PALO ALTO, California — Facebook unveiled three new products at its headquarters here Wednesday: video calling, group chat and a new design to its chat system.
In a major partnership with Skype, Facebook now offers free video calling between connected users of the site. Beginning Wednesday, a “call” button can be found in the top right-hand corner of each user’s Facebook page. After clicking on the button, the video chat window launches on your Facebook page, inside of your browser window.
“Think of this simply as a mini-Skype client,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates during the announcement. “One that’s obviously embedded in a very attractive way.”
The group chat announcement comes as an add-on to Facebook’s already existing chat function. When chatting with a friend on your Facebook page, a button allows you to add other friends of yours to the chat. Continue reading →
MySpace has now been sold for a relatively paltry $35 million, according to details now trickling. The buyer isadvertising network Specific Media, according to several sources including the Wall Street Journal, though paperwork apparently has not been signed. A formal announcement – if it is issued – remains forthcoming.
Of course, that pales in comparison to the original purchase price of $580 million – in 2005 – and also well below the $100 million tag rumored to be sought by News Corp. Additionally, this appears to be an all-stock transaction, a huge testament to the cliff-dive that MySpace has experienced over the past few years.
Dawnmarie Souza’s comments on her Facebook page didn’t win her any points with the boss, but the rest of us owe her a debt of gratitude. In a rare test of old law on a new medium, she helped us understand just how little the online world differs from the land of bricks and mortar.
Souza’s career as a paramedic at American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. may not have been too bright even before she called her boss various genital parts in a November 2009 Facebook posting. She had been hauled on the carpet for several incidents of allegedly rude behavior and had further rankled the emergency-response company by asking to have a union representative present when she was to be questioned about one particular customer’s complaint that she had been rude, according to a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) investigation of the case. The company denied the request, and that, in turn, set off her colorful Facebook flurry. American Medical fired her 23 days later. Continue reading →
The 2011 Billboard Music Awards will air on ABC live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 22, in partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The announcement was made today by Richard D. Beckman, CEO of Prometheus Global Media, which owns Billboard. The live broadcast will be co-executive produced by Mr. Beckman and Don Mischer of Don Mischer Productions.
“This show marks the first of several broadcast platforms we plan to build around the Billboard franchise,” Beckman said. “We have an incredible network partner and with Don Mischer, one of the finest producers in the world. We look forward to entertaining music fans with Billboard’s own rendition of a televised celebration of music.” Continue reading →
And not just because he’s no longer governor. California has just made it harder to pretend to be someone you’re not — at least on the Internet.
SB 1411, which former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law back in September, prohibits people from impersonating other individuals online, meaning you can’t have a Facebook profile saying you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger. Free speech issues abruptly came up over expression on the Web, but the new law tries to address that by specifying a perpetrator’s intent must be “to devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive, or extort, or wrongfully control or obtain money, property, or data,” according to the statute’s language.
Parody and satire are not expressly addressed, but the intent was to focus on cyberbullying on social networking sites. “What people thought was just a prank is now a violation of law,” State Sen. Joe Simitian, who introduced the bill, told the San Francisco Examiner. “I hope this is the first step in changing behavior.”