Just ahead of the 2012 campaign to re-elect Barack Obama to another four-year term as president, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is up for a senior executive position to manage Facebook’s communications. And Facebook wants him before the company offers an initial public offering.
According to the New York Times, the post could be worth millions, with Gibbs making a cash salary along with shares. Facebook is currently valued at more than $60 billion, making the upcoming IPO the biggest in history. With more than 600 million users, some say Facebook could reach a billion users by the end of 2011.
“Gibbs is reported to have met with some of his former White House colleagues about whether he should take the job,” reports the Times, “including David Axelrod, President Obama’s former senior adviser, who is helping to head a re-election team, these people said.”
The partisan Gibbs could be a valuable asset to Facebook with his extensive Washington, D.C., contacts. No word on whether his position with the social media giant would be of benefit to Obama in his re-election effort.
As I reported in the Feb. 21 edition of this column, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was among 12 Silicon Valley technology leaders at a closed-door dinner at the home of John Doerr, a partner at a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Zuckerberg sat at the right side of Obama during the dinner.
Facebook lawsuit over Intifada page
Facebook and Zuckerberg are being sued by attorney Larry Klayman for more than $1 billion for hosting a page calling for violence against Jews. “Third Palestinian Intifada” had over 340,000 “likes” for a proposed May 15th uprising before it was removed.
Facebook launches mobile website for its phone users
Some 250 million people use Facebook mobile each month. That number represents around half of Facebook’s user base. Last week, Facebook unified its mobile presence, bringing together its multiple mobile phone websites. Now high-end smart phones with touch screens and phones with a touch surface will be integrated using one web interface.
According to Facebook’s Lee Byron, “There will no longer be a difference between m.facebook.com and touch.facebook.com. We’ll automatically serve you the best version of the site for your device.”
Most users won’t notice the change, but the same code base will allow Facebook to more easily get new features out to users.
“Father of Facebook”
Google developing facial recognition app
Imagine you’re out in public and someone snaps your photo. You’re unaware of what just happened, but your facial image enables the photographer to access your personal information. Google’s yet to be released image recognition software has that capability. Any photo-taker would be just a few clicks from your profile, address, phone number and email address. A scary proposition and one that has folks at Google concerned about this application they plan to release in the not too distant future.
Google’s engineering director for image-recognition development says Google is working on implementing privacy features before it will release the facial recognition app. It’s a fascinating concept, but face it, without adequate privacy controls in place, could masks become the next fashion accessory?
Google’s “+1 ” feature
Later this year Google will introduce another way for the world to know you. It’s called the “+1” button and will incorporate your search recommendations into its search results. It is similar to Facebook’s “Like” button, the one you click when you like something but not enough to leave a comment. The “+1” button will soon appear beside links on Google’s search results pages, and clicking on it will tell your Gmail, Buzz and Reader contacts that you were there and you liked it.
A Google spokesman says, “People consult their friends and other contacts on decisions. It’s a very easy and lightweight way to make search results more relevant.” Watch this video description.
So, your Google contacts will know your preferences. Who else will know them? Google’s advertisers?
Google fiber finally lands … in Kansas City
It’s been up in the air for a year. More than a year ago, Google announced it would connect a city to the Internet using a super high-speed, broadband, fiber-optic network. A competition led 1,100 cities to apply. The city that renamed itself “Google” didn’t win. A municipality with a more traditional name did: Kansas City, Kansas.
All of Kansas City’s residents eventually will be connected at lightning speeds of 1Gb/s – that’s 100 times faster than the broadband most people have! Google has an information page outlining its plans and FAQ. The company hopes to have the network built with service provided to the first neighborhoods by the first quarter of 2012.
In a video announcement, Google’s Sergey Brin says, “That’s why we’re rolling out to communities, starting with Kansas City, that are going to give one gigabit of access to every home.”
Major League ballparks going high-tech
Take me out to the ball game! No more sitting at home in front of the tube to watch America’s favorite sport. CNN reports that pro sports teams are luring fans out of their recliners back to the ball park where they’ll find a high-tech field of dreams.
Some dozen Major League Baseball clubs have made super high-tech improvements to their ballparks, including Wi-Fi access and LED high definition ribbon boards. Click here to see if your favorite ballpark is among them.
Fans at the Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, will get high speed info on their mobile devices, using apps like MLB’s At Bat that through several mobile service carriers will be able to track pitches, live box scores, stats and video highlights.
Reds IT director Brian Keys told Wired.com that roughly 1,500 to 3,000 fans demand high-speed mobile access at any given moment in the stadium, which seats more than 42,000 fans.
“We’re trying to get the fans more stats, videos, replays and information to their smart devices,” Keys said. Luxury suites will include a 46-inch TV and 25-inch flat panel PCs that offer five camera angles and the ability to view any MLB game on the high def TVs.
Here’s a real-time, birds-eye view of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Play ball!
Who invented the portable computer?
And while we’re at it, here’s a look at the last 15 years of the Internet, its speed and usage.
NASA allows you to choose astronauts’ morning “wake-up” song!
“This could be the last time” would be my pick if it was on the list.
From NASA: “Your Mission: Vote on your favorite! From the list below, listen to the wakeup song and select your favorite. The two songs with the most votes will be announced and played during the STS-134 mission, which is currently scheduled to launch on April 19, 2011. Voting will be open until mission launch day.”
“Web Intents” – another great Twitter add-on
“Summify” picks what’s worthy of your reading time
Do you do a lot of reading on the Internet? Are you a Surfin’ Safarier? Summify is a new program out that will cull your favorite topics from your social networks and pick the ones that will interest you the most and deliver it to you by email and on the web.
Bits and bytes
- Some were hoping these were April Fools’ pranks.
- When to hit the “panic button”!
- Baby monitors just went high-tech with Evoz.
- Chevy will launch Malibu via Facebook, iPad, iPhone.
The time capsule
1865 – Lee surrenders to Grant
1976 – Howard Hughes dead at 70
Now playing at the Princess Theater, Urbana, Ill.
Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Deborah Durkee of Southport, N.C., and Jules Caverly of Ellensburg, Wash., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Marilyn Burns as Linda Kasabian in “Helter Skelter,” the 1974 movie of the Charles Manson family murders. A later version was made in 2004 for TV.
The film was based on the true story of one of the most heinous crimes of the century.
Wikipedia: The murders perpetrated by members of Charles Manson’s “family” were inspired in part by Manson’s prediction of “Helter Skelter,” an apocalyptic war he believed would arise from tension over racial relations between blacks and whites. This “chimerical vision,” as it was termed by the court that heard Manson’s appeal from his conviction for the Tate-LaBianca killings, involved reference to music of the Beatles (particularly songs from the album “The Beatles”) and to the New Testament’s Book of Revelation.
The quote: “Some of the things he said were true. But he is real good at taking the truth and making a lie out of it.”
This week’s quote: “I don’t want them bribed, Jack. I want it done legally. I want them bought.”
Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!