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Social Media Weekly Buzz

This past week, Facebook was ranked one of America’s most trusted companies, blew past the 300 million mark in total users, and hinted at the release of voice chat powered by Boston-based Vivox. Google increased its ever-growing hold on the web with its acquisition of reCAPTCHA, whose technology they can utilize to help with large text-scanning projects such as Google Books. The company also released Google Public Sector, which offers tools and best practices for public sector collaboration. Following up on the sale of the popular VoIP and chat service Skype comes a lawsuit by the founder’s who are suing eBay for copyright infringement of a core peer-to-peer technology found in the program. Finally, Bing continues to skyrocket in popularity among other search engine services.


    • Facebook to Launch Voice Chat – On its way to implementing a video chat service within its platform, Facebook will be rolling out a voice chat feature during the next couple weeks. The technology for the service is being offered by Vivox, a Boston-based company that has created voice chat applications for virtual worlds. Voice chat
      will work seamlessly within the Facebook framework, and support everything from one-on-one chats to group discussions.


    • Facebook Tops 300 Million User Mark – In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that not only was the service now in the green, but that it also had recently passed the 300 million user mark. The growth of Facebook has actually be accelerating, as it took only 5 months to reach this milestone, compared to the 8 months it took to make it from 100 to 200 million users.


    • Facebook In Top 10 of Most Trusted US Companies – Facebook is now ranked as one of the ten most trusted companies for privacy in the US. The study was conducted by TRUSTe and the Ponemon Institute, and consisted of a two-stage survey which focused on the “privacy policies and practices of leading consumer brands.”


  • Google Takes Over reCAPTCHA – Google continues to gain power over the web with its recent acquisition of reCAPTCHA, whose technology is used to power many of the captcha security boxes to make sure the user is in fact a human, and not a robot or spammer. Google will use this technology to power large scale scanning projects such as Google Books.
  • Google Public Sector Launched – The US Government, after recently declaring that it will be making use of many of Google’s cloud-based products to streamline operations, now has apps specifically designed to work with the public sector. The page is more of a directory and information site for government agencies and organizations, and will help these entities to coordinate more effectively.
  • eBay Sued For More Than $75 Million Per Day – eBay, who recently sold Skype a few weeks ago to a group of private investors, is now being sued by the software’s creators for copyright infringement. The main focus of this lawsuit is around a core piece of peer-to-peer technology that Skype uses and which Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom have been attempting to reclaim since early March.
  • Bing Currently Fastest Growing Search Engine – Microsoft continues to make strides with its new search engine, with official data coming from Nielson MegaView Search that Bing has a month-over-month growth rate of about a little over 22%. Compare this with the second largest growth rate of 2.9%, and it becomes apparent that Bing is quickly on its way up the popularity scale when it comes to search engines.

Things are truly looking good for Facebook these days. Now that the service is finally making money, albeit only $2 per person, and will soon be implementing video and voice chat features, it seems as if this social networking giant is on an unstoppable course to dominating the social market. The fact that Facebook is also one of the most trusted companies in the US will do well to solidify the service’s future growth, and should be a source of great concern for competitors such as Twitter, of which Facebook has recently launched a full-scale assault upon. Does Facebook have the momentum and power to ultimately become the only social networking service worth using?
Meanwhile, Google continues on its never-ending domination of the web with the acquisition of reCAPTCHA. The technology and service is featured on over 100,000 sites worldwide, and in addition to providing increased security for Google’s services, will more importantly allow the company to improve their books and newspaper scanning process. This will undoubtedly give Google Books and Google News Archive Search a significant competitive edge. The release of Google Public Sector shows that not even the US Government can escape Google’s reach. Not that they were trying very hard in the first place however, with Apps.gov already featuring a whole suite of Google cloud-based applications. Is Google becoming too much of an influence in the web market?
eBay thought they had seen the last of the Skype debacle, however Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the original creators, have other plans for the online-auction giant. It seems that the core peer-to-peer technology featured in Skype was copyrighted to Mr. Friis and, as every download of the program is seen as a copyright infringement, the founders are seeking a mere $75 million dollars per day in damages. Most likely this amount will be reduced significantly once the investigation is underway, however other online companies should make note of this situation. With the proliferation of ideas and technology becoming more readily available in the online world, lawsuits have become more plentiful as the claimed creators seek to defend their ideas, or make a quick buck.
Bing continues to show impressive growth when compared to other popular search engines. Though still far behind in total searches, the service is quickly closing the gap. More recently, the growth has been due to a large-scale advertising campaign launched by Microsoft. The fusion of Twitter and Bing search results (bingtweets.com) and the recently launched visual search have also helped to ratchet up popularity of the still relatively new search service.

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