Value Addition by Taggr & E-Tags

1. Web masters can offer taggr

Using our application, web masters can offer taggr application ready to use with their website. Any user thus can use taggr to tag photographs with just a button click and can have a fantastic user experience.

2. Users can tag website and blogs

Tagging which was limited to social networking sites can now be experienced outside their domain across websites and blogs using taggr. The experience of cross site photo tagging is very addictive and unique. Tagging photographs and sharing them globally with such an ease is a great user friendly feature.

3. Future social networks will have lower network effect

We can foresee a lower network effect in future for social networking sites with the adoption of taggr along with e-tags . Utilising the concept of decentralisation, users can opt for their servers for storing tags and can own their photographs.

4. Sponsors can promote their products

Sponsors can tag their products across the websites and blogs. In future we can use the image reorganisation technology and can foresee a semi automated systems to suggest the sponsors the possible images where they can tag their products. Using taggr, sponsors can promote their products at various new places on blogs and websites.

5. Sponsors can see if they are discussed online

Using the information from the taggr our sponsors can identify the geographical location where they are talked about. This vital information can be a base to analyse the market areas to concentrate more and discover untouched potential markets.

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Commercialisation

We have few ideas for commercialisation

1.     Text Based Adverts

Adverts can be any popular advert like Google’s Adsense or Bidvertiser. Text based adverts are the free programs which empower the online publishers to earn revenue by displaying relevant ads and generate revenue for every valid click.

We offer our application Taggr free of cost to our web masters. On the other hand, we take the permission to display our ads on their blogs or websites. We can have Taggr associated with Google’s Adsense or Bidvertiser, who’s JavaScript based advertisement will be embedded with Taggr code. Thus, web masters just have to use our application and advertisements will be customised according to the content of the website or blogs.

2.     Advert Tags

Another aspect of commercialisation requires usage of core functionality of Taggr. Cross site photo tagging is our major strength, thus we can offer our sponsors the flexibility to use our product and tag their products across blogs and websites.

For example, Coca-Cola might be interested in tagging their product on a holiday resort website.



This will not only enhance promotion of their product but also can give them a geographical location of their potential consumers and markets to concentrate.

As of now this process is manual, but with the enhancement of Image reorganisation technology, we can foresee a semi automated system, which can suggest our sponsor’s possible photo’s where they can tag their products.

3.     Premium Solutions

Using the premium solution for Taggr, webmasters can pay a small premium subscription fees and thus can get rid of all our adverts. They can also get a better control of Taggr and can use it more efficiently and effectively. They might in future be able to integrate Taggr with their logging system providing user a better usability experience.

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Survey Conducted on the Cross Site Image Tagging

Survey Conducted on the Cross Site Image Tagging

Introduction

We have conducted a survey on cross site photo tagging concept. This was one of the approaches taken by us to see the interests that the users will have in our idea and also it would suggest us whether this notion of thought that we have, will be beneficial in the long run from the social networking aspects.

The survey gave a brief introduction about the work that we intend to do and what are the outcomes that can be expected out of it. The proposal said that it includes a system which would allow tagging photos from any website which are then grouped together and can be traversed and modified in a similar way to the currently existing tagging systems.

The questions that we designed sequentially, were supposed to filter out potential users of social web sites and then to get an idea of whether those users take interest in sharing photographs on the blogs. It was also equally necessary for us to know that the users were familiar with the concept of tagging as it would aid us identify those group of users who are probably the ones to give us the  correct feedback that we are looking at. It would then be worth asking from those people about the uniqueness of this idea and also the popularity that it will have. The result that we got from the surveys was quite promising and it actually motivated us to move ahead with further developments.

Analysing the results

We will also try to analyse some of the results that we have received from the surveys.

Fig 1.1

Fig 1.1 shows that almost 93.2% of the users except those who use the social networking sites regularly are the potential users.

Fig 1.2

Fig 1.2 shows that 77.9% of the people are those people who have the tendency of sharing photos on the sites or blogs quite often. We have taken into account the people that have voted for “Very Often” and “Sometimes”.

Fig 1.3

Fig 1.3 shows that 61% of the users are keener to use photo tagging. So we are targeting these individuals who can be the potential users for our system.

Fig 1.4

Fig 1.4 shows that above 81% of the people are using more than one social networking site and the idea of cross site photo tagging will benefit them as they don’t have to upload the photos at every site that they have access. They can just tag the images from one of the SNS to get the other SNS to view their data. It would be really a nice experience for these people to discover the new feature that we are offering.

