Jack is Back – and everyone knows who lost him

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and their kin have empowered customers in ways that were unheard of during the analogue days. In another example of the power of social media, American Airlines grabbed unwelcome media attention when it lost Jack the Cat in their baggage handling facility at JFK airport. Soon there was a Facebook page for Jack, which its 18,000 followers filled with thousands of outraged comments. After nearly 2 months, Jack has been found and the airline would be happy to close this chapter.

Here are some screen shots of the ‘Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK’ page.

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Read more at Jack the Cat Found at JFK Airport – ABC News.

Accessing Facebook through SMS

A Dutch firm has introduced SIM cards that enable users to access Facebook through SMS, with no need for a dataplan. This has been introduced as a subscription service in Argentina. Implications for this in India are immense, with the large installed base of 600 million mobile connections, rapid growth in FB adoption and low SMS prices. 50 rupees ($1) for all you can FB without a dataplan is conceivable!


Read more at Facebook for SIM uses SMS; no data plan required — Mobile Technology News.

RIP: Facebook Deals

Facebook Deals was quietly buried last weekend. And no one has really noticed. AllThingsD says that FB Deals was a trial – a successful trial that FB was not willing to invest more into. Sounds like the HP TouchPad kind of trial that is becoming popular these a days.

This news may help Groupon with its IPO. It also gives ammo to folks who say that tech companies should focus – just because you are a great tech company, doesn’t mean you can do anything digital.

But our sources say that sales were meeting expectations, and that Facebook ultimately slashed the group because of limited engineering resources that could be used for better purposes.

One source said that it was a trial with a beginning and an end, and that in the end it wasn’t an actual strategic product of the company. Another source also said that Facebook wasn’t willing to contribute any more resources to it.

Facebook Deals May be Gone, But It’s Not a Reflection of the Industry – Tricia Duryee – Commerce – AllThingsD.

Facebook logo

Image via Wikipedia

Indians spend 20 minutes per session on Facebook

A study has found that home internet usage differs across countries. (This in itself should not surprising – cultural and contextual differences can drive heterogeneity in internet habits) On average, Indians spend 20 minutes per session on Facebook.  This is similar to the time spend by users from the US. However, FB users from Singapore spend almost double this time, per session. Surely, the number of FB sessions per week would also differ across countries. Other internet browsing habits are also different –


Consumers in Brazil, India, and Singapore for example are more likely to visit retail websites after visiting social networking sites that highlight their stores, thus presenting an opportunity to retailers to drive web traffic and sales through social networks.


read more at A look at Facebook usage across eight different countries.

Facebook Timeline

Facebook‘s new Timeline interface is raising privacy concerns. Again.

The changed interface will lay out a user’s history and FB interactions along a timeline. One of the many implications is that one will be able to see all the people who befriended you in a particular year – and see who is no longer your friend.

Facebook’s next gold mine – its Photo Library?

Apparently, humanity will capture 375 billion photos this year. FaceBook will be the store for 70 billion of these images. Can this vast photo library plausibly provide a future revenue stream for Facebook?

This post How many photos have ever been taken? | 1000memories calculates that 3.5 trillion photos have been taken since commercial cameras were introduced in 1901. The digital revolution has lead to a staggering exponential increase in the number of moments that have been captured in images. Many of these photos end up on FaceBook. At last count, 140 billion. That is an average of 200 photos per user.

Photos taken by year, film and digital

Image via 1000memories.com

The Facebook photo library is already the largest in the world – in comparison, Flickr is home to a minuscule 6 billion images. 6 billion is the number of photos that are uploaded to Facebook in a single month; and this number is sharply rising. As per the FaceBook TOS, Facebook has a worldwide license to use these photos.

you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).

The world's largest photo libraries

Image via 1000memories.com

If these trends hold, Facebook will soon be sitting on a picture gold mine (arguably, it already is). Considering the expected increase in Facebook users to well over a billion, coupled with an exponential increase in number of photos per user, it is not difficult to foresee a time when Facebook will have a photo library of a trillion images. While the outright sale of these photos may be the most obvious way to monetize this content, there may be several other possible uses of this treasure trove of human data. For example, it could be used as a base to create advanced graphical search, in human identification, or as a rich digital documentation of human civilization.

I wonder if the current valuations of Facebook reflect these possibilities?

Social Media in India

FaceBook and Yahoo are the top two websites in India with nearly 52% reach, per this Infographic by Burson Marsteller. Social networks are the preferred channel in India and most of Asia. The 8.2% of Indians who are online generate 15,000m page views on FaceBook; compare this to ESPN Cricinfo that has a mere 66m pageviews. If these trends hold, then half of the 200 million new internet users from India will be on Facebook by 2014!

asia-pacific-social-media-infographic.jpg (536×9862).