Day: June 28, 2011

Google+ Project: It’s Social, It’s Bold, It’s Fun, And It Looks Good — Now For The Hard Part

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Last night, you may have heard talk of a mysterious black bar appearing on the top of Google.com. Or you may have even seen it yourself. No, you weren’t hallucinating. It was a sign of something about to show itself. Something big. Google+.

What is Google+? It’s the super top-secret social project that Google has been working on for the past year. You know, the one being led by General Patton (Vic Gundotra) and General MacArthur (Bradley Horowitz). Yes, the one Google has tried to downplay as much as humanly possible — even as we got leak after leak after leak of what they were working on. Yes, the one they weren’t going to make a big deal about with pomp and circumstance. It’s real. And it’s here.

Sort of.

You see, the truth is that Google really is trying not to make a huge deal out of Google+. That’s not because they don’t have high hopes for it. Or because they don’t think it’s any good. Instead, it’s because what they’re comfortable showing off right now is just step one of a much bigger picture. When I sat down with Gundotra and Horowitz last week, they made this point very clear. In their minds, Google+ is more than a social product, or even a social strategy, it’s an extension of Google itself. Hence, Google+.

How’s that for downplaying it?

“We believe online sharing is broken. And even awkward,” Gundotra says. “We think connecting with other people is a basic human need. We do it all the time in real life, but our online tools are rigid. They force us into buckets — or into being completely public,” he continues. “Real life sharing is nuanced and rich. It has been hard to get that into software,” is the last thing he says before diving into a demo of Google+.

What he proceeds to show me is a product that in many ways is so well designed that it doesn’t really even look like a Google product. When I tell Gundotra and Horowitz this, they laugh. “Thank you,” Gundotra says very enthusiastically. Clearly, they’ve put a lot of work into both the UI and UX of Google+.

The first thing Gundotra shows me about Google+, and the first thing you’re likely to interact with, is something called “Circles”. You may recall that talk of this feature leaked out a few months ago — though it wasn’t exactly right. In fact, our story from months prior about a feature of Google +1 (the name of the network at the time which ended up being the name of the button — more on that in a bit) called “Loops” may have been a bit closer. That is, Circles isn’t actually a stand-alone product, it’s a feature of Google+ — an important one. “It’s something core to our product,” Gundotra says.

It’s through Circles that users select and organize contacts into groups for optimal sharing. I know, I know — not more group management. But the truth is that Google has made the process as pleasant as possible. You simply select people from a list of recommended contacts (populated from your Gmail and/or Google Contacts) and drag them into Circles you designate. The UI for all of this is simple and intuitive — it’s so good, that you might even say it’s kind of fun. It beats the pants off of the method for creating a group within Facebook.

Gundotra realizes that many social services have tried and failed to get users to create groups. But he believes they’ll succeed with Circles because he says they’re using software in the correct way to mimic the real world. More importantly, “you’re rewarded for doing this,” he says. How so? A big feature of Google+ is the toolbar that exists across the top of all Google sites (yes, the aforementioned black one). Once your Circles are set, sharing with any of them from any Google site is simple thanks to this toolbar.

Speaking of this black toolbar, which was codenamed the “Sandbar” as Google was working on it, Horowitz explains that it arose from the fact that sharing models on different sites are all different. The toolbar is an attempt to unify them. This toolbar will exist across all Google properties (though it may take some time to fully roll out). And down the road, you can imagine browser extensions, mobile versions, etc. But again, we’re on step one here.MORE

 

 

 

EA resets users’ passwords following LulzSec hack

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A number of customers of EA (Electronic Arts) are reporting receiving emails from the company telling them that their passwords have been reset as a security measure.

Here’s one such email forwarded to us by a reader of Naked Security:

EA password reset email

Your password was recently reset to ensure account security. Changing your password regularly is always helpful to protect your account. Please visit this [LINK] to reset your password.

If you have any questions or if you experience any troubles during login please feel free to contact our support at 1-877-357-6007.

Sincerely,
Customer Support
Electronic Arts, Inc.

The good news is that the emails do appear to be legitimate, rather than a phishing scam targeting video game players.

It’s quite natural to assume that EA has reset users’ passwords because it is concerned that credentials have been compromised. And maybe this password reset is linked to the LulzSec hacking group’s apparent final attackover the weekend, which exposed login details of over half a million players of EA’s Battlefield Heroes game amongst a hoard of other data.

Information exposed by LulzSec

My advice to you is to use different passwords on each and every website you access, and make sure they can not be easily guessed or cracked.

