No stranger to the public eye, Google has been keeping busy this week with several announcements about feature upgrades, patents and leadership changes, just to name a few:
- Google has added imagery of a number of historic sites in Italy and France to Street View. The integration with Google Maps includes 360-degree displays and a street-level view of locations all around the world.
- Google has announced changes to how it displays ads in Gmail, which should increase the quality of the ads, ultimately resulting in fewer ads shown per person.
- Google has agreed to buy Nortel’s approximately 6,000 patents, a portfolio that includes a wide array of wireless, 4G, semiconductor and data networking IP. Canada-based Nortel Networks was once one of the largest telecom companies on the planet, worth $398 billion at its peak during the dot-com boom. The stock crashed and burned and the company was not able to recover. It filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and has been selling off its assets to pay back creditors.
- Google co-founder Larry Page replaced Eric Schmidt as CEO of the company Monday. Schmidt will continue as the executive chairman. Page was already the CEO of Google once, and has had a leading role since the company’s beginning. it does raise questions of how the company will change under the new CEO.
- Google’s announced that it’s adding a “+1” button to incorporate sentiment into its search results in an attempt to make search results more germane.
Normally, GoDaddy flies under the PR radar until Superbowl time, but this week, the web hosting giant has been making waves…and not in a good way:
- A video of GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe made the rounds Thursday, causing the domain registry company to become the subject of criticism. Since the video surfaced, GoDaddy has yet to address the PR nightmare, but rival Network Solutions has offered a spirited, albeit unlikely, retort via its celebrity spokeswoman Cloris Leachman.
- Here’s the original video. WARNING..it’s a little graphic!
Tech-giant Apple remains in the news this week with rumors swirling around the iPhone 5.
- In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, accidentally told everyone in the world that his company will be supplying image sensors for Apple‘s iPhone 5.
- For the latest in iPhone 5 rumors, check out this awesome infographic from the folks over at Nowhere Else, via Mashable.
TWITTER TRENDS OF THE WEEK
OTHER NEWSWORTHY EVENTS….
- Shawna Redden had a harrowing couple of hours tonight when a six-foot hole was ripped in the top of a Southwest flight she took on Saturday night. The hole resulted in the loss of cabin pressure. Redden documented the whole experience via pictures shared on TwitPic. They can be seen here.
- Epsilon, the world’s largest permission-based email marketing services company that serves TiVo users and many more, reported a breach in its security Friday, and the list of companies affected keeps on growing. TiVo users had a rude awakening this morning, finding out the email address they’d given to TiVo as part of their account registration had been compromised.
- Just to show you how far technology has come in the past 10 years, here are several “old school” cell phone commercials to brighten up your day!
That’s all the news that’s fit to print. Check back next week for more interesting stories from the digital world!
1. Announced this week: the complete Integration Of Google Voice and Sprint’s 50 million US customers, where their Sprint phone number is also now a Google voice number. It also allows Sprint users who already have a Google voice number to use that on their Sprint phones without extra software. Essentially, it takes your Sprint phone and turns it into a Google Voice phone.
2. AT&T announced plans to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. Top new FAQ: Will T-Mobile offer the Iphone?” Released on the T-Mobile website:
Q:Is T-Mobile USA getting the iPhone?
A: T-Mobile USA remains an independent company. The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months. We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.
So Verizon and AT&T will still be the only US carriers to offer the IPhoine and service to the IPad.
3. Social Vibe announced it had secured $20million in equity funding from Norwest Venture Partners. SV is a company that specializes in “engagement advertising” which is deemed less disruptive than display ad during the playing of social games. Eg: Farmville players who interacted with Kia’s 2011 Superbowl ad received free Zynga game currency.
4. Yelp has added “hipster” as an option to allow reviewers to assess the ambience of restaurants, bars, etc. According to the NY Post, a hipster ambience “as one that caters to the “skinny-jeans-wearing, Pabst Blue Ribbon-swilling, somber-and-ironic crowd.” Reviewers are already starting to use this tag in Portland, Oregon and Brookyln, NY.
5. Amazon opened its own Android App store – which seems to be a more selective list than the default Google Android Market. For consumers Amazon is offering trust and ease of use. For developers, Amazon is offering their huge consumer base. Does this mean an Amazon Android phone is in the works?