Fig 1.5

Fig 1.5 shows the data that has proved to be motivating as it clearly says that more than 83% of the people say that they really find this idea really unique and addictive. This conforms to the fact that the idea that we proposed is something that is new and is not existent in the current social networking sites and which will definitely interest the other users who access SNS very often.

Fig 1.6

Fig 1.6 shows that more than 85% of the people have shown some interest in using the application that we have developed. Out of which 50% of the people are those people who are possibly going to use this application. The sceptical behaviour of these people is quite justified as they are not sure about the user friendliness of our application. These people will definitely get more confidence when they will see the ease of use, of this application.

Fig 1.7

Fig 1.7 shows that 42.4% of the people are keen to suggest their friends to use this application, which means that almost 50% of the people will be spreading our ideas to the other group of people, so the chances of getting it popular will be very much possible looking at the statistics that we have.

Conclusion

After conducting the survey we were content with the results that we received. It was encouraging as it confirmed that the idea that we are having is new and is definitely going to draw attention of the users who regularly use the social networking sites for tagging photos. This can be seen as the future of the photo tagging in the social networking sites across the web.

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About Last Night

After its public launch at the pitch last week, I feel it is now appropriate to post the first ever advert for taggr.

It tells the story of Katie waking up after a night on the town, she met a guy but can’t remember his name. Through the magic of tagging – they meet up and in our twist of an ending we find them together three months later. This was supposed to show how taggr can be used by ordinary people using their normal web browsing habits and doesn’t require any specific changes.

It went well at the pitch (a video of which I’ll post shortly) and it seemed to get the point across well, especially to people who weren’t swayed by the more technical description of the product.

Of course taggr isn’t really aimed at end-users as they won’t be the ones installing it. Website and blog owners are the people who need convinced but this sort of advert also shows them that their users could use the software easily and it would add value to their website.

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Facebook Privacy Concerns

This post is being made, not particularly as an attack on Facebook, as Myspace had the same sort of problems when it was the biggest player, and we believe any company which rises to such heights will be a risk to users if its power is not controlled. We believe that having all of the photo data collected by a single entity is dangerous and has worrying ramifications for user privacy. We use Facebook as an example here simply because it happens to be the largest social network at the current time.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.

- Lord Acton (1887)

In 2008, Facebook had access to over 10 billion user photos. We have no more recent figures but it seems likely that that number is significantly higher now. These photos can only be seen and interacted with by users of the social networking giant. Facebook have repeatedly changed the default privacy settings on their website as to encourage their users to share more publicly, often in a non-transparent way. There is a great graphic by Matt McKeon showing the evolution of Facebook privacy settings which you can view by clicking below.

Facebook Privacy by Matt McKeon

In 2009, Facebook changes the terms of service, in particular the clause saying:

“You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

was changed to remove the section about the license expiring, effectively giving Facebook an irrevocable license as soon as any content is uploaded. This policy change was unannounced and didn’t come to public attention until a blogger noticed it 2 weeks later.

This caused a backlash for Facebook and before long the terms were returned to the original state. Facebook soon opted to democratize the process of introducing new terms of service however the new terms have came in for a long of criticism also.

The main problem with this is that while the users can complain, it is very very difficult to give up your account on the biggest social network without giving up contact with your friends. We believe more open systems are required to allow people to interact across networks and allow people more power to stand up to oppressive terms of service. If there was a real alternative to Facebook, or even multiple real alternatives, then Facebook would not have such power.

We see the combination of taggr and etags as the first step towards lessening the requirement of having a Facebook account. Or at least allowing people to have an account but not necessarily having to store their photographs there if they don’t want to. This would hopefully make Facebook take notice and listen to their users needs more.

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To SQL or not to SQL?

The first version of the prototype (running on this website) used MySQL to store the tags.

Some Sample Data in MySQL

This was fine but called for a much more complicated layout when we began to deal with multiple accounts, some people having just one account, some people having more than one facebook account, some people having 1 twitter 1 facebook, etc.

The second prototype was created to run on the Google App Engine and so used Google BigTable as the storage mechanism. This allowed us much more flexibility in how we stored each individual tag.

Profiles in BigTable

Providers in BigTable

Tags in BigTable

Although we may move away from the app engine in the future it is likely that we will keep the NoSQL data store (perhaps using CouchDB or MongoDB) as it allows much more flexibility and (if we need it in future) scalability. Tags are quite a simple thing to store and we really have no use for lots of complicated JOINs.

