Looks like Facebook is on a tear over the past week. Sure, no one at Facebook can really talk about the stuff that goes on behind the scene at the social network, but over the past few days, they’ve been making some definite waves that seems to be surely affecting the way people view the service and potentially their stock price. First, it was Facebook bolstering its photo capability with a monumental acquisition of leading photo service Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Then, Facebook announced perhaps a life-saving and historic event–promoting being an organ donor. And now, it’s news that Facebook is moving its check-in feature beyond the traditional sense and making it more about introducing you to new people. Just how does the company plan on making this happen? By acquiring proximity app service Glancee.
Considered one of the latest products that could have been a “star” at this year’s South by Southwest, Glancee emerged onto the scene with some enormous potential, but also within a crowded marketplace. A couple months ago, there were nearly a dozen different of these so-called proximity applications, from market leader Highlight to others like Sonar, Banjo, Intro, EchoEcho, and several others, Glancee is probably the first such application to see an exit. Available for both iPhone and Android devices, Glancee states that it “makes it fun and safe to discover people nearby who share friends and interests with you.” Perhaps it was Glancee’s direct integration with Facebook that caused it to be appealing for an acquisition, since Glancee intended to leverage Facebook data to help you find people of interest instead of just showing you who is around you–it’s giving you some additional relevancy in helping you grow your social network.
Announced first by TechCrunch just moments ago, professional social network, LinkedIn, has just announced its acquisition of presentation/document-sharing powerhouse SlideShare for $119 million. This deal is something that will certainly benefit the professional community on LinkedIn–161 million members strong–in their attempt to build their social graph on the site. Sure, you could already add the SlideShare application to your profile, but now with SlideShare part of the LinkedIn family, members could theoretically go ahead and not only add their presentations to their profile, thereby making it more portfolio-like, but also implementing it on company pages, groups, etc.
In their press release, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said the following:
Presentations are one of the main ways in which professionals capture and share their experiences and knowledge, which in turn helps shape their professional identity. These presentations also enable professionals to discover new connections and gain the insights they need to become more productive and successful in their careers, aligning perfectly with LinkedIn’s mission and helping us deliver even more value for our members. We’re very excited to welcome the SlideShare team to LinkedIn.
Don’t be evil — that’s Google’s unofficial motto. But while some companies may take that motto to simply mean “don’t do anything bad”, some might argue that rather than being passive about avoiding evil, companies should actually be more active in combating evil and doing more good. For Facebook, doing good and giving back seems to be very much in part of their effort to give back to the world. Sure, their service allows people to connect themselves with others from around the world, but there’s always more that can be done and one might suggest that Facebook has strived to be good global corporate neighbors. Just take a look at recent events to gain a glimpse at what the power of Facebook has had over our lives–the service has helped directly/indirectly shake the foundation of some of the most totalitarian regimes across the Middle East during the famous Arab Spring event. And Facebook’s founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has not made it a secret that he intends to donate some of his wealth to charity, having signed onto billionaire Bill Gates & Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge”. And in 2010, Mr. Zuckerberg famously went on the Oprah Winfrey Show and announced that he was giving $100 million to the Newark Public School System as part of his effort to help Mayor Cory Booker revive the struggling education system.
Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg have clearly been corporate model citizens helping to illustrate that companies can do good for the public and that more can be done instead of simply pledging never to be evil–there are other philanthropy efforts that need corporate help and it seems that Facebook is leading the way.
You know it was probably only a matter of time before someone did it. In light of all the popularity and hype over services like Instagram, Pinterest, and even Tumblr, somehow the industry has managed to forget about a special set of people. They were first recognized in the era of email marketing when folks using UNIX and PINE accessed their email. Just who am I talking about? Why, the text-only generation…the people who never liked looking at images in their inbox with HTML emails and those that slows down their download speeds. And that’s why over the past few days, some interesting Twitter accounts have popped up to (supposedly) make it easier for people to understand what people are sharing on some of the most popular services on the Internet today.
The first one that apparently popped up is called Text-only Instagram and it was created by Josh Helfferich, a man who found it appalling that people would need to be subjected to endless bad photo filters and having to engage with followers. He created Text-only Instagram as a means of taking what people would normally see on Instagram and converting it into a text-based feed without all the “messy and superficial social interactions“. All you need to do is go to the service’s Twitter account and you’ll be able to see tweets of some of the millions of photos shared on Instagram, but without needing to worry about the Lo-Fi, Amaro, Hudson, Earlybird, Brannan, Inkwell, Hefe, or Nashville filters mucking up the image.You can just use your imagination to see what people are photographing and let THAT be your memory.
It was probably about time for Path to do it. Today, the private social network app announced that its Android app users can update their app to get a pretty cool feature on there.
That’s right, Path has now released to the world lenses to help make photos you share on the app much more stylized and glamorous. This might not seem like it’s jaw-dropping new for most people, especially the 30 million original users of the service, but this is in fact a big deal for those with Android devices. Why? Because we never had it before! Over the past few months, users like myself have been forced to snap photos using the default camera app and apply whatever limited filters existed. Sure, I could have used a vignette, distortion, depth of field or any other filter assortment, but it would have been another step removed from what I wanted to do…simply post a photo taken on Path and shared exclusively on the network. Now that’s all changed with Path giving what many people on Android have been clamoring over–we want to be able to do cool photos on Path like our iPhone brethren!