In their hunt for market dominance, social networks Facebook, Google Buzz, and Microsoft Live are redefining what social means and in the process, straining the bounds of personal privacy.

Facebook, the big daddy of these three, has made quiet changes to its privacy settings, ones that members need to understand if they are going to manage the distribution of their personal information.

I find Facebook useful, mostly as a way to stay in touch with a select set of my friends and former co-workers. It’s not my public soapbox nor a window into my personal life, left open to the world for that, I have blogs and Twitter.

As much as I like Facebook, it has a flaw that I’ll never see in my blogs and hopefully never see with Twitter. It seems the proprietors of Facebook find it necessary, desirable, or profitable to change member privacy settings, usually with little notice to members. In every case I can think of, privacy settings have become more relaxed more open, if you will. More »

Save time and money with our favorite secret tricks for Google, Facebook  and twitter sites you already use.

Think you know all of the tricks at your favorite Internet sites? Think again.

Even if you’re on Google, Facebook, and YouTube every day, you might not be tapping those sites’ full potential. Read on to speed up your Internet abilities, unlock new features, and find a new favorite tip or two.

Google Gimmicks

Search within a site: Narrow down your search results to a single site. Type (search query) site:(domain); an example would be entering: video card tips site:pcworld.com to find pages only at that location. You can even limit results to within sections of a site, as in this example: twitter site:pcworld.com/businesscenter.

Search for file types: Maybe you want to track down a certain document that’s a PDF. Enter your usual search string plus filetype:pdf to find only those pages. This method also works with PostScript (ps), Office docs (doc, ppt, xls), Rich Text (rtf), Plain Text (txt), and more. You can find a list of searchable file types here. More »

Mozilla introduced Firefox Snowl in the first half of August 2008, and the open source project evolved into its next stage as of January 12, 2009. Mozilla Labs unveiled Firefox Snowl 0.2, moving onward with the development of the solution, from the initial release, which was, by all means, an extremely primitive prototype. With version 0.2 of its experiment with messaging in the browser, Mozilla Labs has in fact taken the conversing capabilities of the project a step further.

“We’re pleased to announce Snowl 0.2. This version of the messaging-in-the-browser experiment builds on the first release with an updated river view, a new stream view for keeping track of messages in a sidebar while you do other things, the ability to send tweets, and support for multiple Twitter accounts,” Mozilla’s Myk Melez revealed.

Users should make no mistake about it, as even at version 0.2 Snowl is still in very early development stages, making them more testers than actual users. However, the program does increase the level of Twitter integration. The solution now supports sending messages through Twitter, but also the ability for users to both receive and send Tweets from multiple accounts that they first need to subscribe to. More »

Snowl is designed to extend the functionality of Firefox beyond the default tasks associated with the process of navigating web content. In fact, this is the premise of Snowl, that the open source browser is capable of dealing with content in addition to what it was originally designed for. Snowl, a project from Mozilla Labs, is described as nothing more than an “experiment with messaging in the browser”.

“The initial prototype supports two sources of messages: RSS/Atom feeds and Twitter. And it exposes
two interfaces for reading them. First, a traditional three-pane ‘list’ view, targeted to active reading of important messages. Second, a ‘river of news’ view, based on the concept popularized by Dave Winer, designed for casual browsing,” revealed Mozilla’s Myk Melez.

The first version of Snowl is set up to mash together feeds but not much else. However, the project does have potential. Mozilla Labs is currently considering extending support in order to accommodate various sources of messages, but especially instant messaging services such as AIM or Google Talk. More »