Facebook To Launch Music Service With Spotify via @Forbes

Facebook has partnered with Spotify on a music-streaming service that could be launched in as little as two weeks, sources close to the deal have told Forbes.

The integrated service is currently going through testing, but when launched, Facebook users will see a Spotify icon appear on the left side of their newsfeed, along with the usual icons for photos and events.

Clicking on the Spotify icon will install the service on their desktop in the background, and also allow users to play from Spotify’s library of millions of songs through Facebook. The service will include a function that lets Facebook users listen to music simultaneously with their friends over the social network, one of the sources said.

Amazing that after all of Spotify’s positive press and US citizens clamoring to use the service, they still have to bootstrap themselves into business over here in the states using Facebook as a ladder. I don’t understand how this gets around the legal problems that prevented them from setting up shop here in the first place, but I guess Facebook is being recognized as the cash mule it is in media conglomerate circles. Maybe they just decided the money was too good.

Hopefully we’ll get to enjoy what the rest of the world has used to find new music for years, soon.

Makers Of Mac Defender Release New Malware

Apple has promised to take care of the Mac Defender malware that has spread across users’ computers. But the makers of the original have created a new version that’s even more of a threat as it doesn’t require a password to install itself.

Sure, this is annoying – but frightening? Anyone who believed that the most valuable tech company in the world, with an install base in the billions, would be able to produce a computer impervious to the coordinated attacks of the global hacker community, probably had his common sense uninstalled already.

The Future of User Interfaces: Data Visualization by @RWW

Planetary was launched by San Francisco startup Bloom Studio earlier this month. The company calls it “the first of a new type of visual discovery app” and promises more such apps in the coming months. They plan to use this type of visualization to “let you explore and participate in social networks, video streaming services, and location-based applications in a whole new way!”

What’s different about Planetary is that it doesn’t depend on traditional software controls and design patterns – such as a play button, scrolling down a list of tracks, even flipping through album covers. Instead, the app is controlled by the data visualizations.

In a recent UgoTrade interview, futurist and author Bruce Sterling said of Planetary:

“The thing I consider significant about that remarkable piece of Bloom software is that it uses information visualization as a new breed of control interface. That’s not just fancy re-skinning of the same old music-machine pushbuttons. That whole graphic shebang is generated in real-time on the fly. And you can run code with that, play music, do media with it! An advance like that is important.”
(emphasis ours)

A Wired review of the app notes that it turns a data set – in this case music – into “tactile and dynamic visual objects.”

Imagine those same techniques being used for data from social networking, location, media and real-world objects (the Internet of Things). That’s an intriguing development and I’m curious to see what other apps Bloom releases over the course of this year.

It’s not just about Minority Report and Hackers. At their core, all major OSs still function on interfaces developed in the time of DOS and command line prompts. Sure, Macs flashy interface is intuitive, but you can’t say it leverages recent technology and data interface techniques very creatively.

We’ve seen that data portability has reshaped the Internet. Now it’s time to reshape how we interact with our PCs.

British Courts Try to Stop the Tide of Social Media

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook makes anyone a publisher, and that’s disrupting the media industry, but the legal system isn’t much better off, since the courts like to control the flow of information almost as much as the media does. British courts in particular are wrestling with the impact of these technologies on their ability to control the publicity around a trial. In the latest move, a judge has issued an injunction that specifically bans the publication of any information involving the case via Twitter or Facebook. But in the battle of social media vs the courts, the former will almost certainly win.

Well, this sounds absurd. Is this an injunction against the people in the courtroom who are first-hand sources, or the republishing of information about what they’ve said, via Twitter? The language seems to suggest an extremely broad interpretation, but you’d have to be a certifiable nut to think you could control the flow of Twtter.

Now, Facebook – that’s another story.

Facebook Loses Much Face In Secret Smear On Google

Facebook secretly hired a PR firm to plant negative stories about Google, says Dan Lyons in a jaw dropping story at the Daily Beast.

I’ve been patient with Facebook over the years as they’ve had their privacy stumbles. They’re forging new ground, and it’s not an exaggeration to say they’re changing the world’s notions on what privacy is. Give them time. They’ll figure it out eventually.

But secretly paying a PR firm to pitch bloggers on stories going after Google, even offering to help write those stories and then get them published elsewhere, is not just offensive, dishonest and cowardly. It’s also really, really dumb. I have no idea how the Facebook PR team thought that they’d avoid being caught doing this.

Twitpic, Flickr And Other Photo-Sharing Sites Can Sell Your Images If They Want

Indignation spread through the Twittersphere when it was discovered that popular photo sharing service Twitpic was seemingly forbidding users from selling or distributing their own pictures. But Twitpic is not alone. Other photo services also exercise surprising controls over pictures uploaded by users, and most sites claim the right to use or distribute pictures without consent.

The Twitpic Terms of Service at that time (now changed) read:

You may not grant permission to photographic agencies, photographic libraries, media organizations, news organizations, entertainment organizations, media libraries, or media agencies to retrieve from Twitpic for distribution, license, or any other use, content you have uploaded to Twitpic.

After an uproar, Twitpic changed the conditions to clarify that users retain ownership of pictures they upload, but that Twitpic retains the right to use and distribute the content as the company sees fit.

The Terms of Service were updated thus:

You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

This is why I don’t share photos on Facebook anymore. Looks like I’ll have to be even more careful around the services whose ethos I would assume prevent from these kind of underhanded manipulations, like Flickr.

Symantec: Facebook Security Flaw Could Have Compromised User Information

Symantec has published a report claiming that for several years nearly 100,000 Facebook apps have been leaking access codes belonging to millions of users’ profiles.

Symantec’s report says that an app security flaw may have given advertisers and other third parties access to Facebook users’ profiles, though a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that there is “no evidence” of this occurring.

Writes Symantec:

We estimate that as of April 2011, close to 100,000 applications were enabling this leakage. We estimate that over the years, hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties.

Symantec compares these “access tokens” to spare keys that let apps interact with your profile.

Court to FCC: Back Off on ‘Net Neutrality’ – NYTimes.com

As Edward Wyatt wrote on Wednesday, a federal court ruled that the F.C.C. overstepped by telling Comcast it could not limit the amount of broadband available to certain heavy users.

The decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver their content faster to users.The court decision was a setback to efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to require companies to give Web users equal access to all content, even if some of that content is clogging the network.