Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parents call their baby 'Like' after Facebook button

When parents come to name new additions to their family, many choose the name of a grandparent, or perhaps buy a book of names and spend time reading through it, taking note of the various meanings behind each one. Others turn to the Internet, where there are an endless number of websites listing hundreds of thousands of suggestions – like John or Nancy.

According to a BBC report translated from Israeli newspaper Maariv, Lior and Vardit Adler, who live in Hod Hasharon in Israel, also turned to the Internet for inspiration, but certainly not in the usual way. The Facebook fans have named their third child Like, after the button on the social networking site that allows users to let others know about things they recommend or enjoy – or like. “So is that a boy’s name or a girl’s name?” you may ask. Apparently, in this case at least, it’s a girl’s name.

The report says that parents Lior and Vardit wanted a name that was “modern and innovative.” They certainly appear to have succeeded with that wish. Like’s two sisters also have modern and innovative names – one is called Dvash (Hebrew for honey), and the other, Pie (as in steak and kidney – her parents like cooking, you see).

You won’t be surprised to learn that when Like was born, one of the first things her father did was to announce her arrival on Facebook. “When I posted her picture and name on Facebook, I got 40 ‘likes’,” he said. “Considering that I have only a little more than 100 friends on the network that’s a lot.”

This isn’t the first time the social networking site has been used to name a child. Back in February, a man in Egypt called her child Facebook in honor of the site’s role in the revolution that took place there.

We’re guessing it’s only a matter of time before some YouTube fans name their new baby Upload.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Microsoft's Bing leans more heavily on Facebook

Microsoft Corp.'s Bing search engine is increasing its emphasis on the recommendations shared within Facebook's online social network to give people something they can't find on Google's dominant search engine.

Starting Monday afternoon, Bing's search results will vary depending on whether the person making a request is logged into Facebook's online social network at the same time.

For example, Bing's standard ranking system might analyze a search request about the band "U2" and relegate a link pertaining to the music group to the fourth or fifth page of results if the query came from someone who wasn't logged into Facebook at the time. But that same link might appear at the top of Bing's first search page if the query were made by a logged-in Facebook user and a few friends in the requestor's social circle had pressed Facebook's "Like" button on the site.

Bing's revisions will also affect the rankings of some search results even when people aren't logged into Facebook. That's because Bing's formula also will consider how many times Facebook's more than 500 million members have pressed on a Web page's "Like" button to help determine the content's value and relevance.

"Bing is bringing the collective IQ of the Web together with the opinions of the people you trust most, to bring the 'Friend Effect' to search," Microsoft search executive Yusuf Mehdi wrote in a Monday blog post.

Bing also is adding several other features and tools that deepen its ties to Facebook. Among other things, online shoppers using Microsoft's search engine will be able to post links about products and services directly to their Facebook accounts to get the opinions from their friends and family. Microsoft plans to deliver notices about discounted travel deals on people's Facebook pages, based on the cities they have said they liked.

The changes are the latest step in a search alliance Microsoft and Facebook announced seven months ago in a joint challenge to Google Inc. Both Microsoft and Facebook are trying to lure traffic away from Google, the Internet's most profitable company, so they can make more money selling Internet ads.

Google, whose search engine processes about two out of every three Internet search requests, also has been trying to add more personal touches as Web surfers have bonded together on Facebook and other websites such as Twitter where they share photos, recommendations and other insights.

But Facebook's online hangout has erected barriers that prevent Google's search engine from indexing all the information on a social network where an estimated 30 billion pieces of content are being shared each month.

Facebook's antipathy toward Google became clearer last week when it acknowledged that it had secretly hired a prominent public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, to persuade reporters and bloggers to write stories about Google's privacy problems.

Besides sharing a unified front against Google, Microsoft and Facebook also have financial ties. Microsoft owns a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook.

Microsoft also has teamed up with Yahoo in its quest to topple Google. Since last summer, Microsoft's technology has been powering Yahoo's search results. The Yahoo partnership has given Microsoft's engineers access to billions more requests to analyze in an effort to get a better understanding of what people are seeking based on specific queries.

Bing has been making progress, although it remains far behind Google and remains a financial drag on Microsoft, whose online division had suffered an operating loss of $1.9 billion through the first nine months of its current fiscal year.

Through April, Bing held a 14.1 percent share of the U.S. search market, up from 10.8 percent at the same time last year, according to the research firm comScore Inc. Google's share stood at 65.4 percent in April, a decline of less than a percentage point from last year.

"The appetite for Bing to experiment and take risks like this is much greater than Google's because it is still so much smaller," said Altimeter Group analyst Charlene Li.

As it deepens its Facebook relationship, Bing could rile some users who don't want or don't fully understand why their personal information is appearing in its search results.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Top 9 reasons people use tablets

Why use a tablet over a laptop or a netbook...or even a desktop computer? New research from the Nielsen Company sheds a little light on how Americans are using a class of devices that most consumers would have balked at buying only a single short year ago. Here's the reasoning behind tablet mania, according to Nielsen's sample:

Easy to carry/take with you (31%)
Ease of interface/OS (21%)
Fast Start Up/Off (15%)
Convenience (12%)
Size (12%)
Can use in multiple locations (12%)
Fast Speed (11%)
Like Device Features (calendar, apps, etc.) (10%)
Lightweight (7%)

When it comes to tablet sales, Apple's iPad continues to lead by a mile, commanding a whopping 82% of the market. The original Samsung Galaxy Tab came in a very, very distant second place, in the paws of a paltry 4% of tablet owners. Of course, no tablet stat can stagger quite like the revelation that the iPad absorbed over 99% of total tablet computing revenue in 2010.

According to the report, tablet computers seem to be cutting into our time spent with other kinds of computers. 35% of desktop computer owners reported using their tablet's not-so-mobile counterpart "less often or not at all." Tablets had the same effect on 32% of consumers who own both a laptop and a tablet and 25% of portable game console owners.