JERUSALEM — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, meet your Israeli doppelganger: Mark Zuckerberg.
Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez says he has legally changed his name to that of Facebook’s CEO, a gimmick meant to persuade the social networking site to back down from what he says are threats to take legal action against him.
He’s telling Facebook: “If you want to sue me, you’re going to have to sue Mark Zuckerberg.”
He says a lawyer for Facebook pressed him this week to close his online business Like Store, calling it illegal. Like Store promises to enhance companies’ online reputations by offering Facebook users free content only accessible by clicking “like” on the companies’ profiles.
“Hi, my name is Faisal from Saudi Arabia, and I would like to ask Mr. Netanyahu what’s going on with the military strike on Iran?” If this sentence sounds imaginary to you, it might not be in the near future.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed to open communication channels between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Arab world, as part of efforts to promote discourse between the sides.
To that end, Netanyahu plans to hold chats on Twitter and Facebook, where he will answer questions of web surfers from the Arab world, his replies simultaneously translated into Arabic.
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson to the Arab media Ofir Gendelman held a similar chat recently, answering questions about the Arab Spring, the future relations with Egypt and, of course, the prospects of a military strike in Iran.
However, along with many curious participants, some took advantage of the forum in order to lash out at Israel.
“I wrote them thank you very much for teaching me new words in spoken Arabic,” said Gendelman, adding that “I told them they paid a great service to the State of Israel.”
Gendelman’s response most have caught the attention of Arab media, as he was soon after featured in a profile report on Asharq Al-Awsat – one of the leading newspapers in the Arab World.
Online chats with the Arab world is not a new phenomenon in Israel. Adel Hino and Lior Ben Dor, who head the Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s unit to the Arab world, also chat with Arab web users on a regular basis.
“In effect, we operate a virtual embassy in 22 Arab countries,” said Ben Dor, adding that their virtual initiative “bypasses censorship and crosses borders.”
Shaker, developer of Facebook pub application, and Farmigo, developer of agricultural initiative sharing application, among seven finalists in international startup competition. Will they recreate Soluto’s success and bring home trophy?
The Israeli lucky streak is continuing at the prestigious TechCrunch Disrupt competitionas two Israeli companies, Farmigo and Shaker, make it to the finals among the seven contenders out of the 31 companies which made it into the competition.
The winners will be announced early Thursday.
Facebook will enter the Israeli coupons market in September with the launch of its location-based service Facebook Deals.
Facebook Deals was launched in the US in November 2010 and in Canada and Europe early this year. The service is part of Facebook’s mobile Places application for persons who click on Check-In the locations of participating stores. A yellow sign will appear next to stores offering deals and their details.
Facebook Deals offers a range of coupons, giving businesses a wider space than offered by most coupons sites now available in Israel. Individual Deal for new and current customers, which is equivalent to the regular coupons that have been available in Israel for over year; Loyalty Deal, offered to customers only after a certain number of check-ins up to a maximum of 20; Friend Deal, generated by multiple check-ins; and Charity Deal, which offers a donation by the customer to a charity of the business’s choice.
It is not clear if all the deals will be offered in Israel, or which businesses have signed up with Facebook for the product. According to statistics site SocialBakers, Israel has 3.5 million Internet users, but Facebook Deal will only be available for users who have downloaded Facebook’s mobile application. That said, the potential among Israel’s dominant Facebook crowd (people aged 18-35) is considerable.
On the other hand, Facebook is entering a crowded domestic market, which includes Groupon Israel, Buy2, Walla Shops, Baligam and scores of other sites. These sites have anticipated Facebook Deal’s entry, and it will be interesting to see how its entry will affect the balance of power.
Foursquare also offers location-based deals service in Israel, when a mobile user checks in at a participating pub or store. However, few Israeli businesses offer the service, despite its potential. Facebook’s power in the local market may help it push its m-commerce platform.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on August 15, 2011
Over the last few months, the competition between Google and Facebook has become fierce. On one side of the arena is the Internet giant that feels as if the younger competitor is destroying the ground that it built and the business environment it nurtured. The move of talented and leading young individuals from Google to Facebook, alongside the rising popularity of the world’s most popular social network, led Google to launch Google+, a social network competing with Facebook, which has attracted 20 million users within a few weeks.
A new front was opened in the struggle between the sides when Google acquired PittPatt this past weekend, which specializes in developing face recognition technology. Granted Google already acquired Neve Vision in 2006, which also operates in this field, and integrated this identification technology for tagging pictures and faces in Picasa, however the acquisition of PittPatt is an additional source of strength and technology that will facilitate the integration of face recognition into profiles and photo albums on Google+. This was Google’s 100th acquisition.
face.com: 750 million potential users
Facebook did not sit by idly. Instead it has integrated the face recognition technology developed by Israeli start-up face.com, into its photo sharing capabilities. This will allow the 750 million users of this social network to tag and identify friends’ photos. Founded in 2007, face.com has so far raised $6 million from Daniel Recanati, Rhodium, and Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine company.
The company’s founders are CEO Gil Hirsch, CTO Yaniv Taigman, Founder and chairman Moti Shniberg, and Genesis Partners partner Eden Shochat. In the past, it was believed that the close cooperation between face.com and Facebook would lead to a buyout or an investment, however this has not yet taken place.
The acquisition of PittPatt took place a year after Google chairman Eric Schmidt announced that the company was wary about entering the facial recognition field out of a concern for users’ privacy. What bothered Google then was not just the privacy issue, but the concern that while that they were taking protective steps, their competition would capture most of the market share.
And this is exactly what the competition did. In the meantime, Facebook and Apple pounced on the sizzling field of face recognition, and Apple acquired Sweden-based Polar Rose for $30 million last fall. Facebook, as well as Yahoo!’s photo management and sharing application Flickr, use Polar Rose’s face recognition application.
Polar Rose CEO Carl Silbersky told the “Financial Times that, “there is not one mobile manufacturer that would not be interested in this type of technology. There are hundreds of millions of mobile phones with cameras. The mobile companies are looking for ways to encourage phone owners to use them, and this is one way.”
And so, as the race to become technologically equipped is at its height, the question arises: Were Schmidt’s concerns over users’ privacy real? We can also ask this about developments in Israel, and if we judge by a joint venture between face.com, Coca-Cola Israel and the advertising agency Idealogic, the answer is that the young social network users are not bothered. As part of Coca-Cola’s summer events, the three companies launched a “Like” machine based on a camera that recognizes users’ faces. After the initial photo, the machine recognizes the person, so that a quick glance at the camera is enough to “check-in” and post the photo on Facebook users’ personal wall.
If these young people are standing in line at the Like machine of their own free will and sharing their facial features with a commercial company like Coca-Cola, it appears that the time is ripe for the struggle between technology companies over control of the facial recognition technologies to continue.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on July 27, 2011
Coca Cola wanted to leverage Facebook Places to increase awareness for recycling plastic bottles and created “The Recycling King” activity.
They added over 10,000 recycle bins locations to the Facebook Places system. So no matter where you are in Israel, you can find a Recycling bin near you. From there, things just started happening on their own. Thousands participated and shared the recycling experience with their friends by checking in and uploading photos. The most active participant was crowned: Recycling King
When the campaign ended, everyone in Israel knew how easy it was to track the location of nearby recycle bins…
Check out the VIDEO!