Archive for July 25, 2011

Twitter search now has video and picture results [Updated]

Updated at the foot of the post.

As incredibly useful as Twitter search can be for real-time results, it’s always been a bit painful to actually use. You’d have to head over to search.twitter.com to enter your query, then you’d be given a list of tweets from people who were talking about your search term. While it did work, it didn’t offer much in the way of anything extra.

With today’s launch of Twitter’s new search page (now found at Twitter.com/search) you’ll get a lot more bang for the buck that you haven’t paid. Instead of a relatively low-style page with just tweet results, you now get all sorts of information such as popular photos and even video results:

Whatever theme customization you’ve done to your Twitter page will now be applied to the search results, so you might want to check to make sure that everything shows up as you’d want it to. With CSS changes to text coloring and the like, some themes can make things difficult to see.

The results (on the left) are still as clean and easy to find as they ever were, but the added #NewTwitter column on the right makes things a lot more rich than we’ve had in the past. It’s still no substitute for big data sites like DataSift, but it should be a welcome change for the typical Twitter user.

Overall, it should be a great addition to a tool that we use around TNW at least daily. With Twitter’s contsantly-growing base of users, it’s easy to get lost in the information goldmine that they provide.

Update: It’s worth noting, according to Twitter’s Carolyn Penner, that the site actually started photo and video results in June. In fact, the new page format was live then, too. The only change from today is that search.twitter.com now redirects to twitter.com/search.

Social Intelligence offers official social media background checks

A new startup is offering a unique service for employers, that may come as unwelcome news for jobseekers. Social Intelligence runs social media background checks for potential job candidates, so the company is alerted to potential problems or issues that might be considered contentious. While this is something that many companies practice anyway when they’re recruiting for jobs, Social Intelligence formalises this service, making it a lot more official, and visible for candidates.

In the case of Social Intelligence, job seekers are required to submit to the test as part of the job application process. Information gathered is then passed onto the recruiter, omitting details such as religion or marital status (which should not be asked during an interview process).

Is it fair?

For many, this might seem like a wholly unreasonable ask. After all, what you choose to do online is your own business – the photos you share, videos you record, updates you write, are on your own time, in your own social domain. The only problem is that this information often happens very publicly, unless you’re extremely savvy about your privacy controls. And the inherent risk for the company is that information found online is then revealed perhaps to other employees, stakeholders, customers or clients, and the company itself is implicated. Given that they can access this information, would organisations choose to ignore it? Or rather, if the same things were revealed during the interview process, would it affect the decision to give the person the job or not? Of course, social media background checks are not just used to look for the negative, but also to discover facts that might further prove their suitability for the job, or the strength of them as a candidate. This is positive, but the risks when finding the negatives are far greater and it poses a difficult problem for recruiters.

The difficulty comes down to the fact that it’s subjective. What you’re posting on your social media profiles might seem acceptable to you, but unacceptable to the prospective employer. Examples given by Social Intelligence for cases where people haven’t been offered the job, include uncovering a Craigslist ad for Oxycotin, nude pictures posted online, and people making racist remarks or joining groups that clearly show their prejudices. Again, if this information was revealed during the interview process, you’d likely be straight out the door. But because this information is accessed online, without the candidate directly revealing it, it throws up many problems. The difficult fact is that while this social information is yours, once it hits the public domain, it can be accessed by anyone and, in a sense, owned by anyone.

Over-policing

While there is no easy answer here, the social checks run by Social Intelligence do verge on the side of over-policing. It’s worrying to think that companies can build up complete social profiles of you (albeit with your consent) that can cover every single reference to you online. The more of our time we spend online, the more and more information we build up publicly that can be interpreted in the wrong way. Something we posted online 2 years ago may in no way be a reflection of our character now, we could have sent drunken tweets, or even had friends pose as us online, joining groups or writing status updates when logged into other accounts.

This shows that social media ‘checks’, if they are to be run, need to be considered carefully. While companies may be able to access countless information about someone online, it’s not necessarily their right to use this to determine someone’s suitability for the job. The context in which social information is shared is important, and what this check actually does is discriminate against people that might be more active in social media, and who will have produced more social information to be accessed.

Checks like this are possibly too ahead of their time, as we are still getting used to how social media fits into our lives and affects our relationships with others. Using this information against someone for something like applying a job may be too drastic, before that understanding is developed.

Social Intelligence offers official social media background checks

A new startup is offering a unique service for employers, that may come as unwelcome news for jobseekers. Social Intelligence runs social media background checks for potential job candidates, so the company is alerted to potential problems or issues that might be considered contentious. While this is something that many companies practice anyway when they’re recruiting for jobs, Social Intelligence formalises this service, making it a lot more official, and visible for candidates.

In the case of Social Intelligence, job seekers are required to submit to the test as part of the job application process. Information gathered is then passed onto the recruiter, omitting details such as religion or marital status (which should not be asked during an interview process).

Is it fair?

