When Facebook confirmed widespread blog rumors that it would be making a major advertising announcement on November 6, a few people pointed out that this date may have been a strategic one. The previous day, November 5, had been widely rumored as the day when Google would leverage its Orkut social network along with a host of other software properties (Google Reader, perhaps, or new acquisition Jaiku) into a powerful social networking tool to rival Facebook's.
Barry Summerlin is reporting that Google plans to open source its Orkut social networking code to go after Facebook.Orkut has been around since early 2004, though you'd have trouble finding any users among your own friends. However, the site does a mean, market-leading business in Asia and Latin America, particularly Brazil (Orkut's forums are nearly dominated by Portuguese). If you believe the chatter, Google will make Orkut's source code available to outside programmers, duplicating the third-party-widget blueprint largely fueling the ascension of privately-held Facebook.
Does it matter? This is not too dissimilar from proprietary companies seeking … Read more
Over at Micropersuasion, Steve Rubel is making a bold prediction: The portals will be big winners in the social-networking wars.
"Social networking is certainly rising and there seems to be no end in sight to the phenomenon. However, what I do know is that people will jump around from one Myfaceborkutspace to another and not all of them will win," Rubel wrote.
He is referring to Long Tail author Chris Anderson, who points out that all good web sites should have elements of social networking and therefore suggests that social networking is a "feature, not a destination.&… Read more
Statistics house ComScore released some numbers on Tuesday pertaining to how quickly a handful of popular social-networking sites are growing worldwide, and which ones dominate in which regions of the globe. There's nothing all too notable here, as the global reach of various social-networking sites has been well-documented already--and even mapped. But it's always cool to see numbers, which I suppose is why companies like ComScore exist in the first place.
Flektor is a new Flash-based content mashup tool. Users can pull in photos from several hosting services like flickr, MySpace, and Photobucket to make slick-looking, embeddable media slide shows for blogs, Web sites or social networks. It's a lot like Mixercast, and other media mashup services like RockYou and SplashCast.
Flektor's interface is drag-and-drop, and has a very short learning curve. To add media to your show, just drag imported media files down to a timeline at the bottom of the screen, where they can be rearranged or removed at any time. There are also "Flidgets" which can be inserted into your show to add live chat, a live broadcast from your Webcam, or cliched film effects like color bars or static. What's really neat is the ability to edit any picture with some easy-to-use sliders that let you do simple, on-the-fly alterations to your photographs--something you'd find on a Web-based photo editing tool like Picnik.
To add a little flair to your show, there are nearly 100 transitions, effects, and filters that can be put on top of or in between your media. You can also edit each effect and change its appearance. Out of the many transitions I've seen on some of these Flash editors (Photobucket's Remix in particular), Flektor has some really snappy and good-looking effects.
The main hindrance in using Flektor is how long it takes to communicate with the third-party services. Flickr in particular takes quite a while to sync up photos from various albums. On the upside, the MySpace integration is very simple; just give it a username and it will pull up photos members have uploaded in addition to any images that have been embedded in user comments. It's also easy to embed your Flektor player on a number of services, with a handy export page that provides special embedding codes for a dozen services (including Google's Orkut).
I've embedded a sample "Flek" I put together using some photo and video clips. For screenshots of the editing interface, keep reading.