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Catching Up (8/23)

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Facebook Seeks Acquisitions to Fend Off Google Competition. Facebook Inc., the world’s largest social network, is planning acquisitions that will improve site design, keep its service reliable and advance mobile features to stave off competition from Google Inc.

Facebook Seeks Acquisitions to Fend Off Google Competition

(GOOG) and Twitter Inc. The company aims to make about 20 purchases in 2011, up from 10 last year and one in 2009, Vaughan Smith, Facebook’s director of corporate development, said in an interview. Facebook is betting that a focus on design will entice people to spend more time on the site, while adding mobile services can cater to the growing number of members using handheld devices. As it grapples with competition from Google and Twitter, Facebook also must bolster its system so the site runs smoothly amid rapid growth. The company has made 13 acquisitions so far this year, including adding a mobile group- messaging service it rolled out to users this month. Google fiber network beta goes live at Stanford. Network World - Some lucky Palo Alto, Calif., residents are getting a glimpse of what Google's new fiber network will soon deliver to Kansas City, Kan.

Google fiber network beta goes live at Stanford

Google today lit up a beta version of its new experimental fiber network in residential neighborhoods located near Stanford University in Palo Alto. The network will apparently be free to use for students and faculty in the area for the next year before Google unleashes an even larger fiber network in Kansas City. Exclusive: ComScore takes users' credit card numbers: lawsuit. Cheap TouchPads show what's wrong with tablets. When the news broke about cut-price UK TouchPads yesterday afternoon, I came up with a cunning plan for people who hadn't already clambered aboard the tablet bandwagon: buy an HP TouchPad just now, and then get an iPad 3 or Android 4 tablet next year. I wasn't being sarky. At £400ish, TouchPads are a tough sell. At £90, they're a steal. Sure, they're not as nice as iPad 2s, and they don't have as many apps, and the reviews haven't been so good. Six improvements we'd like to see made to Google+ (Build 20110814042011)

Google+ has done right by the staff of Ars in many ways.

Six improvements we'd like to see made to Google+ (Build 20110814042011)

In particular, we like the private discussions afforded by circles and not having to pretend to be "friends" with a bunch of people we just don't know. But there are other parts of the service that seem half-baked or are problematic, and there's almost nothing that the little red notification box does that isn't annoying. We know it's a free service, but given that the staff has already sunk a hefty amount of time sorting everyone we know into circles, we have some interest in seeing the service improve. Google: here are our suggestions on how to improve Google+. Circles you can hide from your main stream of news Google+ gives users a fantastic level of control over who sees your outgoing content—you can post raunchy jokes to the Friends circle, something pious to the Mom circle—but once you've circled someone, anyone, even if it was just to be nice, all of their content is lumped in with everyone else's on your main Google+ stream.

Making It Easier to Share With Who You Want (Build 20110814042011) Facebook Makes Sharing More Granular - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD (Build 20110814042011) Facebook will attempt to address some perceived weaknesses of its interface by making content sharing more precise and visual in a redesign that launches this week.

Facebook Makes Sharing More Granular - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD (Build 20110814042011)

The obvious comparison is to Google+, the new social network that’s gunning for Facebook by making sharing more granular. And indeed, Facebook’s new user profile redesign (which is rolling out to one percent of users starting this Thursday) includes a dropdown menu beside new status updates that allow users to post content to individuals, groups of friends or the general public. It looks exactly like Google+. But let’s not go overboard; Facebook isn’t borrowing the greater Google+ anatomy, like “Circles” of friends and a mix of asymmetrical and mutual relationships. Instead, Facebook is making a huge number of tweaks to its profile design, many of them aimed at addressing common user complaints.

Facebook’s new privacy and sharing defenses (they are quite nice) — Scobleizer (Build 20110814042011) Mark Zuckerberg is the smartest social thinker I’ve met on my journey through life.

Facebook’s new privacy and sharing defenses (they are quite nice) — Scobleizer (Build 20110814042011)

He’s frequently misunderstood because he’s, well, generally too far in front of us. I remember meeting Doug Engelbart, the guy who invented the mouse (and showed it to us back in 1967 — way before Apple shipped the first consumer machine in 1984 that used it). Engelbart got kicked out of the research lab (SRI) where he developed the mouse because, well, his ideas were too weird for the time (Engelbart told me that he was kicked out because his fellow researchers couldn’t grok that everyone would have a computer in their pockets eventually). Zuckerberg will also be judged that way. He saw a world where everyone would need a social graph. But one thing I admire about Zuckerberg is he’s a great learner.

Zuckerberg understands that the use case of Facebook is for folks to talk to their PRIVATE families and friends. So, what did Facebook announce this morning? 1. 1. And. Facebook Aims to Simplify Privacy Settings - NYTimes.com (Build 20110814042011) Facebook is simplifying privacy controls for posts.

Facebook Aims to Simplify Privacy Settings - NYTimes.com (Build 20110814042011)

With iPads, paper no longer flies for United — Apple News, Tips and Reviews (Build 20110814042011) Exclusive: Apple suppliers building cheaper, 8GB iPhone. China airs documentary proving military university is hacking U.S. targets – Tech Products & Geek News. For a long time now there has been suspicion that China is a hotbed of hacking activity either endorsed or ignored by the government and targeting foreign individuals, companies, and even governments. The Chinese government has always denied this, but high-profile pull outs such as that threatened by Google last year , demonstrate there is definitely something going on, and now we have proof hacking tools are being developed and attacks carried out at official institutions in the country.

In July, a documentary full of military propaganda was aired on TV across China. The footage happened to contain proof that a Chinese military university is using hacking software it has developed along with compromised U.S. IP addresses to target dissident groups. The damning footage only lasts for 6 seconds, but that’s all we need to see the evidence. With the IP selected the attack target is selected from a drop-down list.