Wednesday, July 13, 2011

App Allows Facebook View Inside Google+

An Israeli app is bringing together rivals Facebook and Google+. Google+Facebook creates a view of your newsfeed from Facebook within Google+, but some are warning about security flaws in the app's code that may leave your system vulnerable. Experts say the concept of Google+Facebook shows social media users want the best of both worlds.

Want to try out Google+, the newest social networking site, without giving up your Facebook account? You guessed it. There's an app for that.

"Google+Facebook" was created by Crossrider, an Israel-based startup that boasts that it took about a day to create the app, downloadable from its web site for users of Google's Chrome and Mozilla browser. It creates a view of your newsfeed from Facebook within Google+. About 100,000 people have already checked out the app so far. But a founder of the company, Koby Menachemi, said the product is not perfect, and some observers agree, even saying it may harm your computer Relevant Products/Services.

Malware Alert

A commenter on the social news site Reddit, RogueDarkJedi, caused a stir with a post detailing what he said were security Relevant Products/Services flaws in the app's code and warning that downloading the program may be essentially adding malware.

Among other concerns, RogueDarkJedi noted that, "The API makes multiple references to a premium service Relevant Products/Services. What this means is that if the author of the plugin fails to pay the service money, Crossrider can force all users of the plugin to install additional crap. This is a forced change that you cannot opt-out of."

Menachemi responded with a point-by point rebuttal, noting that "Crossrider DOES NOT install any extensions other than the specific extension the user has downloaded and confirmed to install!"

According to its web site, Crossrider is an "easy to use, JavaScript/jQuery framework to create cross-browser extensions in minutes. We started Crossrider after going through the pain and frustration of building our first extension."

Google+ already has an estimated 10 million users, gaining a better public reception than Google Buzz, which was launched in February, 2010, and widely panned because it automatically added and linked Gmail users, raising privacy concerns.

In an interview with Reuters, Menachemi described his app as "a site within a site ... If users want a feature to post updates on both networks, we will. If they want to comment on their Facebook screen, we will do it."

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT Relevant Products/Services, said Google+Facebook shows that social media users want the best of both worlds.

"I think its popularity is interesting and reinforces the differences between Facebook & Google+," said King. "If they were essentially equivalent, I doubt Google+ would be enjoying its flush or initial interest. Clearly a significant number of users want to easily move between the two sites."

Never Say Never

Does Google+ stand a chance over Facebook?

"In IT, I never say never," said King. "Plenty of high flyers have blown it by losing sight of what they do best and their customers want most. Plenty of non-entities went from 0 to 100 mph faster than anyone expected. Google's blown it numerous times, but the company still dominates its core markets. I'm not ready to count them out."

The app also shows the recent impact of Israeli tech startups. Another firm from the Jewish state that caused a recent stir is Tawkon, which makes an app that estimates radiation from cell phones.

"Many major vendors have research facilities in Israel, and numerous Israeli start-ups have succeeded," said King.

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