Linkedin’s creepy Intro email ‘app’ is deadpooled

Linkedin has announced the March 7 demise of its creepy parasitic Intro application that a/ burrows into your iOS Mail app in a bizarro way, and which b/reads all of your email to get the data it needs to display contact information.
As I wrote back in October,

Currently implemented as an iPhone app, Intro takes a circuitous — and insecure — route to provide this snippet of info (and a lot more, if you click on the links). First of all, this is not a browser plugin, scraping information and fetching data from Linkedin. The app operates by pulling all your incoming email from your email service — in my case, Gmail — and sucks that into the servers at Linkedin. There it has access to everything in your email — the content, metadata, attachments, everything — which is at the least worrisome, and at the worst, totally insecure.
I am sure that this goes across the grain of most enterprise security policies.
intro
Finally, the ‘app’ installs itself as some sort of parasite to the iOS Mail account, and to delete it you can’t use the normal iOS approach of pressing on the app icon and then clicking on the ‘x’ in the upper left hand corner. You have to deprovision from within the app. Strange.
After fooling with it for a few minutes, I deleted it. In a world in which the NSA is scooping up everyone’s email by secret doings with email providers, maybe I shouldn’t be worried that Linkedin wants to access my email  too, but somehow, I do. I have a long list of other tools that want to help me learn more about those I am in contact with, like Rapportive, Tempo, and others, so I will simply avoid this radioactive mess.

Must have been too radioactive, and now going bye bye.
Linkedin’s Rashmi Singha also announced that they are discontinuing the Slidecasts audio service, intended to link audio with Slideshare presentations.

Today in Social

But will they make ad sales together? AllThingsD says the two have settled their patent disputes without money changing hands, but rather that there’s some kind of joint ad sales effort in the works, along with something about integrating Facebook Likes data into a new Yahoo ad format. I’ll believe that when I see it. It’s easy to imagine them opening up inventory for big, cross-platform campaigns. And frankly, Facebook could use a lot of help selling that sort of thing. But just because they do a little contact integration, I wouldn’t be quick to assume that Facebook’s potentially valuable Likes-based ad network – you know, the one Facebook denies it’s building – would open up via Yahoo. Though doing a big ad deal with Facebook might remove the “interim” from Ross Levinsohn’s Yahoo CEO title. I was waiting to post this in hopes for an official announcement, so stay tuned.

Xobni raises $10M ahead of mystery product launch

Contact management startup Xobni has raised a $10 million round of funding, according to an SEC filing. The company verified the funding and said it was coming from a commercial partner that is investing in Xobni as part of its agreement.

Xobni launches Smartr contact management for Gmail and Android

San Francisco-based start up Xobni has been trying to improve the Outlook and Blackberry email experience for a while now, but today they’re launching their latest contact management platform and related products for Gmail and Android under the brand name Smartr.

Today in Social

Just because the story got it wrong, and Google’s not actually introducing a social media product called Circles at SXSW, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Google told Liz Gannes at AllThingsD that there’s no such thing as Circles – that it’s just doing research lab work. The non-product was supposed to offer photo, video and status update sharing among groups of contacts, rather than mass-broadcasting to all a user’s friends. That sounds like a great idea. Facebook isn’t good at this, although Groups is an attempt. Also, Facebook is philosophically in the One True Identity camp, even though many people already use different personas online depending on the context of the activity or communication. And in the real world, a person belongs to many different social and professional circles. TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington thinks Google is working on something like Circles, and might roll it out in a more controlled environment like its developers conference, rather than risk the media spotlight of a big product announcement.

The Battle for Unified Communications Heats Up

Synchronous communications like mobile group chat are the latest battleground in the war over unified communications, and despite what the startups say, they won’t be contenders in the race to build a single, unified hub.

The Battle for Unified Communications Heats Up

Synchronous communications are the latest battleground in the war over unified communications. Last week, there was a flurry of announcements on IM, chat, and group messaging. But no matter how clever and fun those apps are, they’re not the real contenders. The battle for what company supplies a user’s communications control panel is being fought among technology platform players like Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

Today in Social

Amidst talk of a $50 billion Facebook valuation, Liz Gannes at AllThingsD sketches out what she thinks will be a big social media theme for 2011 – multiple identities. I think she’s right. Gannes points out that the main tool for users to manage their different web personae is belonging to different social networks or using different apps to post to different groups. Multiple social graphs per user would be bad for Facebook’s plans for world domination. So the company offers Connect to counter social graph fragmentation, and Groups, Messages, and feed sorting to offer some of the benefits of identity and friend management. Which do you think is the more powerful force – a common identity across networks, esp. if it can handle personae, or the user-driven brute-force approach to manage them?

What Facebook Messages Is Really After

Facebook Messages isn’t about replacing email. What the social network is really trying to establish with its recently unveiled unified communications hub is presence management, and this new "modern messaging system" is more concerned with intimacy and immediacy, as opposed to formality, flexibility and history.