Monday, 13 June 2011

What Do You Get When You Cross Twitter With an iPad?

A fantastic new step forward in the integration of mobile computing platforms and social networks?

Or a dark day for your privacy?

Apple and Twitter have said that they are collaborating to incorporate Twitter into iOs, the operating system for iPads, iPhones, iPods etc.

What does this mean? You can use Twitter on your iPad now? What's the big deal?

Do you have a desktop or laptop computer? Perhaps a Mac? Or Linux? Or if you're unlucky, Windows?

Your computer has a bunch of programs on it, and most of them share some common functions. They can print. They can access the Internet. There's no point in each software vendor figuring out how to make a program print; it's one of the things that your operating system or OS does for them. So the program designer sends a file to the printer library, and a short while later, you're another step closer to having to buy more ink that costs more than the printer did in the first place.

Integrating Twitter into the OS doesn't just mean that there will be a special program or 'app' for reading and writing Twitter feeds. That's already there.

No, integrating Twitter into the OS means that it is there for all apps to use, whether you know about it or not.

Imagine, you get a new high score on Angry Birds, and the app tells you that your best friend just beat you.

How? The app 'Tweeted' your high score, and their app Tweeted back. But the Tweet wasn't a private conversation between the two of you, it was available for anyone to see.

Do you really want your iPad doing even more behind your back? Apple's view of user privacy is already, "You bought an iPad, therefore all your data now belongs to us. We call it an 'enhanced user experience'. You call it an invasion of your privacy. If you don't like it, don't buy an iPad."

Do you want your iPad telling the world where you are? Or what website you just visited? Do you want it sending emails on your behalf based on a special offer from a store you just visited? Do you want Google maps to show you, in real time, where all your friends are right now?

After all, you might find out something you wish you hadn't. Like one of them is round your house, right now. And they're not playing Angry Birds.

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