Upcoming Events
Event Date Location

OMMA Display In LA

07/22/2014 - 07/24/2014 Los Angeles CA

Small Agency Conference & Awards

07/23/2014 - 07/24/2014 Austin TX

Strategic Advertising Sales Training 

07/23/2014 - 07/24/2014 Los Angeles CA

OMMA RTB Real-Time Buying

07/24/2014 Los Angeles CA

CIO Perspectives Boston 

08/06/2014 Boston MA

IT Roadmap Conference & Expo

08/06/2014 New York NY

OMMA mCommerce

08/07/2014 New York New York

CIO 100 Symposium & Awards

08/17/2014 - 08/19/2014 Rancho Palos Verdes CA

Mobile Insider Summit

08/17/2014 - 08/20/2014 LAKE TAHOE CA

Social Media Insider Summit

08/20/2014 - 08/23/2014 LAKE TAHOE CA

tech-business-marketing

Subscribe To Latest Posts
Subscribe

PC Rebound in Mature Regions Stabilizes Market, But Falls Short of Overall Growth in the Second Quarter of 2014, According to IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 PC Rebound in Mature Regions Stabilizes Market, But Falls Short of Overall Growth in the Second Quarter of 2014, According to IDC

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 74.4 million units in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14), a year-on-year decline of -1.7%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results reflect the smallest decline in global PC shipments since the second quarter of 2012 when declining shipments of mini notebooks combined with a surge in tablet sales to disrupt the PC market.

Buoyed by both continued business PC replacements and returning consumer interest, the preliminary results for 2Q14 are markedly better than the projected decline of -7.1% for the quarter. Despite the end of Windows XP support in early April, it appears many Windows XP migrations continue to take place. Most major vendors saw solid growth, and early indications also point to desktop shipments being stronger than expected in some areas, signaling continued business buying. The consumer side also appears stronger than expected, with growing activity among the lower-priced models as well as Chromebooks.

On a geographic basis, Europe, the United States, and Canada showed the strongest growth, reflecting more stable conditions. Japan would have joined list but for the dramatic surge last quarter and new taxes that limited second quarter growth. In contrast, emerging regions continue to see declining PC volumes as weaker economies and political issues combine to depress growth.

“The recent strength in mature regions is a positive sign,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers. “However, an important part of this strength is driven by the rebound from weaker demand last year and to potentially short-term replacement activity. We can look for some recovery in emerging regions going forward, but it may coincide with slower growth in mature regions. We do not see the recent gains as a motive to raise the long-term outlook although 2014 growth could get closer to flat, rather than the May projection of -6%.”

The PC industry remains intensely competitive, with factors such as economy of scale and channel reach continuing to add to the shift toward mobility and new designs in driving market consolidation. While the top 5 PC vendors grew 9.8% year on year in 2Q14, the rest of the market declined -18.5% on the year.

“The better than expected results seem to arise from two places. One encouraging factor was a good intake of lower-end systems, including Chromebooks, which coincides with the recent slowing in tablet growth and perhaps signals the beginning of some stabilization on the consumer side,” said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers. “In addition, a sizable number of PCs are still running Windows XP and the impetus to upgrade them continued to boost shipments in the second quarter.”

“In the United States, better alignment with channel partners and internal restructuring helped HP and Dell to grow faster than the market, further consolidating share to 53% between these two leaders. Lenovo and Toshiba also gained share with the highest growth among the top 5 players,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, IDC Personal Computers. “Moving forward, strong sales in the back-to-school season and healthy consumer sales in the holiday season should keep the U.S. PC market in positive territory for the rest of the year.”

Click to continue reading

 

How is Wearable Tech Progressing?

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 How is Wearable Tech Progressing?

There are a lot of joggers along the Thames near to where I live. These normally emerge with the sunshine and come in many guises. Yet a particular hazard of the west London location is numerous, rather daring examples, of the latest kit. The most ludicrous specimen of this type caught my attention recently in a shape of a middle aged gentleman decked out in fully matching green vest ‘n’ shorts combo, neatly accessorised with a gloriously outsized smartwatch. 

The analysts at Beecham Research forecast that the wearable tech market is currently on course to be worth $3 billion by 2018. However, the firm believes that if the market can take a true ‘multidisciplinary’ approach, it could be worth more than three times that, at $9.3 billion. And the main answer? Collaborations with fashion.

