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Posts Tagged ‘graph’

An Interactive Graph of the Certificate Authority Ecosystem

December 14th, 2012 12:00 admin View Comments

Encryption

An anonymous reader writes “Researchers of the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley have created an interactive diagram that shows root-CAs, their intermediates, the relationships between them and how many certificates have been signed by them. The graph was generated by passively monitoring the Internet uplinks of a number of (mostly) edu sites for SSL connections and their certificate Information. Among other things the graph shows that one GoDaddy intermediate signed more than 74,000 certificates and that a German CA uses more than 200 sub-CAs for administrative reasons.”

Source: An Interactive Graph of the Certificate Authority Ecosystem

Google’s Second Brain: How the Knowledge Graph Changes Search

December 12th, 2012 12:19 admin View Comments

Google

waderoush writes “Last spring Google introduced its English-speaking users to the Knowledge Graph, a vast semantic graph of real-world entities and properties born from the Freebase project at Metaweb Technologies (which Google acquired in 2010). This month Google began showing Knowledge Graph results to speakers of seven other languages. Though the project has received little coverage, the consequences could be as far-reaching as previous overhauls to Google’s infrastructure, such as the introduction of universal search back in 2007. That’s because the Knowledge Graph plugs a big hole in Google’s technology: the lack of a common-sense understanding of the things in its Web index. Despite all the statistical magic that made Google’s keyword-based retrieval techniques so effective, ‘We didn’t ever represent the real world properly in the computer,’ says Google senior vice president of engineering Amit Singhal. He says the Knowledge Graph represents a ‘baby step’ toward future computer systems that can intuit what humans are searching for and respond with exact answers, rather than the classic ten blue links. ‘Now, when you encounter encounters the letters T-A-J-M-A-H-A-L on any Web page, the computers suddenly start understanding that this document is about the monument, and this one is about the musician, and this one is about a restaurant,’ Singhal says. ‘That ‘aboutness’ is foundational to building the search of tomorrow.’”

Source: Google’s Second Brain: How the Knowledge Graph Changes Search

Facebook CTO Is Leaving 1 Month After IPO

June 15th, 2012 06:44 admin View Comments

Facebook CTO Bret Taylor, who once described himself as being in “violent agreement” with Mark Zuckerberg, is reportedly stepping down later this summer to work for an unnamed startup. Taylor has been a leading figure behind some of the most familiar innovations in the last decade – Google Maps, Facebook’s social plugins and Open Graph. His decision to abandon Facebook for a startup is an ominous sign for a company that, until its disappointing IPO, was considered an unstoppable juggernaut.

Taylor joined Google in 2003 and was the co-creator and project leader for the team that built Google Maps. He left in 2007 and created the social sharing site FriendFeed. Facebook bought the site in 2009 and hired Taylor. He was named CTO less than a year later.

While at Facebook, he oversaw platform and mobile, which included projects like the Graph API, Open Graph and App Center. Mike Vernal and Cory Ondreijka, who worked under Taylor, will take over platform and mobile, according to tech news site All Things D.

Photo by drewm.

Source: Facebook CTO Is Leaving 1 Month After IPO

Brands Step Up Open Graph Efforts on Facebook

May 30th, 2012 05:30 admin View Comments

Brands are increasingly abandoning efforts to get users to “like” their Facebook pages and instead focusing their marketing efforts on Open Graph, the protocol Facebook uses to reflect third-party app use in a user’s social activity.

Facebook has made a series of revisions to Open Graph since it was introduced in 2010; most recently, it extended the concept to include arbitrary actions and make Open Graph actions more prominent on a user’s timeline. Meanwhile, a recent study found that 42% of Internet URLs use Open Graph, and the search term “Open Graph” has been gaining traction on Google Trends.

“There is a huge reason to go that route over trying to drive people to like your Facebook page,” said Josh Grossman of digital coupon firm SavingStar, which is in the process of implementing Open Graph on its website. “When a user likes your [Facebook] page, that posts through their newsfeed only one time. With Open Graph, potentially every action users take is posted to Facebook, increasing your chances of getting return traffic exponentially.”

