Richard MacManus explains how Google+ has evolved over the past year and whether it delivered on its promise. Mobile continues to dominate in 2012. After the jump you'll find more of this week's top news stories on some of the key topics that are shaping the Web - plus highlights from some of our six channels. Read on for more.

How Google+ Has Morphed Over The Past Year & What We Can Expect in 2013

One year ago, Google+ launched to the world and was greeted with the collective cry, "Not another social network!" But over the past year Google+ has cemented its position as one of the Big Three social networks, alongside Facebook and Twitter. Or has it? Google+ boasts similar user numbers to Twitter, but if we look more closely we see that Google+ hasn't lived up to its initial promise as a new type of social network. In fact, it's morphed into something completely different for Google... More

Top Trends of 2012: The Continuing Rapid Growth of Mobile

In our half-yearly review of the top Internet trends of 2012, there's been a common theme: mobile is the main driver for all of them. The Visual Web (Instagram, Pinterest and similar image-focused apps), the Consumer Cloud (Evernote, Dropbox, iCloud and others), social video apps (Socialcam and Viddy) and video on tablets (BuzzFeed, Flipboard and others). Each of those trends are popular in 2012 because of smartphones and/or tablets. More

In Closing Its Platform, Twitter Risks Destroying Its Community

After attaining unlikely success as an open platform, Twitter is demanding that third-party apps show Twitter’s stream the way the company wants them to. “You need to be able to see expanded Tweets,” Product Manager Michael Sippey wrote in an announcement on Friday afternoon. He said those features make Twitter “more engaging and easier to use.” But if Twitter squeezes too hard on third-party developers, it risks damaging something more important to the company than any set of features: It risks destroying the culture that has grown up around it. More

More Top Stories

Facebook Blames Email Problems On User "Confusion"

If you’re missing email messages, don’t blame Facebook: The social network says you are simply “confused.” Facebook spent a second straight weekend dealing with complaints from users about a switch in the default user email addresses, this time with users complaining that the change was resulting in lost messages and contacts. More

Where Google Is Going Next: 5 Things You Need to Know

On the last day of the Google I/O developers conference, we sat down with engineering director Peter Magnusson to digest the introduction of Compute Engine, which adds Google-scale processing power to the company's list of cloud offerings designed to take on Amazon Web Services. Here are the announcement's five key implications. More

How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry

The potential of 3D printing to transform the way we get things - the market is predicted to hit $3.1 billion in the next four years - gets a lot of press. But not much of that attention has focused on the unique role of open source hardware in enabling 3D printing to realize its promise. Open source software has been a key player in all kinds of disruptive technologies - from the Web to big data. Now the nascent and growing open source hardware movement is helping to power its own disruptive revolution. More

Top Trends of 2012: Social Video Apps (Warning: Seedy Content!)

Continuing our review of the first half of 2012, we look at an emerging product type that became popular this year: social video apps. The two leading contenders are Socialcam and Viddy, each vying to be the breakout app. But at least one of those apps is using dubious seeding tactics to get ahead... After image sharing network Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April, attention turned to the same type of app - but for video. Essentially social video apps have the following characteristics. More

What if RIM Supported Windows Phone 8?

Research In Motion’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system has been delayed to, at the earliest, early 2013. That could prove to be a deathblow to the storied but struggling smartphone maker. RIM is going to miss out on the important holiday season with BlackBerry 10, and that could prove to be the weight that finally breaks the company’s back. In its dire straits, RIM has reportedly started to consider alternatives to BlackBerry 10 and its current strategy. Does that mean aligning itself with Microsoft and its Windows Phone platform? And how would such a move remake the smartphone landscape? More

Why We Still Need the Open Source VLC Media Player

The Monday Version 2.0.2 release of the free open source VLC media player points out a surprising hole in the age of the Internet video - there is still no universal standard for video formats and players. Fortunately, VLC is there to fill in the gaps among proprietary formats and competing ecosystems, playing just about every video in use. More

Why “Good Enough” Security Really Is Good Enough for Most Companies

When it comes to security, the human quest for perfection can end up muddying our thinking. We act as if we don't know that, on any given day, even the lowly Cubs can beat the mighty Yankees, and that a lucky hacker might be able to break into the most secure business system. We demand perfection, and we're continually disappointed. And that makes it harder to think clearly and objectively about actually reducing our company's security risks. More

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