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When Twitter announced in May that it planned to launch a new feature called Points of Interest based on a user’s location, some expected it to be a “Foursquare-killer.” Instead, both Foursquare and Gowalla are partners in the feature now known simply as Twitter Places. Read more »

Twitter is rolling out its own link-shortening service for the social network, partly for security reasons and partly so it can offer analytical services based on the data. But the new feature is coming under fire from developers, including a member of the Google Buzz team. Read more »

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Jive Software today launched what it hopes will become a Facebook-style social networking platform for businesses, complete with an activity stream, an open API and an application store. But whether Jive’s new offering can make social networking more palatable to business users remains to be seen. Read more »

Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker has joined in the ongoing debate over whether the Internet makes people smarter or dumber. He says using Twitter and spending time on the web doesn’t make us less intelligent, any more than reading an encyclopedia makes us more intelligent. Read more »

Lots of companies want to have Facebook “fan” pages, where customers or would-be customers can become part of their online community. But what are those fans actually worth? A media measurement firm called Syncapse has come up with an actual dollar value in a new report. Read more »

Google is experimenting with adding a human element to its News pages, a new feature called “Editor’s Picks.” But is it trying to curry favor with media outlets that have accused it of “stealing” their content? Or is it an admission that algorithms are not perfect? Read more »

Cries of outrage — and conspiracy theories — have erupted over a new feature in Apple’s latest version of the Safari browser. The “Reader” setting extracts just the text from a page, excluding advertising. But claims that this will destroy ad-based content online are absurd. Read more »

Twitter is investing in building more robust analytical tools, judging by today’s acquisition of Smallthought Systems. The Vancouver-based startup is the creator of a flexible database tool called Dabble DB, as well as Trendly, a tool for filtering the traffic and behavioral data from Google Analytics. Read more »

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Like many other newspapers, the New York Times has been trying to find an online business model that works, including experimenting with iPhone and iPad apps. Now, the company appears to be sending its lawyers after news aggregators that use its RSS feeds in commercial applications. Read more »

Apple recently fired the first volley in a battle over the mobile ad market, by changing the terms of its iAds service to make things more difficult for third-party providers, including AdMob — now owned by Google. AdMob’s CEO says Apple’s move is “bad for consumers.” Read more »

Just six months after hitting the one-billion-tweets milestone, Twitter has doubled that number, according to research by Royal Pingdom. Twitter’s chief operating officer Dick Costolo said recently that the service is seeing about 65 million tweets a day. Read more »

Zynga, after months of rumors about a strain in their relationship and a dalliance with non-Facebook platforms like Yahoo, is sticking close to the social network for the launch of its newest game, a Farmville-style offering called Frontierville. Read more »

Twitter is finally moving to fill one of the biggest holes the social network has had since it launched — the lack of a built-in link shortener. The new feature is designed to aid in security, but will also provide a valuable stream of data. Read more »

Lars Hinrichs, who founded the European social network Xing, has launched a new startup fund/incubator called HackFwd, which calls itself a “pre-seed investment company.” But some say the fund’s asking price is too high: 27 percent of a startup’s equity in return for an initial investment. Read more »

Is the Internet making us smarter or dumber? Authors Nick Carr and Clay Shirky have dueling essays appearing in The Wall Street Journal this weekend that look at opposing sides of that provocative question — but the bottom line is that they are likely both right. Read more »

As Facebook has drawn fire from critics over the way it handles user information, interest in finding an alternative has grown to the point where a project to create an open-source social network raised $200,000 in a matter of weeks. But does it have a chance? Read more »

Christopher “Moot” Poole, the founder of the anarchic website known as 4chan, spoke recently at the TED conference about the rapid growth of the online forum, but also talked about the site’s guiding principle of anonymity and what the world stands to lose if anonymity disappears. Read more »

According to several news reports, the Turkish government appears to have blocked access to some or all of Google’s services in that country. The blockage seems to be related to the government’s ongoing blockade of YouTube due to its hosting of videos critical of Turkey’s founder. Read more »

The Canadian government has tabled its own version of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which it says strikes a balance between the rights of content creators and the rights of users. However, critics of the bill say that it gives content companies a trump card. Read more »

Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his keynote interview at the D8 conference came close to endorsing the kind of “iTunes for news” model that many print publishers and media observers have wished for. But would such a system really be the savior of traditional media? No. Read more »

Yahoo is rolling out new social features integrated into its email, similar to the features Google launched earlier this year with Google Buzz. Yahoo says it is being careful with users’ information, but can it avoid the kind of privacy backlash suffered by Google and Facebook? Read more »

Amid the furor over Facebook’s handling of privacy settings on the social network, it’s easy to forget that the social network is still growing rapidly as a business. The company says the number of advertisers it is working with has quadrupled since the beginning of 2009. Read more »

Adobe has launched a “digital publishing platform” that it says will allow other magazine publishers to produce flashy interactive iPad apps just like Conde Nast did with Wired magazine. But is that really what publishers need as they try to move into a multi-platform digital world? Read more »

Communications studies professor Nancy Baym says Facebook has a “fundamentally naive and utopian” view of what privacy means online, and this stems from the fact that the company is run by “a bunch of computer science and engineering undergrads who don’t know anything about human relationships.” Read more »

Google’s Chrome browser continues to grab market share as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to decline, according to the most recent surveys of browser usage. StatCounter said that in May, usage of IE 6 fell below 5 percent in the U.S. and Europe for the first time. Read more »

Facebook this week finally changed the way it handles privacy. The question now is whether the latest changes, and Zuckerberg’s mea culpa piece in the Washington Post, will turn the growing tide of criticism that the company has been facing. Read more »

Google is expanding its Ontario, Canada-based engineering operation, which has either developed or worked on most of the company’s recent mobile offerings, including Gmail for the iPad. Steven Woods, the unit’s director, said that his staff are currently focusing on ideas related to HTML5. Read more »

The push to free up more public information and make government more transparent is one of the primary goals of the “Government 2.0″ movement. But sociologist Danah Boyd warned attendees at the recent Gov 2.0 conference that there is a downside to all this new transparency. Read more »

When open web champion Tantek Celik announced he was joining the Mozilla Foundation, not everyone was happy about the news, since he marked the third open web proponent who has joined a large corporate entity. Can open web advocates still be effective if they aren’t independent? Read more »

As Google tries to extricate itself from the privacy furor over personal data collected from Wi-Fi networks by its Street View cars, the company says it has hit a roadblock that prevents it from complying with authorities who want the data turned over to them. Read more »

Managing what is said about them online has become “a defining feature of online life for many internet users, especially the young,” according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Younger users also tend to be less trusting of content-hosting sites. Read more »

Has Facebook failed to evolve along with the core of its user base, and could that spell doom for the social network? In a blog post at the Harvard Business Review site, professor Bruce Nussbaum argues that it has, and it could. But is he right? Read more »

Newspapers may not be known for being digital visionaries, but the British newspaper The Guardian is doing something pretty revolutionary: by launching its Open Platform, the company has completely rethought the fundamental nature of its business, and the way that it thinks about value creation online. Read more »

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