Monday, March 11, 2013

NBBJ Designing Samsung's new silicon valley campus

New courtyard at Samsung's new San Jose Campus. (Courtesy NBBJ)

As Apple and Facebook have proven, corporate complexes are all the rage these days in Silicon Valley. Samsung (Apple’s phone nemesis) is the latest tech titan to add to the roster of architectural Bay Area campuses, rivaling Apple’s planned circular headquarters and Facebook’s Gehry-designed West Campus. The company plans to build a 1.1 million square foot sales and R&D headquarters on its current North San Jose site. Designed NBBJ, it will include a 10-story tower, an amenity pavilion, and a parking garage.

Rendering of Samsung's new San Jose Campus. (Courtesy NBBJ)
Based on renderings released to the Silicon Valley Business Journal last month, the tower will contain three distinct volumes wrapping around an open courtyard; the parking structure will be covered in living walls; and the five-pronged pavilion will showcase a perforated roof design. Design documents also reveal that various floors will house open-offices, 300+ work stations, a fitness room, and several terraces.
A view of the entire campus. (Courtesy NBBJ)

Facebook revamps site, tweaks mobile apps

Facebook wants to cut clutter.
The social media site, which has more than 1 billion users, on Thursday announced a newly redesigned news feed that blows up photos and visual content, and adds categories that focus on specific types of content. The Web version of the social network now looks much more like the mobile apps, which are also getting a revamping.

Facebook announced the changes during a media event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The new Web version will roll out slowly to users starting Thursday, and updated iOS and Android apps will be available in the coming weeks.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg compared the revamped feed to a local newspaper and the new channels to the traditional sections, such as sports and business, you'd find there.
"I think that there's this important and social place in this world for this customized newspaper," Zuckerberg said.
He didn't note the irony of comparing Facebook to an industry that his site and others are marginalizing.
The news feed is the first, and sometimes only, page people see when they log on to the Facebook website or fire up a Facebook mobile app. The nerve center of the Facebook experience, the news feed fills the middle of this home screen with updates, photos, articles and other content and activity from your friends, such as likes and app updates. Interspersed among that somewhat-chronological content are posts from pages you follow and targeted ads.
The main page, which Facebook is calling the "front page" to go with its newspaper metaphor, is adding categories so people can look at a more narrow feed of specific types of content as an alternative to the all-in-one view. There are views for all friends, most recent, close friends, music, photos, games and following.

Photos will show every single image your friends post as well as the photos posted by the pages you follow, including anything shared to Facebook from Instagram. The music channel will show a combination of nearby concerts, feeds from musicians you follow and the songs friends are listing to with third-party apps such as Spotify. The channels will appear on the mobile apps and Web versions of Facebook.

"Everyone's going to start on the front page like they do today. This just gives people more power to dig into the topics they care about," Zuckerberg said.
The individual elements that populate the news feed have been redesigned to fill the page better, the company maintains. Text is taking a back seat to visual content, which now makes up almost 30% of the content in the news feed, according to Zuckerberg. Photos, videos and albums are bigger. Shared articles show a bigger image and larger summary along with a logo for the publisher. Content in the feed about individuals and pages will show a little slice of their timeline, including their cover photo and a button to add them as a friend or to like the page. Maps and posts for third-party apps such as Pinterest have also been cleaned up.

Previously, the news feed occupied less than 40% of the real estate on the Facebook home page, according to Julie Zhuo, Facebook's director of design. To cut down on clutter and give the feed more room to breathe, navigation elements on the left have been slimmed down to a narrow black column of icons, similar to the mobile interface.
One thing that's not changing is the algorithm that decides what posts are displayed in a feed, which has received some criticism. Zuckerberg defended the practice of not showing a full and complete chronological feed of all content, saying people benefit from more important content, such as major life events, being given a more prominent place in their feeds.

The filters might be great for users, but they could have a negative effect on companies that have sunk money into promoting their pages and gathering fans, said one analyst. Those fans can switch to a more narrow feed of just their friends (or music content or photos) that doesn't include brand pages, potentially making it more difficult for companies to reach their followers.
"It's going to continue to erode the value of companies having Facebook pages and fans," said Forrester analyst Nate Elliott. "Facebook is walking a really fine line, they're not providing enough value."
Ads will still be featured on the friends-only feeds, so companies and brands that want to reach people who switch to those views can by buying advertising from Facebook. Elliot says this could be interpreted as a "bait and switch" by marketers.
Ads -- which are included in the redesign -- are Facebook's primary source of income. The company made $4.2 billion off advertising in 2012, which accounted for 82% of the social network's total revenue, according to Engadget. Most of that ad money comes from the Web version of Facebook, and 23% was from ads on mobile devices.

The company may get money from advertisers, but it needs to keep the users who click on those ads engaged, active and happy on the network.

By Heather Kelly, CNN        

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Facebook Tips very Useful about Privacy

1. Limit Sharing to Friends Only

This suggestion is diametrically opposed to Zuckerberg's famous "the age of privacy is over" declaration in 2009 in which he decided that everyone should share everything they posted on Facebook with everyone else. Later he retreated on this statement. The FTC stepped in, especially as the Timeline era approached. Facebook users can set the default to "friends only," and that's exactly what Downey suggests.
"If you're sharing with 'friends of friends,' you're exposing your info to an average of 150,000 people," says Downey. "When your data is open to the public, it can - and does - end up anywhere: the Girls Around Me app or Spokeo.com are two creepy examples."
To change the settings to friends-only, go to Privacy Settings, and select "Friends" or "Custom." Adjust the settings according to whom you would prefer sees your posts. Note that if you check the "Friends of those tagged" box, you are allowing Facebook to share the post on your wall with the friends of the person tagged.