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Analysis of Decentralized social networking tools.

Analysis of Decentralized social networking tools.

Introduction

Social networking sites are like walled gardens where we need accounts on various social networking sites to login. But what, if we think of communicating from one social networking site to another. For example, if I have an account in Twitter and I want to communicate with Facebook users, the current social networking sites does not allow that, although the features provided by most of the sites are comparable.

The solution to the above mentioned problem came up with the idea of ‘Decentralized Social Network’. It lets users to sign up to whichever host site they prefer and they would be able to participate and interact with users of any other such host site, with no additional signing up to do. Applications running on any Host site will have access to the Friends List of the user account they are running under, even across Host sites. A user’s profile may even be fragmented across multiple Hosts, with each Host hosting a particular aspect, or type of content for the user.

Now we will compare some of the decentralised social networking tools that are in use and the features they provide.

Tool Comparison :-

MOVIM

Movim aims at being an accessible and multi-lingual platform. Movim-Platform is a set of elements pertaining to a social network. Its simplicity and modularity greatly ease development and robustness of the code.

Features:-

Decentralised technology

It keeps your data secure and under your ownership. It achieves it through the complete decentralisation of user’s data and account. It gives the freedom to the users in registering wherever they want, but it helps you keep in touch with your friends, even if they are on a different server.

Freedom

It is a free open source software respectful of the internet’s fundamental philosophy (neutrality, privacy and freedom).

One protocol to rule them all

Movim relies on the enterprise-class XMPP protocol. With Movim, you will never be locked in by a single vendor, your Gmail and Facebook contacts will be available, and even WLM, Yahoo and many others.

The Movim platform integrates everything you need to connect to your favourite XMPP server and communicate freely.

URL :- http://www.movim.eu/

OneSocialWeb

It aims to connect all social networks and work together. What makes our approach unique is that we use the technology called XMPP the engine behind Instant Messaging. We can reuse many elements available in XMPP and introduce a few missing elements. Learn more about why we use xmpp.

Features :-

A tremendous advantage of XMPP is that in its very nature it tackles security issues that are not straight forward to solve in the web world. Since all traffic is routed through the server and the identity of that server can be validated with signatures issued by Certified Authorities, end users do not need to worry about complex things like signatures to establish secure communication.

Xmpp has been designed to send all messages in real-time using a very efficient push mechanism. Existing web or polling based mechanisms are often making many unnecessary requests introducing network load and are not real-time.

XMPP is already a distributed social web in its own right for the purpose of chatting. With several subtle modifications it could very quickly become a full fledged social web with substantial critical mass.

Points to Improve :-

Fine grained access control: we want to enable both public oriented Twitter like social nodes as well as more private oriented Facebook like social nodes. For this we think it is essential to include fine grained access control at a protocol level. With fine-grained we mean that end users have precise control on who can see or do what: for activities on a per activity basis, for profiles on a field per field basis. This is not only about viewing rights, you could also delegate editing or updating to third parties e.g. you could allow a location provider to update your location.

Offline message store: if a user is offline, normal chat messages are dropped. We need to add an offline message store that stores messages when you are not online. We will effectively put all messages you get in a database so end users can navigate backwards in time.

URL :- http://onesocialweb.org/

StatusNet

It is a FLOSS microblogging server written in PHP that implements the OStatus standard for interoperation between installations. While offering functionality similar to Twitter, StatusNet seeks to provide the potential for open, inter-service and distributed communications between microblogging communities. Enterprises and individuals can install and control their own services and data.

Features :-

 Updates via a XMPP/Jabber/Google Talk client

 OpenID authentication

 Federation support, which provides the ability to subscribe to notices by users on a remote service through the OpenMicroBlogging protocol

OpenMicroBlogging is an open protocol that allows different micro-blogging services to inter-operate. It lets the user of one service subscribe to notices by a user of another service. This enables a federation of new communities[1], as potentially an organization of any size can host a service. OpenMicroBlogging utilizes the OAuth and Yadis protocols and does not depend on any central authority.

 SMS updates and notifications

 A Twitter-compatible API

 Hashtags

 Multilingual interface (using Gettext)

 Cross-posting to Twitter

 Facebook integration

 Groups (Bangtags)

 Automatic URL-shortening

 Geolocations and maps

 Live update of stream

 Attachments (add files, images, video, audio to dents)

 Embedding of content from other sites, like YouTube, Flickr, etc.

