Monthly Archives: April 2014

Is Facebook Moving from Web 2.0 to Mobile 2.0?

Since its inception in the early 2000s, Facebook has been an internet pioneer. Their social networking platform was instrumental in the web 2.0 movement that changed how the internet would evolve forever.

However, when Facebook went public last year, the company seemed to be lost in determining where it wanted to go next. A few months of disappointing earnings and the never-ending pressure from Wall Street to demonstrate value and profits even led some critics to say Facebook was near its end.

Then came Facebook’s pivot. The company began to ramp up its efforts on the mobile experience. Now it looks like Facebook may be focusing even more on mobile given the latest news this week.

USA Today reports that Facebook “reported first-quarter earnings of $885 million on revenue of $2.5 billion.” These are great numbers for the web 2.0 business, but the real kicker is the fact that almost 60% of the ad sales were from users’ mobile devices. That’s a huge number that has been growing over the year and a trend looks to continue.

Over a billion users of the site have accessed Facebook through mobile. These numbers and trends show a definite change in Facebook’s priorities. The company may no longer be putting the bulk of its efforts into the traditional web, but rather focusing on the mobile experience. The money and the users are definitely there.

As Facebook recognized the value of mobile ads, critics wondered whether advertising on mobile platforms would be a huge turn-off for users. Facebook has tread this ground softly and implemented its ads gradually. Had it not done so, there’s a chance they could have sabotaged their efforts. It looks like this won’t be much of a problem at all moving forward for Facebook’s mobile focus. Even the recent addition of video ads has not angered users.

It will be interesting to watch how Facebook evolves. Will the web 2.0 giant put all of its efforts into mobile? Will the traditional web presence remain important to users?

Google Glass Public Sale Over

For years, Google has been one of the developers on the forefront of wearable computing. Their flagship technology is Google Glass. This wearable computer, an optical head mounted display similar to a pair of glasses but with a small computer screen run by voice command, has been catching the attention of journalists and tech enthusiasts for quite some time. Many people have been waiting to purchase the device, and unfortunately, the window to buy Google Glass for public consumption has recently closed.

Google Glass was recently available for public purchase for $1,500; a hefty price for a technology that might not make it if the public isn’t ready for wearable computing. But is wearable computing the next step in the Web 2.0 world? It remains to be seen if people want to be able to access the web and constantly be connected to their favorite websites, social media, and even their email.

Google is definitely throwing a lot behind their support of Google Glass. After the public sale closed, the company announced that a new update will increase battery life, improve photo-sharing, and also make it easier for developers to work with the device. They’re even pairing up with companies like Oakley and Ray-Ban to give the device an easier transition into the public sphere.

Google is also taking a page from the Web 2.0 book and making sure it continues to support 3rd-party developers. There doesn’t seem to be a better way to enhance adoption of a new product than to give the public the chance to mold it and develop accessories the way they want to. This approach is much like the way Google addresses its mobile operating software, Android. The company gives users and developers a lot of freedom to change what they don’t like while still having control over the core software.

It’s still up in the air whether the public is ready for Google Glass. However, Google appears to be happy with how the public sales period was received. They have the funds to continue supporting Glass for a long time with the hopes that it will eventually be adopted. Even if it’s a big failure, the company helped to progress wearable tech farther than any other company or person before them.

Twitter Redesign Borrows from Facebook

Eight years ago, not many people understood the potential for Twitter to become a global platform. Facebook, MySpace, and other Web 2.0 platforms were in charge on the web and were at the forefront of a social, community-driven redesign of the way everyone used the web. However, despite the competition, it didn’t take long for Twitter to explode in usage.

Today, Twitter is a publicly traded company. Like Facebook before it, after the company had gone public, experts were quick to point out that changes would be coming. It looks like we’re finally seeing what some of these changes actually entail.

As Ewan Spence reports over at Forbes, after a disappointing release of its public results in February which “showed a net loss of $511 million for Q4 2013,” Twitter decided that “Twitter is turning into Facebook.” What exactly does that mean?

If you’re a Twitter user, you’ve probably already seen what these changes have done to your profile. Twitter took a page out of Facebook’s design book, quite literally. The redesign is clearly a move to providing more effective (and therefore more profitable) advertising. The company is even mimicking the way Facebook uses promoted posts with its promoted tweets. One of the primary reasons for the change is that Twitter needs to boost the time users spend on the site.

Many core developers and Web 2.0 enthusiasts are angry about the changes. They claim the service is less unique and is turning its back on its roots. These are common fears for fans of companies or services after they go public, and if this pattern continues, they may have been well-justified fears for Twitter users.

There’s no doubt that Twitter will continue to go through some big changes in the future. Adjusting and adapting to the challenges of operating as a public company are difficult, especially with a background like Twitter’s. Facebook went through a rough time, but proved it was capable of changing without alienating its user-base. With that said, keep an eye out for future changes to Twitter!

Artificial Intelligence System, “DeepFace,” Leads the Way in Facial Recognition Capabilities

It’s not any secret facial recognition is used to track internet users. Facebook already uses this method to suggest tags for users’ posts. Google+ utilizes the technology for its social network. However, there is an artificial intelligence system known as “DeepFace,” that goes beyond any current software.

Facebook researchers recently published a paper detailing the capabilities of DeepFace, and its talent is rather astonishing. Humans have a 97.53% accuracy rate when dealing with facial recognition. The percentage for DeepFace? 97.25%.

Current facial recognition software lacks accuracy when it doesn’t have a direct frontal view of its subjects. DeepFace, however, actually creates 3-D images of faces, which it then analyzes with a technology called “deep learning.” This system imitates the brain’s neuron connections that draw conclusions from analyzing data. Based on 120 million parameters, DeepFace comes to its conclusions.

As the Facebook researchers put it, this is a substantial improvement on facial recognition software; even state-of-the-art equipment. For now, though, DeepFace is still considered to be “theoretical research” according to Facebook spokesperson, Lydia Chan.

However, it’s not hard to see how advancements in facial recognition software could mean great strides for brands being able to reach potential customers and even for public surveillance. Intel has already developed a system where facial-detection cameras figure a consumer’s gender and age, and product ads are adjusted accordingly. Law enforcement agencies have also been putting this software to good use by experimenting with surveillance and investigation.

What does this mean for the future? To put it simply, it means the potential for more sophisticated surveillance on a variety of levels. Ads for consumers can be much more targeted, and the government’s tracking of the public’s movements can be increased. It also means disputes regarding the public’s privacy are likely to arise. Facebook researchers stated society will have to deal with these questions as technology advances. Meanwhile, it may only be a matter of time before advanced software like DeepFace comes to a device near you.