It's been a busy week at tMa headquarters in San Francisco, but thanks to Liz, our resident news scan/trend tracking expert, we're keeping a close eye on the tech topics most likely to go big. Here's three of our favorites: Google versus Facebook in the battle over online identity, Amazon squaring off against Alibaba, and a new no-ad social network that aims to go viral:

Leo Mirani, Quartz: How Facebook and Google are taking over your online identity

"The data that identity providers gather is a crucial component of their business. It is a useful thing to know what your users are up to when they’re on your site. To know what their movements are on the rest of the web is a bigger prize yet. And as mobile phones and tablets render old tracking mechanisms, such as cookies, increasingly ineffectual, identity is becoming the single most important tool to follow web users across multiple devices. The mission of every large web advertising firm is to be able to paint a complete portrait of their users... Between them, Facebook and Google account for over 80% of social log-ins, according to Janrain, a company that helps manage social login integration. The gap between the two and everybody else is gradually widening." On the other hand, there's Ello (see below).

Mohanbir Sawhney, Forbes: Alibaba vs. Amazon: Who Will Win the Global E-Commerce War?

"Move over Amazon. There’s a new e-commerce leader in town. With its triumphant $21.8 billion initial public offering, Alibaba has eclipsed Amazon as the largest and most valuable e-commerce company in the world. In fact, based on the first day of trading, Alibaba is more valuable than Amazon and eBay combined. Alibaba’s vast e-commerce empire encompasses wholesale, retail, group buying, and payments. It has also been aggressively investing in startup firms, shelling out $8 billion just in the past six months. Alibaba’s charismatic founder, Jack Ma, has made no secret of its global ambitions. Alibaba is knocking on Amazon’s doorstep in the United States and Europe.  Meanwhile, Amazon is making efforts to expand its small presence in the lucrative Chinese e-commerce market." Alibaba has the higher profit margins and the larger home market, while Amazon has the US and EU... not to mention those drones.

Jack Marshall, The Wall Street Journal: Meet Ello, The Social Network That Dislikes Advertising

"Ello’s pitch is simple: It doesn’t sell ads, and it doesn’t collect information about its users to help third-parties. Rather, it plans to support itself by charging users to add specific features to their accounts... It remains to be seen if Ello will generate enough interest and, more importantly, revenue to sustain itself. Nonetheless, the fact that it exists at all speaks to the unease some social networkers feel about the data collection practices of major services such as Facebook and Twitter." Ironically, we mainly know many people are excited about Ello because Ello users are saying that... on Facebook and Twitter.

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