At Pandemic Labs, a Boston-based social media agency, vice president Clint Fralick said it’s easier for brands to rack up “likes” for their Facebook page, but added that using that strategy has “questionable” long-term value.

Open Graph “gives you a lot more options. Even if you require minimal permissions, Open Graph lets you customize visitors’ experience on-site and set up multiple ways they can publish their activity on your site to Facebook,” Fralick said. “In terms of traffic-generating potential, the difference is simple: You can set up a simple user flow with Open Graph that has 3-4 publishing points (when they add the app, when they find a favorite product, when they buy, etc.), and you can repeat parts of that sequence every time someone visits. The one story you get from a regular Page Like doesn’t compare.”

There are, of course, complaints, as is typical when discussing Facebook. The widespread use of Open Graph gives Facebook a much wider presence on the Internet, even after users have logged out of the site. And Open Graph is optimized for Facebook’s efforts to collect click signals, meaning it may not be ideal for all content publishers.

Embedly co-founder and CEO Sean Creeley, who came up with the 42% number, responded to a Quora question about how Open Graph changes have impacted the ability to collect data. “You need to look at it from a publisher’s side rather than a scraping side…It’s perfect for Facebook’s use of the data, but for general purpose it’s very limiting,” Creeley wrote. “The web is getting bigger; images, videos and descriptions. Could Flipboard or Pinterest solely use Open Graph? No, not really.”

Source: Brands Step Up Open Graph Efforts on Facebook

Brands Step Up Open Graph Efforts on Facebook

May 30th, 2012 05:30 admin View Comments

Brands are increasingly abandoning efforts to get users to “like” their Facebook pages and instead focusing their marketing efforts on Open Graph, the protocol Facebook uses to reflect third-party app use in a user’s social activity.

Facebook has made a series of revisions to Open Graph since it was introduced in 2010; most recently, it extended the concept to include arbitrary actions and make Open Graph actions more prominent on a user’s timeline. Meanwhile, a recent study found that 42% of Internet URLs use Open Graph, and the search term “Open Graph” has been gaining traction on Google Trends.

“There is a huge reason to go that route over trying to drive people to like your Facebook page,” said Josh Grossman of digital coupon firm SavingStar, which is in the process of implementing Open Graph on its website. “When a user likes your [Facebook] page, that posts through their newsfeed only one time. With Open Graph, potentially every action users take is posted to Facebook, increasing your chances of getting return traffic exponentially.”

At Pandemic Labs, a Boston-based social media agency, vice president Clint Fralick said it’s easier for brands to rack up “likes” for their Facebook page, but added that using that strategy has “questionable” long-term value.

Open Graph “gives you a lot more options. Even if you require minimal permissions, Open Graph lets you customize visitors’ experience on-site and set up multiple ways they can publish their activity on your site to Facebook,” Fralick said. “In terms of traffic-generating potential, the difference is simple: You can set up a simple user flow with Open Graph that has 3-4 publishing points (when they add the app, when they find a favorite product, when they buy, etc.), and you can repeat parts of that sequence every time someone visits. The one story you get from a regular Page Like doesn’t compare.”

There are, of course, complaints, as is typical when discussing Facebook. The widespread use of Open Graph gives Facebook a much wider presence on the Internet, even after users have logged out of the site. And Open Graph is optimized for Facebook’s efforts to collect click signals, meaning it may not be ideal for all content publishers.

Embedly co-founder and CEO Sean Creeley, who came up with the 42% number, responded to a Quora question about how Open Graph changes have impacted the ability to collect data. “You need to look at it from a publisher’s side rather than a scraping side…It’s perfect for Facebook’s use of the data, but for general purpose it’s very limiting,” Creeley wrote. “The web is getting bigger; images, videos and descriptions. Could Flipboard or Pinterest solely use Open Graph? No, not really.”

Source: Brands Step Up Open Graph Efforts on Facebook

Google Goes Back to What It Does Well: Finding Things

May 16th, 2012 05:00 admin View Comments

Surprise! Google has completely transformed the way search works again. But this time, it’s a kind of search that would have made the old Google proud. Today, starting with U.S., English-language users, Google unveils the Knowledge Graph. Search now looks at the words of your query and identifies the things in it. You’re not just searching the Web anymore. You’re searching the world.

