The Week We Searched For- December 5-9, 2011
Twitter gets a facelift- Twitter launched  a massive redesign of its site this week, aimed at making the interface easier for all its users. The central goal of the redesign is to make the platform more accessible to users, by better explaining how it works, specifically in regards to the use of # and @ symbols. What’s more, Twitter can now personalize recommendations to particular feeds or events. Twitter also launched new tools for brands that allow advertisers to better market themselves on Twitter. Twitter outlines the details of its redesign on their site .
Facebook unveils Subscribe button- Facebook unveiled  its “Subscribe” button to third party websites on Thursday. “The Subscribe button for Web sites works just like the button on Facebook; once clicked the user will begin seeing the public posts of the person they have subscribed to in his or her News Feed,” Facebook said in a blog post . “The subscribe action is also shared—allowing others to subscribe directly via the News Feed stories, and further increasing viral distribution.” The service was launched back in September and is being framed  as an offensive move against Facebook’s rival Twitter.
Google releases Current- Google launched  its long anticipated publishing platform for tablet and smartphones called Currents. “We felt there was an amazing amount of great online content that was not being displayed well when we tried to access it on our phones and tablets,” explains Google’s Mussie Shore. “We personally knew many creatives who were frustrated at the gap between what they envisioned for their content on tablets and phones, and having the right tools to deliver their vision. Google is attracted to these type of ecosystem opportunities.”
Google launches Schemer- Google launched an invite-only beta version of its new activity recommendation engine Schemer. Schemer describes itself in a post on Google+  as a tool to help people discover and share stuff to do in the offline world. Schemer, according to the post, is based on the concept of schemes, which Google has redefined to mean, “any activity you’d like to do.” Example schemes include “play the big piano at FAO Schwarz,” “watch every movie made by Christopher Nolan,” “bike up to Hawk Hill at dawn to catch the sunrise, or “make genmaicha Rice Krispie treats.” Schemer already has partnerships will Bravo, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, US Department of Interior and Zagat among others.
Federal Court orders Google, Facebook and Twitter to de-index sites- A federal judge in Nevada ruled  in favor of the luxury goods marker Chanel against websites trafficking counterfeit goods. The ruling grants Chanel permission to seize the domain names of the accused websites and pass them on to the US-based registrar GoDaddy. Even more incredible, the judge ordered “all Internet search engines” and “all social media websites” to de-index the sites from their search results. The ruling is bound to spark controversy. Lawyer Venkat Balasubramani offered  his opinion yesterday, stating, “I’m sympathetic to the ‘whack-a-mole’ problem rights owners face, but this relief is just extraordinarily broad and is on shaky procedural grounds. I’m not sure how this court can direct a registry to change a domain name’s registrar of record or Google to de-list a site, but the court does so anyway. This is probably the most problematic aspect of the court’s orders.”
This week’s newsworthy blogs:
- Does Apple’s Siri Threaten Google’s Search Monopoly? –  William Bulkeley asks whether Apple’s new speech-recognition “personal assistant” is boosting search traffic to other search engines like Yelp and Wolfram Alpha.
- Twitter for My Sister-  The New York Times’ tech report Nick Bilton asks whether Twitter’s new user friendly interface can bridge the gap between tech-savvy and tech-illiterate users.
- Best Memes of 2011-  Know Your Meme has comprised a list of the 10 highlights of user-generated content from 2011. Items on the list include Rebecca Black’s Friday, Occupy Wall Street and planking photographs.