2010 through the lens of Google

It’s nearly 2011, which means that it is once again time for the the biggest consumer web companies to review the past year through the lens of their products.

Yahoo has done this for years, and you can see it once again right here. In an upset for the ages, the BP oil spill supposedly beat out Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian for the top web search, but those of us in-the-know know better. Attractive women always beat out depressing disasters. Does Yahoo think that we forget about Britney Spears’ dynasty in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008?

Facebook and Twitter are newer entrants to this annual tradition, and that inexperience shows in each of their low-budget efforts, Facebook’s 2010 Memology and Twitter’s top trends. In a clear sign that I’m no longer cool (or probably never was), a 3-letter acronym that I’ve never heard of in my life – HMU (“hit me up”) – was the top trend on Facebook. Am I really the last one to catch on to this trend? And why do people keep claiming that teens don’t use Twitter? Who else over the age of 18 would tweet about Justin Beiber?

But the best review of the year goes to Google. Lists are boring. They are so 2009. This year Googled upped the ante. They wrapped all of the year’s trends up into a cool video, layered in some inspiring music, and captured screencasts of the world surfing the web. The thing I really like about it is that they didn’t limit themselves to just web search. Sure, we still use web search all of the time, but what about all of the other web applications we use to make our lives easier – products like news, images, maps, profiles, gmail, gtalk, and YouTube? In 2010, web technologies influence us more than ever before. They inform us. They make us more productive. They entertain us. Very simply, they make our lives better. Google embraces this and puts it on display here. Take a look for yourself below.

On a related side note, where is Apple in all of this? I want to see a 2010 year in review video through the lens of my iPhone, dammit! Can someone please make this?

2010 through the lens of Google

Surprising revelation about Facebook news feed

After reading this post on Techcrunch I had a mix of emotions.

First, I felt stupid for never figuring this out before. Like many others, I have deleted a number of items from my mini-feed in the past, and every time I had assumed that those items would then promptly be deleted from my friends’ news feeds. Evidently this is not the case. Shame on me I suppose, for not testing and figuring this out on my own.

Then again, was I really being careless and stupid? Is it really that unreasonable to assume that a message indicating that “hiding will remove the story from your Mini-Feed and prevent anyone from seeing it” means that you are indeed preventing “anyone from seeing it”? Considering these two features (i.e., the new feed and the mini feed) were released at the very same time, it does not seem like that far a stretch to me. Techcrunch calls it “a poorly worded notification”. I call it blatantly misleading.

Finally (and most importantly!), it is just a bad product experience. Searching on Facebook’s help pages for “news feed” I came across the following question and answer:

Q: How do I hide my News Feed and Mini-Feed?

A: At this time you cannot turn these features off completely. Facebook allows you to prevent certain types of stories from being published about yourself. From the Privacy page, just click on the link titled “News Feed and Mini-Feed Privacy.” Unchecking one of the story types means that there will be no News Feed or Mini-Feed stories generated about your account for that particular action…

What this means is that it is either all or none when it comes to publishing particular actions in your friends’ news feeds. So for example, if I say it is okay to share events, then I have to be comfortable sharing all of my events. I can’t selectively choose which events are okay to share and which are not, which is really what I’d like to do.

Surprising revelation about Facebook news feed