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Office 365 Delve Is Vital For Facebook Workers…

Office 365 Delve (formerly known as Project Oslo) is a center-piece for Office 365 in the workplace. This service is built atop the Office Graph. Office Graph provides actionable intelligence on workers connections, the shared meetings, mails and documents. The content discovery is presented through Delve. If you have Office 365 in the workplace then you should have Delve.

Facebook wants Office 365 and specifically Delve, and today they announced they are getting it.

All apps - Office 365 Delve

Why Does Facebook Need Office 365?

According to Tim Campos, CIO of Facebook the decision to make this leap is multi-faceted: –

  • Facebook works 100% online.
  • Facebook has multiple offices in multiple locations worldwide. Employees need the ability to collaborate in real-time on shared projects.
  • Facebook facilitates cross-platform for employees to maximize effectiveness.
  • several other reasons

Office 365 delivers all this and more. However, Office 365 Delve delivers actionable insights into how and with whom Facebook employees are collaborating.

Delve and behind it the Office Graph, deliver “personal analytics” but also a powerful social network for the workplace.

Facebook - Office 365 DelveWhilst Facebook clearly needs a productivity / collaboration solution the choice and focus on Office 365 Delve as a crucial service leaves major questions.

What are the ramifications for Facebook At Work? Facebook has invested in building version of their social network with a separate work login and a closed ecosystem for your company, using Facebook and its associated tools.

office 365 Delve - Facebook for WorkFurthermore, Facebook has both iOS and Android apps in each store to support this. Are there no Facebook Insights or Facebook Graph API adding the same kind of intelligence and personal analytics that Office 365 Delve does?

The Warptest POV

Facebook has made progress with Facebook At Work and it is in use in-house (allegedly this is how Mark Zuckerberg makes company-wide announcements). This is not the mature, versatile ecosystem that Office 365 is.

I’ve used the phrase force multiplier recently but none deliver this as much as Office 365 Delve. Facebook have wisely chosen to bet on mature, evolving applications that are only improving and adding more apps and versatility as time goes on. In past posts, I’ve shared an alternate vision for Google+ that would have taken it into the productivity sphere for companies instead of where it is today.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook integrate with Office 365. Perhaps this is the future for Facebook at Work.

Now throw into the mix that Microsoft is firmly embedded in Facebook and owns LinkedIn. Food for thought.

What do you think?

Microsoft Bot Framework Was Announced Last Week…

We got to hear about the new Microsoft Bot Framework at BUILD2016 when it was launched for developers as part of Satya Nadella’s overall vision for Microsoft under the banner of Conversations as a Platform.

After announcing the release of the framework and giving developers access to the preview, Microsoft also announced that Skype would be integrating one of these intelligent Bots, in addition to the pending Cortana integration.

What is the Microsoft Bot Framework?

Ever been to a website and a small chat window opens and an agent begins to converse with you? Now imagine a world where this could be automated but not just simple responses that go of-track rapidly.

Microsoft have created a framework for intelligent Bots in mobile and web. A framework that allows for natural language processing, machine and deep learning. Bots that can hold their own in conversation, that understand synonyms and can be taught to process varied speech patterns and provide appropriate responses.

That said, Microsoft learnt over the last few weeks that machine learning requires some constraints or monitoring. After launching Tay AI in the US, it became rapidly apparent that unmonitored release to the wild has bad ramifications.

The demonstrations at BUILD gave us a preview of just how Bots are going to become a pervasive part of our mobile and desktop connected experience. The Cortana Intelligence Suite (Bot Framework, Machine Learning & Cognitive Services) allow developers to easily and rapidly create and deploy these Bots to take your pizza delivery order, help you book a hotel room and do so by allowing Cortana to interact with the booking Bot.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The demo also included a peek at the administrator web UI and Microsoft have outdone themselves by making this gloriously easy to create or modify your Bot. Furthermore, Bots will have a dictionary of synonyms for their conversations which app developers can share between apps. The Microsoft Bot Framework won’t be alone as we can expect a Bot directory. If that wasn’t enough, Microsoft are not just restricting this to their own apps and services but this is open to other apps e.g. Slack.

How Does This Change Social Forever?

A close Facebook friend shared this great video from Truly Social with Tara’s Facebook page. (Sidebar: if you want a really upbeat, brilliant and highly informative take on Social, get to this page, like it and read / watch the fantastic content). A big thank you to Shari of Shar-i | Digital Marketing Consultant for the timely share.