6. AOL has announced it plans to close 30 online media brands as a result of the Huffington Post merger. Many of AOLs sites will be rolled into existing Huffington Post verticals (ie Popeater into HuffPo Entertainment.)
7. In its first day of release, Firefox 4 was downloaded over 5 million times, twice that of IE9 after their debut. Within the first 35 hours, Firefox had surpassed 8 million downloads.
8. Showtime has renegotiated the terms of its contract with Netflix and pulled some its most popular shows from the Netflix streaming service. Shows such as “Dexter” and “Californication” will only be available on Showtime’s subscription stream. Some Showtime shows will remain on Netflix, but critics point out that these are shows that have been cancelled. In addition, Netflix announced plans to airs its own original series “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey.
9. Myspace’s decline is accelerating – between January and February 2011 unique visitors to Myspce dropped by 14.4% (from 73 to 63 million visitors). This information will slow down their sale as any interested buyers are looking to see how bad it is will get.
10. 3 million people are using the Starbuck mobile app to pay for drinks. It is also the top brand on Facebook with 29 million fans, and is also a top brand on Twitter and Foursquare.
11. Google has launched a quarterly online magazine which is based out of the UK. The first issue looks at the world of data and business with articles from a variety of freelancers and contributors. The jury is still out whether this is a sign that Google will be entering the media business or if this is just a project to feed the sites intellectual curiosity.
12. Facebook is trying to purchase 21 domains that include the word “facebook” in them – including “killfacebook.com” and “facebookcheats.com.” All of these domains are currently for sale, some for as little as $4,000. In addition, a recent study reveals that over 50% of American’s over the age of 12 are on Facebook.
I apologize for the late posting; I thought my industry round up was next week. But lets get to it.
1 – In honor of March Maddness, I’ll start with the Twitter bracket. EmpireAvenue.com has taken every team in the tournament (where they normally are in the brackets) and determined the game’s outcomes based on Twitter activity. Based on a Klout Score (which scales from 0-100), teams win their games based on the amount of Twitter activity the schools’ teams’ Twitter accounts have in terms of posts, tweets, re-tweets, followers, etc. The results look nothing like a sane person’s actual bracket (with UNLV in the Final Four….UNLV lost in the first round of the real tournament). But it is still kinda funny to see. Here it is: http://tctechcrunch.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/picture-15.png
2 – A CitiBank analyst estimates that Google’s YouTube revenues will pass $1,000,000,000 by 2012. The revenue will come primarily from advertisements that will cater to where you are and give you ads that are more relevant to your location (or local ads). Currently, 81 of the top 100 videos on YouTube have advertisements, compared to roughly 60 a year ago. In 2010, YouTube’s gross revenues were $825 million and will reach $1.3 billion in 2011, and 1.7 billion in 2012.
3 – Facebook has just hit, today, an $85,000,000,000 valuation on SecondMarket with $2.5 billion shares outstanding at a $34 per share valuation. It was at $78,000,000,000 10 days ago.
4 – A Bit Lucky, the social network gaming company, has just received $5M in funding from the South Korean gaming company Nexon, bringing their total funding to $8M. Their most popular Facebook game, Lucky Train, sees about 1 million active users per month. Just goes to show that social games are still generating a lot of buzz and the social media bubble is alive and well.
5 – 8thBridge, a company that helps brands sell products directly on Facebook, just raised $10M in funding, bringing their total funding to $16M. Briefly, they allow brands to sell their products directly on Facebook, with a fast check-out option on the news feed. Currently they do this for 1-800 Flowers. Not a bad idea. Though it is showing that a LOT of people are putting their eggs in the Facebook basket.
6 – Exodus International, which has ministries that “provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality” released a “Gay Cure” app on February 15. Not only that, but it received a 4+ rating (which is for any app that has non-objectionable material). So clearly some of that material is objectionable to some people. In fact, it is to at least 100,000 people since that many have signed an online petition to have Apple remove it from the App Store.
7 – Google was fined $142,000 for privacy violations in France. They have been gathering data from private Wi-Fi networks while driving around getting images for Google Street View. This is adding to GSV’s controversy, where they get images of cars, license plates and people’s faces that are later posted. Google’s solution was to blur faces and plate numbers. A Google spokesperson said, “ Street View cars will no longer collect any Wi-Fi information.” I am a little confused as to how this works but perhaps someone can shed some light.
