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As Facebook tries to conquer the workplace, it not only has to convince businesses that the new tool is worth paying for, but it’s also competing with similar services such as Slack and Microsoft’s Yammer. 

It looks similar to a person’s personal Facebook, but users aren’t browsing the social network for cat videos or engagement photos

ooofacebook-workplace-screen-pic image www.socialselect.net

Instead, they’re interacting with their co-workers or business partners eve hen they’re on the move.

“The workplace is about more than just communicating between desks within thatement.

The tech firm is charging companies a monthly fee per active user to use the product. Workplace, which is available on desktop and mobile, costs$US3 a user for the first 1000 monthly active users, $US2 a user for 1001 to 10,000 monthly active users and $US1 a user for more than 10,000 monthly active usrs.

As Facebook tries to conquer the workplace, it not only has to convince businesses that the new tool is worth paying for, but it’s also competing with similar services such as Slack and Microsoft’s Yammer.

While Facebook is charging a lower price than its competitors, it might still be tough sell to businesses who fear that social media could fuel more negativity in the workplace or make them more vulnerable to legal risks. But it could appeal to younger workers who are more used to communicating electronically than face to face.

For Facebook, Workplace also gives the tech firm a way to grow its revenue outside of mobile ads.

The tech firm has been testing the product, formerly known as Facebook at Work, globally for more than a year. More than 1000 organisations worldwide, including Starbucks, YES Bank of India and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore have been piloting Workplace.

It includes features such as live video, work chat, trending posts, analytics and other tools. Workplace also allows companies to create “Multi-company groups” so employees from different organisations can work together. Workplace is separated from an employee’s personal Facebook.

More than 100,000 groups have been created in Workplace and the tool has been the most popular in India, Norway, the United States, United Kingdom and France.


Henry Sapiecha


Yo app logo image www.socialselect.net

A new app that lets you send an image of the word ‘yo’ or ‘yoyo’ has rocketed up the charts and was being downloaded faster than Facebook’s new photo sharing app Slingshot overnight in the United States.

The app has surpassed Facebook’s heavily promoted new product in Apple’s App Store and it’s been downloaded almost 10,000 times in the Android app store.

Invented by software engineer Or Arbel, the app is either an alarming indictment of the foolishness of the tech start-up movement or the ultimate testament to the power of focus and simplicity.

YO App creator Or Arbe image www.socialselect.net

App creator Or Arbel

Unsurprisingly, Mr Arbel claims it’s the latter.

“If you think this is just an app that says ‘yo’, you are getting it wrong,” Mr Arbel told Mashable. “It’s a new way to get lightweight, non-intrusive notifications. We are here to cut through the noise. We like to call it context-based messaging.

Mr Arbel said it’s a way to play with ‘context-specific’ communication, similar to how the word ‘mate’ can be a term of genuine warmth or a passive aggressive warning.

The app has already raised more than $US1 million from several investors.

The app was inspired by Mr Arbel’s former boss at photo sharing app Mobli, Moshe Hogeg, who wanted an app that functioned like a summons button for his assistant.

He scoffed and said it was a silly idea he could build in two hours. It took him eight and he launched it quietly on April Fools’ Day this year. Apple originally declined to list the app as they assumed it was an incomplete draft.

The app’s popularity skyrocketed after a blog post on The Financial Times tipped off the world to its presence.

While much of the commentary has been scathing, it has been well received by some, particularly in start-up hot-spots like Silicon Valley.

“There’s a fascinating aspect lots of people are missing,” tweeted entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen while outlining the potency of a “one-bit communication, a message with no content other than the fact it exists.”

“I’m not saying Yo will be the next $100 billion social media powerhouse. But instant dismissal makes little sense. Let’s learn and keep minds open.”

He also likened Yo to calling a friend’s phone and hanging up quickly so the notification serves as a free message.

Mr Arbel has moved from Tel Aviv to San Francisco. He’s seeking more investors, hiring a team and working on the app full time, although he’s already ruled out adding new features.

Henry Sapiecha

black diamonds on white line

The billion dollar deal in under 2 years

App Instagram success team

AppsWiz - Mobile Apps For Every Business.