In this video, Tara talks about what is and isn’t Social. She focuses on how scheduled posts do not meet these criteria.

Today, I discuss what is social, what is NOT social, and why this matters.

Posted by Truly Social with Tara on Sunday, 3 April 2016

Hold onto those comments and watch the amazing video. With thanks to Truly Social with Tara.

Automation is a tool and does not meet the definition of Social. Good, Bad or Indifferent it’s worth considering why this is important. There is a difference between dropping a scheduled post in another time zone or being awake to converse following someone’s Like, Retweet or +1.

Tara defines Social in the video based on 3 criteria: –

Microsoft Bot Framework - Tara's Definition of Social

Now look at the definition. Now look at how the Microsoft Bot Framework is described. Now look back at the definition. Microsoft’s intent for Bots meets these criteria. Satya Nadella even calls this part of Conversations as a Platform.

Meanwhile, just yesterday Kik announced a Bot shop for their chat app. Facebook are expected to launch their own Messenger Bot within a week. The Bots are coming and the more intelligent we make them, the more they are going to interact with us and us with them…

Microsoft Bot Framework - Luthor the bots are coming

The Warptest POV

Many adherents to Tara’s point of view are going to strongly disagree with me.

Bots cannot be Social!

Bots cannot replace the interaction, connection or value of conversation between people. However, the Microsoft Bot Framework offers a powerful, versatile way to imagine and create Bots that will come very close.

Social interaction and conversation are going to evolve. In this case, limited by the skill Bot builders bring to bear. The new generation of Bots are going to challenge our preconceptions and it won’t be limited to chat.

Microsoft have learnt from the Tay AI experience and we will benefit from their solutions derived. The naysayers will continue to use the SkyNET analogy but this evolution of conversation is happening now.

So, are you going to let the Bots replace your interactions or complement them. I would go for the first option.

I’m excited to see how different mobile and web apps are going to use Bots and I may even have to build my own.

How about you? Are you ready to evolve your conversations and how you perceive Social?

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg Are In Hot Water…

Many users were furious at the revelation that the Facebook Messenger mobile app was surreptitiously accessing phone functions and user data in what amounts to a total feeding frenzy.

facebook messenger app

facebook feeding frenzy

To be fair to Facebook and all the other app creators who indulge in this kind of behavior; when we install an app we choose to approve the app. The part of that which just about every user skips over are the Terms and Conditions.

Reading this spells out exactly what Facebook Messenger is going to do but like asking for directions when you are lost or reading the DVD instructions,

Who spends the time doing that?

Relying on Laziness Or Ignorance?

So is Facebook Messenger relying on our laziness and ignorance and taking advantage to feed off our data and exploit our phones?

A lot of people in my feed seem to think so as many of them put out statuses letting everyone know that they had uninstalled the app.

Obviously Facebook is big enough to sustain these uninstalls and if the target demographic for IM is teenagers then you can count on zero interest in the Terms and Conditions.

There is clearly a lesson here and perhaps an opportunity too;

Apps like MyPermissions do the heavy lifting for you, checking and notifying when apps gain access to your information. The app can be installed on your desktop browser, Android or iOS device and also allows you an efficient way of keeping app permissions under control.

MyPermissions Solution TO Facebook

The Warptest POV

Putting killer apps like MyPermissions aside for a moment, the problem starts and finishes with app developers who in exchange for great apps (and Messenger is a great app for sure) see no reason they shouldn’t leverage themselves by making use of your device, data connection and personal data.

That said as I was reading the Huffington Post article  (that is worth reading for a nice summary of what Messenger accesses) and I was struck by the fact that only last month Mark Zuckerberg posted an open letter to President Obama about his frustration with the US government and its alleged spying.

 

 

I have to ask if Zuckerberg stopped for a minute to even think if (de facto) commercial espionage on one’s own users is better or worse than excessive spying for the sake of alleged National Security.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes, Mark?

Facebook the watchmen

Who Watches The Watchmen?

In a nutshell, there are several layers of protection all users need for their personal data, like antivirus / antimalware. The best defense is staying informed of exactly who has access to your data and what they have you agreeing they can do with it.

It’s 2014, do you know who has access to your data and smartphone?

The Greatest Unappreciated Strength of Windows 8

…Are the Metro New Windows UI Apps. Like genius they seem to be unappreciated in their lifetime.

Most people seem to be content to boot Windows 8 to old-school desktop and may never intentionally look at the New Desktop and Apps.

