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Pete Cashmore: Travelocity Gnome Now Roaming on Foursquare

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:59:01 +0000

Already moonlighting on Chatroulette, the beloved Travelocity Roaming Gnome has decided to participate in the location-sharing movement as well, and will be updating followers about his exotic whereabouts on Foursquare.The move rounds out the Gnome’s social media portfolio — which, in addition to Chatroulette, includes a very active presence on Facebook and Twitter.Fans can look for the gnome to check in at various locations across London over the course of the weekend, says Travelocity representative Joel Frey.Frey also tells us that the Gnome’s foray into Foursquare was timed with Virgin Atlantic’s first seasonal flight from Chicago to London yesterday. In fact, Gnome lovers can check out photos from the glamorous first-class trip on his Facebook Page.Which brings us to the bigger picture. Location-sharing isn’t exactly an activity that can be completed behind a desk. I asked Frey whether or not the Gnome would be open to meeting up with fans during his worldly treks, to which he replied, “We’d love to run into Fousquare friends and will also being do a tweetup on Tuesday evening.”“To have an icon like the Gnome at our disposal to engage with travelers on all of these new communication channels is an amazing opportunity and we’d be foolish not to play,” Frey concluded.We tend to agree and find social media to be the perfect vehicle for the Gnome to spread the Travelocity message. Bon voyage![img credits: Travelocity]For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookTags: foursquare, MARKETING, roaming gnome, travelocity [...]

Richard MacManus: Digg's New Social Following and Publishing Tools [VIDEO]

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:50:11 +0000

In an interesting nugget of Friday afternoon news, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has posted an article featuring a preview of the upcoming fourth version of the social news site Digg. Founder Kevin Rose has published a glorious 1080p video to YouTube aimed at explaining the new features to publishers. Among the most interesting features is the inclusion of social network contacts into the Digg ecosystem, as well as the ability for publishers to auto-publish stories to Digg via an RSS feed. Sponsor Just like when joining most Web services these days, users will be asked to search their Facebook and Twitter accounts (among others) to follow friends and contacts via Digg. The Digg homepage will then default to a page consisting entirely of stories dugg by the users they choose to follow. When browsing articles either on the social "My News" section, or on the more traditional "Top News" tab, users will be able to see which stories their friends have dugg, as well as view their friends' comments directly in-line with the story. Rose says these new features play into the hands of publishers because the viral aspect of sharing stories with friends will help stories achieve higher digg counts. If one person diggs a story, it shows up on the homepages of their followers, and if they digg it, the process continues. To make the process of getting articles online even simpler, publishers can now claim their RSS feeds and automatically publish their content on Digg without having to visit the site. These changes and additions may be just what the doctor ordered for Digg which has had to continually delay these updates. Personally the preview looks pretty slick, and may actually bring me back to using Digg on a more regular basis. Check our Rose's video below and let us know what you think in the comments. Discuss [...]

