Facebook Platform and Google Security: Update Edition

Google has already made a security company acquisition, and many still don’t understand how Facebook is changing the way Social Networks do business. I’ll move on to new topics soon, but first I want to follow up on two of my previous posts with more links, more commentary, and more discussion. If you want, you can skip straight to the “Facebook Platform Update”:#Facebook%20Platform%20Update.

Google Security Already Acquiring

When I first wrote “Google Enters the Security Market”:http://socialstrategist.com/2007/05/22/google-enters-the-security-market, I predicted they would “buy the expertise they need both to complement their knowledge of search, and possibly to enter the desktop security market”. Today I found out via “Gizmo Richards”:http://techsupportalert.com/issues/al_current.htm that Google had beaten my prediction to the punch, and none of “us”:http://technorati.com had heard about it.

On May 17th, “GreenBorder announced”:https://supportcenteronline.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=4049 they had been acquired by Google. What is GreenBorder?

GreenBorder creates a protected environment on your computer. [...] if you go to a website that is trying to maliciously infest your PC with malware, GreenBorder will keep the malware contained to the protected environment and simply discards it at the end of the session.

According to “KeyLabs”:http://www.keylabs.com, which was hired to “perform an independent evaluation of the GreenBorder Security Solution”, KeyLabs reported impressive findings:

KeyLabs found that the level of protection obtained through the use of GreenBorder was broader than and superior to that afforded by traditional anti-spyware and antivirus packages. [...] KeyLabs concludes that, if deployed in a well suited corporate desktop IT environment, the GreenBorder Security Solution constitutes an innovative and highly effective defense against malicious software arriving through the most threat vectors.

In other words, Google isn’t messing around with the signature-based detection methods that have developed into nothing more than an arms-war between malware-makers and malware-scanners. And to expand upon a note I made in my last post about security companies’ long-term profitability, signature-based detection methods tie users to a service provider that can constantly supply them with new updates for definition files. So now Google has bought something that does things differently, and it will be interesting to see what they use it for.

Facebook Platform Update

When I posted “Social Strategist’s Guide to the Facebook Open Platform”:http://socialstrategist.com/2007/05/24/social-strategists-guide-to-the-facebook-open-platform, I listed 22 links providing the best commentary and news I could find before providing my own thoughts. It’s only one day after, so of course commentary is still coming online across the web. This time I’m going to focus on the people who are confused, questioning, and… angry?

“Dave Winer, Father of Blogging”:http://www.scripting.com/stories/2007/05/25/whatToMakeOfTheFacebookApi.html: “What to make of the Facebook APIs?”
Dave usually sees interesting new ways of using old things, but in this case he doesn’t see cause for excitement. This is because(besides not reading my blog), Dave is not a user. He’s on the web of course. He’s even on Facebook. But he doesn’t use it for anything. Why? Because Dave is someone who makes things. He’s someone who says things. He doesn’t have an interest in using a tool if he can’t push its limits, hack it, try to break it and rebuild it. Dave doesn’t find communities, communities find him.

But the rest of us aren’t Dave Winer. The majority of the internet isn’t interested the “wild wild web, the unbounded frontier”, at least not until it’s tame enough that they can bring their friends and play a song on it. Mainstream users are still figuring out the power the web gives them to express themselves, something visionaries like Dave have already seen, already gotten used to, and apparently, already gotten bored at seeing others discovering. 3rd party services on Facebook is more than a hundred people each posting blinking buttons on their Geotrifire page and demanding that all their friends go see it. It’s not like YahExciGoogle letting you move around a dozen or so pre-determined modules either.

3rd party services on Facebook will be *groups* of people determining what they want and how they want it, based on user adoption, word-of-mouth, and word-of-newsfeed, all of which can be seen in real-time by everyone connected to enough other people on the network. That’s not backwards. That’s the mainstream’s way forward.

“Kent Newsome”:http://www.newsome.org/2007/05/educating-kent-facebook.shtml: “What is so much better about Facebook [...] than an ordinary blog on a popular platform- say WordPress?”
Kent is making the mistake of looking at services, not people. Social networking services like Facebook, and socially-enabled blogging services like “MindSay”:http://www.mindsay.com, let people define a network through connections, not link-exchanges. Kent says he feels “like the blogosphere is the only social network that matters”, but how is the blogosphere a social network? Unless you’re an A-lister, it’s what your content is, not who you are, that matters. We browse the blogosphere because we’re looking for interesting *ideas*. But we use social networking services because we want to know what our friends *think*. Is blogging a way of doing that? Absolutely. But as “Twitter”:http://twitter.com has been showing us, less can be more too. Sharing on a social network where all your friends already are is still easier than maintaining a blog and keeping people coming to it.

“Donna Bogatin”:http://blogs.zdnet.com/micro-markets/?p=1423: Pathetic.
That’s not a quote, that’s my assessment of her latest article, in which she attempts to compare Facebook’s “openess” with MySpace’s “openess” based on the number of “friends” their founders’ profiles have. I labeled Donna “The Naysayer” in my previous post because she presented some interestingly dissenting views from most people covering Facebook. I had no idea how apt my label would actually be as I’ve done more reading, and determined that Ms. Bogatin actually has very little positive to say about anything she writes about. I can admire provacative statements. I can understand wanting to make a living from your writing, and nothing breeds popularity in the short-term like controversy. But I can’t get behind trolling, especially when it’s deliberately misinforming.

“[N]on-Facebookers continue to be blocked from Facebook”, Donna says. Her proof? Facebook requires an e-mail address to register.

Psst… Donna… “(click here)”:http://socialstrategist.com/MySpaceSignup.gif

Facebook’s network structure allows users to determine their own level of comfort with their privacy and visibility. This will be all the more important in letting 3rd parties integrate with Facebook. If I tie my Amazon account to my profile, I’m fine with my friends knowing I’m reading “Worldchanging”:http://www.amazon.com/Worldchanging-Users-Guide-21st-Century/dp/0810930951/, but I might be a bit embrassed if I couldn’t stop them from seeing I bought “The Guide to Getting it On”:http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Getting-5th-Paul-Joannides/dp/1885535694/.

That’s all on those topics unles more specific discussions arise. If you like what I’ve written so far, I encourage you to “subscribe to my feed”:http://feeds.feedburner.com/SocialStrategistAtom so my updates come to you. Facebook’s open platform is big news, but it’s a small piece of the online communications big picture I write about here at Social Strategist.

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