Stefano Tommesani

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Friend Watchdog free software for Facebook and Skype

Friend Watchdog is now offline. There are several technical reasons for this choice, the first one being Microsoft dropping support for the chat API in Skype, the second one being Facebook changing the behaviour of their chat servers. But the most important reason is that a lot of people finally became aware that posting data on social networks is really a security risk, any criminal network can develop a system like Friend Watchdog to gain a disturbing insight into day-to-day life of their contacts. Friend Watchdog was designed to be limited in aggregating data about users, for example the FourSquare integration was never published as I felt it was too dangerous, but I am confident that there are similar spiders grabbing and presenting exactly this kind of information. So, as Friend Watchdog was meant to be a wake-up call to users of social networks, I think that the target was achieved, and it's time to turn it off.

Now I know what you did last monday

Friend Watchdog monitors the state of your friends on Facebook and Skype, stores the status changes on remote servers, and lets you check when your friends have been online in the past week.

Please note that you are sending status updates only when Friend Watchdog is up and running, and that status changes from multiple users are merged, so the more users of Friend Watchdog, and the more these users keep Friend Watchdog up and running, the more accurate will be the usage stats.

Facebook status and posts on Facebook wall in the past week

 

Your privacy is safe

Why should you trust Friend Watchdog? Here is why:

  • your Facebook account is NEVER sent to our servers, it is stored in encrypted form only on your computer, and it is used to access your Facebook account from your computer only. There is no way that we can access your Facebook account!
  • we do not know who your Facebook and Skype friends are: the names of your friends are salted and hashed with SHA1, and only the hash is sent to the servers, so that we can distinguish between different friend names but we cannot retrieve friends' names from the hashes. For example, an Facebook username such as "stefanotommesani" generates this unique hash code: CDE381A6C6AD22E844263908022D40C4FE634C37. This hash code uniquely identifies the given Facebook username, but there is no way to go from the hash code back to the Facebook username, so the names of your friends remain private, and only you can see them
  • once you allow Friend Watchdog to connect to the Skype application running on your PC (so that you don't even have to tell Friend Watchdog about your Skype password), it only reads the list of Skype friends and their online status, and that is the only information that is being monitored, always using hash codes to encrypt real names so that your privacy is safe
  • the real names of your friends never leave your PC, only the hashes, that is the encrypted names that cannot be transformed back into the real names, are sent to the servers
  • no need to register, no need to open an account, no need to pay anything, just download the software and run it on your PC
Cloud-based software architecture
Safety of Facebook and Skype
Friend Watchdog might raise privacy concerns with some, you’re gonna have to give it access to your Facebook and Skype accounts, but it’s very good at what it does. Pretty much everything public that your contacts and friends have done and shared will be monitored and saved. Of course this doesn’t mean that you’re gonna see what your contacts are doing privately, when exchanging private messages, that’s still private. Friends you’re interested in tracking can be found more easily with the search tool. Give it a try and see how it goes."  ILoveFreeSoftware.com
Friend WatchDog is a useful application for the users who want to monitor the Facebook and Skype activity of their friends. It is designed to monitor your friends list and to get information about their statuses. You can view the activity for the past week for every friend from your Facebook and Skype account. You can quickly find a friend by using the search box and zoom in on a certain time interval to view more details." SoftPedia
Les réseaux sociaux sont au cœur de nos vies quotidiennes et il est donc tout naturel que les outils destinés à ceux-ci se multiplient. Friend WatchDog est un logiciel qui vous permet de suivre l'activité de vos contacts sur Skype et Facebook. Grâce à ce programme, vous pourrez vous rendre compte par exemple de leurs changements de statuts et de leurs périodes de connexion. Au-delà d'une dose de voyeurisme certaine, Friend WatchDog permettra de contrôler l'activité sur les réseaux sociaux des membres de votre famille, mais également d'étudier les comportements de clients ou de lecteurs de blog potentiels. Afin de vous simplifier un peu la vie, Friend WatchDog offre une fenêtre de recherche qui vous permettra de retrouver instantanément une personne de par son alias. Friend WatchDog offre un onglet distinct pour Facebook et Skype pour faciliter la lecture. WinPortal.fr
Of all the apps I tested for this article, none made me feel more like a peeping Tom than Friend WatchDog. This free app isn't doing anything underhanded, as all of the information it gathers is freely available online. It tells you how often your friends have logged onto Facebook and Skype in the past week, and shows you the status updates they posted during that time. You could see all of this information for yourself if you spent all day online. But Friend WatchDog presents it all in a very scannable graph, which makes it almost too easy to keep tabs on your friends--and made me feel like I was tracking their movements.ITWorld.com

How to use

  • add your Facebook account info (username and password), then drag the switch from Off to On to establish a connection to Facebook. If the Facebook account info is correct, the list below will be populated with your Facebook friends, each with an icon showing his/her state.
  • Right-Arrow-Icon-small
safely login to Facebook
Facebook account
  • start Skype and drag the switch from Off to On on the Skype page, the first time you run Friend Watchdog, Skype will ask you to confirm that Friend Watchdog can access the Skype data, click on Allow access, and the list will be populated with your Skype friends
 

safely connect to Skype

getting Skype permission

  • to query for stats on a Facebook or Skype friend, just click on his/her name, and the usage stats will appear as colored bars on the timeline on the right.

Facebook and Skype timeline

  • please note that the notifications of Skype calls and messages super-imposed on the Skype timeline are neither sent nor stored on the Friend Watchdog servers, as they are obtained only from the Skype application running on your PC.
  • after authenticating on Facebook, the activity of friends will be super-imposed on the Facebook timeline, but this data is neither sent nor stored on the Friend Watchdog servers, as explained here.

Please keep Friend Watchdog open on your PC, as you are sending status updates only when Friend Watchdog is up and running. If you close Friend Watchdog, no status updates are sent to the servers, so you cannot expect the statistics about your friends to be reliable. There is no way we can access your Facebook or Skype data from our servers, so if you do not submit status updates, the information in the databases will be incomplete. Sure, other Friend Watchdog users may have the same friends as you do, so you could get search results based on the status updates they submitted, but if the most users just leech search results without submitting status updates, the quality of search results will drop.

 

AliasesAliases

Same friend in Facebook and Skype? Then add an alias between the Facebook and the Skype names, so that when you select that friend from the Facebook list, the same friend is automatically selected in the Skype list, and vice versa.

 

System requirements

  • a recent Windows PC
  • Skype for Windows must be installed
  • a Facebook account

 

The pathetic SmartScreen technology in Windows 8 will attempt to stop the installation of Friend Watchdog when you download the Exe installation file. You can avoid this by downloading the Zipped installation file and extracting the Exe installation file within it.

However, you can override the SmartScreen block! When the SmartScreen screen pops up, don't click on Ok, but click on "More info" (yes, they made it even difficult to read, by choosing a text color that nearly matches the background)

Windows smart screen 1

Then the SmartScreen bar will change, revealing a "Run Anyway" button, and by clicking on it you will be able to install Friend Watchdog successfully. And no, it will not destroy your PC!

Windows Smart Screen protection

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Last Updated on Saturday, 07 December 2013 11:17  
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