All Posts in social networks
Has the time come to bid Google+ auf wiedersehen?
It has been announced today that Google+ is being officially split into two (or more) parts, named 'Photos' and 'Streams'. The two new elements are being led by Bradley Horowitz, a longtime Google VP of Product Management.
Historically, Google+ has been useful for increasing authorship of a blog or website, focusing on SEO which Google has always had a big stake in through their majority share in the search market. Google+ also automatically backs up users' photos online, aggregates content from location pages, and acts as a contact book for Gmail. However, much of this functionality is already possible without Google+ although more social elements will probably be reduced with this change.
In an interview with Forbes last week, Sundar Pichai hinted that Google+ was being split up. Whilst Horowitz who's now heading up Google+ has confirmed rumours, Google has yet to make an official announcement on what will happen next to the social network. A big element of the social network that is now integrated into Android and Google for Work is 'Hangouts' although its future looks uncertain.
Read more about this Google+ news on The Verge.
Last week's news of WhatsApp's purchase for $19bn it seems other social networks are preparing to raise funding for their future. Next up is Sina Weibo - the Chinese social network which is planning to go IPO on the New York Stock exchange later this year with a valuation of up to $7bn - $8bn according to The Financial Times.
For some time the Battenhall team have been working on campaigns which focus on key Chinese social networks like Weibo and WeChat. The experience of Weibo is much like a mix between Facebook and Twitter, with insight into how much a post is liked, or even read by it's 'concerns' (followers). The social network, 71% owned by the Sina corporation is hoping to raise around $500m in the second quarter of 2014.
However, as The FT explains, this listing doesn't come at the best time for Weibo - active users of microblogs in China fell by a tenth between 2012 and 2013, according to a recent report by a government-affiliated research group, thanks to increased competition from WeChat, and government censorship. Censorship is rife in China, with the government omitting anything alluding to slightly liberal language, as well as enforcing strong rules that all members must sign up with their actual names - hidden behind branding of 'The Real Name Social Network'.
Sina Weibo's future has become the battle ground for a war between Alibaba and Tencent. The fate of Weibo rests on how that battle plays out and essentially how some of Weibo's key competitors are funded. We'll be keeping a close eye on the final valuation of Weibo, which no doubt has been increased by the recent acquisition of WhatsApp. To read more about this news head to The Wall Street Journal.
The realms of social media have so far seen it being used primarily for connecting with friends and family, sharing photos, news and playing games. However it looks like cops on the West Coast USA have found a new use for social media - and it makes a whole lot of sense. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Police Executive Research Forum, 88% of law enforcement agencies reported using social media ranging from preventing crime, community policing to investigations and intelligence gathering, but only 49% had a social media policy.
This new platform, named BlueLine is being touted as a site where officers can share their expertise, insight and information securely through video, instant messaging, video conferencing and screen share capabilities. Intelligence through connecting with counterparts in the law enforcement profession is one of the greatest asset for cops. Being able to connect through a walled medium where users are verified and accredited means information can flow securely and quickly - creating a more effective overall police unit.
As well as being able to connect law enforcement professionals, BlueLine will connect companies who sell products geared for cops to them through the site. The site resembles the popular professional networking site LinkedIn but will require added layers of verification for the safety of it's members and information. Up until now, cops have been using traditional social networks to share information - every day living in the fear that this information could leak. The new platform will be housed in a secure data center that is compliant by the U.S. Department of Defense and the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services.
The platform is created by LA Police Chief Bill Bratton - a former high-profile New York City police commissioner, who has since founded a VC-backed startup named 'Bratton Technologies'. In the past, Bratton created Compstat, the innovative crime-mapping system used in New York, Los Angeles and several other major cities. Compstat uses computer data to direct police to specific high-crime areas.
BlueLine is currently being tested by around 100 law enforcement agencies in California and will be available to go live in October 2013.