It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Facebook’s King-Making Superpower Has Its Limits

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Does Facebook have a secret superpower? That’s the theory floated by Nick Bilton in the New York Times today. Because Facebook connects users “to more than nine million apps and services through Facebook Connect, the Open Graph developer platform, and the hundreds of millions of like buttons that perforate Web pages across the Internet, the company can see what people are using,” and thereby predict–and influence–what becomes popular, argues¬†Mr. Bilton, who compares the skill to a sort of startup “spidey sense.”

In monitoring photo-sharing, Facebook used that data to figure out that it needed to acquire Instagram. But in the case of Viddy and Socialcam, two new video-sharing services, Facebook flexed its might to “experiment with who wins and who loses online,” Mr. Bilton said. In other words, Zuck can knight your startup the next Instagram depending on Facebook’s willingness to promote your app. Read More

Future-Facing

X-Ray Specs: Soon, Your Smartphone Could Let You See Through Walls

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If you’re being generous, one could say your smartphone already grants some version of comic book superpowers. The mobile browser lets your feign omniscience at will; email-in-your-pocket lets you be everywhere at once. Scientists at the University of Texas at would like the add X-ray vision to that list.

As the British tech site The Inquirer reports, electrical engineering professor Dr. Kenneth O and his team developed an imager chip that could let your smartphone see through walls . . . and wood and plastics and paper and more. Read More