Category: Internet News

Is A Farewell to Google Alerts in our Future?

As of today, beloved Google Reader is history. While we hardly noticed the passing of past Google products like Picnik, Google Wave, and Jaiku (you can see the full Google Product graveyard here), we were sad to see Google Reader go.

Although revenue was reportedly not a factor in the decision, Reader’s lack of direct usefulness to Google+ may have been the primary factor in its demise. Reader users consumed and shared a great deal of content through the tool using intuitive social sharing buttons. However, when non-Google social sharing options within Reader were converted to Google+, the rate of sharing decreased along with Reader’s longevity. In fact, according to Brian Shih, a former Google Reader product manager, members of the highly skilled Google Reader team had been historically pulled away to work on social products including OpenSocial, Buzz and Google+.

Reader’s death leaves many of us migrating our feeds to services like Feedly, The Old Reader and Digg Reader. (So far, Feedly seems a likely contender with its familiar and friendly interface, although we’re not completely satisfied with the feed quality.)

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Time to Say Goodbye to Internet Explorer?

Yesterday, Mashable reported  that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer no longer claims more than 50 percent of the Web’s traffic, a title that the browser has held for over a decade. The article, shared between the RepEquity teams in New York, D.C. and Boston, sparked an interesting debate that spiced up  our Wednesday afternoon.

As Mashable noted,  Internet Explorer is losing popularity due to  the increased use of mobile and tablet devices, on which IE is practically absent. However,  it still garners 49.6 percent of Web traffic, followed by Firefox (21.2 percent), Google Chrome (16.6 percent) and Safari (8.72 percent).

Nevertheless, the fall of IE comes as a victory for many Web designers and technology professionals. As Wired’s Web Monkey notes, IE lacks “small but significant creature comforts such as resizable text boxes, built-in spell checking and session restoration.” And it’s not an infrequent occurrence to have to spend an hour convincing a client to consider browsers other than IE for their Web and mobile builds – others do exist and are gaining in usersRead More

Social Businesses Index Will Change How Companies Interact

Earlier this month, The Dachis Group launched the Social Business Index, a compilation of data that illustrates how social or influential brands are online. By assessing different indicators on a real-time schedule, businesses are ranked by their level of social influence, much like Klout does currently for individuals. Some of the businesses included in the service’s beta launch are Coca-Cola, Google, Time Warner, and Nike.

Since the service is still in beta testing, I was only able to look around the website and test a limited number of features. Even though my exploration of the service was restricted, I think The Dachis Group does an excellent job of describing Social Business Index to those whose companies are not yet members. Each company is displayed through a snapshot, which provides its current ranking, change over the previous week’s ranking and its raw score. Company employees, when logged in, have access to a more detailed list of actions and statistics. Companies can also earn accolades like “Top Performer” in their respective categories depending on the industry’s ecosystem and the company’s dynamic signals. Read More

Is Online Anonymity Disappearing?

As our world becomes more technology-dependent and interconnected, surfing the Internet as a private individual has become more and more difficult. Take a minute to think about it.

For many people, the first website they visit online is Facebook. Once a Facebook member has signed in, he or she stays logged in, even after navigating away from the page. In some instances, this is convenient; many news sites now require a commenter to connect to their Facebook account before adding their opinion on the article. This adds credibility to each person’s comments and prevents individuals from hiding behind anonymous accounts when making cruel or extreme statements. But who wants a Facebook wall full of third-party notices about which stories a user commented on, liked, or shared with others? Issues could arise if someone were to comment on news articles at work or home that presented a conflict of interest with their career or discussed controversial topics. Since the two would now be linked, Facebook is helping to push a user’s information to an increasing number of people.

The same goes for Google. Once logged in, the user stays connected to the email/search engine giant unless he or she explicitly chooses to sign out before going to another site. When switching between Google’s multitude of sites (Docs, Blogger, Google+, etc.) it’s nice not to have to log in ten different times over the course of a day. But as we mentioned in a previous post, if a user is constantly searching Google while logged in, the search engine will start to learn users’ preferences, which will affect what appears on search results. Being a “neutral” Internet user while logged in to Google and Facebook, as well as other social media sites, is virtually impossible. Read More

DC Earthquake Takes Over Twitter

This week has certainly been a crazy one here at the DC office. On Tuesday, central Virginia was hit by a 5.9 earthquake and several aftershocks.  After evacuating (from our building’s top floor, no less) the RepEquity team gathered outside and turned to our phones for more information. Despite the crush of people trying to make phone calls, text and access the Internet in the District, several of us were able to visit Twitter from our phones, which gave us the most up-to-date, if not comprehensive, news on the quake.

Thanks to Twitter, we quickly discovered that people as far south as North Carolina had felt the tremors and found out that one New Yorker learned of the quake before he felt it. User @JesseCFriedman tweeted Tuesday: “I saw the tweets from DC about earthquake, then 15 seconds later felt it in NYC. Social media is faster than seismic waves!”

That really blew our minds! More investigation revealed that seismic waves can travel between 5 to 8 kilometers per second. Information traveling via fiber signals travels at 200,000 kilometers per second. If you consider the 482 kilometers from the quake’s epicenter to New York City, it would have taken the quake up to a minute and a half to reach the Big Apple, definitely giving some speedy tweeps in Virginia or DC time to tweet about the quake before it reached NYC!

On Tuesday afternoon, the official Twitter account shared that within one minute of the quake, there were more than 40,000 earthquake-related tweets and the tweets-per-second spiked to 5,500.

All is back to normal in the RepEquity office, after some minor picture-frame readjusting, just in time to prepare for this weekend’s hurricane. See you in the Twittersphere!

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