For many, this might seem like a wholly unreasonable ask. After all, what you choose to do online is your own business – the photos you share, videos you record, updates you write, are on your own time, in your own social domain. The only problem is that this information often happens very publicly, unless you’re extremely savvy about your privacy controls. And the inherent risk for the company is that information found online is then revealed perhaps to other employees, stakeholders, customers or clients, and the company itself is implicated. Given that they can access this information, would organisations choose to ignore it? Or rather, if the same things were revealed during the interview process, would it affect the decision to give the person the job or not? Of course, social media background checks are not just used to look for the negative, but also to discover facts that might further prove their suitability for the job, or the strength of them as a candidate. This is positive, but the risks when finding the negatives are far greater and it poses a difficult problem for recruiters.

The difficulty comes down to the fact that it’s subjective. What you’re posting on your social media profiles might seem acceptable to you, but unacceptable to the prospective employer. Examples given by Social Intelligence for cases where people haven’t been offered the job, include uncovering a Craigslist ad for Oxycotin, nude pictures posted online, and people making racist remarks or joining groups that clearly show their prejudices. Again, if this information was revealed during the interview process, you’d likely be straight out the door. But because this information is accessed online, without the candidate directly revealing it, it throws up many problems. The difficult fact is that while this social information is yours, once it hits the public domain, it can be accessed by anyone and, in a sense, owned by anyone.

Over-policing

While there is no easy answer here, the social checks run by Social Intelligence do verge on the side of over-policing. It’s worrying to think that companies can build up complete social profiles of you (albeit with your consent) that can cover every single reference to you online. The more of our time we spend online, the more and more information we build up publicly that can be interpreted in the wrong way. Something we posted online 2 years ago may in no way be a reflection of our character now, we could have sent drunken tweets, or even had friends pose as us online, joining groups or writing status updates when logged into other accounts.

This shows that social media ‘checks’, if they are to be run, need to be considered carefully. While companies may be able to access countless information about someone online, it’s not necessarily their right to use this to determine someone’s suitability for the job. The context in which social information is shared is important, and what this check actually does is discriminate against people that might be more active in social media, and who will have produced more social information to be accessed.

Checks like this are possibly too ahead of their time, as we are still getting used to how social media fits into our lives and affects our relationships with others. Using this information against someone for something like applying a job may be too drastic, before that understanding is developed.

Apple releases revised 10.6.8 update for Snow Leopard

If you’re a Mac user that has yet to upgrade to OS X Lion, then Apple has an update for you. This udpate is 10.6.8 v 1.1 for Snow Leopard users only and serves as a replacement for the earlier 10.6.8 update as well as a patch for users that have already upgraded, reports Macrumors.

The new path primarily resolves issues in the transition from Mac OS X Snow Leopard to OS X Lion which have apparently been causing some issues.

The list of issues that the patch is said to resolve include the following:

  • Transferring personal data, settings, and compatible applications from a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to a new Mac running Mac OS X Lion
  • Certain network printers that pause print jobs immediately and fail to complete
  • System audio that stops working when using HDMI or optical audio out

So, if you’re a user of a Mac that is still running Snow Leopard, you can get this through system update. If you’re already running 10.6.8, you should still snag it as its an improved version.

Apple has provided a variety of direct download links for people who have updated to 10.6.8 as well as those who have yet to update. These can be seen on the Downloads page of Apple’s support site.

Apple releases revised 10.6.8 update for Snow Leopard

If you’re a Mac user that has yet to upgrade to OS X Lion, then Apple has an update for you. This udpate is 10.6.8 v 1.1 for Snow Leopard users only and serves as a replacement for the earlier 10.6.8 update as well as a patch for users that have already upgraded, reports Macrumors.

The new path primarily resolves issues in the transition from Mac OS X Snow Leopard to OS X Lion which have apparently been causing some issues.

The list of issues that the patch is said to resolve include the following:

  • Transferring personal data, settings, and compatible applications from a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to a new Mac running Mac OS X Lion
  • Certain network printers that pause print jobs immediately and fail to complete
  • System audio that stops working when using HDMI or optical audio out

So, if you’re a user of a Mac that is still running Snow Leopard, you can get this through system update. If you’re already running 10.6.8, you should still snag it as its an improved version.

Apple has provided a variety of direct download links for people who have updated to 10.6.8 as well as those who have yet to update. These can be seen on the Downloads page of Apple’s support site.

Facebook blocks access to its “secret” iPad app. So now what?

Chris Manton Well, it’s a story about Facebook?

LinkedIn launches job application plugin

LinkedIn has launched a new plugin that allows companies to place an “Apply with LinkedIn” button on their job listings pages. The plugin allows job hunters to apply for positions using their LinkedIn profiles as resumés.

GigaOM was the first to report on the development of the “Apply with LinkedIn” plugin in early June. By the looks of it, the plugin that has been deployed has many of the features we had heard about pre-launch: Companies can customize the look of the button, add up to three specialized questions, prompt for a cover letter, and utilize certain data tracking technologies.