From Words to Things

Most of Google users’ queries are ambiguous. In the old Google, when you searched for “kings,” Google didn’t know whether you meant actual monarchs, the hockey team, the basketball team or the TV series, so it did its best to show you Web results for all of them.

In the new Google, with the Knowledge Graph online, a new box will come up. You’ll still get the Google results you’re used to, including the box scores for the team Google thinks you’re looking for, but on the right side, a box called “See results about” will show brief descriptions for the Los Angeles Kings, the Sacramento Kings, and the TV series, Kings. If you need to clarify, click the one you’re looking for, and Google will refine your search query for you.

When Google knows which thing you’re asking about, this box becomes a resource in itself. It will fill in a brief description, likely culled from Wikipedia, and it will list a few key facts specific to the thing in question.

For example, it will show you when a person was born, when they died, where they went to college and so forth. But if you search for a roller coaster, it might tell you how many Gs you’ll feel, what its longest drop is and who designed it. If it’s a band, you’ll see upcoming shows and the latest album releases. Oftentimes, all the information you need will be present right on the search page.

The box also shows related concepts underneath. So if you searched for Frank Lloyd Wright, you’ll see links to his projects, too, as well as other famous architects. You can keep browsing through these related topics all day long.

If Google gets something wrong, you can report a problem right from the box. It will monitor corrections and correct its database, and it will generate a report for its outside data sources like Wikipedia.

How Google’s Knowledge Graph Works

The Knowledge Graph brings to bear some technology Google has been working on for a while. In particular, it leans on its acquisition of Freebase in 2010. Freebase is a structured database of semantic information. It maps synonyms to help Google understand the meaning of words. It also incorporates other “gigantic, messy, redundant datasets” like Wikipedia, the World CIA Factbook, and Google Books. Some of it is freely available and some of it is licensed.

Google won’t comment on the exact mix of sources (or the business deals involved), but Search project manager Johanna Wright says that “comprehensiveness is the goal.” So far, that amounts to 500 million people, places and things and 3.5 billion defining attributes and connections.

As Google Fellow Ben Gomes told ReadWriteWeb in February, Google is going down the path of “understanding the relationships between things.” By identifying the things in your query, Google can now provide you with all kinds of information about them, instead of just stacking up Web links.

For the next phase of search, there’s a race on to see who can bridge the gap between the vague queries of the user – i.e. words – and the things they represent. Lately, Microsoft has been talking up its “entity engine,” internally called Satori. With the new Bing, which began to roll out last week, Satori is a crucial component, identifying the things in a query and describing them in a new box called Snapshot. But Snapshot hasn’t launched yet. Google got there first.

Search the World, Minus Plus?

Google-watchers will recall that Google has already radically changed its search this year. In January, it unveiled Search, plus Your World, its way of integrating personalized results into search using Google+. It was a controversial move, but at least you could turn it off.

It’s worth noting that Google didn’t mention Google+ or Search, plus Your World at all when it showed me the new Knowledge Graph features. In the slides, the toggle switch between “search” and “your world” weren’t even there, as though the user had disabled personalized search in his preferences.

When I asked about it, Wright only said that “there really are not many changes to Search, plus Your World for now.” When you search for a person, the Knowledge Graph will identify Google+ profiles as that person, but that’s it. Today’s launch is not about Google+. It’s about Google. Remember Google? “Organizing the world’s information?” If the Knowledge Graph is any indication, that Google is back.

Rolling Out the Knowledge Graph

As the Knowledge Graph grows up, Google wants to be able to answer complicated questions. Where can I find an amusement park with a vegetarian restaurant nearby? What is the coldest lake in the world in July? Now that Google recognizes the things in the query, it will be able to return answers, not just pages.

This is a big change. You’ll see Knowledge Graph features in your searches about as often as you see Google Maps. It affects more queries than the entire launch of Universal Search did back in 2007, when Google added images, videos, news and books to its results.