 Implementation of Salmon Protocol

URL :- http://status.net/

Higgins

It believes that people should have more control over their own information. So they created an assistant to help you manage your online identity. A convenient place to manage your credentials (passwords, OpenIDs, and InfoCards), and a place to control how your personal data is shared with friends and organizations you trust.

Features:-

Active Client Overview

An active client is integrated with your browser and runs on a computer or mobile device. It is a personal identity manager.

You can get information cards from card issuing websites and store them in this selector in much the same way you put business, library, loyalty and payment cards in your wallet.

 By clicking on a card you can log into sites. No more passwords.

 By clicking on a card you express yourself. No more filling in forms.

 You can share cards with friends and businesses you trust.

 Some cards create permanent connections to your friends, communities and businesses.

Personal Data Service Overview

A PDS is a cloud-based service that works on behalf of an individual. Its purpose is to give the individual users as much control as possible over their own personal data. The challenge of course is that an individual’s data is stored in thousands of databases distributed across the Internet, are stored under a wide variety of policies including access control rights, are described using few common data models, and cannot be accessed using common protocols.

Information from a variety of data sources (e.g. social networks, telco and health data sources) are virtually integrated by the PDS and presented in a “dashboard” application in a browser or in desktop and mobile clients. The PDS gives you control over your own information by allowing you to share selected subsets of it with other people and organizations that you trust.

 Is a service that enables the user to participate as a peer within a distributed personal data ecosystem.

 Provides an online profile manager web app that provides an integrated view of the user’s data, the ability update self-asserted data, a way to manage authorizations (e.g. using something like an UMA Authorization Manager) and set policies under which 3rd parties (e.g. apps) gain access to portion of the user’s information.

 Implements a Discovery API that allows the user to be discoverable by other people, organizations, apps and exchanges whose inquiries that meet user-defined criteria.

URL :- http://eclipse.org/higgins/

OpenLink Data Spaces

ODS is an industry standards-compliant data space platform that includes a broad collection of distributed collaborative applications covering: blogs, wikis, shared bookmarks, file management, calendaring, email, photo galleries, discussion forums, polls, and more.

Every item of data within an ODS instance is endowed with a de-referenceable URI. This enables any HTTP-compatible client to obtain a negotiated representation of the description of any ODS data item.

Features :-

Platform independent solution for Data Portability via support for all major data interchange standards

Powerful solution for meshing data from a myriad of data sources across Intranets, Extranets, and the Internet

Coherent integration of Blogs, Wikis, and similar systems (native and external) that expose structured Linked Data

Collaborative content authoring and data generation without any exposure to underlying complexities of such activities

URL:- http://demo.openlinksw.com/ods/

Diaspora

Diaspora lets you sort your connections into groups called aspects. Unique to Diaspora, aspects ensure that your photos, stories and jokes are shared only with the people you intend. You own your pictures, and you shouldn’t have to give that up just to share them. You maintain ownership of everything you share on Diaspora, giving you full control over how it’s distributed.

Instead of being a singular portal like Facebook, Diaspora is a distributed network where separate computers connect to each other directly, without going through a central server of some sort.

Once set up, the network could aggregate your information – including your Facebook profile, if you wanted. It could also import things like tweets, RSS feeds, photos, etc., similar to how the social aggregator FriendFeed does. A planned plugin framework could extend these possibilities even further.

Your computer, called a “seed” in the Diaspora setup, could even integrate the connected services in new ways. For example, a photo uploaded to Flickr could automatically be turned into a Twitter post using the caption and link.

When you “friend” another user, you’re actually “friending” that seed, technically speaking. There’s not a centralized server managing those friend connections as there is with Facebook – it’s just two computers talking to each other. Friends can then share their information, content, media and anything else with each other, privately using GPG encryption.

Features :-

Secure sharing of multimedia

3rd party service integration

Voice Over IP integration

A custom instant messaging protocol

Distributed, encrypted backups

OpenID integration

aGPL licensed

URL :- https://joindiaspora.com/

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Impact for recommendation system

This blog post aims to provide commercial and academic understanding towards popular recommendation system. Commercially, the recommendation system contributes greatly to the number of views of webpages, it helps viewers to find contents that they’re interested in. Academicly, it is a good study case for understanding how contents in a large repository are discovered and the importance for content discovery tools, how information is stored and retrieved.

