Archive for November, 2008

Drilling Down: Maybe Canadians Have More Friends

Canadian Internet users are far more likely than Americans to use a social networking Web site, according to a new report.

Adobe Illustrator CS4 Review

The latest version of Adobe’s industry-standard vector graphics application is here, and Ars puts the Mac version through its paces. Here’s a look at what’s new, what’s fixed, and what’s newly broken, in Illustrator CS4.

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Social Inter-Networking with Power

power_logo.jpgThe race to find a single sign-on and synchronization service has been on since social networking sites hit global acceptance several years ago. Today, after working under the radar for the past year, and with a member base of 5 million users, announced its global launch with a mighty claim: “Our platform will break down the boundaries between social sites and allow users to synchronize their logins, content, messages and friends.”

Calling it a ’social inter-networking’ service, CEO Steve Vachani today explained: “Social is about people, not about place; we’re making ‘where’ irrelevant.”


Here at ReadWriteWeb, we have written extensively about the various efforts taking place to transform the Internet from the predominantly closed system it is today, to a more open and social experience; one where authentication is once only and data can be ported across sites. While we are certainly interested in any company that claims to have the answer, like everything else, time will tell.

What is Power?

Power is an interoperable platform that allows social network users to synchronize their profiles, content, messages and friends across various social sites. Right now, it works with Facebook, Hi5, MSN, MySpace and Orkut. LinkedIn is scheduled to appear before the end of the year, and Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Skype as well as others should be part of Power’s grid within the first few months of 2009.

According to Vachani, what Power is not trying to do is create one place online for people to send and receive updates, “we want people to continue using the sites they are currently using,” said Vachani.

Additionally, Vachani explains that Power doesn’t need the big websites to get together and agree to any commitment as the platform does not depend on their participation: “This independence contrasts with all previous efforts to bring social networks together, including Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, Microsoft Passport, OpenID and OpenSocial,” Vachani said.

How does Power work?

Once you register your social networks, Power shows you all the content from your registered sites; friends, IMs, e-mails, photos, data. Your home page will have three Power modules; your profile, your messages and your friends list. The technology is dynamic, so once you’re logged in everything is served to you in real time.


If you want to reply to any of your messages, you can do it from within Power, in what Vachani calls ‘Power Communicator’ and send it to Facebook, MSN, SMS, MySpace, Gmail - all of them if you wish, or you can do it via your ‘Power Friends’ list:


“Profile Syncing” allows you to change your profile within Power, and gives you the option of updating it across all of the social networks Power supports.


How Power got 5 million registered users so quickly

According to Power, messaging is a prime driver of its user base. Users communicate with their friends across sites, via email and IM using Power Messaging to send millions of inter-networked messages every day and each message has a link back to Power.

Additionally, Power users have added Power widgets, links, and watermarks to their social network profile pages, so when friends visit, they click to learn more.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, is a privately held company with 70 people. This month, is opening new offices in San Francisco, California and Hyderabad, India. The company received an $8 million Series A investment led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and investors including Esther Dyson. The company expects to have over 30 million registered users by the end of 2009.

Discuss wants to let you interconnect with all social networks, the latest company that wants to bring you social networking Nirvana by letting you update all your profiles from a single place, launches this evening.
However, it needs a bit of work before it’s truly convincing. It has some bugs, and has the air of being rushed.
But it’s goal is noble. For a while now, […] builds complicated bridges between social networks

A useful concept marred by a confusing interface: lets you access all your social networks in one place.

Facebook Connect appears set for expansion

The service launched last spring that lets members log onto other Web sites using their Facebook profile looks to be readying for a new phase. For Social Networking Power Users

Chances are you use at least two major social networks - 49 million people, for example, visited both MySpace and Facebook in October 2008 (Comscore, worldwide). Nearly 7 million people in the UK use both Bebo and Facebook. A lot of people maintain very different friend lists on LinkedIn than MySpace or Facebook. Etc. And when you add in niche social sites like YouTube, Flickr, etc., there’s even more overlap among users.