Tech Crunch: leena

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:35:57 +0000

The first TechCrunch Disrupt conference kicked off with a bang this week in New York, with Charlie Rose interviewing renown venture capitalists John Doerr, and Yuri Milner. Highlights of the conference included a colorful exchange between TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz; Sean Parker and David Kirkpatrick discussing the past, present and future of Facebook, and VCs Fred Wilson and Ben Horowitz debating the virtue of the lean vs. fat startup. We also heard from Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber’s managers and celebrated the winner of the startup battlefield competition: Soluto. Here’s a comprehensive list of all of our coverage of the event. Session One: Disruptive Ideas & Marketplaces UJAM: UJAM Turns Whistling, Humming, And Even Tone Deaf Singing Into Musical Masterpieces (link), Chris Sacca Singing On UJAM (link) Off & Away: Five Star Hotels At Motel Prices: Off & Away Is Swoopo For Hotel Rooms (link) Fluidinfo FluidDB Aims To Become The Wikipedia Of Databases (link) Soluto Soluto Figures Out What’s Bogging Down Your PC (And Tells You How To Fix It) (link) Betterment Betterment Wants To Be Your New, Higher-Yield Savings Account (link) Session Two: Disruptive Apps & Services Audioo: A “Blippy For Voicemail,” Audioo Is A Fun Privacy Disaster Waiting To Happen (link) Textingly: Textingly Lets Companies Manage Their Text Messaging Efforts (link) VideoGenie: VideoGenie Aims To Help Brands And Consumers Connect Through Video (link) Publish2: Publish2 Wants To Disrupt The Associated Press With An Online News Exchange (link) Audience Choice: Live Intent: LiveIntent Turns Static Social Media Sharing Buttons Into Dynamic Ones (link) Session 3: Disruptive Streams Geotoko: Geotoko Allows Businesses To Set Up Location-Based Marketing Campaigns (link) ChompOn: ChompOn Is A White-Label Platform For Groupon-Like Deals (link) Tickreel: Tickreel Aims To Add A Powerful Filter To The Realtime Web (link) keenkong: Keenkong Manages The Social Media Overload For Marketers (link) WeReward: WeReward’s iPhone App Lets You Earn Cash For Check-Ins (link) Compass Labs Compass Labs Tries To Pinpoint Purchase Intent On Twitter (link) Session 4: Disruptive Entertainment NoiseToys: Jai Ho! A Rockstar Team Brings Social Gaming To Music With NoiseToys (link) Live Matrix: The Entire Web Gets A TV Guide With Live Matrix (like) MOVIECLIPS: Movieclips Wants To Drink Other Movie Clips Sites’ Milkshake With Mashups (like) Screw The Gallery, Discover The Next Great Picasso At (like) Audience Choice: Plantly: “Plantly Is An Investment Tool That Aims Not To Suck” (like) Panels and Presentations: The Hackathon: Over 300 Battle At Disrupt Hackathon (link), Inside Disrupt Hackathon [Video] (link), Future Mario, Twitter Demographics And Worst Phone Ever Win The #TCDisrupt Hackathon (link) Day One: The Big Picture: Tectonic Shifts in Technology, Special Series with Charlie Rose John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (link) Yuri Milner, CEO & Founding Partner, Digital Sky Technologies (link) TweetUp (link) Hollywood-Flavored Fireside: Funny or Die Disrupts (link) Evolve or Die: The Evolution of Music, TV, Games and Publishing (link) Tunerfish (link) Fireside Chat With Carol Bartz (link), Carol Bartz To Michael Arrington: “F*ck Off!” (link), Video (link) Fireside: Social Networks & Online Content: Where’s it Going? (link) Does The IPad Change Everything For News, Or Is It Still All About The Web? (link) Day Two: Scribd HTML5 Presentation (link) The Mobile Disruption–What’s Next? (link), Google’s Gundotra On Apple, The Fight For Developers’ Hearts [Video] (link), Facebook, It’s OK To Want To Make Money [Video] (link) Social & Local Demo by Yext (link) Mayor Bloomberg Calls For More NYC Startups At TechCrunch Disrupt (link) Fireside: Local Content, Local Ads, and Everything in Between. How is AOL Changing? (link), AOL Now Employs 4,000 Journalists (But Only 500 Are Full-[...]

Richard MacManus: iPhone Dropped in Toilet? There's an App for That

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:30:00 +0000

Starting June 6th, iPhone purchasers will be able to insure their precious devices through AT&T for just $13.99 a month, according to documents leaked to Boy Genius Report today. The insurance, which is purchased through the AppStore, intends to counter-act the pain and suffering caused by those "whoopsie", butterfingers-induced moments that send iPhones to an early grave on hard pavement or, even worse, in a toilet. The documents, which are either real or extremely high quality fabrications, also back up the assumption that Steve Jobs will be introducing the fourth generation iPhone June 7th at the WWDC keynote. Sponsor For just under $170 a year, iPhone users can save themselves the trouble of paying several hundred dollars to replace their phone if they irrevocably damage it. However, the insurance plan also comes with a deductible that ranges from $99 to $199 depending on which iPhone you have. So if you buy a 32GB 3GS and break it a year later, the cost of a new one would be roughly $370, which is far better than the full price of $699, but still expensive. The insurance plan apparently only applies to new purchases after June 6th, and must be activated within 30 days of purchase. To make the process simple, the insurance can be purchased through the phone via the AppStore, which will bill the credit card on file with Apple. AT&T was careful not to spill the beans on the upcoming fourth generation iPhone, and left out what the cost of the insurance plan might be for a new device. So why is AT&T insuring the iPhone all of a sudden? According to the leaked documents, 16% of low scores from customer feed back are "attributable to customer dissatisfaction with insurance/warranty replacement options." While they certainly want to fight back against unsatisfied customers, AT&T is also likely offering this plan to help maintain customers in their ecosystem. By making it cheaper to replace an iPhone, it's more likely that bereaved users will buy another iPhone, and more importantly, stay with AT&T. Just last week, AT&T hiked up their early termination fees for all smartphones all the way up to $325 dollars. Break your iPhone and think it's a great opportunity to leave the network at join Team Android on another network? Either pay AT&T $325 plus the costs of a new phone and contact elsewhere to leave, or slightly less (depending on how long you've had your phone) to replace your iPhone thanks to the new insurance policy. What do you think of AT&T's new iPhone insurance? Will you buy it with your next iPhone purchase? Let us know what you think in the comments. Photo by Flickr user magerleagues. Discuss [...]