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MasterCard.com brought down in apparent Wikileaks-motivated internet attack

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MasterCard and WikiLeaks

MasterCard’s website was knocked offline earlier today following a WikiLeaks-inspired internet attack against it.

In what appears to be the latest salvo by hactivists, the mastercard.com website is thought to have suffered from a denial-of-service attack – where an internet site is bombarded with a large amount of traffic making it impossible for genuine visitors to access it.

A Twitter user called ibomhacktivist seems to be taking responsibility for the attack, and links the action to the WikiLeaks-inspired attack on MasterCard by the Anonymous group last year.

Tweet about Mastercard.com website

MasterCard.com DOWN!!!, thats what you get when you mess with @wikileaks @Anon_Central and the enter community of lulz loving individuals :D

MasterCard angered the hacktivist community after it suspended the ability for WikiLeaks to accept payments via the firm. Police in the Netherlandsarrested two teenagers for allegedly playing their part in the attacks last year.

WikiLeaks is a subject which tends to generate strong emotions – whether you’re in favour of what the organisation stands for, or against it.

Computer users would be wise, however, to remember that even if you feel WikiLeaks is being persecuted by the authorities or abandoned by online companies, denial-of-service attacks are still illegal.

 

Update: The MasterCard.com website appears to be back online. It will be interesting to see if it stays up, or whether it will sporadically disappear again. Fingers crossed

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Warning : “Fake Page in FACEBOOK” report it to FB

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REPORT BY : BIJAY ACHARYA [DEADBJ]
I was just roaming on FB for new scam/spam alerts. I found this Page. [link below]
http://www.facebook.com/pages/facebook-password-HACK/131184156898885

To bypass Automatic Security System of Facebook. Phisers named the Page as   facebook password *HACK*

Carefully look at *HACK*. it is placed between two Asteriks. This is done to Bypass Automated Security System of FB.

In this page Phisers, give new downloads and tricks which are all fake. You too can have a look Yourself in this page. But do not download anything, do not follow any Steps.

Just report this page  as soon as possible, because they Randomly change their page’s NAME

http://www.facebook.com/pages/facebook-password-HACK/131184156898885

FOR MORE SECURITY ALERTS YOU CAN FOLLOW MY OWN PAGE IN FACEBOOK :

FOLLOW “COMPUTER ADDICTED” PAGE IN FACEBOOK:CLICK HERE

Phising Page in Facebook : Please Report this Page As soon As Possible to FB

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REPORT BY : BIJAY ACHARYA [DEADBJ]
I was just roaming on FB for new scam/spam alerts. I found this Page. [link below]
http://www.facebook.com/pages/facebook-password-HACK/131184156898885

To bypass Automatic Security System of Facebook. Phisers named the Page as   facebook password *HACK*  

Carefully look at *HACK*. it is placed between two Asteriks. This is done to Bypass Automated Security System of FB.

In this page Phisers, give new downloads and tricks which are all fake. You too can have a look Yourself in this page. But do not download anything, do not follow any Steps.

Just report this page  as soon as possible, because they Randomly change their page’s NAME

http://www.facebook.com/pages/facebook-password-HACK/131184156898885

FOR MORE SECURITY ALERTS YOU CAN FOLLOW MY OWN PAGE IN FACEBOOK :

FOLLOW “COMPUTER ADDICTED” PAGE IN FACEBOOK:CLICK HERE

Bheja Fry 2 : Fried My Veja, Not coz Film is Good, but coz it’s WORSE.

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“Bheja Fry 2″ le lastai Veja Fry garyo, Film Ramro Bhayera hoina, Khaate Bhayera. :p

WHY FILM GOT RELEASED ? NO COMEDY, NO GOOD SCRIPT, JUST RELEASED FILM.! BAD,BAD AND VERY WORSE FILM

Fight Spam :Former Yahoo Spam Ninjas Unveil Impermium

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The world is getting a first look atImpermium, a new startup that aims to help sites fight growing user generated spam – spammy comments, hacked accounts and (mypersonal favorite) fraudulent registrations.

Sounds like a useful service. And the team behind it just makes it more compelling. CEOMark Risher was known as Yahoo’s “Spam Czar” until he left in June 2010. Joining him from Yahoo are Vish Ramarao and Naveen Jamal. These guys have seen, and fought, a lot of spam over the years.

Investors seem to think Impermium is onto something, too. The company is announcing their first round of funding today – $1 million from Accel PartnersAOL VenturesCharles River VenturesFreestyle CapitalGreylock Discovery Fund and Morado Ventures. Angel groups Archimedes Capital andEmbarcadero Ventures also contributed to the round, says Impermium.