Windows 8 - Metro Desktop

In my last Windows 8 post I suggested that the 1 Critical Thing Wrong With Windows 8 was the act of treating consumers as square pegs to be hammered into round UX holes.

Facebook’s New UI

As Facebook introduces their new UI the sentiment seems to be one of wholehearted dislike for the slew of UI bugs larded into the browser:

Windows 8 - Facebook Bugs

Facebook as we know it today: Sample of UI bugs and comments added.

It occurred to me after using the new Facebook UI that it bothered me and inhibited my use. I found myself using the mobile app more and my laptop browser less.

Then I was in the Windows 8 New Desktop and I was spending the day almost exclusively using these Apps. I opened the Facebook Metro App and was greeted with a feeling of relief and contentment by the unblemished beauty and simplicity that greeted me:

Windows 8 - New Windows UI App

  • Toggle to hide sidebar menu
  • Large photos
  • A wide, unencumbered feed
  • Friend requests, Messages and Notifications all drop down below the toggle button on the left.

For those of you married to the idea of a right hand, subsidiary feed and your friends’ online statuses you are going to be disappointed but the miscomprehension of most users is that these Apps are intended to mirror desktop or browser apps. They aren’t.

New Windows UI is to App Design and functionality what the Danish Modern movement was to furniture.

The Warptest POV

It’s time for users who are struggling with the new Facebook UI to realize that they have an alternative in these Apps.

Facebook may have just given Windows 8 its biggest push, at least until we see what Microsoft has in store for us in the next release of Windows 8.x (expect big announcements from Microsoft BUILD this week).

So if this matches how you are feeling towards Facebook right now then you might want to ask a friend with Windows 8 if you can try this for yourself.

Even without touch your inner calm will be restored.

So take it for a spin and let me know what you think.

Embedding, yeah that…

Today someone asked a question on Twitter that sparked my interest,
“What’s the point of Facebook’s new embed posts feature?”

embedding

One might ironically ask if I’m going to embed the question but for now, no. This got me thinking and I answered knowing they were a blogger that this feature allows portability of a conversation on FB into a blog post related to that subject.

Until Now…

… I used screen captures and pasted the jpeg into the post but there are a couple of issues with this: –

  • This is static, even if the conversation progresses the image remains the same.
  • This is a link directly to the conversation for whoever wants to participate: your blog now drives traffic to your Facebook post.
  • Screen capture, cropping and resolution are an inaccurate, time consuming art.

Social .. Embedding

So are all Social Networks equal when it comes to embedding?

Embed feature

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Location

NA

NA

Dynamic content

Yes

Yes

NA

NA

Yes

Conversations

Embed child to get 1 parent but you can’t embed a whole conversation

Embed contains a link that opens the conversation in the browser

NA

NA

No

Sharing

Sharing buttons in embed

Sharing buttons in embed

NA

NA

No

Fav / Like / +1

Counts displayed

Counts displayed

NA

NA

No

Media:

NA

NA

Photo

Twitter photo services embed, others link

No

NA

NA

Yes

YouTube

Yes

Yes

NA

NA

Yes

The Warptest POV

The chart above shows us that Twitter has the most open attitude to embedding tweets


— jonathanross (@jonathanross) August 22, 2013

sample Tweet from my Twitter account.

Followed by Facebook (personal profile and pages are the same) but come on Facebook, what about embedding photo posts?

Microsoft So.cl has embedding but the same menu has extensive Social sharing options too: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr or email which more than make up for the limitations So.cl embedding has versus the competition.

Apparently neither Google+ nor LinkedIn are interested in allowing embedding. I can understand Google whose gated community attitude
is apparent in other places but LinkedIn?

What if I want to embed LinkedIn Profile somewhere or posts? Well for posts there is a simple workaround: LinkedIn allows you to post to Twitter. Embed the post you want from Twitter.

embedding linkedin

The one I didn’t mention is YouTube itself. YouTube has an option in the right-click menu of each video to receive the embed HTML and if you know your code you can edit this to suit your design/layout.

In a nutshell embedding is as useful as you want it to be and the only downside is if the embedded post / status etc is deleted or for some reason the URL changes you are going to end up with a gaping hole in your website where the embedded content sat.

So, are you going to start embedding?

so.cl meme

So.cl Really?!?

Yes Microsoft Fuse Labs‘ budding Social Network has rolled new features again that show a strong grasp of the inherently social elements involved in content generation.

In previous posts I’ve addressed the forehead-slappingly obvious benefits of having an active presence on an additional network and while So.cl has been slow to grow in adoption it is worthwhile. With the new features that ROI just increased geometrically.

