Facebook Roundup: Photo Sizes, Yahoo!, News Sharing, Mobile, D.C., ‘Zuck’, and More

Facebook Photos Increase in Size – Facebook’s Nathaniel Roman posted a blog this week announcing that the maximum photo size is set to increase by 20% from 604 to 720 pixels in order, “to give you higher quality photos and make viewing them more enjoyable.” The changes are taking place gradually and may affect some users later than others, he wrote. Check our January coverage for more.

Yahoo! Integrates Facebook Connect – This week Yahoo! provided a list of instructions for users to integrate Facebook Connect across a variety of services, allowing people to add Facebook friends’ email addresses to Yahoo! contacts lists. Instructions are available here.

Google News, Facebook Send Traffic to Different Media – Facebook and Google both direct traffic to media sites, but the types of sites they assist are somewhat different, according to a recent blog from Hitwise. Facebook tends to send traffic to broadcast media while Google News sends more traffic to print media web sites. Specifically: “The Wall Street Journal last week received 10.37% of its U.S. visits from Google News compared to only 1.41% from Facebook. The New York Times similarly received more traffic from Google News than from Facebook (5.21% compared to 2.96% of upstream visits). Fox News and CNN by contrast received more traffic from Facebook than Google News. Fox News received 5.50% from Facebook and 1.18% from Google News while CNN received 5.92% from Facebook and 1.77% from Google News.” However, Facebook is a general-purpose site where people share all sorts of links and other information. Google News is a news-focused aggregator — it’s not even clear how much broadcast content Google News even bothers to include. So the comparison is not direct.

Palm Updates Facebook App – Palm updated its Facebook app for all webOS devices this week, including new functionalities for the Wall, inbox, photos, messages, news feed and search. MobileCrunch reported that the new app is fully intertwined with webOS’ Synergy system in addition to being a great improvement over the previous version.

Facebook Mobile Browsing Growing – comScore released a study on social networking access via mobile browsers this week, finding that 30.8% of smartphone users access social networks with their cell phones in January, up 8.3% points from last year that time. Facebook mobile use grew 112% over the past year while Twitter grew 347% in the same time period. About 25.1 million mobile users accessed Facebook with their handsets in January, compared to 11.4 million for MySpace.

Facebook Looks to Hire Public Policy Managers – Facebook board member and Washington Post chairman Donald E. Graham wrote a blog this week in which he noted that, in the face of growing concerns over online privacy, Facebook posted two job listings this week related to public policy. One is for a manager of public policy to work with regulators/lawmakers at the state/federal levels, also working with pro-consumer organizations; the other is for a public policy associate, who would attend congressional hearings, meet with non-profits and tech lobbying groups.

This is part of a trend for Facebook that Graham notes has been growing its Washington, D.C. presence, “Those jobs would bring Facebook’s staff in Washington to five. It recently hired journalist Andrew Noyes for public policy communications and Tim Sparapani from the ACLU, who is now director of public policy. Adam Conner began the office and deals with lobbying and policy issues including privacy.”

Facebook Blogs About ‘Working With Zuck’ – Facebook software engineer Andrew Bosworth blogged this week about what it’s like to work with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, or “Zuck.”

One, Zuck expects debate, with exceptions. Two, he’s not sentimental, as in he has no problem dropping a product if it doesn’t meet expectations or necessity. Three, Zuck experiences things contextually, in other words, “He rarely makes decisions by talking about products in the abstract and strongly prefers to play with them, often withholding judgment until he does.”

Bosworth writes that Zuck pushes people, expecting people to do more in less time for the good of the company, “Zuck isn’t always right about what that is, he isn’t often wrong,” Bosworth writes.
Not surprisingly, the note is very positive towards Zuckerberg and Facebook generally.

Slide Lays Off Employees – Slide, the online entertainment company, has decided to stop development on social games SuperPocus and Top Fish, which means it will lay off “less than 10%” of employees. Of about 137 employees, about 40 employees are working on the two games; some will be reassigned to work on other projects.

Facebook’s Beacon Lawsuit Nearer to Closure – Last Friday a federal judge stopped short of approving a $9.5 million class-action settlement against Facebook for its Beacon program. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg in San Jose, CA could require Facebook to permanently shut Beacon down and contribute $6 million to a new privacy foundation if he approves the suit; the 19 users named in the complaint would receive between $1,000-$15,000, but no others would receive money, and their attorneys would receive $3 million. Approximately 3.6 million Facebook users were affected by Beacon, which launched in November of 2007, telling users’ friends about their purchases made at retailers like Zappos and Blockbuster while not on Facebook.

Facebook and Hockey Collide – Facebook status updates shot through the roof during key moments of the U.S.-Canada Olympic hockey game recently, especially at 2:29 p.m. PST when the game was tied in the third period and secondly at 2:54 p.m. PST when Canada scored the winning goal. More than 3.5 million status updates were sent during those two moments, twice the pace of updates for that day.

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