With +1, Google Search Goes Truly Social

Cutts wants to be very clear that this +1 data is public. While a big aspect of +1 is sharing results with your social graph (which is still sort of confusing given that Google isn’t an actual social network, so it’s Gmail chat contacts, Reader and Buzz friends, etc) , it is also about using that data in aggregate to highlight better results for everyone. For example, on a result that has been +1′d, you’ll see if any of your friends have +1′d it (in a similar way to the current Social Search look with people’s tiny profile icons under the result itself). But you’ll also see that X number of other people that aren’t in your social circle +1′d it as well.

At the end of the day, that’s what this really all comes down to. Whether they’ll admit it or not, Google is at war with Facebook for control of the web. Facebook is coming at it from a social perspective, Google from a data perspective. But the two sides have been inching closer to one another. Facebook isn’t fully doing search — yet. But their social ad play is also a huge threat to Google. Probably even a bigger threat, since that’s the way Google makes the vast majority of their money. And +1 is a big attempt to keep pace with Facebook in that regard.

+1 is actually a much better title for the feature than Facebook’s “like” button. It’s terribly awkward to “Like” a video about a horrible crisis like that in Japan. “+1″ on the other hand, expresses an interest, without attaching an emotion.

I’m glad they’re starting down this path, of aggressively competing with Facebook in their comfortable spaces. I’m sick of that damn like button.

Final Version of Firefox for Mobile Now Available

If you own an Android or Maemo device, you can now grab the official Firefox 4 for Mobile browser. The official and final version was released Tuesday.

One of the most exciting features, and one that makes total sense for desktop Firefox users, is Sync. It allows the user to carry all of his or her bookmarks, browsing history, log-in credentials and even open tabs from the desktop to the mobile device. This kind of portability, where the devices become less important and the data lives outside them, is almost futuristic and a boon to anyone who needs or desires greater mobility in life and work.

All-platform device syncing is the wave of the future. It shouldn’t matter who my carrier is, what kind of operating system I like, which apps I’ve shared, or what wallpaper I’m using; it’s a major financial and logistical hassle, but big companies simply have to move towards this kind of open standards implementation.

I already use Firefox sync to keep my laptop, work computer, iPhone, and iPad all sync’d. I find it absurd Apple won’t let Firefox import my bookmarks into mobile Safari on the iPhone! I have sync, and you can use it as a portal to open bookmarks you have saved off-device, but there’s no way to save TO your firefox bookmark cloud, and even worse there’s no way to access them from within Safari.

With the release of Amazon’s Android-only music service, and now Firefox sync-enabled browsing, I’m beyond jealous of Android at the moment!

Amazon Cloud Player: First Impressions

Even from my short test, it became apparent that Amazon wasn’t launching some half-baked product; Cloud Player is a fully functional, very usable streaming music player that could even make iTunes obsolete for many people, and its ability to play on-device and cloud-based music could quickly make it Android’s killer app.

Amazon has thrown down the gauntlet and set a high bar for cloud-based music streaming. Apple and Google, which are expected to launch their own cloud players sometime this year, will have to match Amazon on usability and price if they’re going to compete.

Very exciting news. But where’s my iPhone app?!

Anyone know if it’s possible to use the in-phone browser to access the Amazon music cloud?

Update: Actually, Mashable says no.  But: How to Use Amazon Cloud Player with iOS Devices.

Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey answers “Why is Twitter Valuable?” | Interview by @pkafka

We have a lot of mainstream awareness, but mainstream relevancy is still a challenge. It’s something that people can’t immediately get their head around: “Why is Twitter valuable?”

The answer is it’s not that Twitter is valuable, it’s that you can follow what’s unfolding in Egypt right now. That’s valuable. You can follow your favorite company or organization. You can also mix that in with your family and your social network and talk about all these interests in real time. That’s the value, not the brand “Twitter.” Twitter just provides the venue for it. So we need to refocus on the value. That’s my goal in the next few months.

It seems like you could really use some filters for all this information that’s on Twitter.

I think it’s the technology challenge for the next five years. We built very easy ways to input information. But extracting that information in a relevant way, in real time, is still a big, big challenge. So we need to build technologies that immediately surface what’s most revelant and most meaningful to you.

