Update: Fousquare has issued a respons to the attention PleaseRobMe has brought to potential privacy issues associated with location sharing. What it boils down to is that Foursquare “takes privacy seriously” and it’s “really a bigger question about the pros and cons of location sharing in general”. Read the company’s entire response here.
Original Article: Yesterday at about 2pm PleaseRobMe went live. PleaseRobMe is a site set up by a few developers who want to spread awareness about how easy it would be for people to rob your home if you share too much information about yourself online, specifically your location…even more specifically through Foursquare. The site displays a list of messages asking people if they know the whole world has access to their location. All of these are drawn directly from the PleaseRobMe Twitter account.
We asked Boy Van Amstel, one of those developers if they were concerned that followers of PleaseRobMe’s Twitter account could actually be interested in robbing people. Van Amstel responded, “With just the information [from] pleaserobme.com it would be almost impossible to do so. However as people share more information about themselves, such as their home address, it might become a possibility. We think it’s important to think about that and what it means if you share location information on services like Twitter…it’s very easy to get it, even directly from Twitter’s search page.”
So far, Van Amstel says Foursquare is the only service it watches to determine who is sharing their location with the world. “It’s not about the service, it’s about the information that’s being shared. We think it’s important to realize that something you post on Twitter isn’t necessarily private. Everybody is able to read it, unless you protect your messages.”
One can only assume that FourSquare isn’t entirely pleased with the launch of PleaseRobMe. That’s the second time the service has had a not-so-positive light cast upon it this week. Earlier in the week, there were reports of Foursquare cheating. This could have an effect on the decisions of businesses to give Foursquare users special offers, a practice that is becoming more commonplace.
Regardless, PleaseRobMe bluntly delivers an important reminder to socially active people that just because they’re using the “virtual” world, that doesn’t mean it can’t potentially have real-world consequences.
For a week or so, some Twitter users have been seeing a new feature called Local Trends. This feature shows users things that are being heavily talked about at the city and state levels. Twitter has now announced that the feature is live for all users.
“Twitter trends began as a way to shed light on popular conversations. It’s interesting to know that one topic can now spread across the world in real-time, and Trends help us discover which of those topics are paramount on a global scale,” says Twitter’s @jennadawn. “As Twitter evolves, and more people share what’s happening in their own world, we want to provide another way for people to discover topics that may be relevant to them.”
At this point Local Trends are only available for the following areas:
“The big events that come up around the world will always become a global conversation, but what about the big events that only happen in your world that only matter to those around you? Or the slight differences in the way Californians perceive an event, like Obama’s election victory, versus those São Paulo, Brazil?” she continues. “Local Trends will allow you to learn more about the nuances in our world and discover even more relevant topics that might matter to you.”
The feature could prove especially helpful for bloggers and journalists covering local news. At the very least, it will show what people are most interested in, in any particular area.
Twitter says it will be improving the feature over time by providing more locations, languages, and data through the Twitter API. There aren’t many locations available yet, but once the feature gets built up it should present an interesting picture of what people are talking about everywhere, which could be quite interesting.
Eight hours ago, Microsoft founder Bill Gates joined Twitter. Five hours ago, Twitter’s Caroline Mizumoto tweeted about it. And moments ago, @BillGates broke 100,000 Twitter followers.
If you’re looking for the breakdown, that’s about 12,500 Twitter followers per hour, or ~208 new tweeps per minute. In reality though, Bill’s follower count escalated after Caroline’s tweet, meaning his real rate of growth is about 20,000 new followers per hour.
The last time we’ve seen a new Twitter user with this kind of momentum was Oprah when she first joined. Mr. Gates is not only the world’s richest man, but one of its most popular it seems. His legacy as an entrepreneur and a philanthropist are far from forgotten.
Welcome to the Twitterverse, Bill Gates.
Original post by Ben Parr