Now any company can embed the plugin by adding an eight-line code snippet to its corporate website, LinkedIn said. More than a thousand companies are participating in the plugin’s launch by including the Apply with LinkedIn button on their job pages, including Netflix, TripIt and Photobucket.

In a post published on LinkedIn’s corporate blog Monday morning, technical project manager Jonathan Seitel explained the service from the job applicants’ perspective this way:

Once you click on the “Apply with LinkedIn” button, you’ll get a user experience that’s been optimized for the web. In addition to updating your profile real time, LinkedIn will also show you your professional connections that work at the company to increase your chances of getting hired through a referral.

If you don’t know anybody at the company, we’ll show you people who can introduce you to someone there. This is extremely powerful –- statistics show that referrals are the #1 source of external hires at companies.

Finally, we record all “Apply with LinkedIn” submissions in the “Saved Jobs” tab (under the Jobs category on LinkedIn) so you have a record of all the jobs you’ve applied to around the web, throughout your career.

Here is a YouTube video explaining how “Apply with LinkedIn” works:

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Chart of the Day: No Primetime for Smartphones

While connected devices and their apps are rapidly gaining popularity, they don’t fully enable the mobile, multimedia and social lifestyle that people want. Instead of today’s fractured and frustrating experience, people need intuitive, personalized and integrated apps and services for their netbooks, e-books, tablets and other connected devices.

Service providers can capitalize on their high-value network capabilities to become expe- rience providers, using intuitive apps and services to enable the lifestyle people want and to bridge the gaps in today’s connected device experience. With this approach and the right partner, they will be well positioned to capture the connected device opportunity and increase revenue.

Amazon Caves And Changes The Kindle App To Make Apple Happy (AAPL, AMZN)

kindle app

Image: Business Insider

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Amazon has issued an update to its Kindle iOS app to conform to Apple’s rules on digital goods.

The app no longer includes a link sending users from the Kindle app to Amazon’s store in Safari. If a user wants to buy a Kindle book, the user has to go to Safari independently and then buy a book. The book would then be sent to the iOS device.

Amazon is doing this to avoid giving Apple a 30% cut of its Kindle book sales on iOS devices. Apple changed the rules on digital goods for publishers earlier this year. If Amazon wanted to point people to its own website, it had to also offer users the chance to buy books in-app. If users bought books in-app, Apple took 30% of the sale.

That’s not something Amazon wanted to do, obviously.

Will this affect Amazon’s Kindle sales? If this had happened a year ago, it might have been more damaging. The Kindle brand was less established, and buying an e-book was a slightly more foreign idea.

Today — and we’re mostly speaking from our own experience — buying an e-book through Safari isn’t all that strange. If we want to get a new book for Kindle, we’ll just go to Safari instead of the Kindle app. Slightly less inconvenient, but that’s just how it goes now.

Barnes Noble is following suit, changing its app, as are a number of other publishers, 9 to 5 Mac reports.

(Note: If you like having the Kindle store option in your app, just don’t install the latest update via the App Store. That’s our plan, we’ll see how it goes.)

Don’t Miss: This Is Amazon’s New Way Around Apple’s App Store Subscription Rules

Cord cutters not replacing cable TV with online video

New research suggests that people who have cut the cord aren’t doing so because they think Netflix provides a good alternative to their local cable TV company. In fact, those that go broadband-only are only slightly more likely to watch online video than those with pay TV subscriptions, according to the latest data from Leichtman Research Group.

According to the research firm, 8 percent of U.S. households subscribe to broadband services without also having a pay TV subscription. That compares to the 70 percent of U.S. households that pay for both broadband and pay TV. But that minority of broadband-only subscribers is doing so mainly due to the cost of pay TV services, not the convenience of online video as a replacement.

The common perception is that users who “cut the cord” or go without cable TV are largely relying on online video services like Netflix or Hulu Plus instead. But LRG reports that the percentage of broadband-only households that watch online video is only slightly higher than those that pay for cable. About 19 percent of broadband-only users watch online video daily and 55 percent do so weekly. By comparison, 17 percent of those who subscriber to cable TV and broadband watch online video daily, and 48 percent do so weekly.

Only 5 percent of broadband-only subscribers say they have kicked the pay TV habit because they can find what they want to watch online instead, and just 2 percent cite Netflix in particular as a reason for cutting the cord. A whopping 28 percent of broadband-only households cite cost as the main reason they don’t subscribe to cable, with another 26 percent saying they just don’t watch that much TV. 18 percent claim to have no need for a pay TV subscription. Income also seems to play a big part in who decides to pay for cable and who doesn’t: Those who go broadband-only have an household income that’s 10 percent lower than average and 20 percent lower than those that subscribe to broadband and pay TV.

Photo courtesy of (CC BY 2.0) Flickr user Mykl Roventine.

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