Here’s The News

Here’s a screen capture of the new So.cl menu bar:

so.cl menu bar

The significant changes are three of the four typographic menu items / features on the top left. The Fuse Labs blog goes into some detail explaining the new features but the common thread is creating rich, engaging content with fun features:

  • From making photo collages with Collage
  • Creating your own Memes with Picotale: basically your very own Meme Generator

  • Blink is a Windows 8 / Windows Phone 8 (don’t get me started) application that allows you to create and share dynamic media shorts Cliplets. In a nutshell Blink allows you to create short films or intriguing photographs that contains an animated element in. For example hair blowing in a static photo or almost Vine-like video shorts. So.cl has a feed just for Blinks and you can see some great user samples there.

The Warptest POV

So.cl is throwing down the gauntlet to the more mature Social Networks with a set of features that may exist as individual apps but as we know 3rd party Apps have different  permissions  and that ground shifts underfoot regularly.

These features are organic, integrate with offsite mobile and PC apps (in the case of Blink)

It seems that the So.cl team gets that these features are absent without cause from Facebook and should have even Google Plus asking themselves “How did we miss these?” <head desk>.

Combine this with several existing features like:

  • So.cl is Smartphone friendly (it’s built with responsive design)
  • Riffing: if you see a post and want to add similar content of your own you riff it and can create collections of similar content
  • Everything on the site is built to share. Microsoft hasn’t created a walled garden here, just the opposite with share to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Email.
  • Login is NOT restricted to Microsoft account, you can join the fun using your Facebook login.

…And I would say that the future looks bright for So.cl. If you haven’t joined yet and are looking for an added advantage over your competitors then jump right in and BTW you can follow me here if you’d like.

Well played Fuse Labs Team.

facebook home

Facebook was in the news again…

Yesterday Facebook was featured in two major stories:

Firstly the blogosphere went wild over the news that they are once again in advanced negotiations for the purchase of Israeli social traffic navigation startup Waze.

Waze Splash Screen

Secondly they announced new features being added to Facebook Home on Android and hitting 1 million downloads.

Yes there is a connection…

It hasn’t taken that long a time for Facebook Home to get to their 1 million downloads but not everyone is pleased to have Facebook takeover the start screen of their Smartphone. For those not clued in Facebook Home is just that, a Facebook Start Screen when you turn on your Smartphone. Right now it’s on Android and Microsoft were fast to point out that Windows Phone did this from the get-go anyhow.

Facebook Home Dev Blog

If they manages to acquire Waze they have an incredible and much needed popular App with a huge user base to build into the next iteration of Facebook Home.

The Missing Link

To truly realize the ROI of buying Waze it can’t just sit there; there needs to be some degree of intelligent automated behavior. Facebook Home needs to react to environmental changes in the physical world around the phone.

IFTTT Web

Zuck and team should be taking a long, hard look at Israeli Startup IFTTT who wrote the rulebook on this for web applications and Microsoft (specifically the Israel R&D division) who released an Android App called on{X} last year. This is a rule based App that detects a condition and responds with the appropriate rule running.

Faceb ook Home Secret Sauce

In Facebook Home’s case what’s needed would be something like this use case:

If Accelerometer or GPS detect motion > footspeed then activate Waze from Facebook Home.

Warptest POV

Whatever the truth is about Facebook acquiring Waze, I definitely wish Waze good luck and hope that Facebook realize that simply trying to dominate the Start Screen real estate on Smartphones is not a mobile strategy. It’s firing the first salvo.

What do you think Facebook will do on mobile next?

Skype Warptest-ed

Skype, the popular VOIP application has been under the microscope lately. I’ve looked at it on Windows PC, Windows Mobile (legacy but working version), Symbian, Linux and other platforms. Why you ask, mainly because I frequently get asked about it in a support context.

image

As you know in May 2010 Microsoft announced their acquisition of Skype.for $8.5 Billion. Since then the biggest thing we have heard was the news that it will be developed for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. ((Since I began writing this I found way more interesting news about Skype for PC incorporating HD video, Facebook and Bing Bar integration))

As I looked this popular app both as a day-to-day user and as a tester I found it frustrating at times and was hard pressed to put my finger on why.

Great expectations

So I sat down with a tumbler of scotch and mulled exactly was bothering me. I came to the conclusions that: –

  • It hasn’t really progressed from a Desktop Application (even the versions ported to mobile platforms).
  • It is the kid in school who always gets the could do better  and  does not play well with others on their report card.