Starting today, the Knowledge Graph is coming to English-language U.S. users on desktop, mobile and tablet searches from the browser. The native Google Search apps are coming soon, as are more countries and languages.

Lead image via Shutterstock

Source: Google Goes Back to What It Does Well: Finding Things

Who’s Winning The Battle For The Interest Graph: Facebook, Google+ or Twitter?

April 30th, 2012 04:00 admin View Comments

Do you use Google+ more than Facebook? Are you an avid Twitter user, but not so active on Google+? Do you auto-share online media, such as songs or news articles, onto Facebook? These are just some of the questions being asked in the ongoing evolution of the “Interest Graph,” succinctly defined by software engineer Adam Rifkin as “WHAT people care about.” He was contrasting it to the term popularized by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Social Graph,” which is WHO people care about.

As I’ve watched the Interest Graph evolve over the past year, what’s struck me the most is that it has forced people to make a choice. I’m willing to wager that most of you have chosen one platform as your primary means to track and express what you care about.

Here is more of Rifkin’s definition of an Interest graph:

A very important aspect of the Interest Graph is that unlike the Social Graph, which is for the most part static (except for an occasional friending or unfriending), the Interest Graph is elastic, dynamic, and rapidly changing for any individual consumer based on:

- What a consumer searches for (on Google, Bing, YouTube, Twitter, etc)
- What a consumer follows (on Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, Tumblr, Quora, etc)
- What a consumer expresses (as blog posts, tweets, pins, stashes, statuses, reviews, pictures, conversations, etc.)

When it comes to determining what people care about on a daily basis, it’s most obvious in Rifkin’s third point: what they express. With that in mind, here are a few trends I’ve noticed in the evolution of the Interest Graph:

1. Many of the people I most enjoy following use Twitter as their primary platform for daily thoughts. For example, I like to know what PaidContent founder Rafat Ali is interested in, seeing as he’s a smart and successful media entrepreneur. Most of his daily thoughts can be found on Twitter. He uses Google+ and Facebook too, but to a lesser degree.

2. Google+ is the main Interest Graph platform of only a minority of people I track. Kevin Kelly, another person I admire and whose thoughts I like to know, is an avid Google+ user and very rarely uses Twitter. But he’s an exception. Most of the other thought leaders I track are far more active on Twitter than on Google+.

3. Facebook is an ongoing experiment, but right now it’s too noisy as an Interest Graph. In my view, Facebook is the most innovative of the 3 companies in developing for the Interest Graph. However, it’s also the hardest place to find the signal in the noise – because of those very innovations. In particular, Facebook’s so-called “frictionless sharing” – where music you listen to or articles you click on are automatically posted into your Facebook news feed – is adding a large store of data to the global Interest Graph. However, because Facebook users aren’t necessarily selective about what they listen to or click on, the Interest Graph data in Facebook is less focused than on Twitter or Google+.

The Winner

If I had to pick a winner of the Interest Graph battle right now, it would be Twitter. It is used by most of the thought leaders I track. It’s easy to see what those people are interested in, by seeing which Twitter accounts and lists they follow. It’s easy to search for things, using hashtags (although Twitter does have an issue with archiving data). Most of all, Twitter’s very format lends itself to incisive, two-way discussions about things people care about: features such as the 140 characters per post, the ability to conduct a back-and-forth exchange with other like-minded people, the real-time ‘thinking out loud’ aspect.

Google+ has a lot of promise as an Interest Graph. You can do more detailed, thoughtful posts than on Twitter. You can utilize Google’s unparalleled search to find topics of interest, then subscribe to those searches within Google+. However, as a digital map of what people like, at this stage Google+ is not as comprehensive or oft-used as Twitter.

So what about Facebook? After all, it dominates the Social Graph due to the sheer number of users it has: 900 million. There’s no doubt that Facebook wants to also dominate the Interest Graph too. Proof of that is in the frictionless sharing, the relatively new Timeline that highlights all of that sharing activity, and other innovations such as allowing you to “subscribe” to Facebook users (typically utilized to follow celebrities and thought leaders). These are all great features, designed to help Facebook win the war of the Interest Graph. Which it may well do over time, but first it has to overcome the noise problem and the fact that most of its users’ Interest data is still private.