Companies can use Impermium as a service to detect and remove fraudulent and spammy content. To date they’ve been testing the service with ten or so websites that reach more than 50 million combined unique users. 50 million pieces of content have been analyzed, says Risher, and they’re feeling pretty good about their ability to root out the bad stuff. Livefyreand Posterous are among those intial beta testers.

Part of what makes Impermium work well, says Risher, is that they can analyze content across multiple partners to detect previously unknown patterns. Rules based approaches to spam don’t work well, he says. Instead they’ve developed a machine learning based approach that looks at single site traffic as well as different types of traffic across the entire network to find patterns, anomalies and suspicious transaction groups.

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Penn Students Leave School to Launch CourseKit With $1 Million Seed Round

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Three students at the University of Pennsylvania—Joseph Cohen, Dan Getelman, and Jim Grandpre—are quitting school to launch a new education startup calledCoursekit, and they’ve raised $1 million in a seed round to do it. (Peter Thiel would be proud). The New York City startup just closed a seed round from Founder Collective, IA Ventures, Shasta Ventures and some angels. IA Ventures led the round.

Coursekit is like Facebook or Yammer for courses. Like many other students frustrated with Blackboard, the current online course management standard, the Coursekit founders think they can do a better job. “It is really a Blackboard replacement with a heavy emphasis on social networking,” says CEO Cohen.

The service will launch later this summer in time for the Fall semester. It’s a place where teachers can post their syllabus, reading materials, grades, calendars, links, and so on. It is designed as a way for professors to manage their course and interactions with students.

But it is also a social messaging system for students to communicate with each other. “We want a 300 person lecture feel like a 20 person seminar,” says Cohen. Students can share links, videos, MP3s, and other files like PDFs. In this way, they can bring in relevant material from the Web to enhance the course and teach each other.

Coursekit image
Website: coursekit.com
Founded: June 1, 2010
Funding: $1M

Coursekit is a social platform for college courses. The company is based in New York, and will launch in August 2011 Learn More

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Twitter For Newsrooms!? Twitter *Is* A Newsroom

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Earlier this morning Twitter released “Twitter for Newsrooms,” its primer on how to use Twitter to gather and report news in the 21st century.

#TfN is Twitter’s official nudge to old school reporters, a heavy handed reminder to get with the program and embrace Twitter as media production and consumption device.

The company’s missive to journalists is pure straight talk, “We know you come from different generations. Some are native to the pilcrow, others native to the hashtag. You began your careers in different media: radio, print, broadcast, online and mobile.” … And you have all somehow ended up on Twitter. Ball’s in our court.

For those curious, Twitter’s (and obviously self-perpetuating) suggestions for using it to report include taking advantage of the new non-rate limited search and its advanced search tool that allows for sentiment analysis and other search drill downs.

Twitter is also pushing the newly acquired TweetDeck as a search managing client and Twitter for Mac as a tool to manage multiple accounts and lists. Reporters @katiecouric,@melissabell@miltonvalencia@brianstelter and @anncurry are singled out as examples of impeccable journalistic Twitter usage. And indeed they are …

But is Twitter essentially preaching to the choir on this one? I mean it’s pretty likely that you’re well versed in Twitter if you’re on Twitter and reading something called Twitter for Newsrooms. It’s also likely that very few pilcrow natives came across this page today.

“Twitter for Newsrooms is a bit redundant for me because Twitter is my newsroom,” saysMediagazer founding editor Megan McCarthy. Indeed, I’ve heard many journalists compare watching the news cycle on Twitter to being in a physical newsroom when breaking news would come in on the wire.

Except now, instead of the modest hustle and bustle of a newsroom filled with tens of people, the “newsroom” experience of incoming and outgoing information has the potential to reach millions, with 200 million pieces of content produced a day.

Says Village Voice Media’s Head of Digital (and my former boss) Bill Jensen;

“Twitter is a newsroom of sorts, though there is no editor. So it all depends on the credibility of the person who tweets the news. If Jeff Jarvis tweets something, I tend to believe it, factually. If someone random tweets it, even 100 random people I do not know, I am going to have to look at other sources to check it out and see if it is real.”

Micro case in point: I found out about Twitter for Newsrooms (the fodder for this news post) on Twitter this morning, initially through one online journalist’s tweet about Twitter launching a new “Advanced Search.”

Twitter, in fact was not launching a new Advanced Search today (the feature is actually six years old) and the misinformation was quickly and humorously debunked by another journalist from a different site, on Twitter —  the new cross-platform, cross-genre, cross-country, and cross-publication newsroom.

Image via: Louis Paul 

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