In fact, its latest report is co-authored between fashion tech analyst, Claire Duke-Wooley and principal analyst, Saverio Romeo and takes the view that “tech alone” will not drive the success of these devices. 

“We don’t like buying things that people tell us we need,” says Duke-Wooley. We buy things because we like the design of them. This is innate within consumers and something that the fashion industry understands really well. She believes in the future, technology companies will need to collaborate with fashion companies at the conception stage in order to create something that works really well in the marketplace. Naturally the example of the iPhone, a beautiful piece of design that nobody knew they wanted till they had it, is raised.

Nigel Beighton, VP of Technology at Rackspace, agrees: “Fashion is an important element that is being missed at the moment in the wearable market. People don’t wear glasses anymore because contacts are more fashionable, and watches have been replaced with mobiles that fit the pocket rather than on our wrist. Simply put, you can give me all the communication in the world, but if it does not look good I am not going to use it”.

There is some evidence this trend is gradually starting to place. Beecham research points to the new Withings Activité smartwatch, which blends Swiss watchmaking with Parisian design.  Then there is Ringly smart jewellery, which doesn’t look like it contains any technology at all. This is on top of all the developments in smart clothing and textiles, led by companies like CuteCircuit,Wearable Experiments and Studio XO. Yet as Beecham points out in the press release, this has still not moved “beyond the couture end of the market”.

Saverio Romeo stresses wearable tech is part of the Internet of Everything. This itself has many associated tech hurdles and Beighton lists the following areas that need to be addressed “for wearables to be the success that everyone wants them to be”:

“Our networks are already highly congested, so much so that even mobile phones struggle to get 3G or 4G everywhere. [On top of this] the internet wasn’t built for millions of things to be mobile and connected, so adding 1000-fold more devices is going to be incredibly challenging. It will happen as the infrastructure gets better but it’s not one year away, it is more likely to be five, maybe ten years”.

“Wearable technology has a high dependence on cloud services and it needs more communication than we currently have on mobile phones,” he continues. “If I walked into a room with Google Glass, I would want it to tell me who everyone is and where we’ve met before, and it is the cloud that will power the big data stores that we need”.

Continue reading…

Coming soon: Mobile devices that can beam 4K video directly to TVs

IDG News Service

Smartphones and tablets will be able to transmit 4K video directly to big screens next year now that mobile chip maker Qualcomm has acquired Wilocity.

Wilocity makes chips based on WiGig technology, which wirelessly transfers data between devices at speeds of up to 7Gbps (bits per second) over a limited distance.

Qualcomm will integrate that technology in its 64-bit Snapdragon 810 mobile chip, it said Wednesday when it announced the acquisition. The first smartphones and tablets with WiGig will ship in the second half of next year, said Cormac Conroy, vice president of product management and engineering for Qualcomm’s Atheros division.

Device makers will ultimately decide if they want to use the WiGig chip in smartphones and tablets, a company spokeswoman said.

WiGig could spell the end of HDMI ports in mobile devices and also eliminate clutter and connectors required to transfer data or 4K video. WiGig is faster than Wi-Fi 802.11ac and LTE mobile broadband technologies, which are already in Snapdragon chips.

Qualcomm officials declined to say how much the company paid for Wilocity.

4K content is growing by the day and faster wireless data-transfer technologies are needed in mobile devices, Conroy said, adding it is the right time to integrate WiGig into Snapdragon.

Netflix has started streaming 4K video, and WiGig can turn mobile devices into media stations so streams can be dispatched to 4K TVs and displays. 4K video has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is four times that of 1920 x 1080 pixel, high-definition video.

The utility of WiGig goes beyond 4K video. Intel wants to free PCs of wiresby 2016 with the use of WiGig to connect desktops to displays, wireless keyboards and mice. Intel also views WiGig as a preferred data-transfer technology for mobile devices over low-power Thunderbolt, which would involve connectors and wires.

Dell is using WiGig technology in a wireless laptop dock.

Mobile device users will be able to sync data with the cloud faster through WiGig, said Tal Tamir, vice president of product management at Qualcomm Atheros, and formerly CEO of Wilocity.