Summerized from paper I read, the recommendation system contributes the repository in the following ways:

1.  Recommendation is one of the most imporant traffic sources of a large repository system. Take Youtube for example, there are several ways to access youtube. People can access through direct visit, Google Search, Mobile applications and Desktop applications. Research shows that over 50% of views are contributed through recommendation. For a large portion of the videos, they’re viewed many times before it is indexed to search engine.

Commercially, this adds the stickiness of websites therefore users stay on YouTube longer. It results in more advertisement apperance chances and higher advertisement click through times.

2.  The more source is viewed, the more recommendation will be viewed. This means there’s a strong bond between source and recommendation. If the source is popular, the recommendation has a higher chance of becoming popular. This can be used for promotion and control of trend.

3.  Recommendation helps user discover what they like rather than what is popular. Information systems without recommendation usually pop up what is believed to be popular or what they want to show to the users. They plant information to users rather than let them accept it actively. Recommendation induces users thru giving users options to choose, users could find what is provided useful for them therefore users are likely to revisit the system again.

Main paper:

The Impact of YouTube Recommendation System on Video Views

http://conferences.sigcomm.org/imc/2010/papers/p404.pdf

Flickr Tag Recommendation based on Collective Knowledge

http://www2008.org/papers/pdf/p327-sigurbjornssonA.pdf

Next blog post will introduce the algorithm for tagging system.

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State of the prototype(s)

Throughout the project as we experimented with different ideas we have created different prototypes to try them out in an isolated setting. In this post I will go over some of the prototypes created so far. In a future post I will show some of the recorded usability testing sessions which were performed by a sample of potential users on different versions of the prototypes.

Tagging

The prototype running live on this blog is the first prototype developed, it was created as an attempt to see how feasible it is to have the tagging interface connect itself to any image on any website. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than first thought – while it is easy to do it in an isolated case as Facebook or Orkut do (their tagging systems only have to work on their own gallery pages) it is another challenge entirely to have it work on a range of websites implemented by different people.

The first attempt (and the one used in the prototype on this website) is to insert a div around each taggable img, and then move all attributes from the image to the div, for example moving borders, etc. So that the taggable area exactly matches the image.

This turns out to work reasonably well but fails with floats, as the div is floated and then the image moves on to a new line. This is also a problem that if the image is moved programatically it will move relative to the div rather than the rest of the page.

In a later prototype we instead insert a div which is positioned absolutely above the img. This solves the problem of floats however still suffers from a problem that if the image is moved programatically the div position will not be updated. This problem has not yet been solved.

Social Networks

The prototype on this blog integrates tightly with facebook, although this is obviously not the eventual aim of the software. Another of our prototypes integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn using the OAuth APIs. This prototype uses a plugin architecture to allow for the addition of further authentication providers in the future.

Creating Tags

The prototype on this page allows the creation of tags by clicking on people’s faces. We found in the usability tests that for some people this does not offer enough control. Some people preferred dragging out the shape for the tags. There is a prototype where you can drag out a shape of any size for the tags but this does have the problem that tags can be wrapped around other tags and this can get confusing. We have not yet had time to test this through usability tests or think of a good solution.

Viewing Tags

The live prototype shows the list of tagged objects along the bottom, along with a link to their photographs (like Facebook). We saw in a few usability tests that people did not always look there – or if they did they clicked on the user name (which took them to the facebook profile) rather than the “photos” link. In another prototype (which is shown in the “About Last Night” video), we have the user click on the tag, which shows icons for each of the different actions they can perform (Facebook profile, blog, etc.). We have not had time to test in usability tests if this is more or less intuitive than the previous method.

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A Single identity

One problem which I noticed which was missed by the critical friends (and us, until just now) is that there is still no way to tag your friends if they are only on myspace and you are not. As long as you have a common link (for example one of your friends is on facebook, as are you) then you can share photos across networks but if not this is still a problem.

We see the solution to this as OpenID. ETags can serve as an OpenID provider so that every user also has an OpenID. Users of ETags can then add other ETags users as friends using their OpenID rather than needing to friend them on a network (this would be optional and only needed if there isn’t a common link already).

To provide the contacts list we think we would adopt the open Portable Contacts format which provides an open way of storing an “Address Book”. This is all that is needed by Taggr to ensure that people can tag their friends even if there isn’t a common network between them at all.

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