Today in Tech News Digest, Twitter reports its financials for the first time since its IPO, British spies are accused of attacking hacktivists, 37signals changes its name to Basecamp, YouTube targets “fraudulent views,” Doodle 4 Google 2014 is launched, and George Clooney reveals his distaste towards Twitter.
Twitter Reports Maiden Public Earnings
Wow, Twitter’s CEO says one goal is to “reach everyone on the planet.” So much for the under-promise, over-deliver strategy.
— Sarah Kessler (@SarahFKessler) February 5, 2014
Twitter has reported its financial results for the last quarter, the first since the social media company floated on the stock exchange. While its revenues were better than expected, disappointing growth figures resulted in a slight dip in its share price.
During Q4, Twitter brought in revenues of $242.7 million, $25 million more than expected. Earnings per share of $0.02 were also better than expected, with analysts predicting a negative figure. Interestingly, a whopping 75 percent of the company’s advertising revenue came from mobile use.
In not-so-good news, Twitter’s userbase is still growing extremely slowly, rising from 232 million to 241 million users over the 3-month period. Growth appears to be slowing rather than increasing exponentially, as happened with Facebook.
The problem may be that Twitter is unfathomable to, and unwanted by, the mainstream audience it needs to grab in order to carry on growing. Which is a shame as Twitter is easy to understand, and there are plenty of reasons everyone should try Twitter.
British Spies Attacked Hacktivists
You may not like Anonymous, but what GCHQ/NSA does to them threatens all political activists http://t.co/Sj33fPP4qW
— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) February 5, 2014
The latest revelations to emerge from the Edward Snowden data suggest that British spies targeted hacktivist groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec. The unit, known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) were part of GCHQ, the British equivalent to the NSA.
It’s alleged that JTRIG specifically targeted these groups using DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks to disrupt communications between members, and by planting malware to obtain identifying information about the individuals involved.
While ‘Rolling Thunder’ (the alleged name of the operation) shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone, it’s rather ironic that the same tactics were used to stop and catch hacktivists as were used by the hacktivists themselves. The difference, as noted by Wired, is that only one side ends up in court for employing these methods.
YouTube Targets “Fraudulent Views”
Google is ramping up its efforts to rid YouTube of “fraudulent views.” With money to be made from YouTube, there are a number of channels that artificially inflate the numbers of people viewing each piece of content.
While Google has always tried to detect and delete spammy views, the company will, according to YouTube software engineer Philipp Pfeiffenberger, “periodically validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light.”
37signals Becomes Basecamp
37signals becomes Basecamp: http://t.co/ivwFoviiSs — one company, one product, one focus. What relieving clarity of purpose!
— DHH (@dhh) February 5, 2014
Web application company 37signals is no more. Not because it has gone bust, but because it has changed its name to Basecamp. If the name sounds familiar it’s because Basecamp is also the name of its most popular product.
The name change from 37signals to Basecamp coincides with a change of strategy. The company is killing off all of its products apart from the aforementioned Basecamp; a project management suite that has inspired a number of free alternatives, including FreedCamp and iManageProject.
Doodle 4 Google 2014 Launched
Anyone who uses Google as their default search engine will be familiar with Google Doodles, the customized versions of the Google logo that tops the page on special occasions. Now, thanks to Doodle 4 Google 2014, you can create your own Google Doodle.
Unfortunately, only kids in the U.S. school system through grades K-12 are eligible to enter. Entries close on March 20, 2014, with the chosen winner having their Doodle displayed on the Google homepage, and receiving both a college scholarship for him or herself and a technology grant for their school. Those seeking inspiration can see previous winners here.
George Clooney Hates Twitter
This is the face you make when George Clooney insists you take a selfie with him pic.twitter.com/cLoA4GyHiU
— Jeff Nelson (@nelson_jeff) February 5, 2014
And finally, George Clooney has revealed his complete lack of interest in Twitter. While out promoting ‘The Monuments Men’, Clooney told Variety, “Just because I like to have a drink at night, I could easily say something stupid, and I also don’t think you need to be that available. I don’t see Matt (Damon) or Brad (Pitt) or myself wanting to get our thoughts out in a 140-character-thing at 3 in the morning.”
This is fair comment, of course, but there’s a certain irony involved. Clooney is missing out on a fantastic promotional tool by not using Twitter. One tweet to his (likely) millions of followers would conceivably do as much good for the box office takings of his latest film as hours spent being interviewed by nobodies. Still, I guess he knows best!
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Shawn Campbell