Pride and Social Networks Go before the Fall

By Schiller, Kurt | Information Today, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Pride and Social Networks Go before the Fall


Schiller, Kurt, Information Today


In some industries, business starts picking up in the autumn after the summer lull is over. But that's hardly the case in the technology world, where innovation and big business can happen all summer long. From new social networks to streaming music, here are a few of the biggest tech news stories for the fall.

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Third Time Is the Charm

Google jumped back into the social media market with Google+, a new social network that combines aspects of its defunct Google Buzz and Google Wave services with added features. The service is structured around Circles, or groups of people. Each user chooses to receive updates from and share content with members of these Circles. Users can create as many Circles as they wish and individually designate the members of each, keeping interactions with co-workers, family members, and friends separate.

By adopting the role-based filtering of Circles, Google+ represents an appealing middle ground for people who are wary of blending their professional and personal lives. The sharing controls let people specify which Circles will receive each update, rather than sending them to every contact a user has. And as with Twitter, you can also choose whether or not to receive updates from fellow users, even if they have chosen to receive updates from you. The result is that Google+ is much less likely to overwhelm users with unwanted, overly personal posts.

Google has taken an interesting approach here, one that looks as if it will pay dividends for the company. The service is growing rapidly; it increased to 25 million subscribers less than a month after it went live, despite being in an invite-only beta. Google is currently readying a business-oriented portion of the social network for release later this year.

Spotify Hits American Soil

For the past few years, streaming music aficionados in the U.K. and several European countries have had access to Spotify, a popular Swedish streaming service that couldn't launch in the U.S. due to licensing issues. The company recently reached agreements with major U. …

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