New Website Maybe Wants to Help You with Life’s Tough Decisions

There’s no denying the power of sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Pinterest over modern society. Together, they help represent the core of the social networking society we live in, and the potential for one good idea to take over the world. Because of their success, thousands of sites are pitched and launched all the time with the hope of joining the internet elite and reaping the rewards that come with that.

Newcomer Maybe is one such site, and is based around the simple idea that in a world of potentially unlimited knowledge and information, there’s also too many decisions to make. Maybe combines elements of Pinterest, Facebook and good old Google to allow users to pose a question (current examples include: help choosing wedding shoes, what to do on vacation, and which work of fiction to read next), and use a combination of pictures and polls to let the rest of the world help them decide the answer.

Besides an interesting concept, Maybe also boasts a strong pedigree. Site founder Omar Hamoui made his big break in the online world with the promotional aid website AdMob, which was purchased by Google in 2009 for a princely $750 million. A year later, Hamoui left AdMob to start up Churn Labs, which was treading the waters of the App market until a new idea was birthed by Hamoui while helping his wife shop for a new coffee table. Hamoui says that as he was clicking link after link his wife sent him, he quickly became lost in all of the information and was having a hard time separating one products features and prices from another in order to reach a purchase decision. From there, Maybe was a result of the timeless statement, “There has to be an easier way.”

Maybe is in a preview build right now and sports a pretty simple design and straightforward purpose. However, Hamoui and his team have pledged to expand the website to its full potential, including adding a mobile app where the team feels that Maybe will truly shine. Personally, I feel the site is a great idea, as I count myself among the indecisive masses of the world who often debate over judgments ranging from what movie to watch, to where to go on vacation. If Maybe is able to acquire and maintain an active community of users, we could all be facing a glorious future where we never have to think for ourselves again.


Google Buzz: The followers you never knew you had

Buzz LogoI was a little alarmed when I opened my Google Reader and found eight new followers. Nearly everyone I know has used Gmail for years, and I’ve had a few followers since Google rolled out more social networking features, but eight in two days? Madness.

When I opened Google Buzz I understood. The service creates a profile for you and automatically follows the people you have conversed with in the past. Thankfully, it’s transparent enough that I realized what I was doing and cancelled a few follows that I just don’t want. It’s strange, though, since your followed profiles can be viewed publicly unless you mess with your privacy settings. Not a bad thing, unless you have particularly jealous friends/roommates/significant others.

Just remember to dig through whatever Buzz automatically sets up for you. It could save you a lot of “and who the hell is she” arguments down the road.


Deleted Pictures Persist on Social Networking Sites

Facebook and MySpace.Most everyone has seen or heard of social networking sites affecting privacy in crazy ways. They’ve cost people jobs, ended countless relationships, and in the best cases, resulted in some bruised pride. As more people get hit, more users are choosing to remove questionable content from their pages, but the content’s not necessarily gone.

Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng put recent findings from Cambridge University researchers to the test with some unsavory results. Turns out your deleted pictures may not be as far gone as you’d like.

Jacqui tested Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr with the same method. She deleted pictures from each site on May 21st and then watched the direct links for six weeks. Twitter and Flickr were both good, truly deleting the pictures after a hard refresh. MySpace and Facebook didn’t fare so well. Direct links from both sites still produce the “deleted” images, some six weeks after they were pulled.

Moral of the story? Continue to censor your drunken impulses, particularly with regard to the pictures you upload.