And that’s still a very, very large challenge, and difficult. You have to follow all of these accounts, and sometimes you miss some tweets that were extremly relevant to you. We can solve that through technology,  and we will solve that, but it is going to be quite difficult to do.

Every time I read Jack Dorsey’s words, I’m impressed. He’s clearly a thoughtful, big-picture kind of guy. What most resonated with me is his description of the beauty of Twitter being its unobtrusiveness, its agenda-free broadcasting.

I’ve been a bit worried Twitter is heading down a very spammy path (most noticeable when using a mobile app, or following a very popular subject, like #SXSW a few weeks ago), but I’m encouraged that he’ll likely do everything he can to preserve the unencumbered freedom of Twitter.

How to Work Around the New York Times’ 20-Article-per-Month Paywall

The New York Times launches its digital subscription packages today at 2 p.m. Eastern time.. That means web visitors can normally read 20 articles free each month, while users of NYT mobile apps can access just the “Top News” section, before needing a complicated subscription. But there are work-arounds and ways to move beyond “normally” and read the paper of record for free.

An excellent breakdown of why, and how, you might want to subvert the paywall.

I’m interested to see how fast I hit the 20-article monthly limit.

‘Know Your Meme’ Acquired By Cheezburger in Seven-Figure Deal

By now, it’s pretty clear there’s a real business in the hocking of internet culture. And when it comes to the business of documenting—and merchandising—the latest memes bubbling up from the internet’s underbelly and straight into pop culture, I Can Has Cheezburger is at the top of the pile. The company runs dozens of sites like Fail Blog, The Daily What and LOLmart which chronicle even the briefest, most obscure internet phenomena.

So when a web series births a spin-off web series—and ultimately a sizable online catalog—dedicated to dissecting the evolution of the now thousands of memes, you can bet Cheezburger took notice. Now today, we have learned from sources familiar with the deal, that Cheezburger Networks has acquired Know Your Meme for a low seven-figure sum.

This deal clearly benefits both of them quite a bit. But, does it really make sense for a media company to continue to manage what is essentially a review show for it’s own products? On one hand, they’re literally producing memes with engines like FAILblog and icanhascheezburger, and on the other, commenting on and cataloguing them? I think “Know Your Meme” benefits from having some critical distance from the trends they report on.

I hope Ben Huh gives them ample autonomy, or the spark could die out real quick.

A New Era for Internet Domains: Why .XXX Is Just the Beginning

ICANN will shortly be announcing the final rules and roll-out schedule for hundreds of other new TLDs. The program will let brands, trademark holders, industry associations and entrepreneurs bypass traditional extensions and become “masters of their own domains” by acquiring and controlling their own domain suffixes such as .canon, .nyc or even .mashable.

I’ve never understood why squatting on a domain name is easier (although more expensive) than squatting on a twitter handle. I wonder how liberal they’re going to be with naming standards; while longer extensions (like .mashable) are intuitive, I’ll be interested to see if they allow very short ones like “.0″ “.1″ “.i”.

I’d love to see bit.ly become b.i.t, for example.

Help – Identi.ca

Identi.ca is a microblogging service. Users post short (140character) notices which are broadcast to their friends and fans usingthe Web, RSS, or instant messages.

If you’d like to try it out, first register a new account.Then, on the public timeline, enter your message intothe textbox at the top of the page, and click “Send”. It will go out on thepublic timeline and to anyone who is subscribed to your notices (probably nobody,at first).

Hey, there’s an even more open competitor to Twitter!

Color’s Ambitious Photo App Seeks to Reinvent Mobile Social Networking

Say hello to Color, a new mobile photo-sharing application with a star-studded list of entrepreneurs and an eye-popping $41 million in funding. Its goal is nothing less than to become the ultimate local discovery tool.

The app, which made its debut just a few hours ago on iPhone (and very soon on Android), is best described as public photo and video-sharing app for groups. Yet it doesn’t have the typical friending or following that you’ll find on Facebook, Twitter, Path or Instagram. Instead, Color chooses which pictures you see based on your location and how often you’re sharing photos with someone else. Every photo and video is public, not only to the people you consider your friends, but to any stranger within your proximity.

Location-based mobile social sharing app with a specialized photography focus? How many buzzwords can you fit in a tagline?