Despite the premise of this article, this isn’t a winner takes all scenario. Some people happily use all three platforms, optimizing for each one. Also it’s often horses for courses. For example, Google+ may be better suited to you for some scenarios – like tracking certain topics in your industry – and Twitter better for your daily discussions about those topics.

Even so, most of you will have chosen to use one of these Interest Graph platforms more than the other two. I use Google+ the most for my professional musings, because it suits my style of thinking. Although I also love experimenting with Facebook’s media sharing functionality. How about you: what tool do you use the most to track and discuss the topics you care about?

lolcat image credit: icanhascheezburger

Source: Who’s Winning The Battle For The Interest Graph: Facebook, Google+ or Twitter?

Using Graph Theory To Predict NCAA Tournament Outcomes

March 13th, 2012 03:49 admin View Comments

Math

New submitter SocratesJedi writes “Like many technically-minded people, I don’t have a lot of time to keep up with sports. Nevertheless, trying to predict the outcome of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is a fun activity to share with friends, family and colleagues. This year, I abandoned my usual strategy of quasi-randomly choosing teams and instead modeled the win-loss history of all Division I teams as a weighted network. The network included information from 5242 games played during the 2011-2012 season. From this, teams came be ranked using tools from graph theory and those rankings can be used to predict tournament outcomes. Without any a priori information, this method accurately identified all the #1 seeds in the top 5 best teams. It also predicts that at least one underdog, Belmont (#14 seed), will reach the Elite Eight. Although the ultimate test will be how well it predicts tournament outcomes, initial benchmarks suggest 70-80% accuracy would not be unreasonable.”

Source: Using Graph Theory To Predict NCAA Tournament Outcomes

[Poll] What Is Facebook’s Best Mobile Monetization Strategy?

February 3rd, 2012 02:30 admin View Comments

You would think that a company with 423 million monthly active mobile users would find a way to squeeze some revenue out of them. Easier said than done. The biggest question to come out of Facebook’s S-1 filing for its IPO was how the company could monetize its robust mobile app ecosystem. How will Facebook do it? Stitching in mobile banner ads is not likely a solution for Facebook. We explore Facebook’s opportunities and ask for your opinion in this week’s ReadWriteMobile poll.

From Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to shareholders:

By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph – a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.

One of the beautiful (or creepy) things about Facebook ads on a desktop browser is that they are targeted straight to the user. Facebook knows where you are, what you are sharing, who your friends are and what they are doing. If you “Like” pages, it knows what brands you like, what books you read, what TV and movies you watch. With the Open Graph and Timeline, it also knows other verbs associated with your lifestyle, such as when and how far you run when exercising, what you eat and what music you listen to. All of this, of course, if you choose to share it.

It has been pointed out several times after Facebook filed its S-1 that the key to the company’s billions has been the “Like” button. The Like button turned a mammoth but disorganized social graph into a skeletal body that permeates both the front and back end of the Internet. Facebook was then able to correlate users’ interest graph and advertising against that. If you think about it, the Like button isthe most brilliant inventions of the Web 2.0 era. The Like button organized the social Web, gave it backbone, structure… and money.

One of Facebook’s challenges will be to take the data it already has through the Like button and burgeoning Open Graph ecosystem and apply it to mobile. What will this look like? Will we see the same banner and targeted ads that we see on our desktop? How does Facebook do this without ruining the mobile user experience and angering its most dedicated users?

On the other hand, targeted advertising actually has larger potential when it is taken off the desktop and put into the pockets of users. Smartphones are sophisticated sensors that recognize the world around them. The capability of knowing where a person is, what they are doing and who they are with will only grow as devices evolve over the next several years. The social Web in the physical world. This is where Facebook’s biggest opportunity is. Geo-fenced push notifications, proximity alerts when near something or someone on your interest graph, location-based deals. To a certain extent, you have heard it all before. Startups have been working on how to bring push advertising and messaging to mobile since smartphones became location aware. Yet, none of those startups have the user base that Facebook has.