2. Don't Let Your Friends Share Your Info

Pay close attention to requests from random Facebook social apps like BranchOut. (Plus, do you really want to do "career networking" on Facebook? Casual networking is one thing, but for purely professional connecting, go to LinkedIn.)
"BranchOut requests your basic info; your email address; your profile info: education history, location and work history; and your friends' profile information, including their education histories, locations and work histories," says Abine. "Even without your permission, BranchOut can access your friends' permission."
This is not only intrusive, yes, but also indicative of something more important: As soon as you become Facebook friends with another user, you are allowing them to access a great deal of information about you. This is even more reason to watch what you share on your Facebook profile and who you become friends with.
To change this setting, go to Privacy Settings > Apps, Games and Websites. Then select "How people bring your info to apps they use." Go through and uncheck information about yourself that you don't want your friends to share via social apps and games.

3. Take Care of Your Taggage

That's right, I said taggage, not baggage. It's all kind of the same these days, though. Unlike Google+, which asks users if they'd like facial recognition turned on in photos, Facebook offers "tag suggestions." This means that when a photo that looks like you is uploaded to the network, Facebook suggests adding a tag. It says that this helps "save time," especially when many photos are uploaded from a single event. It does not tag you automatically, but this sort of thing does count as facial recognition. If you would like to opt-out of this feature, change the "who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded" option to "no one."
If you don't mind keeping it within friends, select the "friends" option. You can also adjust the Timeline and Tagging options, turning on the review tags and review posts friends tag you in.

4. Limit Audience for Past Posts

The switch to Timeline caused many to promptly wipe and clean up their Facebook profiles, making them shiny new and pristine for friends. Changing the privacy settings on old posts means that you're making a conscious decision to share even past posts with only your current Facebook friends. This includes posts you've previously made public, or posts you've shared with people who you may not be friends with anymore. It poses an interesting question - do you want to change your Facebook past? That photo of an ex that you've since Facebook defriended, or perhaps a friend that you needed to unfriend for a time? If those photos represent memories, is it really necessary to go for a one-size-fits-all vision of your Facebook past?

"Think of this button as a one-stop shop to edit visibility of all your past Facebook posts," says Downey. "Anything that was open to the public or friends of friends will change to friends only."

5. Make Your Subscriber Search Private

Do you want your Facebook profile to be a community space, or a subscriber-based stream of you? Removing the public Subscribe option will help keep random strangers out of your publicly facing community.

Badgeville's Director of Marketing Adena DeMonte was the eighth person to comment on Mark Zuckerberg's announcement of the Subscribe button. Since then, she has accumulated 76,000 public subscribers, a dramatically greater amount than the 10,000 who discovered her Twitter over the years. It seems like a great way to promote herself as a blogger, and her company as a whole. Right?
"The experience has been extremely poor, especially from a privacy standpoint," says DeMonte. "While among my 76,000 subscribers I have a sizable amount of intelligent people who I'd like to engage with, the majority of my subscribers are middle-aged men from countries that do not speak English, mostly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. That alone is not bad, but the amount of inappropriate content produced by these men and shared on my wall is overwhelming."
As a result, DeMonte has blocked comments by her subscribers. That's not where the drama ends, however. These men have friend requested many of her female friends, including her own mother. Her real friends started unfriending her, too, and actually got upset with her. Sometimes, a massive social media presence comes at a price.
"Unless you turn off Subscriber Search, anyone can subscribe to your public posts, whether you know them or not," says Downey. "This means that your 'public timeline' will show up in search engine results and let anyone look up your timeline by name."
To change this, go to Account Settings > Subscribers, and uncheck the "allow subscribers" box.

Why Facebook is making people sad

As Facebook becomes a more powerful influence in our digital lives, researchers are looking into how the social network changes our perception of the lives of friends and family members.

According to a new study conducted by sociologists Hui-Tzu Grace Chou and Nicholas Edge at Utah Valley University, research showed a correlation between a Facebook user’s disposition about their life and the amount of time spent on the social network. Approximately 425 students were asked to identify how much they agreed or disagreed with statements like “Life is fair” and “Many of my friends have a better life than me.” In addition, the students were asked about how much time they spent on Facebook, their number of Facebook friends as well as how many of those friends they had actually met in person. The researchers also attempted controlling for factors like relationship status, gender, religious beliefs and race.

Seeing a pattern emerge, the two sociologists discovered that as people spend more time on Facebook, they start to believe that others have a better life than they do. Within the paper, Chou and Edge stated “Those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives. Furthermore, those that included more people whom they did not personally know as their Facebook “friends” agreed more that others had better lives.”
Published in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking journal, the study also concluded that people that spent less time socializing on Facebook and spent more time with real-life friends were less likely to be unhappy. Since Facebook users are far more likely to depict the happiest times of their lives through carefully curated photos rather than catalog depressing events, many users are more likely to believe that happiness is a constant in their friend’s lives. An earlier study conducted last year by the American Academy of Pediatrics also found that children and teenagers can develop “Facebook Depression” when being overwhelmed with positive status updates and photos of happy friends.

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