8 – Jimmy Wong, a “singer/songwriter” has found Internet and iTunes stardom after his response to the “anti-Asians at UCLA” rant from that dumb girl. He had 1.5 million views in the first 5 days of posting. I thought it was okay, not anything that great, but hey, you be the judge.
9 – This exists and has 30,000,000 views. What is going on with our country?!?!?! There is also a live, acoustic version that is somehow worse. Like honestly, if this isn’t bad enough, the unplugged version will make you pluck out your eyeballs and plug your ears with them. But thank you Rebecca, cause for the life of me I totally couldn’t remember what day came after Thursday, and before Saturday. Also that Sunday comes afterwardsssssssssss.
10 – Facebook agreed to buy Spantu for $70M. Snaptu makes apps for feature phones, which are basically all phones that aren’t smart phones. They make up about 69% of all phones and 55% of overall phone sales in the US based on Nielsen Company data.
It’s been a busy week out there on the political, business, and info trail. Let the round-up for Feb 28th begin!
Weekly Industry Round Up
By Rebecca Bernard Aguiar
[I preface this round up with the following statement: As a mommy of young ones I often feel overwhelmed by the abundance of information and things-to-do. I also experience a huge sense of disconnect from the “real” world most of the time. (I wrote a blog post on it after my first kid was born.) So the task of plucking out pertinent news for my very savvy and mostly child-free cohort felt somewhat like a tall order. Here it goes.]
This week I became a disgruntled cowgirl, chasing down a very impertinent herd of news cattle. I was like a bull in a china closet, smashing through hundreds of thousands of links on all sorts of different topics without a sense for what REALLY matters, to me, to you, to anybody!
In my search I came across a whole lot of internet crap-ola – for instance, did you know that Toshiba is working on a robot that will learn to replace your remote control? When did the remote become ineffective at changing the channel? This has to be a joke. And why do I care how the Lakers spent their all star weekend? Or that Nicky Minaj wouldn’t come down to meet the press for pictures at the after party? I wasn’t at an after party! I was at home, in sweats, changing diapers, half watching it on TV while scanning articles on Mashable.
But wait, there is more. For you cyber stalkers, there is now a breakup notifier that will alert you when your secret crush’s relationship status changes on Facebook so you can go in for the kill. Speaking of going in for the kill; Sarah Palin had something to say via Facebook about what was going down in Wisconsin. Are the Republican’s still letting her speak out on public platforms? And how is it possible that out of 64 breaking viral news spots on Blippitt.com only 16 didn’t include a half naked woman? Is Blippitt even considered a credible news source? Sounds like “hot chicks and explosions” to me (haha, just kidding guys). What is a Blippitt anyway? Sounds like something my kid wants to soothe his gums with.
That said, I did find couple of things of note:
It looks like Redbox may be jumping into the ring with Netflix, as talks of an Amazon partnership would allow them to offer streaming video content online. I do dig the Redbox for our in-home date nights! Stream away big Red.
Sony is launching their new cloud based music subscription marketplace service, Qriocity, in US, Australia and New Zealand. The good news is that you pay only $3.99/mo for pre-populated radio stations or $9.99 for unlimited access to 6million songs. Not a bad price per song if you divide by 6 million.
An interactive National Broadband Map, unveiled February 17 by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission, showed that one third of all US households lacked broadband access. Hmm, I wonder what this map would look like worldwide
Reminiscing back to our brief Kinect teaser with Randy Shaffer of Microsoft, the Windows Phone 7 platform was introduced at Mobile World Congress last week. The new 7 will be able to multitask, run IE9 and integrate with Kinect for enhanced mobile/video game integration. I am no good with a video game controller, but give me a phone that connects to a motion sensing camera and PATOW! Watch yo-self!
Lastly, somehow in my feeble attempts to follow the unrest and shut down of communications in Libya, I somehow missed that upheaval was afoot in Bahrain, Morocco, Yemen and Iran. Oy. I did finally get to check out the Google map charting the geographical distribution of Tweets in the area which was interesting.
So who knows if these few needles plucked from a very dense haystack even matter to you, but, according to credible sources these things are considered news. In my world, the newsflash of the day per my two year old was that a unicorn is IN FACT a horsie. Did you know that? Woah – news to me!