Pinterest’s business

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann says that the startup isn’t making any money currently. However, he said the company is looking for ways to give marketers tools to help them understand what’s happening on the platform — and maybe, just maybe, make some money from them.

Pinterest has a ton of employees — about 130, Silbermann said — and the company has a valuation of $2.5 billion. Yet, when asked if the company makes any money, he acknowledged that it doesn’t.

Ben Silbermann On How Pinterest Will Translate User Aspiration Into Making Money – TechCrunch

48.7m users, $2.5b valuation, 130 employees and no business model. Silicon Valley is mad.

The new Flickr

Biggr. A free terabyte of space

At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.

And yep, you heard us. It’s free.

A better, brighter Flickr – Flickr Blog

This is a pretty aggressive move away from the paid ‘Pro’ accounts and into Dropbox / Google Drive territory, so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. Out of curiosity I looked up how much a TB of storage would cost on AWS S3 and it came out at $97/mo just for storage.

I’ve been on Flickr since 2005 but left my account dormant for years. This seems like a good time to come back.

Farewell Facebook

Don’t you forget about me

I’ve decided to leave Facebook for a while. Not because of a lack of privacy, the new timeline – quite the contrary, I’ve been using it since the developer preview  – or obnoxious new advertising placements.

The other day I noticed that Facebook was sitting at the top of the list of most visited sites in my browser, its actually been at the top of that list for a while, but I realised that to be at the top of that list I must be spending hours and hours of my life there. Those hours turn into days and I daren’t think how many of those add up into weeks or even months since I joined in 2006.

Hours of my time and effort are spent every week feeding this insatiable machine. I’ve given it more information than the last census, hundreds of photos of and countless messages shared between my friends.

So I’ve invested my time in Facebook, but what have I gotten in return? Are my friendships richer because of it? Have I made new friends through it? Am I using it to network with professional contacts? For me the answer to all these questions is no. Perhaps I’m not using it to it’s potential in that case, but I don’t think I want to double down on my investment.

My online relationships mirror my existing relationships – I’m most social with those I’m already close with and I don’t really care about what my friends from primary school are up to these days (sorry).

What I do find useful about Facebook is it’s convenience. To quickly invite a bunch of friends to a party, for example, without having to worry about keeping your phonebook up to date and texting all of them. Send a quick message to someone whose phone number or email you don’t have. There’s probably other completely obvious things that I’ll miss when I’m gone, but I’ll see how it goes.

For now I’ve decided to block access to Facebook on my computer, disable notification emails and delete the app from my phone so I won’t have to resist the temptation of logging back in. In a month or so I’ll come back and review how things are going and if I find I’m not missing it terribly I’ll deactivate my account.

Farewell Facebook, it’s been fun, but I think it’s time I moved on to other things.

First impressions of Google+

I’ve been using Google+ for a few days now and overall I’m very impressed. Unlike when I’ve joined social networks in the past (including Buzz), I’ve stuck around after the initial poking around and finding early adopting friends. Which is impressive considering it’s been in an invite only beta field trial for two weeks and looks like it’s going to be the fastest growing social network ever.

I’ll start with the good; It’s fast. Facebook and Twitter are no slouch when it comes to keeping the UX snappy but the G+ desktop browser experience beats both of them hands down. Google have spent a lot of time reducing the friction of interaction. So to add new people to your ‘Circles’ you can just mouse over someone’s name a little contact card comes up showing a larger profile picture, their name and company they work for and an option to add them to one of your circles. Mouse over the Circles button and there’s a little drop down to pick which circle you want to put them in and with one click you’ve added someone to your circle all without leaving the page or interrupting the flow of what you were doing, it’s lovely.

It’s clean. Again both Facebook and Twitter have pretty minimal cruft in their interfaces (apart from background images on Twitter profiles. It wasn’t good on MySpace back in the day and it isn’t good now) There’s one or two UI elements they could probably hide away or present slightly better, but otherwise it’s nicely pared down.

A bit like Twitter relationships are asymmetric so you can add people who you don’t know to your Following Circle so their public updates appear in your Stream but they don’t have to approve your following or reciprocate. You can choose what you share with who, so you can share your holiday photos with just people in your Friends and Family Circles, a link to something with just work colleagues or blast a status update out to anyone on the web. Interestingly Facebook has had similar functionality for a while with ‘Friends Lists’ but I’ve not really seen it used, certainly amongst my non-techie friends.

Finally everything is encrypted over SSL which Twitter has recently switched to as well, but you have to opt-in to get Facebook over SSL and their login page isn’t even encrypted by default which makes it trivially easy to hijack logins over WiFi.

There’s a few things missing that are coming soon hopefully, at the moment it isn’t possible to delete peoples comments on things you post which makes it quite vulnerable to abuse from trolls. You can mention people by typing @ or + and their name but there’s no way to tag content like #hashtags on Twitter, but there’s not yet a way to search public posts so I assume these two will come together.

Also missing are Events and Groups, it will be interesting to see if Google integrate these by bringing the Calendar and Groups apps into G+.

G+ has a very nice mobile web interface but it really needs a native app, sometimes when I was using it the page would refresh mid action and I’d end up back on the Stream. Apparently the iOS app is still awaiting approval from Apple.

One last little niggle is there’s no short URL for profiles, at the moment it’s just a long string of numbers, so you can’t say follow/add me @Username on Twitter/Facebook. People have already start using workarounds like an URL shortener or adding a /+ redirect on their site.

Those small things aside it looks like G+ has got a lot of potential and Facebook has had no decent rival since everyone deserted MySpace years ago. Mark Zuckerberg has never struck me as someone particularly concerned about the privacy of users so I’ll happily leave Facebook once enough of my friends come over to G+. I know, I know Google aren’t perfect either, but wherever you go online eventually you’re going to have to trust someone with your data.

Give me a shout in the comments if you’d like an invite to G+ or if your already in you can find me here.