Thanks to Quora, now you can’t read anonymously

Quora launched a new feature that essentially takes away the option of reading anonymously (unless you opt-out) on its platform. This is part of the growing trend of passive sharing involving what one is reading on the web. And it’s not necessarily a good thing.

Today in Mobile

My former colleague Liz Gannes reported this morning that Foursquare and Groupon are in negotiations to deliver a service that would offer deals to users when they check in. The partnership is a natural fit for both players, giving Groupon fertile soil to expand its business to mobile and providing a real incentive for Foursquare users to broadcast their whereabouts. I think the novelty factor of check-ins is beginning to wear thin with many users, but receiving great deals for doing so will eventually provide a huge lift to the mobile/local/social space.

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.

Today in Connected Consumer

I enjoyed reading this Long View by NewTeeVee’s Liz Gannes on Xbox’s 1 vs. 100 live game/trivia hybrid. Liz’s case study shows how impressive the effort was for Microsoft, with over 3 million downloads during the 13 week season and one session where 114 thousand simultaneous players showed up. No doubt, what Microsoft did with 1 vs. 100 was to give us a peek at what the future of entertainment could look like, mixing elements of video game with live entertainment and the group aspects you get on a platform like Live. Overall, the effort was surprisingly successful and forward looking, and is an example of why I think Microsoft has taken the innovation crown over the past year from Nintendo.

Note from Liz: Home at Last

img_2323I went away to Belize and Guatemala last week with intentions of never checking email once. But with free or cheap Internet access at every single hostel and guesthouse we went to, I did sneak on a few times.

Still, I kept it to mostly personal email, with a couple glances at NYTimes.com, and I tried to clear my mind of all work-related things. But a couple of times, conversations about online video were unavoidable.

Once, at a group dinner in a hostel on the shore of Lago de Atitlán, I met a Swedish traveler who beta-tested Joost. We were in our own little world, chatting merrily about international video access problems and the benefits and detriments of client downloads. The other time, I sat down to dinner with a group of backpackers in a remote village on a mountain above Antigua. This Canadian guy simply would not shut up about how we all needed to go to YouTube right that instant and search for “Bush + shoes.” Needless to say, it was worth it.

Thanks so much to Chris and all you readers for so ably taking care of the blog while I was traveling. My trip was wonderful, and happily, I also got engaged to my long-time boyfriend along the way. Here’s looking forward to the holidays and another exciting year of reinventing television. Oh, and happy (belated) 2nd birthday to NewTeeVee!

What Do the All-Star Break & Blogging Have in Common?

Baseball’s All-Star Break this week proved to be quite special – not because this was the last All-Star game at The Yankee Stadium, the cathedral of baseball and a place where I fell in love with this distant cousin of cricket. No, it was not special because the All-Star game went into the wee-hours of the night and took 15 long innings before the American League took their rightful place in the winners’ circle. No, it was not special because Josh Hamilton put on an awesome display of power and sprayed home-runs during the HR derby.

To me it was special because it was all about young talent, many making their first (and not their last) trip to the All-Star Game. The HR Derby had none of the established hitters vying for the prize – instead it was all young turks. The All Star game was no different – packed with youth, energy and enthusiasm of talents like Justin Morneau, Scott Kazmir, Grady Sizemore and Evan Longoria. David Wright, Dan Haren, Dustin Pedroia, and Joe Mauer. This was a year where the guard changed.

The game is still the same, except there were new heroes and new starts. That is the beauty of the game I have come to love more dearly than life itself. I think that is the case with my other passion – blogging. Like baseball, the art of blogging remains the same, we just get new players. You see the changes on the Techmeme leaderboard, as new voices emerge, and take their rightful place center stage. We see an emergence of new class of bloggers who are on their way to getting our full attention, playing with some of us old timers (by blogging metrics at least.) Read More about What Do the All-Star Break & Blogging Have in Common?