In a few days, on December 14th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to change how the internet is regulated in the United States. The impact on how regular users like you and me access information online could be massive, and here’s why.
Currently, there is policy around open communications, mandating that the treatment of traffic should be non-discriminatory: broadband providers cannot get in the way, they cannot censor or make deals that benefit certain types of content over others. For example, Comcast is not allowed today to treat Netflix differently than any other new video streaming startup.
The FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai (who worked as Associate General Counsel at Verizon), is proposing to vote to remove these rules in favor of a less regulated internet. Fewer regulations means, according to their main argument, that the amount of investments made by telecommunication companies will stop decreasing. However, the same data that the FCC used shows that investments have been flat at worse (or actually increased at best) since 2013.
The FCC also argues that if any corporation starts misbehaving, consumers can take their business elsewhere. Nonetheless, more than 50% of the US population only has access to one single internet provider, so they cannot even vote with their wallets. The only way to defend consumers rights will be through litigation and class action lawsuits.
Is everything bad in the new proposed plan? No, there is one important point that will be critical to detect future abuses: broadband providers are obligated to be transparent about their traffic practices; in other words, if Comcast made a deal to promote Netflix over any other streaming service, or if they started blocking or throttling certain sites, it would have to be public knowledge (even if that just means one more line in the fine print at the end of a contract).
Many of my friends have stopped posting on Facebook. Some have uninstalled the app and others even deleted their accounts.
They are not posting on Twitter either, and the more ephemeral Snapchat hasn’t reached critical mass among my closest friends.
Instagram is the only place where I still get a glimpse of the most intimate side of the people I love the most, but I’d say only 20% of my online friends actively use it.
What causes someone to stop sharing on social media? Is it a natural part of being over 30? Or is there an actual problem with the platform? Talking to several of these friends, I learned that there are several groups.
I’m sitting on a train, on my way to Whistler, and I decide to check Facebook. I’m hoping to see what my friends did last night, or what their plans are for Thanksgiving, but this is what I see:
I don’t see almost any personal posts, or pictures that help me connect with my friends, with the people I love. Isn’t that Facebook’s mission? Instead, I get irrelevant stories.
For the last month, I’ve been doing an experiment with my News Feed on Facebook; the goal was to make it a more personal place again, and less of the news-sharing site that it seems to be nowadays.
I’m not saying Facebook is not for sharing news, or interesting websites, or memes… after all, I’ve done that same thing for a long time. The problem is that at some point I got bored of seeing my News Feed filled with these impersonal stories and I ended up visiting Facebook way less than I used to. And when I did, I would incessantly scroll through my News Feed, looking for posts that shared something more personal (an idea, a feeling, a picture), but I found very few of these.
Ideally, Facebook should provide the following option: hide all external content, including content generated by accounts that I’m not following. This wouldn’t necessarily go against the company goal, “to help you connect with the people and things you care about the most“, but admittedly, advertisers and investors wouldn’t be so happy with an option that helps users see less content.
Yesterday, I took an Uber ride somewhere in Utah, accompanied a startup in Austin during their lunch break and left San Francisco by ferry. All thanks to Periscope, a new app from Twitter.
Periscope allows anyone to share what they see and hear, using real time video. It’s personal, easy to use and incredibly addictive (hello reality TV of the future), but is it here to stay?
As I was getting ready to say goodbye to 2014, I read a post from Owen Wilson titled “Twitter isn’t about news, tweets or even you anymore“. The thesis of that article was: Twitter doesn’t care about users anymore, only about ads and money.
Even though I agree with parts of that statement, I think he failed to mention some important points. Twitter is very interested in its users, in fact it’s dying to find the formula that keeps them engaged. The problem is that the company seems to be focused on making Wall Street happy first.
How would you find out which real estate website has the most up-to-date listings? how would you figure out which mobile carrier has better coverage in certain neighborhood of your city?
10 years ago, you could type keywords in a website like Google and hope to find the answer. Today, you have more and (sometimes) much faster options: websites that understand the meaning of the sentence you wrote, like WolframAlpha, intelligent virtual assistants that provide direct answers to simple questions, like Siri, Google Now or Cortana, and even apps or websites whose sole purpose is to connect someone asking a question with someone who knows the answer, like Jelly or Quora.
Much has been written about Bitcoin in the last few days: the demise of Mt.Gox triggered a wave of doubts about the cryptocurrency and the current ways of exchange. However, there are several initiatives trying to improve this situation and today we are interviewing Ximo Guanter, Co-Founder of Coinffeine, a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange platform.
Yahoo! seems to be the new web underdog, a company that is making a come-back for some people and a company that is helplessly sinking for others.
It has been a while now that Google announced it would close Google Reader, one of the most popular RSS readers, and since then lots of services and apps have rushed into what looked like a race to be the “best alternative”.
Digg launched its own version, Feedly also started working nonstop on its own independent infrastructure (which successfully launched), and it was rumored that even Facebook was working on some sort of reader.
Now, why did Google finish its Reader? According to Richard Gingras, Senior Director of News & Social Products at Google:
As a culture we have moved into a realm where the consumption of news is a near-constant process. Users with smartphones and tablets are consuming news in bits and bites throughout the course of the day — replacing the old standard behaviors of news consumption over breakfast along with a leisurely read at the end of the day.