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New Media News Break: Google’s Knowledge Base, Student Hoaxes, and More


Every week, we post a New Media News Break to help catch you up with what’s going on in the world of new media and get you through the work week. Here are this week’s top stories:

Google Begins Rolling Out Major Search Changes

This week, Google began rolling out “Knowledge Base,” which will drastically change the way we search and use other Google tools. If you search for an ambiguous term, Google will now ask you which term you really meant. The hope is that people searching for cats the animal will no longer see results for Cats the musical. Basically, it’s a way to filter your results. Google will also show you related results (if you like Cats you might also like Fiddler on the Roof). They’re also incorporating an error reporting system, in part because this new web of knowledge will draw from sources like Wikipedia, which are user-generated and often include subjective opinions or misinformation. Check out this video to learn more about Google’s Knowledge Base will work.

46% of Americans Believe Facebook is a “Passing Fad”

For those of us working in the new media industry, Facebook is a part of our daily lives, almost second nature. But not all Americans like this site – and a new study has revealed that nearly half of them believe Facebook is a passing fad. About half also believe that the company’s stock market value is overvalued and only 18% said they were “extremely confident” in the ability of Mark Zuckerberg as CEO. You can read the entire study from Associated Press and CNBC here (PDF). It’s eye-opening, especially if you’re in a niche other than social media/blogging. It’s not that Facebook isn’t important, but remember that it might not be the best place to connect with your target market.

Twitter Introduces Top Stories Emails

Twitter announced this week that users will soon have the option to receive a weekly email with a digest of top stories. This digest will include the “most engaging” tweets from your friends, tweets you’ve liked or retweeted, links that are important based on what your followers are sharing, and more. These emails aren’t yet available for everyone, but will be rolling out over the next several weeks. For content creators, this can be a great tool to see how your tweets are performing, what kind of content your followers want, and how you can make changes in your tweeting activity to better connect with others.

Verizon Kills Unlimited Data Plans, Even for Older Customers

Verizon customers used to enjoy unlimited data, but recently the company has moved away from this model. Still, users who had previously purchased this unlimited plan were not made to change, so many (myself included) have been clinging to their old contract. Verizon, however, has put their foot down and will be killing the unlimited plan altogether in the coming months, forcing data users to change to a limited plan. Why should you care? Well, as a content creator, it is important to ensure that you’re taking these limitations into consideration. If users have to “spend” a lot of data to view your content, they likely won’t come back, at least on this mobile devices. It’s important to at least have a mobile version of your site, keeping in mind that you been to be optimized for these users.

Reddit Catches Student Hoax

A few years ago, Professor T. Mills Kelly and one of his classes pulled the wool over the Internet’s eyes by planning an elaborate hoax complete with fake Wikipedia pages, videos, and expert interviews. He’s at it again, teaching a class where he encourages students to form groups and attempt to fool the Internet. It’s a social experiment of sorts, and one that many, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, detest. This year, though, Reddit users shut down the hoax in a matter of minutes. That should be a lesson to anyone even thinking about lying online. People will find out, so it’s better to always be 100% honest from the start.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

Your iPhone is your Remote & Your iPad is your TV?


With the growing popularity of the iPhone and iPad – it seems everyone is in a rush to get them interactive and working with your television. Here are just some of the latest ways to use your devices to watch movies, television, and interact with fans of the same shows:

  • Teevox is a free iPhone app that gives users the ability to use their phone as a remote control for web content on Hulu (Hulu) or Netflix. You just select a show or movie from the app and Teevox will instantly start playing your selection in your computer’s browser. You can then use the app to pause, fast forward, change volume, and even interact with other viewers in live show-based chats.
  • Verizon released news that soon you’ll have the ability to watch television on your iPad if you are a Verizon FiOS subscriber! Slated for delivery next year, subscribers with an iPad will be able to watch linear programming within their own home while someone else watches another on the TV. Being at home allows Verizon to authenticate users and make sure they are only accessing the content for which they have paid. The iPad app, with a working title of What’s Hot, takes advantage of Verizon’s architecture, which [is] characterized as “cloud TV.” Over the past few months, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable have also demonstrated iPad app prototypes–though most of them involve remote control and DVR options, not live streaming.
  • HBO’s Eric Kessler tells Bloomberg that HBO Go will be available on the iPod and other mobile devices to the channel’s paying subscribers at no additional cost.
  • The Netflix app lets you stream movies directly to your iPad without waiting for them to arrive in your mailbox (subscription necessary!)
  • The ABC player gives you the ability to watch full episodes of your fave ABC shows again: Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, Desperate Housewives and more.

What apps are you using to watch TV and what are you watching?

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