Google will also likely turn to more of a messaging-based mobile advertising strategy in the future. With an Android in 50% of smartphone users pockets, Google has the potential to know more about you than any other company on Earth. It probably already does.

Facebook could also set up a platform, much like AdMob for Facebook, which serves as a real-time bidding (RTB) exchange for keywords based on the social and Open Graph. By making it an ad platform, Facebook takes a lot of the work out of building its own internal ad infrastructure. Google has employed the RTB method to great success.

Or, it could be a mixture of all of these avenues.

There is also the idea of payments through the app ecosystem. Mobile Web-based games built on top of the social graph with in-app payments. This harkens to the so-called “Project Spartan” that Facebok was rumored to be working on last year. It does not have to be only games either. Brands could create Facebook Page mobile Web apps and tie incentives and payments through Facebook Credits. The ability to turn Pages into mobile advertising or payment revenue could be a huge vertical for Facebook.

As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities and avenues for Facebook to take when monetizing its mobile user base. What is the likeliest choice? What will be the best money maker for Facebook in the mobile realm? Take the poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: [Poll] What Is Facebook’s Best Mobile Monetization Strategy?

What Pinterest is Doing That Facebook Isn’t

January 30th, 2012 01:00 admin View Comments

pinterest150_good.jpgPinterest is growing fast, and 80% of the site’s users are women ages 25-44.

Laura Skelton, owner of Prix-Prix, told me about Pinterest months ago when we met up one chilly Chicago morning for brunch. “Have you tried Pinterest?” she asked me with a glint of excitement in her eyes. I shook my head no. “Try it out, but be careful, you’ll get addicted.” I am always wary of that caveat because I do end up getting addicted. I decided to stop by just to see what was up. I registered for an account and then left. Everything looked too pretty. Then, a few months later, I started receiving a slew of notifications: “So and so is following you on Pinterest.” It was around then that Pinterest blew up.

AdAge’s David Teicher wrote about how Pinterest is driving traffic to sites like design magazine RealSimple. But more importantly, he writes, “the true potential in Pinterest may be in its ability to impact purchases, which is why retailers like Etsy, Nordstrom, and Lands’ End have taken to developing a presence on, and strategy for, this new platform.”

It’s easy for retailers to create visual storefronts that emulate the clean, easy-to-browse features of tablet commerce. “We view this [Pinterest] as another way to engage with customers rather than marketing,” Nordstrom’s social media manager Shauna Causey told AdAge. “Images are a great way to share ideas and trends in the retail social media landscape.” Oh, and then there’s the ease of commenting on photos of hot runway models who are wearing sexy, expensive clothing.

Pinterest-social-commerce.jpg

We’ve written about how Facebook is trying to make social commerce work. Or, in less market-y terms, how Facebook is trying to become a mall. The launch of Timeline social apps seemed like a step in that direction, as it included fashion and shopping apps from Fab, Oodle, Pose and Lyst.

Still, Pinterest is showing increasingly strong signs that it is a more effective as a social commerce platform. New data from Monetate show that referral traffic from Pinterest to the websites of five specialty apparel retailers jumped 389% from July-December 2011.

Only 1% of Facebook “fans” engage with brands. Will this change? Right now you can buy donuts and earn Facebook credits through a new loyalty program from Plink. Last year Facebook announced integration with eBay.

Still, Facebook wrongly conflates the social graph with the interest graph, assuming that if your friends like it you will, too. Facebook is organized around the social graph first, whereas Pinterest is focused on the interest graph. Sure, your Facebook friends are probably all on Pinterest, but the true focus of Pinterest is not social. It’s interest. Users organize around interests, making Pinterest a natural space for shopping. The visual focus doesn’t hurt that, either. Facebook is too focused on the user experience and social, which ends up making it a difficult space for shopping. Plus there’s that whole, you know, user distrust over Facebook’s long-standing privacy issues, including EPIC’s latest request that the FTC look into Facebook Timeline’s possible privacy violations.

For more on how businesses are using Pinterest, check out this story by ReadWriteWeb’s Dave Copeland.

Source: What Pinterest is Doing That Facebook Isn’t

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