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What happened to Google+?

This interesting piece in Business Insider talks about the changes recently announced by Google in its strategy with Google+. According to the article, although millions of people use the social network daily, most of them only do it in order to connect to one of the many Google services that are kind of linked together by Google+.

At the end of the day, according to data gathered by researcher Edward Morbis, only about 6 million out of 2.2 billion profiles are actively using Google+.



Relative url in og:image using WordPress Facebook plugin

I was struggling one of these days trying to figure out why my WordPress blog posts didn’t show the proper image when shared in Facebook.

I had already tried some different Facebook plugins, including the official Facebook plugin for WordPress, but I couldn’t find the reason. When I used the Facebook debugger, I always got an error message like this one:

Object at URL ‘http://mysite.com/mypost-path’ of type ‘website’ is invalid because the given value ‘/images/my_image.jpg’ for property ‘og:image:url’ could not be parsed as type ‘url’.

Strange, because my wordpress blog configuration looked fine, my theme (Atahualpa) supported featured thumbnails, and my posts had a featured thumbnail set.



The male dominance in Google+


After its launch, Google+ attracted a lot of attention. During its first weeks, many people unsuccessfully waited for an invitation that allowed them to join the new social bandwagon, that some analysts pointed as a potential threat to Facebook.

Nevertheless, it seems that most early users from Google+ came from the techie and nerd communities.

You just have to take a look at the top of the list of Google+ users with most followers to reach that conclusion: instead of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, there we will find Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergei Brin.

This data comes from Google+ Statistics Website, maintained by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, co-founder of Twitter Counter, which also brings some interesting information on the male/female ratio of Google+ users: men account for 88% of the user base, against only 10% of women (and 2% of “other”). That’s a HUGE difference, indeed.


Facebook deprecates FBML in favour of iFrame applications

Some months ago I wrote about which would be the best choice for developing a Facebook application: FBML or iFrames. Then, my team opted for using iFrame in our first Facebook application. Now that Facebook is announcing that is starting to deprecate FBML, I can see we took the right decision indeed.

From now on, all Facebook developers are encouraged to create their application using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. I think it was the proper direction to be taken by Facebook, since FBML always seemed to me a rather unnatural and clumsy thing. Thumbs up for the Zuckerberg crew!

The Real Life Social Network

This is a very nice presentation by Paul Adams, a Senior User Experience Researcher from Google, author of the book Social Circles.

In the presentation, he talks about how current social network sites (e.g., Facebook) are still far away from representing people’s  “real life networks”, and how the gap between those “real life social networks” and the “virtual social networks” can be bridged.

Facebook applications: iFrame x FBML – which one is best?

In the last days my team has been working in its first Facebook application. For convenience, we’ve chosen to develop it using iFrames, but we took this decision without thinking too much about other possible benefits or inconvenients. When approaching the final development phases, we’ve faced some performance bottlenecks that made me doubt about our choice. But after making some research, I’ve found this interesting article that convinced me we took the right path:

Lead Facebook Engineer Recommends Developers Use IFrames for Speed, Convenience

At the end, our real problem was not the iFrame choice itself, rather some bad designed pages that made a lot of unecessary calls to the Facebook API. After correcting this, the performance problems were eased.

UPDATE (April, 2011): Some months after this post was written, I see we really took the good decision, since Facebook has begun to deprecate FBML.