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pinterest change of TOS

Pinterest has been under fire for a while for their original Terms of Service, which stated, among other things, that by pinning content to your Pinterest boards you were agreeing to let them use that content in many ways, including selling it.  There has been a lot of uproar, mostly by photographers and artists whose content is being pinned without their consent, who are worried their creations would be able to be used by Pinterest commercially without compensation to them.  Pinterest has finally responded to these concerns, and they sent out this email this morning, explaining that the original TOS was a standard set of terms, and selling user content was never their intention. 

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  But should you do it?




Pinterest, the wildly addictive social network that allows people to pin things they find online to virtual “boards”, has made some changes this week that will possibly make many website owners concerned about people “stealing” and pinning their content to their boards very happy.  They have provided a bit of code that you can add to the head code of your site to stop people from pinning your stuff.

They made an addition to their help section that says, “What if I don’t want images from my site to be pinned?”:

Pinterest code for websites to stop pinning



People who try to pin from a site that has the code embedded will see a box like this:

Sample of Pinterest no pinning notice:

sample of Pinterest opt out image


Lots of people have been going on about people “stealing” their content and pinning it, and how it's copyright infringement or in some way harming them.  Now they have this little box they can add, which would be awesome, except for one thing. It doesn't stop people who really want to pin/save something and are determined to do it from just saving the image to their hard drive and uploading it directly themselves or taking a screenshot,  and then maybe giving the original site a link back..and maybe not.

All using this code is going to do for some sites is strip away the link and possible huge boost in traffic they would have gotten from their content being allowed to be shared on Pinterest. Some website owners are reporting HUGE boosts in traffic from Pinterest. Last I checked, lots of traffic and people sharing your content on social sites was a good thing. Yes, there is the potential for things to get pinned wrong, or in the pinning and repinning your link could get lost in the shuffle and your content is just out there. It happens all the time on Pinterest, but it also happens pretty much anywhere people share content. Does that make it okay? No, of course not, but people are all freaking out about Pinterest in particular and how it’s evil and illegal and should be shut down. If that’s the case, then we should shut down Facebook, Google Plus, WeHeartIt, Tumblr, Piccsy, Clipboard,, Imgur, Photobucket, Flickr, YouTube, and pretty much any social networking site where images are shared.  The linking back systems on many of these sites is decidedly flawed. Tumblr, in particular, is a nightmare for trying to find the source of things.  There is another huge issue about Pinterest possibly taking people’s images and selling them or licensing them, because their TOS says they can. This is a whole other huge post that I will address later, but again, most, if not all, of these sites I mentioned in some way profit from their user-uploaded content. Most of that content does not belong to the people who uploaded it.  How about LOLcats and the whole slew of sites dedicated to nothing but uploaded pictures and videos?  You think they’re not making their money? Do you think most of the pictures uploaded belong to the ones who uploaded them?

I’m not saying people shouldn’t be concerned about their images being used without permission and should just let people freely take whatever they like without payment or permission. That’s crazy. There are licensing issues for many people whose images are being used.There is huge potential for abuse and misuse on ANY site that allows people to upload and share things they find online, and people could definitely lose money and hurt their brand as an artist if they’re not careful. I just think that vilifying sites like Pinterest for the supposed evil TOS and for encouraging people to pilfer all the pretty pictures they find online and pin them, is a bit short-sighted, and placing the blame in the wrong place.

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What’s Hot on Google Plus

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Image via Wikipedia


It seems that every week Google unleashes more and more really nifty features for Google Plus, and they did not disappoint this week. They actually introduced 3 cool new toys this week..What's Hot, Google Ripples, and a photo enhancement suite called Creative Kit for Photos.


What's Hot


Google Plus now has it's own version of Twitter's trending topics. What's Hot shows the hottest posts across the entire Google Plus network, not just in your circles. Whatever is being shared and talked about the most can be found under the What's Hot link on the left side of your screen, under Sparks, as well as underneath new posts inside the main stream.


Google Plus Ripples


It's always fun to check and see how posts travel and how things get shared.  With Google + Ripples you can check a post to see just who shared it and visually follow the conversation.  To see the post's ripples, just click the dropdown options in the upper right hand corner of any post (where you would usually mute or block a post, etc) and click on “View Ripples”.  From there you can see how much it has been shared and by mousing over the individual circles in the diagram can see who it was who shared it. Each circle represents another share, and the arrows show a share's direction. A larger circle with circles inside indicates more resharing. It shows when someone shares a post and multiple people reshare that post from that person. There is also a draggable timeline slide bar at the bottom of the ripples diagram page to let you see the spread of the share by day.  The “View Ripples” choice only shows up once a post has been shared for the 1st time.  It even includes some metrics.  This could be a really useful tool for tracking what your followers are interested in and what gets the most engagement on G+.  There is also a scrollable list of shares on the right that updates as you zoom in and out of the Ripples, which makes it easy to find influential people.




Creative Kit for Photos


Along with the usual options for editing photos in Google Plus, like crop, edit, turn, etc, there is now the option to add Instagram-like effects, like Polaroid, sepia, sharpen and airbrush.  You can even add some text.  These new features will let you make your pictures much more fun, and without having to fire up Picasa or Picnik or Photoshop. Unfortunately, there is no red eye option, so if you have photos that need to have red eye removed, you still have to use an external software, but most other basic fixes can now be done after you upload your photos to Google Plus.  There is also a special Halloween effects option that lets you add spiders, grave stones, vampire teeth, ghosts, and all kinds of fun effects.  Here is a picture of a spider web I took in my backyard a while back.  In the 2nd picture, I used the sepia feature and added a spider for Halloween.





On a side note, Google also FINALLY added the ability for Google Apps users to join G+.  They have been, not so patiently, waiting for it to happen since the start of Google Plus, and Google has finally answered their pleas.
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Google Plus Search is Here Finally!

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One of the most frustrating things about Google Plus (at least for me), especially from Google, who is search, is the lack of any kind of really useable search function.  Finding posts and people by topic or keyword was not really functional at all. Today that has changed. Along with a slew of other changes, mostly involving Hangouts, Google Plus now has a robust search function that will allow users to search for things they're interested in by different criteria, and even save those searches so you can keep up with them in the future. Hallelujah! G+ just got 10,000 times more awesome!


Dave Besbris's profile photoDave Besbris+ originally shared this post:

Here's a few tips and tricks on the freshly launched Google+ search system.
• "Sparks" aren't gone, they're now just way more awesome. We include them, appropriately ranked, along with people and posts from Google+ in your searches.
• We have several ways to control and narrow your results. You can restrict your query to Everything, People, Google+ posts, or just Sparks. You can also switch between "Best" and "Most Recent" which can give very different results.
• You can save a search by using the "Save this Search" button to track your favorite interests. This is like how Sparks worked, but now you get the the best of the Web and the best of the Google+ community in one stream.
• Searches have shareable URLs: You can send someone a link like and it will work. In fact they won't have to be signed up to Google+ or even signed in for the search to work


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What I’m up to On G+