California has been famous since the gold rush for creating fortunes overnight. The Golden State was a dream factory for get-rich-quick schemes from pioneers with pickaxes to beautiful people aiming to be Hollywood stars.

But only in Silicon Valley can a couple of 20-somethings turn 551 days, or 78 weeks, of work into a $US1 billion fortune.

Kevin Systrom, 28, joined the long line of technocrats turned plutocrats on Monday in the US when he sold Instagram, a profitless photo-sharing app that’s less than two years old, for $US1 billion.

Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom.
Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom. Photo: codypickens.com

He sold it to that other wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg, 27, the Facebook founder whose social network is now worth an estimated $US100 billion.

Systrom, a former Google employee, is understood to own about 40 per cent of Instagram, which is now worth $US400 million.

His co-founder Mike Krieger, 25, is believed to have about 10 per cent, worth $US100 million. The rest will be shared with investors and the company’s other employees – all 11 of them.

Even by Silicon Valley standards, it’s a remarkable haul for a company that has been around for less than two years.

If Facebook had been paying Instagram from the start it would work out that Instagram was making roughly $US1.8 million a day from the social networking giant, or $US12.7 million a week.

Instagram was not the first, or the only, mobile app offering people a way to share their photos on Twitter, Facebook or Flickr. Nor was its use of filters to add visual effects to those shots a new idea. But what made it stand out was its success.

Last week Instagram raised $US50 million from venture capital firms, valuing Systrom and Krieger’s baby at $US500 million. Zuckerberg had reportedly already approached Systrom and asked to buy the firm but, after the funding, he came back with an offer that could not be refused: double the price.
Hogarth Associates - Businesses For Sale

Instagram might not make a cent but it is the hottest mobile app in the world and Facebook is preparing for the biggest IPO in tech history.

To date people have questioned Facebook’s mobile strategy. Zuckerberg started his social network in the days when PCs and browsers ruled the internet. Even 20-somethings can look a bit dated in these fast moving days. And $US1 billion is a small price to pay for new school cool, if you are worth $US100 billion.

Systrom, a Stanford University graduate like so many Silicon Valley multimillionaires, grew up in Boston but was an early witness to the dotcom boom. His mother, Diane Systrom, worked at Monster.com during the first internet era and is now an executive at Zipcar, the online car rental business.

The history of the billion-dollar deal goes back to his university days where he was studying for an engineering degree. Systrom, a big photography fan, started looking at ways to share photos online. His interest subsided as he looked for a job, ending up at Google, where he spent two years in product and corporate development.

Systrom’s next job was at Nextstop, a trip-recommendation site that Facebook bought for a rather measly $US2.5 million.
Marketing with no money

Systrom then started Burbn, named after his favourite liquor, a company that focused on the super-hot area of mobile but whose basket of services seemed to lack any clear identity. It had photos but also check-in capabilities, such as Foursquare, and other apps.

Along came Krieger, another Stanford graduate, and the two started talking about narrowing their focus.

On the Q&A site Quora, Systrom explained the genesis of Instagram: “We decided that if we were going to build a company, we wanted to focus on being really good at one thing.

“We saw mobile photos as an awesome opportunity to try out some new ideas. We spent one week prototyping a version that focused solely on photos. It was pretty awful. So we went back to … Burbn. We actually got an entire version of Burbn done as an iPhone app, but it felt cluttered, and overrun with features.

“It was really difficult to decide to start from scratch, but we went out on a limb, and basically cut everything in the Burbn app except for its photo, comment, and like capabilities. What remained was Instagram. (We renamed because we felt it better captured what you were doing – an instant telegram of sorts. It also sounded camera-y.)”

The rest is Silicon Valley history. Launched in October 2010, Instagram was an instant hit. More than 30 million people have downloaded the app now. When the firm launched an Android version this month, it attracted 1 million downloads in 12 hours. People love sharing their photos online and making them look like their dad took them in 1980 with a camera he borrowed from his dad.

And the app they want to do it with is Instagram.
Gold Company

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Pinterest Blogger captures stardom by pinning 5700 images on site.

Christine Martinez spent the past week frolicking on the Caribbean island of St Barts after becoming a star by sharing her sense of style at Pinterest.com.

Pinterest has become the web’s hottest young website, particularly among women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they decorate with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, fashion or travel.