Data exchange between mobile devices and the cloud is heavier in the enterprise, and WiGig will provide low-power, multi-gigabit throughput, Tamir said.

With PC-like data transfer capabilities, mobile devices could come close to becoming full-fledged computers, Tamir said. But WiGig won’t replace wired connectors like USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, which are widely used in computers, external storage devices, monitors and other peripherals.

WiGig has been around for years, but adoption has been slow. Qualcomm’s integration of the technology into smartphone and tablet chips should push adoption of the technology.

CIO Tech Poll Provides Actionable Insight into Tech Spending, Budgets & Objectives

 CIO Tech Poll Provides Actionable Insight into Tech Spending, Budgets & Objectives

IDG’s CIO—the executive-level IT media brand providing insight into business technology leadership— reveals the CIO Tech Poll: IT Economic Outlook results for May 2014. The research indicates that the majority of organizations (87%) are increasing or maintaining IT budgets in the coming year, with an average budget increase of 4.9%. Technology budgets will be distributed across core and edge technologies, including mobile, social, CRM and marketing automation.
Edge Technologies Still Gaining Momentum 
Core technologies, from infrastructure to network and storage, still receive the largest allocation of technology budgets, however in the past year spending on edge technology has increased by 5% to 32%. This increase is short of the 2012 estimate, where IT leaders anticipated edge spending would hit 39% in the next 1-3 years. One area that is seeing growth is applications. More than half of organizations are increasing spending on applications, which is a 6% increase year over year. Mobile investments are strong, with 47% of IT executives increasing spending followed by outsourced IT services, including cloud, at 40%.
Understanding the Budget Breakdown
New projects and emerging technology trends continue to impact the division of IT spending.  In the coming year, 47% of IT leaders will increase spending on new projects. The focus on new projects aligns with overall business goals, with 36% allocating budget to projects that directly contribute to increasing topline revenue at their organization. Enterprises, organizations with 1,000+ employees, are more likely to focus new spending on customer interactions and experience compared to SMB organizations, organizations with less than 1,000 employees. 

“Enterprises are not only spending on new projects to help advance their organizations’ goals, they are investing in solutions from new technology companies at a much higher rate than SMBs,” said Adam Dennison, SVP and publisher, CIO. “Enterprises are looking for the best solution and are not worried that those solutions are coming from new companies that could potentially be acquired. This provides new vendors a great opportunity to showcase their agile and innovate technology solutions to help exceed business results.”  

IT in Purchase Process Across Organizations
No matter what department is driving the technology investment, 98% of CIOs surveyed reported IT involvement in technology purchases. When the purchase is funded outside of the IT budget, nearly a quarter of respondents categorize IT as the driver for identifying the business need and brings their recommendations to line of business (LOB). Forty-five percent of CIOs say that LOB identifies the technology opportunity and reaches out to IT for feedback and recommendations. It is extremely rare that IT receives zero contact until a problem arises (5%).

To schedule a meeting to review the full results, contact Adam Dennison, SVP/Publisher, CIO atadennison@cio.com.

About CIO Tech Poll: IT Economic Outlook Research
The CIO Tech Poll: IT Economic Outlook Research is conducted once a year, among heads of IT, to gauge how current economic conditions are impacting IT spending. The current CIO Tech Poll: IT Economic Outlook was conducted between April 9, 2014 and May 4, 2014 through the CIO Forum on LinkedIn and the CIO customer database. Results are based on 178 respondents who indicated they are the top IT executive at their company or business unit. 

About CIO

CIO is the premier content and community resource for information technology executives and leaders thriving and prospering in this fast-paced era of IT transformation in the enterprise.  The award-winning CIO portfolio—CIO.com, CIO magazine (launched in 1987), CIO executive programs, CIO custom solutions, CIO Forum on LinkedIn, CIO Executive Council and CIO primary research—provides business technology leaders with analysis and insight on information technology trends and a keen understanding of IT’s role in achieving business goals. Additionally, CIO provides opportunities for IT solution providers to reach this executive IT audience. CIO is published by IDG Enterprise, a subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading media, events, and research company. Company information is available athttp://www.idgenterprise.com/.

