Anonymous to hunt down ISIS, Google+ is alive again, Square goes public, and Google and Facebook strike mobile search deal
Welcome to “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we highlight Anonymous’ war vs. ISIS, the rebirth of G+, Square’s IPO, and the Google / Facebook search deal.
Anonymous declares cyber war on ISIS
After the horrible terrorist attacks on Paris citizens on November 13, the hacker group Anonymous publicly declared a cyber war on ISIS.
Websites and social media have been effective tools for ISIS to recruit soldiers. Thus, Anonymous has targeted accounts created by ISIS on social networks like Twitter and claimed to have shut down over 20,000 of these accounts.
But not everyone is sure that Anonymous’ plan is helping. Governments frequently monitor social networks to track the activity of ISIS, and many feel that the shutting down of these accounts will impede this intelligence gathering.
Google brings back Google+
Realizing that it couldn’t keep up with rival social networks Facebook and Twitter, Google has been stripping key features from Google+ over the past year. Hangouts became its own app. Photo sharing was detached from the social network. Google+ was essentially left for dead.
The social network has moved away from the typical profile and follower model to one that focuses on “Communities,” where users can join groups around shared interests, and “Collections,” where people can share images and videos about specific topics.
Google touts the redesign as a simplification of the social network, which may be true. But what is also happening is that Google is grouping its G+ users in nice little buckets to which ads can be targeted and served, which Google has been known to do very well.
Square goes public
All eyes were on mobile payments company Square this week, as it prepared to go public.
Early in the week, it was all doom and gloom when the company announced it would price its IPO at $9 per share instead of the $11-13 it originally quoted. This lower per share price valued the company at $2.9 billion, less than half of the $6 billion valuation it fetched with its last private funding round.
The stock closed its first day of trading up 45% at $13.07.
While Square raised about $110 million less than it would have if they set the opening price at $13, they wanted to get larger funds involved for the long term and thus went with the lower price.
Congrats on the IPO, but now it’s time for Square to get back to work and try to win the hyper-competitive mobile payments market.
Google to serve Facebook content in mobile searches
In a very interesting partnership between rivals, Google has begun indexing Facebook’s mobile application and will serve up the social network’s content in mobile searches.
The agreement gives Google access to content in Facebook Pages, Groups, and Events. Users who tap on these results will be taken directly to Facebook’s native app if it is already installed on the phone.
This deal is a win-win for both parties. Google increases the relevance of its search results, as there is much valuable information to be found in conversations taking place on Facebook. And Facebook generates more traffic coming from Google searches.
But is this co-opetition sustainable in the long term?
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.
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Photo courtesy of Anonymous on YouTube.