“Gawd I love Pinterest,” fashion blogger Martinez said in a Twitter message fired off between flights on Friday as she made her way back to her home in the Californian city of Oakland

Nearly a million people have signed up to follow Martinez at Pinterest where people “pin” pictures they have taken or, in most cases, plucked from elsewhere on the internet.

“I have a penchant for pretty,” Martinez said in her Pinterest profile, which had a picture of her with her cherished dog ‘Miles.’

As of Saturday, she had 43 Pinterest boards with more than 5700 images reflecting her taste in jewellery, swimsuits, and more.

Pinterest is such an influential fashion venue that chic beachwear label Calypso St Barts took her to the French island territory for a week to “live pin” the label’s swimsuit photo shoot.

“Pinterest is the latest procrastination tool of the masses,” Avery Spofford of fashion website shefinds.com wrote in an online post citing Martinez’s adventure as evidence of Pinterest’s clout.

“Mostly, people just like to look at photos of puppies and cake and interior design,” Spofford continued. “Us, too!”

Pinterest was launched in early 2010 and has been growing at a dizzying rate in the past six months despite being invitation-only. The website reportedly has more than 13 million users.

Pinterest is driving more online traffic to retail websites than social networks LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ combined, according to a January report from Shareaholic.

The first investor to back in the venture, Brian Cohen, is delighted with its results so far.

“Pinterest’s traffic charts aren’t hockey sticks – they’re rocket ships,” internet tracker RJ Metrics said in an analysis released last month.

“Pinterest is the hottest young site on the internet.”

Brands are leaping onto Pinterest, setting up pages to appeal to prime shopping demographics or forming collaborations such as the one between Martinez’s MilestoStyle.com blog and Calypso.

“The amount of free advertising a brand gets on Pinterest is ridiculous,” blogger Kerry Sauriol wrote at WomenInBizNetwork.com.

“Without even having their own Pinterest boards, clothing companies, furniture designers, tech companies, and on and on have their products pinned and adored,” she continued.

“Think of the marketing power of a brand that does have a board.”

Other websites have begun adding “pin it” buttons inviting visitors to decorate Pinterest pages with images using a single click, according to co-founder Ben Silbermann.

“The last few months have been a whirlwind here at Pinterest,” Silbermann said in a recent blog post. “It’s humbling, and exciting.”

The small Pinterest team works in box of an office in single-story building in downtown Palo Alto in Silicon Valley.

About a dozen engineers were working at rows of desks in an undecorated room when an AFP correspondent visited.

Pinterest said it was too swamped with attention from users and media for interviews.

Rampant pinning of images snagged from the internet has raised concerns about copyright violations at Pinterest.

The website follows procedures set out in US copyright law and has a form at the site for reporting violations, Silbermann explained. Each “pin” has a flag icon for marking pirated content.

“We care about respecting the rights of copyright holders,” Silbermann said.

“Copyright is a complicated and nuanced issue and we have knowledgeable people who are providing lots of guidance.”

Pinterest fans include Dave Morin, a longtime member of the Facebook team who left the leading social network to start Path.

Morin sees Pinterest as part of a trend for people in “the world’s biggest club” Facebook to form sub-groups based on interests or close relationships.

“Now that the world understands how to be social through the internet people want unique experiences in different contexts,” Morin said, noting that Path lets people intimately share with family and close friends.

“Pinterest has a space where you can talk about your deep interests,” he continued. “In my case, deep interests in ski gear or photography gear.”

Sourcd & published by Henry Sapiecha


A first name isn’t the only thing Mark Cracknell has in common with Mark Zuckerberg.

Like the Facebook founder, Cracknell is a young man with big dreams and a background in computing. He also has a website, Kondoot, which, like Zuckerberg’s famous social network, enables users to share their lives online.

Mark C may not have emulated Mark Z’s stratospheric success just yet, but the comparison is already being drawn – by no less than the Wall Street Journal – after the 21-year-old Brisbane-based entrepreneur and partner Nathan Hoad returned from the US with $3.2 million in funding for their site.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Facebook isn’t the only online community with a captive audience.

IT IS no coincidence the Academy Award-winning account of Facebook’s meteoric growth was entitled The Social Network.


