Facebook Gets Friendfeed To Fight Google

August 11, 2009

Earlier today, Facebook successfully acquired FriendFeed service. This is yet another major partnership deal after the recent Microsoft-Yahoo search deal. “

FriendFeed’s 12-employee team will join Facebook family. The four founders of FriendFeed – Paul Buchheit, Bret Taylor, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh, will take senior positions in Facebook’s Engineering and Product teams. The founders of FriendFeed are all from Google’s development team who handled Gmail and Google Maps.

Currently, the acquisition amount is undisclosed but FriendFeed looks happy with the acquisition and the joy was expressed in a recent post on their blog.

FriendFeed was looked upon as close competitor of Twitter, microblogging service for the same task – sharing information online. However, both services combined don’t have enough users to match up Facebook’s more than 250 million user base. Facebook couldn’t buy Twitter, a service that has seen a tremendous growth since its inception, so, the next close substitute was FriendFeed. Twitter has been facing some problems like the recent worm and DDoS attack, database upscaling issues. People cannot see their tweets older than two days or to a week if they don’t tweet frequently. So having that glittering five figure updates is pointless since you’ll never get to see your first update.

In May, Google was eyeing to acquire Twitter since the search giant was interested to venture into real-time search. However, the indexing of old Twitter updates for real-time search results has been quite an issue lately. If Google buys Twitter then all the search excellence can be used for tweaking Twitter’s search code.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’ve admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information.” As of now FriendFeed will work as it is and the founders are yet to lay out future plans for integration of both services. Facebook’s FriendFeed acquisition is buzzed as directly challenging Google and leap frogs Twitter. “

FriendFeed service went out cold until they had announced the second version of their API this month. So, now Facebook will make use of ex-Google’s excellence in expanding Facebook platform to the next paradigm: Real-time search. If Google and Twitter is listening to this, they better sit together at least for mutual partnership on Twitter’s search technology.

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Targeted Twitter user blames Russia

August 8, 2009

The Georgian blogger whose Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts were targeted in denial-of-service attacks on Thursday, says he thinks Russia’s federal security service is behind it.

“This hackers was from Russian KGB,” the blogger, who uses “Cyxymu” on his accounts, wrote in a tweet early on Friday, adding later: “My twitter is online! Thank you all for support after ciber attack from Russia!”

Because of the difficulty in tracing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks back to the source, unless someone takes credit for the attack or brags about it to online associates, it’s nearly impossible to determine exactly who was responsible.

Cyxymu is identified as a 34-year-old economics lecturer named Georgy from Tblisi, Georgia, by The Guardian. His blog postings are critical of Russia’s dealings with the Caucasus region and his screen name is a Latinized version of the spelling of Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, a breakaway Georgian republic.

“Maybe it was carried out by ordinary hackers but I’m certain the order came from the Russian government,” he is quoted as saying. His LiveJournal account was attacked last year, as well, according to the report.

The DDoS attacks came on the eve of the one-year anniversary of a significant military clash between Russia and Georgia, which have had an ongoing conflict. In the 2008 South Ossetia war that began on August 7, 2008, Georgia attempted to retake control of South Ossetia and Russia launched air strikes against Georgia.

“When the war started in South Ossetia last year I couldn’t avoid being drawn into politics,” the blogger said.

The Georgian government is investigating potential links between its citizen and the attacks, and there are suspicions that the attack came from Russia, Shota Utiashvili, head of the Department of Information and Analysis at the Ministry of the Interior, told CNN.

Twitter was down for hours on Thursday during the attack, and LiveJournal suffered an outage. Facebook, and Google–whose Blogger, Google Sites, and YouTube were also affected–were able to fend it off.

Whoever was behind the attack may also be responsible for a spam e-mail campaign launched before the DDoS attack and targeting the blogger’s accounts. In that attack e-mails were sent out that looked like they came from the blogger and included hyperlinks to his accounts on the targeted sites. A Facebook spokesman and others said that a spam attack would not have been effective enough to cause a DoS outage.

On his Blogger account the Georgian posted a copy of a Russian language news article in which he himself says the spam attack did not cause the DDoS attacks.

The Cyxymu accounts were back up on Friday on Twitter and Facebook (where he’s a fan of John McCain), but his LiveJournal account appeared to still be inaccessible though a cached version was available on Google. His YouTube account, meanwhile, never went down.


Flickr Updates Its Search Feature

August 7, 2009

Flickr is one of the largest and most used photo sites, but its search function hasn’t always been the most intuitive. This week the company announced a noteworthy redesign that makes searching for photos easier.

For starters, the new “View” control (located at the top of the page, just below the search box) will display results in a thumbnail gallery view across different sizes and formats (small, medium, detail, slideshow). As Flickr’s blog states,”both small and medium views have an ‘i’ icon on every thumbnail.” Clicking on it will generate a full-sized image of the photo, which means you no longer have to navigate away from the page to get up close and personal with your favorite photos.

Flickr has also added a new sidebar with links to groups, photographers, tag clusters, and more. All in all, a much-welcome set of tweaks.