Archive for 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011

How Facebook Is Catching Up With GOOGLE+


A couple of  months back, the attention was on the features of Google+, the new Social Networking Site of Google, which were being sparingly revealed to the world, much like a shrewd merchant revealing the end of the silk he is holding out to the customer. Of course it succeeded in generating the huge worldwide interest in Google+ and the phenomenal growth in its membership.  ComScore, a highly reputed business analytics site reported that Google+ now has 25 million users while it took around three years for Facebook and Twitter to achieve the same.


While the membership has no doubt shot up, it is not clear how the users have accepted the features of the new networking platform like Circles, Hangouts, Instant uploads, Sparks and Huddles.  Serious doubts have been raised  how useful and user friendly they really are, despite the added features Google introduced, leveraging on its own Browser, Chrome.

It was expected that Facebook will inevitably introduce improvements to counter what Google would be offering in the new platform. In fact over the course of the last three months it has already silently introduced several small features  and some important one like video chat incorporating Skype.

However, the most important improvement to the site which could counter the much tooted features of Google+ were announced only last week in the Facebook blog. Unlike Google, Facebook has preferred to clearly explain the changes in very simple ‘before’ and ‘after’ the change style, which everyone can understand and are widely appreciated. Though there was favourable opinion from experts, you could only palpate the richness of the goodies offered by Facebook only since a couple of days. To be fair, they have turned out to be good stuff much of the 750 million members of Facebook are going to like and appreciate.  

The changes according to Facebook in a nut shell are:

A bunch of improvements that make it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want, to make this more visual and straightforward, bye moving most of your controls from a settings page to, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect. Plus there are several other updates that will make it easier to understand who can see your stuff (or your friends') in any context, organized around two areas: what shows up on your profile and what happens when you share something new

The beauty and simplicity of how Facebook has gone about beating the circles of  GOOGLE + is by bringing everything you need to control your privacy in to one simple circle and right where you need to apply them with the click of a mouse.

At the heart of this clever innovation is a drop down menu from which you can select the group of people or person with whom you are going to share. This intuitive sharing engine is then attached where it is required like your profile editing page in which it can be applied to each of the menu item and your wall where you update your status and share your media. The added bonus is the flexibility you get even to change the sharing at a later date, if you change your mind.

This drop down menu undoubtedly is a PLUS over Google+, in which you need to pre select and compartmentalise your groups, who will receive different levels of your favour and get to share what they deserve. To completely match the segregation offered by Google+, Facebook will be expanding this over time to include smaller groups of people like co-workers, Friend Lists you've created, and Groups you're a member of.

Other important changes include a button to show what your profile looked like to others, another to add a location and tag the people you're with. You can add tags of your friends or anyone else on Facebook and can review and approve or reject any tag someone tries to add to your photos and posts..
Article first published as How Facebook Is Catching Up With Google+ on Technorati.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

Anna Hazare – An Indian Hitler Or Don Quixote?



If Cervantes, the Spanish author who created Don Quixote four hundred years ago visits India today, he would be amused to see the ruckus being created by Anna Hazare. However, he will be aghast how his character could go out of control and create the current mass hysteria sweeping the Indian continent, unless he digs up why Adolph Hitler could whip up something similar in the pre war Germany.

Like Don Quixote, Anna Hazare has been inspired only in his ripe old age to attain glory and a place in history. Till the recent up surge against “corruption” no one, at least outside India, has heard of him.

It took him seventy four years to see that there is an enemy “corruption” in the Indian society and it is his call to eradicate it and thereby achieve eternal glory as his role model Mahatma Gandhi.

There are a lot of interesting parallels in the saga of Anna Hazare with that of  Don Quixote. One can see Don’s stupid horse "Rocinante" in the bizzaare group of spiritual and materialistic swamis, police officers and business men supporting his shows. India’s nouveau rich techie and urban community is “Sancho Panza”, his equally daft squire, who is promised the utopia of corruption free India. The rural India which constitutes ninety percent of the Indian population is his lady love, “Dulcinea del Toboso”, who he tries to save from a corrupt government but she knows nothing about this.

Most striking comparison though is in their adventures. Like Don, who saw in a wind mill a giant monster he needs to defeat, Anna has identified and is relentlessly attacking the “corrupt” Indian administration as his arch rival he must bring down.

Saturday, August 20, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

How Your Blog Navigation Can Send Your Visitors Away!


If you were visiting a new town center or supermarket without any one to guide you what will you look for? Visitors to your blog are no different, they look for easy Navigation!
If you choose to have an out of the box presentation of your blog, like Lasting Rose, which has been dubbed a  BLOGOID, it is all the more important to provide a good navigation of the site, toengage your visitors and persuade them to stay on and probe your contents.

One of the newer means of navigation in a blog which has been around for sometime, with several scores of postings to its credit, is the Tag Cloud, which you can build from the tags you attach to each of your posts. However, as your posts and tags grow, so does your cloud, which then become difficult to wade through and loose its attention.
However, Tag Cloud can be presented in new stunning eye catching ways by clever scripts from Way2Blogging like what they call a Wordle Type Flash Label Cloud, like the one installed on Lasting Rose. The advantage is the easy and distinctive readability of the cloud which gives a better chance for your topic to be browsed.