Perhaps one of the reasons that Ebay and Skype themselves before Microsoft didn’t fulfill Skype’s potential was that they simply didn’t see what they had.

Is Skype simply a VOIP application? Definitely not.

Warptest Predictions or 2 Things Skype needs…

Once again I’m going to indulge in something between predictions and the hope that someone at Redmond reads this and says “”Hey great ideas, let’s hire this guy and run with this”: –

  • Full integration into Windows Live. Skype is at its core a Desktop app but the way to drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century is to make it part of Microsoft’s cloud ecosystem. Just as a small example, if I send or receive files via Skype the best place to store them as a default location is not the local device I’m using, it’s my Skydrive. For those who don’t favor Live add an option here for Dropbox, Box.Net, Google Apps and that way when it hits Europe you can avoid those pesky EU non-compete suits.

Skype - SkyDrive

  • Turn it into a social media hub. Yes, Skype needs to maintain it’s core VOIP functionality but it already has some Facebook integration. Adding full integration allows a user to also post to Twitter and other Social Networks; VOIP / IM were the natural precursors of the Real-Time Social Networking Revolution so this would be a case of natural evolution. Skype as a Social Networking Hub would open a huge can of whup-*ss on applications like Seesmic or Tweetdeck.

I’m not even going to get into the potential as a commerce or pay-per-service platform that would be well served looking at models like Linden Labs’ Second Life for just how easy an application can make it for their users to pay each other for services or products.

I guess my last question is if Skype should be proudly 100% Microsoft then will I be able to search accounts via Bing and where does this leave MS Messenger?

Smartphone Paradigm disrupted?

If you follow the market analysts in the field of Smartphone Research and Development then one of two things is going on right now; analysts are either seeing a drastic change to the existing smartphone paradigm of who is making new Smartphones or these guys have been imbibing some very interesting stuff.

Breaking Rumors and Old News.

Until now we have had the big OS / Ecosystem players selling their phones: –

However recent rumors indicate several cases of a new trend:

  • Codename Buffy: Facebook and HTC have formed a partnership to develop a Facebook Smartphone intended to be as it’s codenamed “A Slayer”. The potential market attraction to fans of the show and of course the colossal demographic that is Facebook users lends itself to this.

    FB-logo

  • Kindle Phone: Citigroup analysts were quoted only this week across the web as anticipating Amazon releasing a Kindle Smartphone during 2012. The expectation is  that this phone like the Kindle will be sold under cost with the phone providing a platform for ROI using the Amazon ecosystem.

kindlephoneamazon-logo

Sheer Speculation and Tongue in Cheek.

Are competing platforms to Facebook going to sit still and watch while The Buffy slays the competition? Probably not. So the question is;

Are Twitter and Linked In quietly developing their own Smartphones?

  • The Twitter Phone: Codename Get ShortyIf Twitter sticks to their 140 characters what will that do to a Twitter Smartphone? SMS gone and replaced with Twitter DM or Tweeps as your Contact Book. Perhaps Voicemail will be as short and sweet as a tweet.

twitter-logo

  • The Foursquare Phone: Codename The Stalker – If Foursquare were to develop this Smartphone will it anticipate everyday, habitual routes based on frequent checkins (at the same coffee-shop), use NFC for checkins, offer deals based on location and or ping you when 4sq Friends are in proximity?

4sq-logo

In a nutshell.

Speculations (tongue in cheek or otherwise) aside, the Facebook-HTC Buffy is interesting for many reasons: –

  1. This turns the smartphone paradigm on its head: instead of an app on an OS (iOS, Android, Mango, Symbian etc.) we will see a Platform like Facebook defining the phone.
  2. Facebook has substantial investment from Microsoft which leads to the reasonable assumption that Buffy will be a Windows Phone, Search (Social or other) will be Bing based, photography will be one-click integrated with both Facebook photos and presumably Skydrive . Facebook’s video chat is based on Skype which coincidentally or not is now owned by Microsoft. HTC already make several Windows Phones but for this to work I guess that this phone will be aimed pricewise at the lower end of the market to allow all those younger Facebook users to get the phone.

If this shift holds true and platforms that were formerly only an app on a Smartphone define the whole ecosystem of the phone then what does the future hold for apps but more importantly what does the future hold for the consumer?

The author of this blog reminds you that this piece is speculative and somewhat tongue in cheek .. but not entirely: You heard it here first.