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New Target CIO to tackle data security; Snapchat adds text, video

If this week’s Searchlight demonstrates one thing, it’s that the Interwebz is consumed with all things data.

First, the biggie: Retail goliath Target says it has taken a huge step in addressing last year’s customer data snafu by appointing big-leaguer Bob DeRodes to the CIO post (former CIO Beth Jacob resigned in March). And his responsibilities don’t sound like a walk in the park: On top of the infamous breach that compromised 40 million credit cards, not to mention 70 million other records filled with customers’ personal information, DeRodes also has to tackle the digital innovation that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel says is part of the company’s long-term strategy.

Piece o’ cake it ain’t — so is DeRodes the man for the job? Considering he was senior IT advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, as well as CIO at Home Depot for six years (where the company says he led a “significant IT transformation”), it sure sounds like he’s equipped to do so. Time will tell.

Onto social and mobile data: Here goes another round in the social platform boxing match! Snapchat announced Thursday that it’s adding text messaging and real-time video chat to its platform. On the same day, Foursquare revealed that it’s splitting its app and launching Swarm, a “social heat map” that will allow users to search for nearby friends and check in to share their location. Eventually, the company will ditch the check-in feature and focus on search and discovery. We’ll see how this divided version of Foursquare competes with Yelp and Facebook.

Other news this week: The White House (finally?) released a report addressing private data dealing and its potential to lead to abuse and discrimination; plus, 3-D glasses on praying mantises can actually help the robotics world!

Read all about that (data) jazz by heading over to Searchlight!

praying mantis, image, wikimedia

Now available with 3-D glasses. [Source: Wikimedia Commons]

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Will be interested to see how the new Foursquare fares - I think the novelty of check-ins has worn off, but they have such a large user base and a lot of information that they can put to good use. Of course, with Facebook trying something similar, I'm not sure if they have enough to take over the space. 
good point! probably a good idea that they're doing away with check-ins (which didn't really take off w/ FB either). also maybe Foursquare's smaller user base will work in its favor (you're not broadcasting your location to such a wide range of social circles). side note: apparently Swarm has passive location sharing, as well. we'll see!