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All posts tagged Social Networks

Google+ Is A Testament To Collective Mindlessness …

…the collective mindlessness that if everyone else is “doing” a social network then we should too.

Google+ - Don't be sith

Add this to Google’s Sith-like ability to force the coupling with YouTube comments and a case study in giving the finger once again to Windows Phone users by having no Google+ app and ceding this demographic to their competition and you end up with what?

Google+ - tumbleweed

Google+ Is Deintegrating From Other Google Services

This is the post from Bradley Horowitz, VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing explaining the conscious uncoupling of Google+ from other services such as YouTube comments, Photo App and more.

Google+ - conscious decoupling announcement

Don’t get me wrong there is a lot to like about Google+ in terms of UX and features but a social network built atop a draconian attitude is a recipe for disaster.

Does Google need their own Social Network? Google indexes content. Bringing content sharing and commenting into a Google platform? Headslappingly obvious.

Can it be fixed by these steps of deintegration? Doubtful, perhaps Google+ will be reinvented the way Google Wave and other services were.

The thing is between Google+ and the hibernating Google Glass, Google needs a win. Especially whilst Microsoft are doing everything to dominate the productivity app sphere with Office 365 evolving into Office Everywhere.

The Warptest POV

It’s harsh and not entirely accurate to call Google+ a ghost town but equally it can’t seem to compete with Twitter or Facebook. Can it be saved or fixed? The best hope for Google+ is to look at the features it has and what it should be integrated with; were Google to pivot from a Social Network and integrate with Google Apps transforming Google+ into a Social / Work Productivity Dashboard where users could collaborate on documents in Apps and on their Google Drive in using Google+ comments, allowing Hangouts to see a document in review and allow real-time group collaboration then Google+ might evolve into something valuable.. a shared workspace. Frankly, I’m befuddled why Google+ wasn’t part of Google Apps for Business this way from the get go.

Microsoft are already ahead of the game with Delve (formerly Project OSLO) built on their social graph. Can Google+ catch up if they make this change?

I’m not sure, but I’ll be posting this to my Google+ page. Will you respond there?

Microsoft Office 365…

Office as a productivity tool has evolved in UI/UX terms but nothing radical has really changed over the last few years.

Many companies are still stuck using Office as if it were still the 90’s

Office 365 Don't Do These

Here are some dysfunctional work productivity habits that I hope you aren’t familiar with:

Office 365 made collaboration, sharing and team productivity easier but the basic paradigm behind it remains unchanged until now.

The Tipping Point: Codename OSLO.

OSLO feeds into Microsoft’s Bing oriented philosophy of content discovery but it combines some truly game-changing ideas:

Office 365 - OSLO

So what is OSLO and what is Office Graph?

Office Graph is the keystone of OSLO, the backend that allows Office 365 to comprehend the work relationships that create the social network that propels collaborative productivity.

Office 365 - Office Graph

OSLO runs as a Windows 8 App or in any major browser (in Windows 7) to allow Office 365 to deliver aggregated content to users based on their work relationships but also across content silos and applications.

Obviously, access to content is subject to permissions like anything else Windows based but gone is the idea of having to expend energy or time on fruitless or laborious searches for Office documents.

OSLO delivers content by also using a layer of machine learning: one example is of knowing that if your Exchange has you attending a meeting where a PowerPoint presentation was made then that document has relevance for you and can be found under a quick filter “Presented to you”.

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Office Blogs has a whole post with embedded video explaining the extensive abilities of Codename: OSLO and how it all ties together.

The Warptest POV

This is clearly a major evolution in the way Microsoft wants us to maximize our usage of Office 365 in the workplace.

While no-one comes right out and says it in the video in the Office Blogs post, it’s clear that OSLO (with Office Graph) is actually a new Social Network for the workplace. The meta-data and social analytics behind the documents, spreadsheets, presentations and videos will become the driving force behind how we work and OSLO intends to deliver it all to us via App or browser with an incredible UX.

In a nutshell, Microsoft Office365’s Codename OSLO project may be the biggest change in how we work productively and a major tipping point for Office itself. This is a wake-up call to everyone else competing in the productivity arena.

OSLO is not some pipedream or concept, if you are a member of the Office 365 Pre-release Program then you have access to OSLO now. The rest of us are going to have to wait until the end of 2014 for the full release.

I’m excited to change the way I use my Office and increase my productivity, how about you?

Microsoft Socl Went Mobile Yesterday…

…On Windows Phone, iOS and Android. I’ve written about the brainchild of Microsoft Fuse Labs in the past, discussing the ROI of another Social Network and how the Socl team has been implementing features that show a strong understanding of what Social is all about.

Recently, Socl merged with Kodu (the Microsoft Kids game creation platform for PC and Xbox) to allow Kodu game creators to share their games through Socl.

Socl Logo
Kodu screen

A Mobile App

Once again the Socl team shows an incredible grasp of the need to launch on iOS, Android and Windows Phone simultaneously to maximize the mobile user base. Whilst all stats show Windows Phone is the fastest growing mobile platform there is a long way to go in terms of raw market share.

  • The Android App is available on Google Play here.
  • The iOS App is available on the Apple App Store here.
  • I installed the Windows Phone App from here.

Socl’s browser web app look and feel translates nicely to your Smartphone and from all reports I’ve read the Socl team did a great job making the UI/UX homogenous across each platform.

The features for creating and consuming content within Socl and for sharing to other Social Networks seem to have weathered the migration to mobile app nicely.