After all, with more than 800 million active users globally and at least 250 million photos uploaded every day, the little blue website that started in 2004 as a mere side project to co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s university studies is now – indisputably – the social network.

Having long ago knocked the once-mighty MySpace out of its spot as the world’s No.1 social-networking website, Facebook is proving unassailable, even to fellow tech behemoth Google.

Google +

Google plus.com

Google’s social network, the four-month-old Google+, has lured just 40 million users.




The sign up page of Linkedin.com.
Business networking site LinkedIn has more than 120 million users.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped others from trying to shove Zuckerberg and his mates off their lofty perches.

Among the hundreds, if not thousands, of wannabe Facebook killers, only a few dozen have garnered serious numbers.



We might have all heard of Twitter (200 million-plus users) and perhaps even LinkedIn (120 million-plus users) but, especially in other parts of the world, none of these, not even Facebook, is king.

My space


Why? Because though such mind-boggling figures matter when you’re courting investors or advertising dollars, they don’t if you are truly trying to create a social network where like-minded people can mingle, as is evidenced by the surprising number of smaller communities based purely on niche interests, such as languages, lifestyles or even a love of a specific animal, that appear with surprising regularity.



With a whopping 480 million-plus users, QZone is bigger than Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace (33 million-plus) put together.

It is the No.1 social network in mainland China, where Twitter and Facebook are banned. It’s not entirely free, with many features only accessible after paying a fee that allows users to access a Twitter-like micro blog, instant messaging, photo sharing and music streaming.



Just 19 months old, the invitation-only Pinterest is a highly addictive image-based social network where users share their favourite images with friends.

It might not sound terribly interesting but for right-brained creative types who love collecting pictures of ”stuff”, it’s a digital dream. It allows users to share ideas and concepts that couldn’t possibly be conveyed in words.

Businesses such as ad agencies and graphic designers use it to get a feel for what clients want. Those planning weddings use it as a digital cork board filled with dress designs, ideas for cakes and colour schemes.



Founded by Swedish banker Erik Wachtmeister and his wife, Countess Louise Wachtmeister, ASMALLWORLD is an invitation-only social network for ”the elite” who don’t want to rub shoulders, even digitally, with the hoi polloi.

It is thought to have about 500,000 users, including James Blunt and Ivanka Trump, among others, and allows them to discuss important matters such as fine dining in the world’s great cities, seek out appropriately vetted flat mates and, most importantly, socialise with those of their own fine, well-bred and well-heeled ilk. Of course, we can’t verify any of this – we’ve never scored an invite.



Snap-happy iPhone owners can share their daily goings-on via photos, which can be edited on the fly. It’s like Facebook without words or Twitter using only pictures.

Snap a picture and upload it to your Instagram profile to let your friends and followers know what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and where such excitement is occurring. You can’t even add a caption (but you can leave a comment).

Depending on how interesting – or good – your happy snaps are, others will start following and interacting with you and you’ll see some stunning photography. With more than 1 million photos shared every day, it is absolutely mesmerising and lets you do something useful with that bursting iPhone Camera Roll.



Owned by Google, the multilingual Orkut was once massive in India and Pakistan – until Facebook came along.

Now its biggest audience is Brazil, where 58.7 per cent of its 66 million or so users reside. Indians make up 28 per cent of users, while Japan is the third-largest community – but only at 5.3 per cent.

Orkut offers a simple, youth-oriented interface that includes lots of ”cute” teen-friendly features such as ”cool” rankings. One of its most clever features is the ability to add people to your ”Crush List”, where, if both members independently add each other, they will be informed of their mutual admiration. It adds a digital twist to the age-old, angst-ridden notion of unrequited love.



Netscape co-founder (and tech guru) Marc Andreessen is behind Ning, a DIY social-networking service that lets the likes of you and me take on Mr Zuckerberg. Well, not quite.

But you can build a website or social network based on your design and target market. Plans start from about $3.95 a month for a basic, home-spun social-networking site with no more than 150 users; you’ll pay between $29.95 (up to 10,000 members) and $59.95 (unlimited members) a month if your user base grows. Depending on which subscription plan you choose, you’ll be able to offer many of the features included on ”real” social networks, from live chat and photo sharing to uploading video in branded media players

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Adopting a new social network like Google+ is taxing enough–re-adding friends, creating “Circles”, adjusting privacy settings, etc.–so learning to navigate can be a bit overwhelming.