There has never been an effective way of aggregating and merging all the data and activity on these sites into a single user interface. A new venture backed Brazilian-based started called launches today, though, that aims to do just that. They’re calling what they do “social inter-networking” because it allows users to view and interact with all of their social networks at once. Data is aggregated, and the sites themselves, if accessed via the site, are marked up with added features in a way that Greasemonkey users are familiar with.

The service is unknown in the U.S. today, although it’s been live since August and boasts 5 million users already. Until today it supported just a few social networks, notably Orkut. Now, though, the service supports users from Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, Hi5 and a number of niche networks like YouTube.

://URLFAN - Perhaps The Best Influence Index on The Web

://URLFAN is an indexing service which ranks websites by popularity, based on blog mentions. It’s been around for a while, but we think it’s reached the point now where it’s a very useful tool to measure influence on the Internet. ://URLFAN is similar to Alexa and its measurement of popularity is reminiscent of Google’s PageRank. ://URLFAN also has similarities to Technorati, except that instead of indexing just blogs - ://URLFAN indexes all websites.


://URLFAN states that it parses "the millions of blog posts that are generated everyday, literally counting every mention of every website we come across." It claims to filter out spam, broken links, and "other various material" in order to come up with its rankings. As of right now, it claims to have ranked the popularity of 3,783,534 websites by parsing 124,732,102 blog posts from 2,068,929 blog feeds. Here is the top 10 currently:


The entire top 100 is listed here. Where the comparisons to Alexa and Google fall down is that ://URLFAN doesn’t measure how many people visit a website, only how many blogs mention it. So the resulting ranking list will inevitably be biased towards users of social media and in particular bloggers - which is still a relatively small proportion of the world. So although ://URLFAN states that "unlike Alexa, there is no approximating in our ranking system since we’re using concrete data to generate the results", it’s also fair to point out that the concrete data they’re using is from a small subset of the population.

Still, we do think ://URLFAN is an interesting measure of influence. The social media users of this world are known to be highly influential when it comes to products, opinions and so on. So in that regard ://URLFAN’s index is a decent measure of influence and therefore potentially valuable to marketers. We can see for example that Flickr and Twitter are being used a lot by influencers, which is good to know if you want to attract the attention of those people.

In terms of blogs, there are just under 10 independent ones that we counted in the top 100. ReadWriteWeb is one of them, in at #97.

Note: we noticed that many of the websites listed had a big jump in "positive mentions" in October-November, making us think that perhaps ://URLFAN’s index increased markedly at that time.

Other independent blogs that make it to the top 100:

  • #25
  • #28
  • #29
  • #32
  • #50
  • #63
  • #82
  • #91

This is pretty good company to be in. It must be said too that there are a lot of mainstream newspaper websites in the list, so clearly ‘old media’ is still pretty influential!


Another BlackBerry Storm firmware shows up

Filed under: Software, RIM, Verizon Wireless

We suppose this comes with the territory when you’re dealing with a major new smartphone on a major new (or heavily tweaked, anyway) platform that’s in its launch infancy, but there’s already a second new firmware floating around for the Storm. Actually, “floating around” isn’t a great term here since Boy Genius Report isn’t giving up the goods — but the site appears to have obtained, which would be exactly higher than the leaked firmware from earlier in the day. They’ve posted a laundry list of improvements and changes, giving us hope that the handset is on RIM’s fast track to being as solid as it needs to be; unfortunately, no one knows when it’ll be released, or if it’ll simply be rolled into another build down the road. Keep your chins up, Storm users.

Another BlackBerry Storm firmware shows up originally appeared on Engadget Mobile on Sun, 30 Nov 2008 23:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SanDisk plans hat trick of SSD performance improvements

SanDisk isn’t spilling all the beans just yet, but the company is hinting that it’s got the technology to make many of SSD’s negative aspects go away. Full disclosure is coming at CES 2009, but for now, here’s what we know.

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