Is this the end of Google+?
Last weekend it was revealed that Google is to segment photos and streams into two separate apps. In a move that some commentators claim is being done to salvage the social network, questions are now being raised over the future of the Google Plus service.
The two new features, ‘Photos’ and ‘Streams’ will be run by Bradley Horowitz. In a Google Plus post Horowitz said: “I just wanted to confirm that the rumours are true – I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products”. He went on to say: “It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.”
No mention was made of how this impacted Google Plus or its chat service Hangouts. It is possible, however, that the Google Plus brand name will be abandoned, and that the company will instead focus on the more successful services currently integrated within the platform.
Speaking earlier this week, senior vice president of products at Google Sundar Pichai is reported to have said: “For us, Google Plus was always two things, a stream and a social layer. The stream has a passionate community of users, but the second goal was larger for us. We’re at a point where things like photos and communications are very important, we’re reorganising around that.”
Twitter introduces new safety features
Long anticipated changes to improve safety on Twitter began to be rolled out last week. The latest developments are expected to reach all Twitter users in the next few weeks.
Last month, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo agreed that the platform failed to effectively deal with issues of harassment and abuse and pledged to start kicking trolls off the site. The latest change will see a more streamlined process for reporting impersonations, self-harm and the sharing of private and confidential information.
The changes form part of a wider overhaul of how Twitter reports and deals with abuse, including significant changes to its tools, processes and support team. Commenting on the roll-out a Twitter spokesperson said: “The safety of our users is extremely important to us. It’s something we continue to work hard to improve. This week’s changes are the latest steps in our long-term approach, and we look forward to bringing you additional developments soon.”
Ello launches Not Safe for Work (NSFW) month
This week, Ello emailed its members to declare that it’s naming March NSFW Week. Following Google’s decision to ban explicit content from Blogger (a move that was swiftly backpedalled), Ello is to stand up for freedom of speech and has sent members an email encouraging them to join the celebrations.
The email, states: “The last people we want to dictate what we can’t say on the Internet are the advertisers that control big ad-based social networks. Ello doesn’t believe in censorship, and because Ello is ad-free, we will always be a dependable haven for free speech.”
Ello has asked its members to post and discuss issues about free speech and censorship on its platform without fear of retribution.
Facebook would ‘love’ to work with Google
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he would love to work more closely with Google to connect the developing world. Addressing the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Zuckerberg discussed the importance of connecting countries with limited or no internet access during his keynote speech.
Discussing Facebook’s Internet.org project, which brings together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities to connect countries that don’t have internet access, Zuckerberg was asked if he would consider working with Google’s Project Loon. Project Loon aims to bring high-speed internet access to remote areas of the world via hot air balloons. In repose, Zuckerberg said he would “love” the opportunity to work more closely with the search engine giant and revealed that Facebook had already supported Google in Zambia.
The two technology giants are considered to be fierce competitors in the social media space; particularly when it comes to advertising. However, the issue of regulation also brought them together this week. On Monday, mobile chiefs called for online companies such as Facebook and Google to face the same rules they do because they are also used for mobile communications. Zuckerberg is reportedly refusing to engage with the discussion on the grounds that the subject is ‘nuanced’.