Follow CIO on Twitter:@CIOmagazine and @CIOonline 
Follow IDG Enterprise on Twitter:@IDGEnterprise
Follow CIO on LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/today/cio.com
Follow CIO on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CIOfacebook

###
Contact:
Lynn Holmlund
Sr. Marketing & PR Manager
IDG Enterprise
lholmlund@idgenterprise.com
Office: 508.935.4526

Public Cloud Services Spending Is Being Driven by Enterprise Applications Solutions, According to IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion  300x99 Public Cloud Services Spending Is Being Driven by Enterprise Applications Solutions, According to IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) today released the latest results from the Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Tracker. For 2013, the worldwide public cloud services reached a total market size of $45.7 billion and IDC expects this market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% until 2018.

“We are at a pivotal time in the battle for leadership and innovation in the cloud. IDC’s Public Cloud Services Tracker shows very rapid growth in customer cloud service spending across 19 product categories and within eight geographic regions. Not coincidentally, we see vendors introducing many new cloud offerings and slashing cloud pricing in order to capture market share. Market share leadership will certainly be up for grabs over the next 2-3 years,” said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC.

Three major product groups comprise the total public cloud services market in IDC’s software taxonomy:  Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

The SaaS market – accounting for 72% of the total public cloud services market and forecast to grow at a 20% CAGR over the forecast period – is dominated by Enterprise Applications cloud solutions such as enterprise resource management (ERM) and customer relationship management (CRM), followed by Collaborative applications. System Infrastructure Software cloud solutions – the other major part of the SaaS market, including Security, Systems Management, and Storage Management cloud services – drove 21% of the 2013 SaaS market. From a competitive perspective, the SaaS service provider ecosystem is largely led by Salesforce.com followed by ADP and Intuit. Traditional software vendors Oracle and Microsoft hold the 4th and 5th positions, respectively.

The PaaS market – accounting for 14% of the market in 2013 with a forecast CAGR of 27% – is composed of a wide variety of highly strategic cloud app development, deployment, and management services. In 2013 and 2014, PaaS spending has been largely driven by Integration and Process Automation solutions, Data Management solutions, and Application Server Middleware services. From a market share standpoint, the 2013 PaaS market was led by Amazon.com, followed by Salesforce.com and Microsoft (both share the number 2 position). GXS and Google hold the 4th and 5th positions, respectively.

Continue reading

 

Asia/Pacific Unified Communications as a Service Market Prospers, Driven by Imminent Cost Benefits, Flexibility and Agility of Technology: IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion  300x99 Asia/Pacific Unified Communications as a Service Market Prospers, Driven by Imminent Cost Benefits, Flexibility and Agility of Technology: IDC

IDC expects the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market to surge to US$659 million in 2018, at a five-year CAGR of 89% as UCaaS Service Providers (SP) intensify their sales and marketing campaign around this service.

The market researcher believes Australia will be the largest market, followed by PRC, India and Korea respectively.

There has been an enormous interest from a wide range of businesses in adopting UCaaS because of the imminent cost benefits, flexibility and agility that the technology provides.

In fact, UCaaS has become a mainstream solution in APeJ with many global service providers (GSP) and regional service providers (RSP), offering full-fledged UCaaS as part of their core collaboration portfolio. Beside the big telco SPs, which controls a significant portion of the market, there are also large system integrators (SI), IT consulting firms and distributors offering UCaaS directly to businesses.

The growing attraction of an agile and opex-friendly collaboration tool model to support business expansion will continue to be compelling to many organizations.

On the other hand, many of the factors holding back adoption such as security, bandwidth demands, reliability, regulation compliance and consistency will be partially solved as the technology matures, SLAs develops, bandwidth cost drops, Internet speed increases and more local data centers start to offer UCaaS, which will help to enhance user experience.

Hence IDC believes that there will be very strong interest in UCaaS solutions among mid-large enterprises, as well as small businesses. In particular, IDC has observed strong adoption interest in markets such as in Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.

Both enterprise customers and IT providers are rapidly looking to UCaaS as a way to transform their business and become more efficient, flexible and agile, explains Ryan Tay, senior research manager for Telecoms and Unified Communications, IDC Asia/Pacific.

“UCaaS can offer both providers and customers very different choices about resource dedication, tenancy, cost and control over their computing assets, giving them much greater confidence about deploying collaborative applications on the cloud. The result is a prospering APeJ market for UCaaS, growing to approximately US$659 million by 2018, at five-year CAGR of 89%”, says Tay.

