When I read the newspaper headline – Facebook Grapples With Privacy Issues – I must admit that my first reaction was, “ho-hum; so what’s new?” But it looks as if these issues have turned serious for Facebook, with the FTC entering the picture. And it seems that Facebook is also taking this more seriously than it has reacted to earlier criticisms, with reports of senior executives hunkering down in the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters, debating on how to address the backlash to two of its recently launched features – which again exposed far too much of its member information to the world, both intentionally and not.
While I am an ardent social media evangelist, with respect to Facebook’s rather cavalier attitude to privacy I must admit that I am not on its side. Maybe it is a generational thing, but as a parent whose offspring has the same ‘bindaas’ attitude towards privacy, I find that I am quite horrified at the things my son writes on his Facebook page. He in turn, doesn’t seem to understand what the fuss is all about, so our arguments end only when I pull rank as a parent! As in my home, Facebook and its critics are on either side of a deepening chasm of understanding, where neither party can seem to understand the other’s viewpoint.
So whose philosophy do you champion – Facebook’s or the privacy advocates’ ?
Google became a household name, a verb and what have you by making available a comprehensive range of information just a click away, for internet users like you and me. The power of google is clearly its horizontal approach. Now, that can also become its limitation when a user is searching for something very specific.
For example, searching for travel options, or trying to shop for apparel or, looking for health tips. As the internet evolves and becomes a defacto medium for information gathering as well as commerce, the need for segmented information searches becomes real.
And thus the concept of the verticalized web became a reality. Today, we have companies like Kosmix and Thefind which have created specialized search engines – Kosmix has created verticalized portal search pages for health and auto. Thefind, on the other hand, is a search engine focused on the lifestyle and fashion industry. None of these players pit themselves against google, quite understandably.
The slow but sure proliferation of verticalized search engines, heralding the arrival of web 3.0, according to Sramana Mitra, is a clear sign on how the internet is permeating every aspect of our life, be it as a consumer, or as a company.
Mitra’s third book in her series Entrepreneurs Journeys talks about more web 3.0 examples.