Luckily, we did the heavy lifting for you. Here are seven Google+ basics you should learn:

1. Bold, italics, and strikethough. Do you miss the funky fonts and formatting you had in MySpace? Neither do we. Google+, however, gifts you with three simple formatting tricks: *bold*, _italics_, and -strikethough-.

2. Tag friends in posts. Get a friend’s attention in a post by tagging them. Type “+” or “@” followed by their name. You’ll see an autocomplete drop-down menu show up as you type their name, which presumably includes people in your circles and extended circles.

Your friend will be notified they’ve been tagged in a post, and post visibility will automatically be set to just that person. Don’t forget to add more circles and friends (if you want to) before sharing.

3. Use permalinks. Permalinks come in handy for sharing and cleaner viewing of single posts. Just click the timestamp of any post and you’ll be taken to a new page displaying just that post.

4. Quickly share post on Twitter and Facebook. Oh, the irony. To share a post with your Twitter or Facebook network, use the Extended Share for Google Plus Chrome extension. Upon installation, you’ll see a new option (“Send to…”) below each post in your stream.

5. Edit photos. Here’s a nice feature for any on-the-fly photo editing. Go to your photos (accessible via your profile), select a photo. Click “Actions” > Edit photo, and you’ll be presented with several photo filters. Scroll through other photos in the album for consecutive editing.

6. Send a “direct message”. To send a message to just one friend, tag them in the beginning of a post and let them know it’s a private message. Then, comment on the post to establish your own, private thread.

7. Let friends e-mail you from your profile. With this setting, you can let people e-mail you directly from your profile. Head to your profile, then select “Edit profile”.

Below your profile photo, you’ll see a grayed out “Send an email”. Click it, and check “Allow people to email me from a link on my profile”. Then adjust the privacy settings below.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Google is a latecomer to social networking but its new site, Google+, is growing much more rapidly than Facebook, MySpace and Twitter did in their early days, technology experts said.

While Google+ may be the fastest-growing social network ever, it remains to be seen whether it can pose a serious threat to the social networking giant Facebook, which has more than 750 million members.

Andrew Lipsman, vice-president for industry analysis at tracking firm comScore, said Google+, which was launched by the internet search and advertising titan on June 28, had 25 million unique visitors as of July 24.

During a panel discussion on Google+ hosted by Wedbush Securities yesterday, Mr Lipsman said it took other social networks much longer to reach 25 million users: 22 months for MySpace, 33 months for Twitter and 37 months for Facebook.

“Obviously, this is a very strong growth trajectory,” Mr Lipsman said. He cautioned, however, that Google ”has a really large user base it can build off” with its 1 billion users worldwide.

And it still has a “really long way to go to be competitive with Facebook”, he said.

“Google+ is the fastest by a long shot but it’s important to realise that fastest may not always be best,” he said.

“Sometimes, that slow build can lead to a strong network effect that pays long-term dividends.”

Most Google+ users – 6.4 million – are in the USA, followed by 3.6 million in India, 1.1 million in Canada, 1.1 million in Britain and more than 920,000 in Germany, according to comScore.

Mr Lipsman said many Google+ users appear also to be users of Google’s email program Gmail and display a “very strong early adopter profile”.

He said the ratio of men to women was about two to one and that 60 per cent of Google+ users were between the ages of 18 and 34.

In the US, the highest numbers of Google+ users are in the tech-savvy cities of San Francisco and Austin, Texas, he said.

Steve Rubel, executive vice-president for global strategy and insights at public relations firm Edelman, said Facebook was not “vulnerable immediately” to Google.

“I don’t see [Google+] taking significant share from Facebook in the next 18 months,” Mr Rubel said.

At the same time, “what we have seen is that over the years there’s never been a social network or community that has had significant staying power”, he said.

“There’s always a shuffling every two or three years, a changing of the guard.

“We saw it with MySpace,” he said of the one-time social networking leader that has been eclipsed by Facebook and has been haemorrhaging users ever since.

