Ng: Are social networking sites in trouble?-A A +A
By Wilson Ng
Thursday, August 2, 2012
FACEBOOK is in a lot of trouble. While it may be any day now that it will reach a billion users, its stock has been less than stellar. In fact, it’s quite disappointing. After setting the initial price at $38 per share, which valued the company at around $100 billion, it is now $20.80 per share, at least as of this writing. This means most investors who bought shares during the initial offering have lost nearly half their money. Close to $50 billion in value wiped out.
This also goes true for Zynga (makers of Farmville, Mafia Wars and many other favorite games in Facebook) as well as Groupon, which tends to suggest that social media suddenly seemed to be out of favor.
On the other hand, technology continues to affect significantly the way we work and play, with the reports that in the London Olympics, several athletes were barred from the competition due to posts or comments they made in Twitter and other social media sites. It seems every day, there are reports of people losing their jobs, fighting over their marriage, friends or family finding each other after a number of years or suing each other in court because of social media.
Meanwhile, I am quite excited that Hotmail, which can be considered as one of the Internet’s blazing success in social communications since way back in the 1990s, is getting another facelift.
We here in the Philippines don’t feel it, but Hotmail is still the world’s biggest free email system with over 350 million users. Hotmail was launched in 1995, and when it became a hot success, it was bought by Microsoft. Hotmail is very popular in some countries, but very unhip in others, including the Philippines (an informal survey of friends showed that probably over 80 percent of people use Yahoo).
Microsoft tried to reinvent it and a few years back, it became Microsoft Live. Now, there is another rebranding, and it might be renamed into Outlook Mail (www.outlook.com). The email is supposedly going to morph into a hybrid Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook available via the Internet. It is hard to describe, but if you can, check out the new website.
It has been streamlined and now looks much simpler. It has better and tighter integration not only with your contacts and calendars, but also with instant messaging and Skype, as well as your photos, videos, and music as well as Microsoft office apps.
Moreover, the interface looks simple enough (it has the Windows 8 Metro look and feel) that you can actually navigate it using probably Microsoft’s newest tablets, the Surface, which will reportedly be introduced by end October.
I started testing the service and I could access my Hotmail by using outlook.com but your email will not be automatically ported to the new address.
I tried to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org which was my original free email there, and it got accepted, but when I change it to email@example.com it was rejected. But they say eventually it will change. The free service offers up to seven gigabytes worth of storage for free via Microsoft Skydrive, which is integrated into Hotmail. Some people will say it’s not enough but hey, when I started using Hotmail, they only offered two megabytes!
Initial reports that Microsoft’s Surface tablet may cost upwards $1,000 were found to be false. News sources said it will be much lower and the $1,000 to $2,000 that a certain Scandinavian company used to sell it was only pure speculation and had no basis or confirmation from Microsoft.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 03, 2012.