Click to see more

 

 

Infographic: Is Your IT Infrastructure Keeping Up?

IDG News Service

True Converged infrastructure can cut datacenter costs in half. It’s just one of the compelling reasons IT organizations are adopting converged infrastructures at a rapid pace. Discover many other quantifiable benefits in this new Infographic.

Click to see more

is your IT infrastructure keeping up copy Infographic: Is Your IT Infrastructure Keeping Up?

Advertisers Target Wearable Gadgets as Next Frontier

Bloomberg

Even before wearable technology gains widespread popularity, advertising companies are devising ways to deliver marketing messages directly to people who don watches, glasses and headgear that double as computers.

Case in point: InMobi Pte, a maker of mobile-ad tools, has a team of developers creating virtual mock-ups of ads on smartwatches, head-mounted displays and other gadgets to get a feel for how they can serve as a platform for marketers. The engineers, surrounded by powerful computers with large monitors at the company’s offices in San Francisco and Bangalore, India, are trying to get a head start in the nascent market, which has captured the attention of Google Inc. (GOOG) andApple Inc. (AAPL)

“Any device with a screen allows for an interesting opportunity,” said Atul Satija, vice president and head of revenue and operations at inMobi.

Millennial Media Inc. (MM) and Kiip Inc. have joined the search for viable wearable-ad technology, underscoring the appeal of the devices as marketing platforms. Shipments of wearables are projected to reach almost 112 million units in 2018, up from less than 20 million this year, according to IDC. While that’s still a tiny fraction of the more than 1 billion smartphones that will be sold in 2014, it’s enough momentum to induce ad companies to move products into development and out of the lab.

A hit product would not only spur sales for Apple, Google, Samsung Electronics Co. and other companies that drove the smartphone revolution, it will also open up new ways to make money from apps, reach consumers and gather data.

Building Blocks

Given the limited display size of the devices, the ads will be smaller than those on smartphones — and could briefly take over small screens to show promotions for coupons, shoes or health insurance.

“Obviously, advertisers are already experimenting,” Bryan Yeager, an analyst at EMarketer Inc., said. “If we continue to see that positive growth and upward trajectory, then I think that advertising will follow.”

Wearables also promise troves of unique data in areas related to health, activities and location, giving marketers new ways to put ads in front of consumers. For example, the wearable-ad experiments could involve sending a user an electronic coupon for cookies when they’re in the snack aisle of a grocery store. Or marketers might try to sell consumers a new pair of running shoes after collecting jogging data from a wearable gadget.

Devices such as computerized eyewear could even detect what a user is looking at when they’re shopping, said Julie Ask, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

“Knowing where I am is interesting,” Ask said. “Knowing what I’m looking at or studying for 3 to 4 minutes is more interesting.”

Continue reading

From Google to Amazon: EU goes to war against power of US digital giants

The Guardian

Within the salons of the Elysée Palace, along the corridors of the European parliament and under the glass dome of the Reichstag, Old Europe is preparing for a new war. This is not a battle over religion or politics, over land or natural resources. The raw material that Paris, Brussels and Berlin are mobilising to defend is the digital environment of Europe’s inhabitants; their enemies are the Silicon Valley corporations that seek to dominate it.

Coal, gas and oil powered the industrial revolution, but in the digital era, data is replacing fossil fuels as the most valuable resource on Earth, and the ability to collect and interrogate it has created organisations with a power that can at times seem beyond the control of nation states. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google represent, in the words of Germany’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel, “brutal information capitalism”, and Europe must act now to protect itself.

“Either we defend our freedom and change our policies, or we become digitally hypnotised subjects of a digital rulership,” Gabriel warned in apassionate call to action published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine. “It is the future of democracy in the digital age, and nothing less, that is at stake here, and with it, the freedom, emancipation, participation and self-determination of 500 million people in Europe.”

In France, economy minister Arnaud Montebourg believes Europe risks becoming a “digital colony of the global internet giants”, and ministers have called for Google to contribute to the cost of upgrading the country’s broadband infrastructure. Gabriel says Germany’s cartel office is currently examining whether Google should be regulated as a utility, like a telecoms supplier – the group has 91.2% market share of search in Germany.