Mr Rubel said Google was compelled to try its hand at social networking because Facebook was restricting the access of its search engine to Facebook content.

“What’s happening is more content is being created behind Facebook’s walls than ever before and a lot of that content is invisible to Google,” he said.

“Conceptually, at least, they’re building kind of an alternate web … There’s also an entire web that is app-based on mobile phones. That is also invisible to them.”

Mr Rubel said it was conceivable that more content would be invisible to them in five or 10 years than what the search engine can see today when created on Facebook or inside apps.

“So they had to make a play to get more people to create content on their site,” he continued. “It’s to get more people to spend time on Google.”

In unveiling Google+, Google stressed the ability it gives users to separate online friends and family into different “circles”, or networks, and to share information only with members of a particular circle.

One of the criticisms of Facebook is that updates are shared with all of one’s friends unless a user has gone through a relatively complicated process to create separate Facebook groups.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Ex-Apple executive

takes on Facebook with photo app

March 25, 2011 – 9:06AM
Color co-founder Bill Nguyen holds up his Apple iPhone with photos of himself using the Color application as he poses with staff members at the company's offices in Palo Alto, California.
Color co-founder Bill Nguyen holds up his Apple iPhone with photos of himself using the Color application. Photo: AP

We’ve all been to weddings where the bride and groom hand out disposable cameras to capture every angle of their big day. Now, a new application called Color allows you to do something similar with your phone, by sharing your images, videos and comments with anyone who comes within 50 feet (15 metres) of you.

The free app figures out if other users are close to you by using a secret blend of GPS data, ambient noise and even light.

Then your updates become available to them and you in turn see theirs.

The app, available initially on iPhones and Android-based smartphones, was created by a group of technologists led by CEO Bill Nguyen, the serial entrepreneur who sold digital music locker site Lala.com to Apple for an estimated $US85 million back in December 2009.

Nguyen said the app will help people break out of the mold of their current group of friends and give them more information about the people around them – namely co-workers and neighbours.

“I talk about identity: where I work and where I live. That’s a big chunk of who I am,” said Nguyen, 40, who demonstrated the app to The Associated Press. “But oddly, these people aren’t on my Facebook.”

While your first name appears on your posts, there is no password and no friending. So unlike Facebook, the notion of limiting private content to a friend network doesn’t exist.

In the future, the app will be able to intuit relationships based on whom its users spend time with regularly because it collects data constantly. You could bump into an acquaintance’s co-worker and immediately know that, simply because the two were in the same place during daylight hours on weekdays.

“The days of having to say anything are done,” Nguyen said. “There’s no more profiles, there’s no more friending, there’s no more electronic dog fence created by Facebook. It’s all over. This is the post-PC world. It’s a brand new way of sharing.”

Along with people within 50 feet, Color keeps sending feeds of people you recently were in contact with, although those contacts fade over time if you don’t engage with their streams. And if you’re at a concert, the app knows to string the entire group into one massive stream.

Color, with 30 employees in Palo Alto, California, was seeded with $US41 million in capital – $US25 million from Sequoia Capital, $US9 million from Bain Capital, and $US7 million from Silicon Valley Bank.

Mike Krupka, managing director of Bain Capital Ventures, said the site would seek to generate revenue from advertising by the end of the year. One possible way to help businesses advertise would be to enable restaurants to post photos of their specials to recent guests. Users might also be enticed by seeing pictures of what their acquaintances had ordered the last time they ate there.

“We believe that if you create a product that the consumer truly values to enhance their life experience, you’ll find a way to monetise that,” he said.

Gartner analyst Mike McGuire said the app was a good test to see if active social networkers were ready to take another step toward more sharing and less privacy. He noted that Nguyen is apt to change the app if people react adversely to the lack of privacy controls – noting that Lala was once a site that stored one’s personal CD collection online before becoming a way to buy web-based music.

“He’s willing to start with an idea and see how people react and change it accordingly,” McGuire said. “These guys have built the tools. Now it’s up to the consumers to do something with it.”

AP- Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

‘Creepy’ app spies

on your Facebook

relationship status

Ben Grubb

March 1, 2011

The Breakup Notifier Facebook app.
The Breakup Notifier Facebook app.

