Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week

Tag Archives: facebook

One Password To Rule Them All And In The Darkness Bind Them

Tags : 

The giants of the web are fighting to become your de facto passport to the digital world.

These days we’ve all got too many passwords to remember. The likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft want to ease your burden by letting you use their accounts to access all of your other services. A growing number of sites and services let you login with your Facebook details, for example, turning your Facebook account into your online identity card.

Facebook recently upped the stakes by striking a deal with Telstra to let pre-paid mobile customers access their account directly from Facebook. Telstra pre-paid customers can track their account balance, top up their credit and view usage history. Considering how much of a hassle it can be to deal with telcos, organising your phone bill via your Facebook account sounds pretty useful.

The Telstra deal is part of Facebook’s move beyond a simple “service” to become a “platform” on which other applications and services run. Game developers were quick to get onboard but Facebook wants to expand much further. Its aim is to develop a microcosm of the internet within Facebook’s walls, so in theory you never need to stray beyond Facebook’s grasp. Naturally this doesn’t sit well with the likes of Google and Microsoft who also have their own vast ecosystems and want to “own the customer”. Remember, if a service is free you’re often the product.

Of course Facebook and the others giants of the web aren’t introducing extra features such as phone bill management to make your life easier. They’re doing it to make sure that they’re so tightly entwined in your life that you can’t walk away. Facebook wants you to be too reliant on your account to abandon it. In return it gets to track what you do in every corner of your life.

Facebook and the others aren’t evil, they’re simply trading your privacy and personal information in return for convenience. It’s a reasonable trade to make if you comprehend what you’re trading and take the time to understand the various privacy settings. But Facebook does seem to benefit from the fact that many people don’t comprehend this transaction and think they’re getting everything for “free”.

Long before Facebook was on the scene, Microsoft dreamed of acting as our digital passports. Microsoft’s Hailstorm system was later renamed Microsoft Passport Network, .NET My Services and .NET Passport. You probably know it as a Hotmail account.

When Passport was integrated into Windows XP way back in 2001, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie said the public would fully accept Microsoft as a trusted repository for all their personal information within five to 10 years. Clearly he was wrong about that one.

Of course Microsoft’s Passport efforts failed because most people trusted Microsoft about as far as they could kick their computer. Yet the concept of trust has changed considerably in the last decade. Today people trust the likes of Facebook and Google with a surprising amount of personal information. But it remains to be seen whether they’ll become our one password to rule them all.


How Social Are Social Networks?

Tags : 

The Internet, we’re told, brings people together — and I’d certainly say that it can perform that function; it allows those with a common interest, whether that’s ancient sports cars, cutting edge technology or butterflies to gather together no matter where they are on the planet.

But does it really bring us closer together? Research commissioned by Optus recently suggested that despite the massive numbers of people using social networks — not to mention the plethora of networks one could belong to — we still don’t feel as though we’re communicating with those that we’re “close” to as much as we’d like.

The research focused on Facebook, where (according to the Optus statistics) the average Australian has 165 “friends”. Of those average 165, only  33 of them are said to be “close” friends, but 45 per cent of those surveyed felt that social networks make them feel less close to their family and friends.

It’s worth bearing in mind here that you can spin statistics any way you like; it’s not immediately apparent from the released research what the other 55 per cent thought of social networks in terms of closeness, for example. Still, I can see a few reasons why, despite social networks offering another way to communicate, it might make some feel a little isolated.

The most obvious one is the issue of privacy. Not just from the network that you’re on — although Facebook can be difficult in terms of setting and keeping your privacy intact — but the privacy of what you say, and who you’re saying it to. If you’re the extroverted type, that may not be a problem, but those who are a little more shy would probably find the archival nature of a social network like Facebook a little offputting. You can delete individual posts or comments, but what’s typed there is still published for some time — and if it’s not on your account, you may not be able to delete it at all.

There’s also the question of matching the right social networks to the right use. Some networks are particularly focused; LinkedIn, for example has a strong professional focus, where Facebook or Google+ are a lot more freewheeling. Twitter’s arguably more free than anything else, save for the restriction on the number of characters within a post; that may lead to brevity, but it can also make it hard to make a complex point or hold a truly meaningful discussion. It’s certainly possible for social networking chat to be drowned out by the general noise — I’ve got a few “friends” on my own Facebook list, for example, who are inordinately fond of posting many pictures in sequence, which can drown out the communications with others.

Ultimately, I think social networks are just tools for a purpose; if you’re feeling as though they make you less social, is that a fault of the tool or the user?


Do big web buyouts indicate we're on the verge of another dotcom bust?

Tags : 

Facebook, the social network that’s risen above its contemporaries as the success story of the recent social internet age, recently announced that it was purchasing social photography sharing service Instagram. Nothing terribly surprising there; these kinds of business transactions take place all the time.

What made headlines was the purchase price, with Facebook agreeing to purchase Instagram for the rather healthy (if you’re the owner of Instagram) price of one billion dollars. Instagram’s got an estimated 30 million users; that means that Facebook presumably values each user at around 33 bucks a piece. That’s quite high for a service that the users could always opt to stop using straight away. With the news of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, many threatened to do just that.

One billion dollars for a company that allows people to share photos from mobile devices seems like a lot of money, and it did raise the question in many circles as to whether Facebook had overpaid for Instagram, as well as raising the spectre of the 1999 dotcom “bust”. Back in ’99, many companies that labeled themselves as “Internet” companies — whether they were selling paperclips or petfood — were massive overvalued, leading to an inevitable bust when the real bottom line of those markets was realised.

Was one billion dollars — a mix of cash and Facebook shares — a lot to pay? It certainly was, but it perhaps wasn’t a matter of overpaying. Facebook wasn’t just buying Instagram in order to get access to its photo sharing users; it was also doing so in order to buy out a competitor. Again, that’s business, and possibly smart business (although only time will tell on that score).

The internet market has matured significantly since 1999, but Facebook’s buyout of Instagram is about more than just a CEO seeing some nice photos and opening up his wallet; it’s also a strategic move around mobile web applications.

One interesting business parallel popped up at the same time as Facebook was buying Instagram, as Microsoft purchased a number of patents from AOL — including most of the patents that revolved around the now-defunct Netscape Navigator browser. Back in 1999, Microsoft was being investigated by the US Department of Justice over anti-trust allegations relating to its own browser and the position of Netscape relative to them; in 2012, Microsoft (in essence) owns Netscape.


Do We Need Another Social Network?

Tags : 

It seems you can’t take two steps without stepping over a mention of Facebook. Just in the past week, I’ve attended a launch of two new phones (the budget-priced HTC ChaCha and Salsa, and yes, those are the product names), both of which feature prominent “F” buttons. Not in a non-family friendly sense; these are buttons that directly link your activity on the smartphone at the time to your Facebook account. So if you’re taking a photo, it’ll upload that photo to Facebook. If you’re browsing the Web, it’ll share that link, and so on.

At the same time that Facebook seems to have taken over the lives of an increasing proportion of the Internet community, Google’s soft-launched its latest social networking platform. This isn’t Google’s first crack at an online social community platform. Google Wave sank without much note and Google Buzz invited criticism for its seeming lack of actual privacy. The latest social network to emerge from Google is known simply as Google+.

Google+’s basic layout is a mix of what you’d expect if you’re an existing Facebook user with a lighter layout tone, such as you’d expect out of Google. It’s early days as yet — so far, the only way to get onto Google+ is via invitation, and the early release of Google+ saw the company restrict invites several times due to overload issues. There’s a few neat inbuilt touches that Google+ brings to the social networking scene. Instead of “friending” people, you add them to self-defined “circles”. These can be friends, acquaintances — basically anything you like, as you’re the only one who sees your friend definitions. Then when you post anything, you choose which circles see your content.

This also highlights a key difference (at the moment) between Google+ and Facebook. Facebook’s “friending” is a two way relationship, where once a friendship is established, both sides see all posts from both people, unless specifically noted otherwise through Facebook’s often labyrinthine privacy menus. Google+’s “Circles” offer one-way sharing. You can add anybody to a circle, but all you’re doing is posting to them; there’s no implicit agreement that they’ll then share material back with you.

It’s early days for Google+ as yet. I do like the interface, which is cleaner and quicker than Facebook, not to mention uncluttered with things like Farmville”¦ so far. Having said that, what Google’s done is being described by the company as a “field trial” of the service, and it’ll need a significant uptake of users to start seriously challenging Facebook.

What do you think? Are you willing (or even interested) in taking on another social network?


Recent News

One of the biggest tech news stories of recent months emerged when the US Department of Justice announced that it’s going to take search giant Google to court, alleging that it has violated antitrust laws in a monopolistic fashion. According to statements reported by the New York Times, “nothing is off the table” in terms

Apple recently launched its 2020 crop of iPhone smartphones, comprising 4 different sizes and models that will become progressively available over the next month or so. The realities of the COVID-19 Pandemic have meant Apple has had to stagger its iPhone 12 launch schedule, with the basic iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro going on

NBN Co recently announced that it’s spending some $3.5 billion dollars to upgrade parts of the nation’s Fibre To the Node (FTTN) network to full Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) over the next 3 years. While the NBN itself has been one massive political football, for better or worse, the practical reality of its near-finished

Virtual Reality, often shortened to VR is one of those “future tech” concepts, along with hoverboards, jetpacks and teleportation that we always seem to be just on the cusp of… but never quite getting there. However, unlike teleportation – which conventional physics suggests might be a bit of a non-starter – or the risky nature

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Learn about the precautions we are taking and our new contactless pick-up and remote service options. Read More
Get help setting up your home office or homework area today. Learn More