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The Warptest POV

At this point you may be asking yourself why Microsoft are making the leap into Social on Smartphones, if at all. The real question is, what took so long?

With Google making Google+ the central product around which your account works (e.g. YouTube comments now requiring Google+ ) and the socialization of the web, productivity tools and other aspects of our work and personal online lives it’s no surprise that Microsoft have their own Social Network in Socl.

Prediction: within the year we are going to see integration of Skydrive and Office Web Apps with Socl. The ability to create, collaborate, video group chat and work together on Office documents and or Photos will make Socl a cross-platform force to be reckoned with; assuming that with the app available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone it’s simply a matter of maintaining the rollout of new features on each platform.

Whilst Google continues to restrict, inhibit and lock down users subject to platform, Microsoft shows no such fear. Clearly at Redmond they realize the value of cross-platform support.

As an early adopter who has remained with Socl I’m pleased and impressed by the mobile App and my hat is off to the Socl team. The app looks great and is a pleasure to use.

Are you ready to take Socl for a spin?

Windows 8 Shield

Let’s clarify when I say Antivirus …

I’m referring to your security toolbox that includes Antivirus, Antimalware, Firewall and Antispam.

are you secure

The good ones will check that your OS is patched and up to date with critical security patches but I’m not going to get into which the best is out there. That’s a discussion for another day.

Anyhow, this depends on a variety of factors including: –

  • Personal preference
  • Hardware spec
  • Operating System
  • User Experience
  • How you use the Internet
  • And more.

Why do I need all this?

Is your data in the cloud? Is it backed up there or your primary storage? Do you keep an offline backup? Or do you not trust the security of the Cloud and haven’t found anything easier than just leaving all those documents and photos on your hard drive?

The only secure computer is one disconnected from internet or email on a permanent basis.

That’s about as useful as <insert colorful phrase here>.

Whilst your data is important to you there are two other things that through your Personal Computer (regardless of OS) can have a drastic impact on you: –

  • All your passwords: Unless you are in the habit of using a password management application or of continually cleaning your browser cache, this information is sitting somewhere on your computer. I’m particularly referring to things like Social Networking and or E-Commerce Site logins.
  • Your online reputation: This is a little bit more ephemeral but you don’t want someone malicious posting online as if they were you, accessing contact information you have or hijacking your computer to turn into surreptitious Adult entertainment server.

That’s all about what’s good for you but if you are an active participant in sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or So.cl then for better or for worse you one part of the many.

Be Selfless, Be Thoughtful and Be Social…

Given the degree of interconnectivity your web connected presence has on social networking sites you have to ask yourself,

“What do you want to pay forward to your contacts? Engagement or malware”

As such the most social app you have installed on your computer may well be your Antivirus.

So this is you looking down at the lapsed license for your antivirus or the last scan date of 6 months ago or a questionable short link and deciding that Social is also responsibility for only passing on the good things.

gratitude - social

So be secure and hopefully all your friends, followers and contacts will feel and act the same way.. now go run your antivirus.

Dio is brought to us by…

Linden Labs, the company that brought virtual worlds, immersive environments via the web to us in Second Life have released a new Website / Application, DIO.

For those of you who aren’t familiar…

Second Life is an incredible (and ongoing) virtual world where we can create new places, design and script objects and buy and sell all these things whilst meeting new people, or at the very least their avatars. It was somewhat hobbled by having to have on your computer a graphics card that Second Life could recognize* and controversy; like any new technology the first experiments are to see how the entertainment industries can exploit an immersive, interpersonal Social Network that incorporates animation, chat / voice chat and its very own e-commerce system using “Linden Dollars”.

*At present the graphics card that Second Life was happy with on Windows 7 is unrecognized on Windows 8 on my laptop.

Second Life GPU Fail

Second Life Graphics Card Error

The variety of legitimate and creative uses for Second Life are boundless and the application continues to flourish in a multitude of fields including education, gaming and others.

Second Life Map Second Life Web Site 2 Second Life Web site 1

But enough background …

Dio is a nicely designed site, elegant in its simplicity and incorporating social elements common to most content sharing applications. Linden Labs have not really created a strikingly new technology but they have found a way to combine several existing use cases in an innovative and eye catching manner.

Dio - Create your content

The development and product team are loyal to Linden’s vision from Second Life in the workflow and functionality of Dio: –

  • The pages you create can be locations, personal, interests or imaginary.
  • These pages are called rooms and can be linked together allowing the user to exit into another room or simply teleport from one to the other.
  • The owner of a page can add content: photos, videos (YouTube at present) and custom content (objects with associated actions).
  • And others…

In a nutshell someone at Linden Labs had a brainwave and said,

We made Second Life, how about we use that to make First Life now? No more virtual world, let’s apply all that to the real world.”

On the one hand this does not do Dio justice but whilst novel I just don’t feel wowed by this content publishing platform in the way I was initially by Tumblr, Pinterest or even So.cl

Still Dio is in beta at present and having tested it a bit I can see why. I found several issues that might suggest Linden Labs QA team on Dio rerun their cross-browser compatibility testing. That said I will be coming back to Dio for two major reasons: –

  1. I may not be totally wowed yet but Dio has piqued my interest. Linden Labs are a cool company that makes cool things and I am willing to see how this evolves.
  2. As I wrote about So.cl in an earlier post, this is one more way to connect to people you might otherwise not and get your message across. Why ignore potential ROI?

So how about you, are you going to check out Dio?