Microsoft today (25th/June/2012) confirmed the purchase of the San Francisco-based enterprise social networking company with office social network site Yammer for a whopping $1.2bn in cash.
This was a move to help Microsoft woo its businesses with Facebook like tools that help employees collaborate in the workplace. Yammer has a network of 200,000 corporate clients and is used by firms including the motor giant Ford and the business services firm Deloitte.
Yammer will become part of Microsoft’s Office division and the team will continue to report to current Yammer Chief Executive Officer David Sacks, the companies said today in a statement.
Facebook on Monday acquired FACE.COM the company that provides the facial-recognition technology used by the world's largest social network to help users identify and tag photos. This software lets computers recognize people's faces in digital images.
People who use Facebook enjoy sharing photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com's technology has helped to provide the best photo experience.
It was not disclosed how much the leading social network paid for Face.com or what its plans are for the company, but according to some sources say the acquisation might have cost facebook between $50M to $60M which might have been paid with cash and stocks.
Facebook uses the technology to scan a user's newly uploaded photos, compares faces in the snapshots with previous pictures, then tries to match faces and suggest name tags. When a match is found, Facebook alerts the person uploading the photos and invites them to "tag," or identify, the person in the photo.
The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Facebook in recent months, including the $1 billion acquisition of mobile photo-sharing service Instagram. U.S. antitrust regulators are undertaking an extended review of the Instagram deal, which Facebook expects to close by the end of the year.
Facebook added new features to its Pages service that should make life easier by allowing five different admin roles as well as scheduled posts.
The scheduled posts feature allows Pages administrators to click on a clock icon located on the bottom left of the post box and set a time for when the post should be published. Posts can be set for at least 10 minutes ahead and up to six months in advance with intervals of 15 minutes.
Likewise, a post can be set for a previous date, which publishes it immediately but in the correct location on the page's timeline.
Facebook has also added five admin roles for Pages, which are "Manager," which has access to everything, followed by "Content Creator," "Moderator," "Advertiser" and "Insights Analysts," which has the least amount of abilities and can only see a page's statistics.
Advertisers can see insights as well as create ads for the page while Moderators have those two abilities as well as two others, which are send messages from the page and respond to comments as well as delete them.
Above that is the Content Creator, which enables the person to do everything already noted as well as create posts on a page, edit a page and add apps to it. And finally, the Manager can do all the above with the addition of managing others' roles.
The new features come about two weeks after Facebook released an iPhone app that makes it easier for people managing Facebook Pages to handle the service on the go.
From: Los Angels Times
Microsoft released a BING app for Apple iOS and Android phones and tablets. The the app is built on HTML5, rather than Microsoft's own Silverlight multimedia display technology, despite the fact that Silverlight will run on iOS and Android. Santana Basu, product manager for Bing Mobile, said Microsoft opted for HTML5 in order to deliver an experience that combines the best of both the browser and apps worlds.
Microsoft's Basu said they used HTML5 to build a mobile experience that leverages the unique capabilities of the different platforms, including camera support and voice search, while making the functions the apps can provide consistent across the platforms and--in the future--callable by engines to help people get from search to doing.
In other words, purpose-built apps for mobile devices need to be able to talk to the wider Web, and Microsoft sees HTML5 as a means to do that. But Microsoft's increasing focus on HTML5, while welcomed by standards proponents, raises questions about its commitment to Silverlight.
Questions about Silverlight notwithstanding, Microsoft's decision to expose Bing to Apple and Android users could pay off. Combined, those platforms hold about 71% of the U.S. market for mobile operating systems, while Windows Phone and Windows Mobile devices hold less than 6%, according to the latest data from Comscore.
That may be why, according to Basu, Microsoft's Bing is now available for Apple and Google-powered devices, and not for Windows Phone 7. The latter, however, is coming--along with a Bing app for Blackberry. "We're working to release the same consistent experience for RIM and Windows Phone 7 devices in the future,"
Google's ambitious attempt to take on Facebook is bearing fruit with Google+ now counting more than 10 million members and more than a billion items are shared there every day.
But Google didn't build its new Plus service simply to have an online hangout like Facebook.
Rather, Google's new social-networking endeavor is about trying to gain valuable insights into people's lives and relationships. This could help the company do a better job of targeting ads so that advertisers would pay more and have less reason to spend their money on Facebook.
If it succeeds, Plus represents Google's best shot yet at muscling into a market that has threatened to topple the internet search and advertising leader, as Facebook leads the way in making the online world social. Plus is Google's carefully scripted venture into a territory where its previous efforts have been duds.
On the surface, Plus is reminiscent of Facebook — with a Google touch. It lets people share photos and status messages, chat with friends and acquaintances and follow news updates. A prominent feature called circles allows users to organize the people they interact with into groups, such as family, close friends or fishing buddies. Users can choose to share things only among certain circles.
