Have you ever tried to really read through Google and Facebook’s privacy policies? If you have then you might find that your eyes start to glaze over after just a few paragraphs. Now ZDNet reports that French consumers group UFC-Que Choisir has filed a lawsuit against Google, Facebook and Twitter for having privacy policies that are “illegible” and “incomprehensible” to the average user and that should be rewritten to make more sense. UFC-Que Choisir has slammed all three companies in the past for writing opaque policies that give the companies a lot of leeway for potentially violating their users’ privacy. More →
Social networks aren’t always going to be en vogue. Facebook may have a billion users today, but what happens when that growth stalls? What happens when it turns negative? If it’s no longer the only source of revenue, the answers to those questions matter much less — hence, the purchase of Oculus VR. Lately, Facebook’s been buying (and trying to buy) companies that don’t exactly mesh with what it is. You could look at it two ways: It’s either getting into businesses that it has no concept of how to handle (see: Cisco’s purchase of Flip Video), or either it’s brilliantly diversifying its portfolio.
Facebook on Tuesday made a surprising announcement, revealing that it purchased the Oculus Rift virtual reality startup in a $2 billion deal, although it’s not yet clear what the company plans to do with Oculus Rift in the future. According to a report from The New York Times though, a person familiar with the deal said the company “eventually plans to redesign the Oculus hardware and rebrand it with a Facebook interface and logo.”
Not a lot of people are happy about Facebook’s acquisition of the Oculus Rift, but Notch might be the most upset of us all. In a blog post Tuesday night after the news broke, Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of Minecraft and founder of Mojang, announced the cancellation of his team’s efforts to bring Minecraft to the Oculus Rift.
Wow. It seems Facebook’s ambitions are growing by the day. Little more than a month after his company bought messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that Facebook was acquiring virtual reality gaming company Oculus VR for what The Wall Street Journal reports is for $2 billion. In his announcement Zuckerberg said that virtual reality technology is going to be the next major frontier for online interaction and that Oculus VR’s Rift headset was at the forefront of virtual reality innovation.
If you thought Facebook’s invasion of privacy had hit its peak, think again. Facebook announced earlier this week that its DeepFace facial recognition technology is “closely approaching human-level performance.” Modern facial identification has its limits, but with Facebook’s limitless access to facial images through photos on its website, the company has put together a method that is 97.25% accurate for any given face, even in suboptimal conditions. That means that Facebook could identify you from even your worst selfies, which could be the most frightening threat a high school student has ever heard of. Next time you upload your family photos to the ubiquitous social network, just know that you might be helping this process even further. Then again, it’s probably already too late.
Yahoo keeps grimly churning through acquisitions; buying and shutting down small tech firms with mechanical fervor. Facebook is buying far bigger, far more expensive companies and with fairly stunning results. Instagram is the most dazzling example. More →
Google wanted to acquire WhatsApp but it couldn’t get the deal done. Now, Google is apparently venting some frustrations that Facebook beat it to the punch. While speaking at the Morgan Stanley technology conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Google’s chief business officer Nikesh Arora voiced his opinion that the huge $19 billion sum Facebook is paying to acquire WhatsApp is exorbitant. More →
For obvious, ad-related reasons, both Google and Facebook are interested in bringing more people online, with each company having its own initiatives to offer affordable Internet connections to developing markets. One Google effort includes blanketing the sky with balloons that would create a wireless network, and Facebook may soon have a response to that. But instead of relying on balloons, Facebook may use drones for its Internet.org-related interests, TechCrunch reports. More →
Facebook on Friday announced a new privacy change that will affect the accounts of users who pass away. Instead of only letting deceased users’ friends access their accounts as it did before, Facebook will now keep those accounts’ default privacy settings unchanged. In other words, a dead person who had a public profile will have their profile stay public even after death, Facebook revealed. More →