As the posts and tags grow, the Navigation becomes less manageable, with long lists of posts no one will wade through. The chances that visitors will attempt to look for older posts can greatly be improved if the lists can be condensed to easy drop down menus, which you can click to choose a particular label you are interested in. The drop Down Labels widget from spiceupyourblog  can be easily installed and will greatly enhance the navigation of your site and give your visitors a good sense of being in control while they are on your site.

Who Can Make The Rip Van Winkles of Global Economy Accountable?



Unlike Rip Van Winkle, the legendary character by the American author Washington Irving, who woke up from a twenty year sleep and was shocked to see a changed world, the modern day version, the US credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s, is sending the world economy in to a tail spin. The question is why the whole world has to pay for someone’s inaction?

 
The S & P’s faulty down grade of the US credit rating to +AA status, among other things, is attributed for the current world financial turmoil illustrated by the leading headlines of this week:

Stung by the first-ever downgrade to its top-notch sovereign credit rating, the US has hit back at S & P, saying that the rating agency's flawed analysis has put its own credibility and integrity at risk. 

S & P is not the lone Rip of the Global Economy who creates turmoil by ill conceived and un substantiated adverse remarks on nation’s economies. The Comptroller and Accountant General of India has recently come out with reports claiming losses of USD 39 billion to the government in lost licence revenue, which has been misinterpreted by the Indian masses as government corruption of the same amount, stalling India’s growth.

The question is why these agencies have gone in to long slumber of inaction while things were definitely going astray and why they have to get the figures and facts so wrong when they eventually chose to proclaim their shocking revelations.

The crucial thing is, with the globalisation, the damaging effects are no more limited to countries but the whole world. With these watch dog agencies being allowed to act independently or just constitutional set ups with out any answerability to anyone, time has come to decide if they can be allowed to continue to function in the same way or at least operate under guide lines to contain or limit the damage arising out of sentiment erosion and confidence deficit caused around the world.

It is very consoling to see that stalwarts of Capitalism like Warren Buffet have come forward to defend the US Economy, despite the echoes of pessimism emanating from
Competing economies like China.

What is giving concern though is the appalling lack of comprehension of the situation and the apathy shown by the current bunch of leaders of the developed world, like may of the EU nations who have chosen to enjoy their summer holidays without resolving burning issues in Italy and Spain, which smacks of Nero’s playing of his fiddle while Rome was burning.

The protracted congressional drama over the credit limit, which appeared to be plain partisan electioneering for all thinking people, which precipitated the current action by S & P has demonstrated a similar apathy of the US leadership.
Can we afford to let our leaders to be Rip Van Winkles in their elected positions? I guess the way the world markets will react on Monday will decide.

Article first published as Who Can Make The Rip Van Winkles of Global Economy Accountable? on Technorati.




Sunday, August 07, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

What Is Hot On The GOOGLE Facebook War Front You Can’t Miss?


When GOOGLE Plus was test released a few weeks ago, a new war of the Titans which could shape the history of the 21st century, just started. A few weeks on, it is interesting to see how new and unexpected events change its course.

With a massive lead of nearly seven hundred million members worldwide, Facebook, without doubt, is in a leading unstoppable position in the social media. Far from anything its inventors designed or planned for the platform, Facebook is credited with influencing or bringing about life changing movements like Spring Revolution and the Jasmine revolution.

For GOOGLE Plus, it looked like this gigantic vantage position of Facebook will be almost impossible to surmount. However an array of hard core “suicide hackers”, who unlike the Al Qaeda or Taliban have no particular allegiance, is proving to be great unpaid allies to GOOGLE in this war against Facebook.

Despite the fact that GOOGLE keeps the figures and truth about the membership and acceptance of its new social media platform under the wraps, frustrating observers and Facebook, the numbers look impressive from various “estimates”.

Though this can be credited partly to the massive awareness creating advertisement by GOOGLE, the leverage it is wielding from its existing flagship platforms like CHROME, inadvertently brought in to play by the work of the army of the volunteer hackers, is seriously and quickly shifting the sand under the feet of Facebook and other social media platforms like Twitter.

For example, the hackers have come up with powerful and ingenious extensions for CROME, the very popular browser of GOOGLE, which shows the WALL of your Facebook page and your Twitter Time line in your GOOGLE Plus page!

The CHROME extension called Extended Share For GOOGLE Plus is particularly “nasty” being a feature which allows you to repost your Post to Four other leading Social Networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and others.

What this means is those visitors no longer need to visit Facebook or Twitter to post in to those or check out what is new with their friends with the help of the extensions like the following, already available to CHROME users.

  
To counter this onslaught of GOOGLE, Facebook also have come up with much needed features like Video Calling and some ingenious ones like the Open Air browsing stations in Holiday Resorts and Hotels where you can log in to your Facebook page in your swim suits and bikinis!


Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

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