Google Plus is still in a restricted, test phase, and invites to join are highly coveted. Only time will tell if it takes off among the broader public or if it's too little, too late to face off with Facebook and Twitter on the social front — just as Microsoft has failed to surpass Google in search with latecomer Bing.
Google, which previously reported a 36 per cent surge in revenue, has done quite well without its own social network. Its search engine accounts for two-thirds of queries made in the U.S., and even more in parts of Europe. Its revenue is expected to surpass $US36 billion this year, the bulk of it from text ads that appear alongside search results and other web content.
But online behaviors are changing. People are spending more time on Facebook and other social networks. And they are increasingly relying on their friends' recommendations when deciding where to eat and what movies to watch.
Google, meanwhile, has bungled past social media efforts. A sharing program called Wave was quickly killed off because users didn't know what to make of it. Buzz, a later venture, was the center of a privacy fiasco.
Google had been too aggressive about automatically creating circle of friends, which inadvertently revealed whom they've corresponded with on Gmail. Early response to Google Plus has been positive. But that's no guarantee for broader success. As Google botched one social media effort after another, Facebook grew exponentially.
Today, half of Facebook's 750 million worldwide users log on to the site every day. That's roughly the entire population of the U.S. and U.K combined. More than 250 million people engage with Facebook in some form on outside websites each month around the world. They do this by clicking the ubiquitous "like" and "recommend" buttons on news and other sites or by logging on to websites using their Facebook passwords.
Google's chairman and former CEO, Eric Schmidt, has acknowledged that the company failed to respond to Facebook's threat fast enough. His successor, Google co-founder Larry Page, has made social networking one of his top priorities since he took over in April. "We don't think it's a coincidence that (Google Plus) was introduced less than three months after Page returned to the CEO post," said Standard & Poor's equity analyst Scott Kessler in a note to clients.
Facebook's greatest advantage is the immense trove of information that its users have shared about themselves through about 4 billion posts and connections they make collectively every day.
Facebook knows what people are reading, eating and watching. It knows who's friends with whom, and which friends people trust for recommendations on what shoes to buy and which plumbers to hire.
Google can't index most of this information on its search engine because Facebook doesn't share it. Instead, Facebook has formed a search partnership with Google rival Microsoft Corp. In May, Microsoft's Bing search engine started to use information from people's Facebook preferences to tweak its search results.
This means Facebook users who search for shoes or concert tickets on Bing might get results that are tailored to the interests they listed on the site. For people who aren't logged on to Facebook when they search, Microsoft's search engine might still emphasize links that other Facebook users have recommended.
That puts Google at a disadvantage. Unless it can get similar data through a social service of its own, Google is left with a formula that sorts through the pattern of web links and other computer data to determine where a site should rank in its recommendation.
The system has become increasingly vulnerable to manipulation by websites looking to rank higher than their rivals. As a result, Google search results might not be as useful as recommendations drawn from an analysis of what they have already signaled that they like by pressing a Facebook button.
There's another key way that social data can help Google. On Facebook, companies can target their advertising with razor-sharp precision given all sorts of information that people willingly share, such as a preference for Coke over Pepsi or whether they've ever been married.
For example, they can show a particular Cheetos ad only to single men aged 17 to 41 who live in New York, are Yankee fans and enjoy the "World of Warcraft" video game. "That's Facebook's biggest calling card to marketers," said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst with eMarketer.
Advertisers are typically willing to pay more for such targeting because they'd be pitching to consumers most likely to buy. Google does a good job already of targeting ads based on what people search for, write about in emails and watch on YouTube. Social data could help Google do even better.
Danny Sullivan, who follows Google closely as editor-in-chief of the blog Search Engine Land, said that if Google Plus succeeds, Google would get "a good insurance policy" amid the rise of social networks.
The need for it became apparent when Google's deal to include Twitter updates in its search results expired recently, Sullivan said. Google has temporarily shut down its "RealTime" search feature, though it told users to stay tuned while it explores how Google Plus will figure into it.
That said, Google Plus doesn't necessarily need to be a Facebook clone. "Google needs to have a social strategy that is relevant to Google and the way people use Google applications," said Susan Etlinger, analyst at Altimeter Group. "That's very different from how people use Facebook."
Facebook is, for now, an online hangout above all. People go there to scan status updates, chat with a friend or look at the latest photos, without necessarily having something specific in mind. With Google, people usually have an objective, whether that's searching for a hair stylist or sending an email about an upcoming party.
Google's task is to make its existing products social as "social" becomes the norm for online activity, she said. "Eventually everything is going to be a social network," Etlinger said. "Social capabilities will be in everything on the web."