a payload that includes the text of the article, the language of the article, the type of work I am looking for, the timeline for editing, my price, my quality level, and any additional information I feel is relevant (I’ll talk about type and quality more later). We connect to several central labor servers, learning where such editors are located and what their prices will be. When our software finds a match, we establish a connection and the work is completed on the schedule I defined.
To define work types, our protocol would need a type system similar to MIME to reduce “work” into fundamental units, while allowing our classification to adapt to new types of work as appropriate. Laborers could then register their qualified work types with open work servers to federate their availability across the network.
Another issue here is developing a reputation system that would ensure that both buyers and sellers have the information needed to make careful business decisions regarding work quality. One option may be to save work outcomes as a sort of “blockchain,” so that others can see the entire history of work that was processed and requested by nodes in the system.
One problem that existed for years in this sort of design was around payments – how could we ensure that remuneration would arrive once the work was complete? Now, with the advent of Bitcoin, we have the underlying protocol necessary to be able to both guarantee availability of funds, and to ensure that work is compensated once complete.
These are the building blocks for a work protocol. Like most protocols, simplicity here is a priority, as is keeping the possible states to a minimum. From here, we can build ever more complicated work arrangements, by composing work units together, by allowing new kinds of servers to offer services unavailable through the protocol (buffering, scheduling, etc.), and by allowing the client software to interact through the network in an open way ready for experimentation.
There are a number of lessons we need to glean from the first generation of labor marketplaces in order for a labor protocol to be effective.
First and foremost, we need to develop a robust set of classifications to handle outcomes consistently. Unlike HTTP, where we have basic status codes like 200 and 404, this work protocol needs to have a significantly greater spectrum of statuses to match the more complex outcomes of work.
We have learned repeatedly from initial labor marketplaces that most work requestors hate the bidding process. This is why companies like Uber take the choice away from you – ultimately, a taxi has to go from point A to point B, and as long as the driver can do that, the requestor shouldn’t really care who the driver is. The price of that taxi ride is already locked in.
However, that doesn’t allow laborers to choose their prices, which is inflexible to the vast types and quality of work that could be requested on the protocol. The way to avoid this is to allow customers to set the price and quality for work, and allow the network to do its own routing. That could mean that there are no workers available, much like accessing a website might return a 404 error code. If this happens a lot, the client software could be designed to suggest prices based on historical data. Regardless, both employees and employers should be able to independently set their rates, and work should flow most efficiently for the level of quality a requestor desires.
While this was an imaginative sketch of a potential technological system, many of the ideas behind it already exist in areas like supply chain management and on-demand workforces. Indeed, one possible interpretation of this is that we are simply converging on the next stage of the labor economy, one that is more Internet-native than LinkedIn or oDesk.
There are, of course, key concerns to be addressed. Many of these are policy related, such as issues of health insurance, taxes, retirement savings, etc. Others are more in the domain of the protocol. How do we handle complex work where descriptions of the work are dense? How can we handle complaints? How do we ensure that the protocol allows workers the freedom to be innovative and creative, within labor classifications that are designed for machines? There are no easy answers to these questions.
Nonetheless, an efficient labor network would allow both employees and employers to get work done more easily and efficiently while reducing barriers. Much as how the Internet allows information to travel faster, and Bitcoin allows payments to be handled easily, a work network could allow us to build more liquid economies with stronger employment prospects. Hundreds of new businesses could be built on top of such a protocol. And that might be just the kind of technology that can make the world a more equitable and profitable place for everyone.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch