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Facebook’s daunting Asian challenge

Here’s a piece I pulled together with the help of Reuters reporters Andjarsari Paramaditha, Camilo Mejia and Estelle Griepink in JAKARTA, Harichandan Arakali in BANGALORE, Lee Chyen Yee in HONG KONG, Kazunori Takada in SHANGHAI and Harry Suhartono in SINGAPORE. Facebook aims to connect all two billion Internet users. So far it has captured 845 million of them. Of the rest, nearly 60 percent live in Asia and hooking them is going to be a daunting challenge. A block on access in China, court cases in India and rivalry from other services elsewhere in the region stand between Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and more than 700Continue readingFacebook’s daunting Asian challenge

The Google Dilemma

Once we lived in simpler times. Google was a search engine that made its money off ads that were based on what we searched for. Look for cocoa and you’d get an ad for hot chocolate alongside the search results. Google made lots of money from this and we got our hot chocolate. This worked because the web was searchable. At the end of the 1990s there was no walled garden beyond the shrinking cabbage patches of early Internet service providers AOL and CompuServe: All the the web was there anxious to be indexed, to be searchable. Idealists wandered into the sunshine and spoke ofContinue readingThe Google Dilemma

Quaintness in Salt Lake

(This is the script for a piece I did for the BBC World Service. Posted here by request. Podcast here.) Something rather quaint is going on in a Salt Lake City courtroom. A company called Novell, who you’d be forgiven for not having heard of, is suing Microsoft over a product called WordPerfect, which you also may not have heard of, which it says was hobbled from running on something called Windows 95 to protect its own product, called Microsoft Word. To be honest, you don’t need to know the ins and outs of this Microsoft law suit; nor do you really need to knowContinue readingQuaintness in Salt Lake

The Fate of New Acquisitions: Whither or Wither?

By Jeremy Wagstaff I’m writing this on a Windows PC using a great piece of Microsoft software called Windows Live Writer. And that’s only part of the problem. As you no doubt know, Microsoft have announced they bought Skype, the Internet telephony company, for $8.5 billion. You’ll have to look under a lot of stones to find someone who thinks this is a good deal for Microsoft. Skype made $20 million last year on revenue of $860 million, posting a net loss of $69 million because of interest expenses. In short, this is not a company about to fill Microsoft’s coffers with dosh. Whenever aContinue readingThe Fate of New Acquisitions: Whither or Wither?

AboutFacebook

This is a copy of my weekly Loose Wire Service column for newspapers, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff A few weeks ago I talked about Facebook’s brave new world of connecting your profile to all the other bits and pieces you leave on websites. I erred, and I apologize. I thought that people wouldn’t mind the reduction in privacy that this would involve. At least I didn’t think they’d mind as much as a couple of years ago, when Facebook tried something similar. But people did. And Facebook has been forced to respond, simplifying the procedures that allow users to control whoContinue readingAboutFacebook

Facebook’s Internet of Sharing

(This is a copy of my Loose Wire Sevice column, produced for newspapers and other print publications.) By Jeremy Wagstaff Get ready for a world where everything is shared. Readers of this column will already know that our notions of privacy have changed a lot in the past couple of years. That has made it possible for Facebook to announce a new initiative this past week, pretty confident it won’t get rebuffed in the same way its Beacon program did a few years back. Back then we didn’t like the idea of companies having access to the things we were doing on their websites andContinue readingFacebook’s Internet of Sharing

Skype’s New Dawn?

We talk about Facebook, twitter, MySpace and Friendster as the big social networks but we keep forgetting one that is far bigger than that: Skype. This from a Bloomberg piece on Skype’s vacillating fortunes: Skype has soared in popularity since it started in 2003 and has about 548 million users worldwide—more than Facebook, MySpace and Twitter combined. Pretty much everyone I know is on Skype—more so than Facebook—and their investment in it is greater: They had to figure out how to install software, set up a microphone, a webcam, create an account, and maybe even buy credit. More importantly, they can actually estimate its valueContinue readingSkype’s New Dawn?

Social Netquirks

Each social network has its quirk. I want to fix them. Here’s how. Skype, for example, won’t let you be invisible to certain people. You’re either visible to all your buddies, or none at all. So if you have a contact who thinks a Skype connection is an open invitation to call you up out of the blue, there’s no way to discourage them other than by blocking. Which seems kinda harsh. Solution: A fake online button that takes calls but never quite connects them due to ‘network difficulties.’ Facebook has its quirks too. One is that it fails to recognise the vagaries of real-worldContinue readingSocial Netquirks

The Undignified Death of Social Networks

I’m intrigued, and slightly depressed, at how social networking sites deteriorate so quickly into what are little more than scams. I think it started about a year ago, when a number of sites started pulling the stops out to build up membership. Now, it seems, it’s all about the money. Take Quechup, for example, which has never had a very good reputation, though some say it’s undeserved. I don’t think anyone would try to argue that now. I opened an account at Quechup about a year ago, and left it, with no friends. no connections, no activity (a bit like my real life.) I didn’tContinue readingThe Undignified Death of Social Networks

My First LinkedIn Spam

  Got my first LinkedIn spam today: Hi Jeremy, [name deleted], here… we are linked on LinkedIn I know you’re interested in earning an in~come on the internet. I also know you probably wouldn’t mind if ‘understanding it’ was made easier for you. Well, I’ve been notified about a new F.REE report by internet marketers, [etc ad nauseam] I logged in, and it’s true: We are linked on LinkedIn. Or were; I’ve deleted him as quickly as I could. Or at least I tried to: There’s no easy way to do it. (I found the answer, not in LinkedIn’s answers or help page, but onContinue readingMy First LinkedIn Spam

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