He believes that, as a last resort, there may be a case for “unbundling” Google, separating its search arm from mobile, or YouTube, or services such as email.

As a first step, he is in favour of regulation that allows competitors to use the Google platform fairly. The pushback against Amazon has also begun: as of last year, the online retailer can no longer stop independent sellers on its German website from offering their own goods cheaper elsewhere, including on their own websites.

European regulators have also begun to take action. In May, the European court upheld a plea by a Spaniard, Mario Costeja González, who wanted pages hidden from any Google search for his name in the EU. Judges decided the past transgressions of private individuals have a right to be “forgotten”. The threats that ruling poses to freedom of the press are now being debated, but it was a watershed moment, representing Europe’s first major regulatory strike against the search and software colossus.

On 11 June, the European commission‘s competition regulator, Joaquín Almunia, wrote to colleagues to warn that his investigation into Google’s search rankings could be reopened, after new complainants had stepped forward. On the same day, he announced a potentially wide-ranging inquiry into tax avoidance, starting with a focus on three companies: Apple and its international headquarters in Ireland, and Starbucks and its head office in the Netherlands (the third company being carmaker Fiat). On Thursday, a leak from Brussels suggested Amazon, which operates through a European HQ in Luxembourg, was also being dragged into the net.

“In the current context of tight public budgets, it is particularly important that large multinationals pay their fair share of taxes,” Almunia said. His intervention was widely interpreted as a politically motivated act. It almost certainly was.

There are those who believe that Jean-Claude Juncker, the former Luxembourg prime minister who has just been elected as the next president of the European commission – despite vocal opposition from David Cameron – is out to get Google.

Click to continue reading

Why Facebook’s user experiment is bad news for businesses

CITEworld

The big data problem isn’t just about handling petabytes of information, or asking the right question, or avoiding false correlations (like understanding that just because more people drown at the same time as more ice cream is eaten, banning ice cream won’t reduce drownings).

It’s also about handling data responsibly. And so far, we’re not doing as well with that as we could be.

First Target worked out how to tell if you’re pregnant before your family does and decided to disguise its creepy marketing by mixing in irrelevant coupons with the baby offers. Then Facebook did research to find out if good news makes you depressed by showing some people more bad news and discovered that no, we’re generous enough to respond to positive posts with more positivity.

But if companies keep using the information about us in creepy ways instead of responsible ones, maybe we’ll stop being generous enough to share it. And that could mean we lose out on more efficient transport, cleaner cities and cheaper power, detecting dangerous drug interactions and the onset of depression — and hundreds of other advances we can get by applying machine learning to big data.

It’s time for a big data code of conduct.

Facebook’s dubious research is problematic for lots of reasons. For one thing, Facebook’s policy on what it would do with your data didn’t mention research until four months after it conducted the experiment. Facebook’s response was essentially to say that “everyone does it” and “we don’t have to call it research if it’s about making the service better” and other weasel-worded corporate comments. And the researcher’s apology was more about having caused anxiety by explaining the research badly than about having manipulated what appeared in timelines, because Facebook is manipulating what you see in your timeline all the time. Of course, that’s usually to make things better, not to see what your Pavlovian reaction to positive or negative updates is. The fact that Facebook can’t see that one is optimizing information and the other is treating users as lab rats — and that the difference is important — says that Facebook needs a far better ethics policy on how it mines user data for research.

Plus, Facebook has enough data that it shouldn’t have needed to manipulate the timelines in the first place; if its sentiment analysis was good enough to tell the difference between positive and negative posts (which is doubtful given how basic it was and how poor sentiment analysis tools are at detecting sarcasm), it should have been able to find users who were already seeing more positive or more negative updates than most users and simply track how positive or negative their posts were afterwards. When you have a hypothesis, you experiment on your data, not your users.

That’s how Eric Horvitz at Microsoft Research has run experiments to detect whether you’re likely to get depression, whether two drugs are interacting badly, whether a cholera epidemic is about to happen, and whether people are getting used to cartel violence in Mexico.

Using public Twitter feeds and looking at language, how often people tweet and at what time of day and how that changes, Horvitz’s team was able to predict with 70% accuracy who was going to suffer depression (which might help people get treatment and reduce the suicide rate from depression). Not only did they use information people were already sharing, they asked permission to look at them.

Click to read more…