A new Facebook app that immediately alerts users when someone on whom they have a crush changes their relationship status is causing a stir.

To some it might be seen as an invasion of privacy, to others the ultimate tool to find out when a crush becomes available. But to US-based Dan Loewenherz, 24, who is the founder of the “Breakup Notifier” Facebook app, it was a joke, at least to begin with.

Although Facebook lets users view the relationship status of any friend at any time, the Breakup Notifier app alerts you automatically via email, removing the need to check constantly.

toon in anticipation of story.
Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

The idea came from overhearing a conversation Mr Loewenherz’s soon-to-be fiancee and mother-in-law were having, he said in a telephone interview with this website.

“I heard … [them] talking about a guy that they wanted to set up my fiancee’s sister with,” he said.

“And they were probably talking about it for at least 15 minutes and at the end of the conversation they were interested in looking at some photos of him on Facebook and so they went on Facebook and they immediately found out that he had a girlfriend. So at point they were kind of bummed. And … I thought maybe it would be cool if … they would be interested in [being notified] when a relationship ended.”

Founder Dan Loewenherz.Founder Dan Loewenherz. Photo: Supplied

The following weekend Mr Loewenherz set out to create a Facebook app that would do just that, spending four hours on it. The Breakup Notifier app was launched on February 20 and attracted more than 10,000 profile installs, Mr Loewenherz said. But after some negative feedback, Facebook blocked it, he said.

However, shortly after it was blocked, Mr Loewenherz relaunched it again under the new name “Crush Notifier“.

The Crush Notifier app differs from the Breakup Notifier app in that both people need to have a crush on each other before they find out whether there’s a possibility of a relationship.

“You will not receive an email unless you both crush each other,” the app’s site states.

But now that Facebook has unblocked the Breakup Notifier app, Mr Loewenherz is charging for its use, as well as charging for the Crush Notifier app. When first launched both apps were free.

Relationships Australia NSW chief executive Anne Hollonds said the Breakup Notifier app was “interesting because you could think of it as either completely creepy or actually really useful”.

“[In] some ways it’s possibly one of the most useful things that Facebook could do because, if that’s what people are using Facebook for, some of them – is to keep tabs on a crush – then it certainly makes it a whole lot easier, doesn’t it?”

But she said “the downside” of apps such as Mr Loewenherz’s was that there were some in the community who were “quite naive and vulnerable” and who “aren’t understanding the risks or the dangers of … putting their information up”.

“For example, someone might not realise they’re being stalked in this case,” she said.

To lodge a crush on the Crush Notifier app you need to buy a minimum of 50 Facebook credits ($4.92), which will give you the opportunity of having a crush on five people.

To spy on, watch, or monitor a person’s relationship status with the Breakup Notifier app, you will need to buy a minimum of 10 Facebook credits ($0.98), which will give you the ability to keep an eye on just one user.

“I think the feedback people give on Crush Notifier is far less negative,” Mr Loewenherz said. “It’s almost 100 per cent positive. So not many people are blocking it and Facebook’s alarms haven’t gone off. Facebook definitely knows about it but they’re not really taking any action against it. I think they’re actually totally fine with the idea.”

He said he believed the new app was more accepted because of its name.

“[Crush Notifier is more about] creating relationships instead of celebrating their demise, I guess.”

There were “three groups” of people when it came to analysis of the Breakup Notifier app, Mr Loewenherz said.

“One group thought it was hilarious and thought it was really funny. And that was kind of how I intended it to be but it didn’t end up being like that. It was originally just a joke,” he said.

Then there was the group that had found a “utility out of it and who are really happy it was made”.

And, thirdly, there were the people who were “very offended by it”, he said.

In the first two days that the Breakup Notifier app was initially running it “had a couple [of] million people” go to its app site. “Our user database … hit 3.7 million records”, Mr Loewenherz said.

Facebook said that “as a matter of policy” it did not comment, nor provide details, on why applications were blocked.

Unrelated to the app, Facebook said it would reintroduce a feature that one security expert criticised Facebook forimplementing.

In February, it announced it would give developers of applications access to the contact information of users who install their apps.

Shortly after the feature was launched, Facebook turned it off to adjust the way it would work. But now Facebook plans to reintroduce it.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha