All posts tagged ‘facebook’

File Under: Social

Diaspora Unveils its Open Social Code

The developers behind Diaspora, the social network aiming to build an open source Facebook clone, and maybe steal some of the giant’s thunder, have released their first bit of actual code.

The goal behind the Diaspora project is to create a social network that puts users in charge of their own data. As the developers put it, Diaspora aims to be a “privacy-aware, personally controlled, do-it-all open source social network.” Diaspora made headlines earlier this year for raising some $200,000 from online contributors (including Facebook).

The initial code release is considered pre-alpha — in other words, a long way from its end goal — but it’s now available to development community. If you’re a Ruby on Rails expert and you’d like to try hacking away at the project, you can grab the code from GitHub. It’s been made available under the GPLv3 [Update: It’s actually the AGPLv3].

At the moment, Diaspora is capable of sharing status messages and photos privately with your friends, finding friends around the web and controlling who see what with something Diaspora calls “Aspects.”

The roadmap to October’s alpha release includes adding Facebook integration, Data Portability support and internationalization. For more details on Diaspora’s goals and timetable, check out the detailed roadmap and wish list. You can also read more about this most recent launch at Epicenter, where Wired reporter Ryan Singel is on the Diaspora beat. If you’ve got strong opinions of what Diaspora needs or doesn’t need, be sure to jump on the mailing list and make yourself heard.

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File Under: APIs, Location, Social

Facebook Opens Up Places in its API

Less than a full day after launching its new location-sharing feature, Facebook has opened up Places to developers.

Thursday afternoon, developers gained access to users’ check-in data via Facebook’s Graph API. Developers can also access check-in data from locations, like restaurants and businesses, to see who’s checked in there.

As we mentioned in our coverage of Wednesday evening’s launch, the Places data is read only for now. Applications can’t write or search Places data through the API. Those features are only available to Facebook’s launch partners for Places — Gowalla, Foursquare, Yelp and Booyah — while the kinks get ironed out. Everyone will get access to write and search Places data within a few months, according to Facebook.

The documentation for the Graph API has been updated to provide instructions for calling Places.

So sayeth the man page: “Every check-in is associated with a check-in ID that represents an object in the graph. Check-ins are associated with locations represented by Facebook Pages; the location must have a Facebook Page ID, whether the Page was created on Facebook directly or using the Open Graph protocol.”

If you don’t want to join in any of Facebook’s check-in reindeer games, the How-To Wiki has instructions on disabling Places in your account.

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File Under: Location, Social

‘Places’ Turns Facebook Into a Location Sharing Powerhouse

Facebook has jumped on the location check-in bandwagon with a new feature known as Places. Facebook Places has launched with four partners, all services that already offer check-in services — Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah.

If you use Foursquare, Brightkite or other location check-in services there isn’t much to see in Facebook Places. The only real difference is the scale that Facebook brings to the table.

Places is already available to most in the U.S. in their desktop browsers on Thursday. To use Places on your mobile, you’ll either need to download the new Facebook iPhone app (version 3.2, which is available now), or you can head to the Facebook mobile site with a web browser that supports the Geolocation API (basically anything but IE).

To read full coverage of the Places launch announcement on Wednesday night, read Ryan Singel’s report on Wired’s Epicenter blog.

While Facebook isn’t doing much with location that hasn’t already been done at least half a dozen other services, it does of course bring location sharing to Facebook’s massive user base of 500 million people around the world. Eventually, all of them will get access to Places once it rolls out in other countries. In the past that user base hasn’t been very welcoming of new features, especially features that involve privacy changes. While Places will be activated for all accounts, by default your location won’t be broadcast to everyone — just your friends.

To use the new feature, you can actively check in to a location, or you can let your friends check you in to a location without doing anything. While this may ruffle your feathers, if you don’t want people knowing where you are, it’s pretty simple to disable your friends’ ability to check you in, and to just ignore the check-in button.

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Places has three goals: helping people share where they are, seeing which of your friends are close by, and seeing what other places of interest are near you.

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File Under: UI/UX, Visual Design

Get Free Design Advice From Not Pixel Perfect Yet

The web is long on opinion, but short on informed, constructive criticism.

Thank goodness then for Not Pixel Perfect Yet, a group of web experts who will critique your website’s design in public for free, offering helpful suggestions and advice on improving your site’s design, readability and usability.

The group is made up of 10 or so Czech web designers who are skilled in graphic design, UI/UX and search optimization.

You submit a link to the group by
e-mail ( telling them what areas you’d like them to critique. If your site is chosen, they’ll post a screenshot of your design to their Facebook page. The different members of the group will all chip in and provide comments about your font choices, your use of CSS, the way you use images, your logo — anything you want to improve. They pick one site per week.

All of the discussion happens in the open on Facebook, and since the group is public, anyone can join the group and participate in the discussion. Even better, everyone on the web can view the Not Pixel Perfect Yet critiques, making the group a valuable learning tool for budding web designers or anyone struggling with basic design challenges.

A couple of caveats — first, the designers are all Czech, so the responses are usually written in Czech. But the team members speak English and can comment on your site in English if you ask. For the critiques that are written in Czech, Google Translate does a decent enough job of getting the point across. If you’re using Chrome, the browser will offer to translate the page automatically.

Second, if you just look at the Wall posts, you won’t see much beyond a few sentences about each design. You need to click over to the “Discussions” tab to get to the meatier comments.

Facebook is probably not the best forum for the NPPY mission. The public flow of comments is nice, but you have to be a Facebook member to comment, and the tabbed interface is wonky. Some folks on Twitter are asking the group members to move it somewhere other than Facebook, and NPPY leader Nikol Kokesova says she is considering starting a blog.

You can see a full list of the members at A Digital Moleskine, where blogger Milan Cermak has posted links to NPPY’s Twitter feeds, and where I originally learned about the project. There’s also a NPPY Twitter list you can follow.

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File Under: Social, Web Services

Twitter Now Lets You Automatically Follow Your Facebook Friends

Twitter is launching some new tools that let you easily add your Facebook friends and your LinkedIn connections to the list of people you follow on the social network. If your friends from Facebook and LinkedIn are on Twitter, you can use the Twitter’s official apps on those social networks to start following them with one click.

This should be a boon to people who are interested in homogenizing their online social experiences, because it lets them follow everyone they know across three of the major social web platforms out there. Of course, some prefer to keep their chocolate and peanut butter separate — they can just ignore these tools and keep on livin’.

The change was announced on the Twitter blog Wednesday afternoon:

Our Facebook app… now shows which of your Facebook friends are on Twitter and lets you follow them instantly and save them to a list. The app also lets you post your Tweets to your Facebook profile and now, to one of your Facebook pages too. With the Tweets application by LinkedIn, you can see which of your LinkedIn connections are on Twitter and follow the ones you choose right from the app. The app also lets you save your LinkedIn connections as a list, post your Tweets to LinkedIn, and add your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile.

These enhancements to the Facebook and LinkedIn tools should be listed in Twitter’s Find Friends section soon.

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