Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Google invites users to join Wave

September 30, 2009

Google Wave, which combines email, instant messaging and wiki-style editing will go on public trial today.

What is a wave?

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

The search giant hopes the tool, described as “how e-mail would look if it were invented today”, will transform how people communicate online.

It will be open to 100,000 invitees from 1600BST, each of whom can nominate five further people to “join the Wave”.

The tool is also open source, meaning third party developers can use the code to build new applications.

The developer behind Wave described it as “a communication and collaboration tool”.

“It struck us that e-mail is still the main communication tool on the web, which seemed remarkable given that it is 20-year-old technology,” said Lars Rasmussen, who, alongside his brother Jens, was the brains behind Google Maps.

In designing Wave, the brothers took as a starting point the idea of “a conversation sitting in a cloud”.

“We found we could build a flexible tool with a surprising amount of functionality,” Mr Rasmussen told BBC News.

Such functions include real-time typing.

This means people can see a comment being written character by character and can formulate their answer to a question before a fellow ‘Waver’ has even finished asking it.

Mr Rasmussen acknowledges that this feature could be annoying, but thinks it is also a great time-saver.

For those unsure whether they want all their Wave friends to see exactly what they are writing, when they are writing it, the developers are working on a draft mode which will allow the real-time aspect to be switched off .

Unlike traditional instant messenger (IM) conversations continue even once everyone has logged out. This means that those invited to a Wave conversation but not currently online, can read the message strand in full at a later date.

Sharing photos

More radical is the inclusion of wiki-style editing tools.

All messages can be edited at any point by members of the conversation and a Playback facility allows everyone to see exactly who has edited what and at what time.

Google, a famously collaborative firm, now writes all its design documents in Wave.

Wave also makes it very easy to share photos, which can simply be dragged from the desktop onto the Wave platform.

“If you are planning a trip. you can talk about it and plan it in Wave and then share all the photos at the end,” said product manager Stephanie Hannon.

Google Wave runs in most browsers, with the notable exception of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE). Users of IE will have to download a plug-in, known as Chrome Frame to use the application.

Microsoft does not recommend installing this plug-in, claiming it compromises security.

As IE is still the dominant browser, its incompatibility with Wave could affect take-up of the platform.

Google insists the failure of Wave in IE is not an excuse to promote its own browser, Chrome. It said the developers worked “very hard” at trying to make it work in IE.

Much of the code for Wave is written in HTML 5, the next-generation of web language.

In a nod to social-networking site Facebook, there are already a host of applications for Wave, including Sudoku and Chess.

“We are now trying to persuade someone to build a crossword puzzle,” said Mr Rasmussen.

He acknowledges that the success of the platform will depend on how many people are willing to join.

“Without other people adopting Wave it will never take off,” he said.

“I have been accused of being pathologically optimistic about it but I can’t see why people wouldn’t want it,” he said.

His enthusiasm seems to be being borne out to a certain degree. Since Wave was announced at a Google developers’ conference in May, one million people have registered interested.

Wave will have a full consumer launch early next year.

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Death web poll on Obama

September 29, 2009

The US Secret Service is investigating a poll posted on social networking site Facebook asking people if they think President Obama “should be killed

The poll, posted on Saturday, was taken off the site as soon as the company was made aware of it. It was put up on the site using a third-party application that was unconnected with the social networking site itself. US officials said they would take “the appropriate investigative steps”.

The poll, described by Facebook as “offensive”, asked respondents “Should Obama be killed?” and offered four possible responses: “No”, “Maybe”, “Yes”, and “Yes if he cuts my health care”. Like any threat to the US president’s life, the poll is being probed by the US Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the president.

“We take… these things seriously, said Darrin Blackford, a Secret Service spokesman. The social networking site said it would co-operate with the investigation.

We’re working with the US Secret Service, but they’ll need to provide any details of their investigation,” said Barry Schnitt, Facebook’s spokesman for policy.

The social networking site Facebook on Monday pulled a third-party application that allows users to create polls after a site member built a poll asking if President Obama should be killed.There are more than 350,000 applications on Facebook. The company says it disables any that violate its terms.

The U.S. Secret Service, the agency assigned to protect the president, has launched an investigation, agency spokesman James Mackin said.

“As is usually the case, our vigilant users reported it to us first,” Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told CNN. “The USSS [Secret Service] sent us an e-mail late this morning PDT asking us to take it down. At that point, it had already been removed, and we let them know.”

obama on facebook

Schnitt said the application “was immediately suspended while the inappropriate content could be removed by the developer and until such time as the developer institutes better procedures to monitor their user-generated content.”

Facebook allows third-party developers to create applications — such as polls and quizzes — which are then made available to Facebook users, who use the applications to create specific content. Users may choose to make their content available to the general population of Facebook or limit it only to their friends.In this case, Schnitt said, the user made the poll asking whether Obama should be killed available to the general public.The possible responses to the poll were “yes,” “maybe,” “if he cuts my health care” and “no.”

President Obama faces a daunting fall to-do list against the backdrop of an American public losing enthusiasm on a variety of issues.

President Obama’s top priorities this fall are health care and financial reform.
Obama’s agenda ranges from dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions to traveling to Copenhagen to pitch Chicago for the 2016 Olympics — a trip the president said two weeks ago he could not take because he was working on health care.

“Health care reform has been his No. 1 priority issue here domestically. He wanted to make sure that if he went, that it wouldn’t have an adverse impact on that, so he’s going for just a day,” said senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

And health care will still be at the top of the list when the president gets back. This fall, his priorities are health care and financial reform, one Capitol Hill source said. But health care reform will require a hands-on approach. The Senate Democratic leadership is looking for presidential guidance in creating one bill out of two very different ones — all the while holding onto enough votes to pass it.

And as for Obama‘s other goal, the administration sent financial reform legislation to the Hill and on both sides, committee work has begun, but it’s a long way from cooked.

A number of Capitol Hill players say privately that anything beyond health care and financial regulation would be a miracle this year.

On the global scene, in addition to Iran, Obama also must deal with winding down the war in Iraq and deciding what’s next for the U.S. in Afghanistan — and whether more troops are needed.

“I think you saw [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates say that a resource request that he gets will not be sent here to the White House until he believes and the president believes that we are in a position having reached a consensus on moving forward,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Also worth noting, Obama’s goal of closing down the prison at Guantanamo Bay is proving to be difficult — and slow enough that his original deadline of January 2010 is no longer a deadline.

“We are not focused on whether or not the deadline will or won’t be met on a particular day. We’re focused on assuring that the facility is closed,” Gibbs said.

And then of course, there is the unknown — the unpredictable things that require immediate attention in any presidency.

It’s a lot — but during the campaign, then-candidate Obama seemed to know what he was getting into, telling voters, “presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time.”