Pete Cashmore: PostRank Brings Real-Time Social Monitoring to Your Blog

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:25:32 +0000

PostRank Analytics, a service that captures social engagement and traditional metrics in one dashboard, in launching a new beta feature called PostRank Activity Streams. PostRank describes Activity Streams as “FriendFeed for content.” In other words, an ever-changing overview of what is happening with all your content all across the web.PostRank Analytics has always offered an aggregated report for individual articles, noting how many tweets, bookmarks or comments a post received, but now that data is displayed in real time in a single view on your PostRank dashboard. You can now see when someone shares a link on Buzz, comments on a post that has been shared to Reddit or bookmarks a post in Delicious. Rather than having to search through posts manually and filter by activity, you can see the activity as it takes place. This is a really compelling tool for publishers who are looking at measuring the types of engagement they are getting across social media channels. These sorts of measurements can be really helpful in identifying trends and figuring out where to focus your social strategies. For instance, if if a user sees that he is getting lots of interaction on Facebook or on Google Buzz, that might be an indication to be more active in those channels.PostRank Activity Streams monitor Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, FriendFeed, Delicious, Reddit, Digg and more. The feature is still in beta and it will be improving over time, but it looks like a really great addition to the social publisher’s toolkit.If you don’t already have a PostRank account, you can sign-up for a 30-day free trial here. How do you monitor the social activity taking place around your content? Let us know!For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookTags: activity streams, postrank, postrank analytics, social media tools [...]

Pete Cashmore: HTC EVO 4G to Get Video Calling… For a Price

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:05:59 +0000

There’s good news and bad news for future HTC EVO 4G owners: Skype should come to the smartphone before the end of the year, as will mobile video app Qik — but you’re going to have to shell out $5 per month for the latter if you want to take advantage of its video chat functionality.It might be a hard pill to swallow for some, considering Sprint is already going to charge a $10 “premium data” fee per month simply to make use of the phone’s data services in addition to whatever monthly voice and data package is chosen. Qik runs the risk of running afoul of the “feeling nickel and dimed” response from consumers who are already shelling out extra fees to capitalize on the “about 10 times faster” data speeds on Sprint’s 4G network.Meanwhile, although Skype had released a Skype Mobile Android client previously, its exclusive deal with Verizon Wireless means that Android users on other carriers can’t access the app. A PR representative from the company indicated that before the end of this year Skype will ship a direct-to-consumer app that will be available regardless of the carrier — although it can’t yet promise that the app will include mobile video calling as one of its features.In other words, it may take some time for mobile video calling alternatives to catch up if you’re not willing to pony up the extra $5 a month for that feature via Qik. Early tests with competitive app Fring have been so far mixed, with some garnering less than stellar reviews and others faring fairly well (see the video below for a demo). Still, the available options at launch could be a bit of a downer to aspiring HTC EVO owners eager to take advantage of its dual cameras for mobile video calls.What do you think: Is Qik asking too much for mobile video call service? Will we see reliable free alternatives crop up in short order? For more mobile coverage, follow Mashable Mobile on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookTags: 4G, android, htc evo, HTC EVO 4G, mobile video calling, qik, Skype, sprint, verizon [...]

Tech Crunch: michael-arrington

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:05:02 +0000

[See Update below] Microsoft Bing will replace Google in the next version of the iPhone operating system to be released in June, we’ve heard from mulitple sources, including a high level source who claims to have been briefed on the matter. We’re not calling this more than a rumor yet, but one thing is sure – our sources close to Google in particular are speaking freely about this as fact. In January Business Week reported that Microsoft and Apple were in talks over an iPhone search deal, and the deal certainly would be brilliant for Microsoft. There’s been speculation around Google’s future on the iPhone since last year when the first public spat broke out between the companies over the Google Voice app for the iPhone. Android’s continued gains in market share only highlight Google’s direct competition with Apple, and the fact that so many core iPhone apps, including search and maps, are controlled by Google, has been a sore point with Apple. From that post: Multiple sources at Google tell us that in informal discussions with Apple over the last few months Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google. Other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features. But Google was rumored to be paying Apple $100 million a year for the search rights to iPhone, along with the ability to serve search ads. Apple would likely have stuck with them unless Microsoft was willing to pay as well, and it certainly wasn’t a lock that Google Search would be removed from the iPhone. There were rumors yesterday that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would attend the WWDC event on June 7 to announce Video Studio development for the iPhone, although they were quickly retracted. Our sources on this are independent of that story. Update: Interesting – new sources are saying “It’s more complicated than this” and not to expect Google search to be removed from the iPhone next month. Also hearing that Google isn’t paying anything like $100 million/year to Apple for the search rights to the iPhone. CrunchBase InformationAppleiPhoneMicrosoftBingGoogleInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Richard MacManus: Hotels Test Smartphones as Room Keys

Fri, 28 May 2010 22:00:00 +0000

Starting in June, the Intercontinental Hotel Group is testing out the use of smartphones as room keys. Using an app from OpenWays, patrons at the Holiday Inn Chicago O' Hare Rosemont or the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center download a distinct audio code into their iPhone, Blackberry or Android. Passing the phone by the door lock will open it and patrons will bypass the front desk altogether. Unless they need towels. For those who are used to researching, reserving and paying for hotels online, this may be a logical next step. It goes in line with such uses of smartphone-powered tech as United Airlines' mobile boarding passes at airports. Sponsor As Marin Perez points out in IntoMobile, it's far from a no-brainer. "The app has to work consistently or it could lead to a lot of cheesed off customers. Additionally, hotels could lose that personal touch and branding connection with the customer, which is always a problem." It would also be an expense for the hoteliers, as the system requires a special lock, without either keyhole or keycard swipe, on any room in the program. But if it goes off without a significant hitch, the handful of hotels and couple of months IGH intends to take for the test could turn into dozens of properties and no end of time. RFID Again Another hotel chain, Starwood, is one of many experimenting with radio frequency identification, or RFID. At their Lexington, Massachusetts property, the Aloft Hotel, they are equipping guests with RFID cards. Visitors interesting in giving RFID a try are given a "Starwood Preferred Guest" card specific to the Aloft. The day of their check-in, they are sent a text with their room number. The RFID card is programmed to open that door automatically. Although far from common, RFID keying systems are more common than audio-based ones.Even phones equipped with near-field communication, which reads RFID codes in door locks, have been used since 2006. As long as both indie and chain hotels and resorts are struggling for traveler dollars, expect their experiments to closely pace, and occasionally outstrip, their visitors' personal technology choices. Discuss [...]

Pete Cashmore: Mashable’s Ben Parr Discusses Privacy on Russian Debate Show [VIDEO]

Fri, 28 May 2010 21:35:00 +0000

Mashable Co-Editor Ben Parr appeared on Russian TV network RT’s debate show, CrossTalk, yesterday to discuss internet privacy and the user backlash leading up to Facebook’s revised privacy controls.In the interview, Parr says that technology has changed the way the world thinks about privacy. He also gets into a somewhat heated debate with fellow guest Ann Cavoukian on the nature of societal attitudes toward privacy.The panel of guests also debates whether or not governments should regulate Facebook and other social networking sites, and discusses whether privacy should ultimately be Facebook’s responsibility or the user’s responsibility.The full interview is an interesting discussion on Facebook and online content sharing in general. You can check it out in its entirety below.For more perspective on Facebook and the new privacy controls, watch what Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore had to say yesterday on PBS.For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookTags: Ben Parr, facebook, privacy [...]

Tech Crunch: michael-arrington

Fri, 28 May 2010 21:10:29 +0000

The video above, which we believe will be shown to publishers to promote the new Digg, gives a never before seen look at the new version of Digg, version 4, that the company has been working on for over a year – founder Kevin Rose first spoke about it in April 2009. The new version of the service is designed to get publishers, currently enamored with the viral spread of content on Twitter and Facebook, to start focusing on Digg again. As Rose says in the interview, only the top headlines on Digg – 100 or so stories a day – actually get much traffic. So publishers, including us, have focused more on promoting sharing on Twitter and Facebook, where it isn’t an all or nothing outcome. Key changes: All Digg users will go through an “onboarding process” that asks them to follow friends, tastemakers and publishers. Users will be asked to import their social graphs from Facebook, Twitter, etc. There’s also a suggested user list for users. Their home page will no longer show just top stories by total votes. Instead, it will show links from people and publishers you follow, called My News. Hugely popular stories on Digg will still be shown on a Top News channel. If a user diggs a story, all followers of that user will then see it in their feed, too, which is sort of like a retweet. This can create a “chain reaction,” says Rose, and can drive significant traffic. Publishers will now be able to auto-publish their content via RSS feeds to Digg, eliminating the need for someone to add a story for the first time. Each story will start off with one Digg. The process for adding a story manually is also much simpler – a user simply pastes the URL into Digg and the an image, title and summary are automatically generated. Users will only see links to stories that are popular and that their friends are promoting, says Digg, and there’s no clutter from status updates and other content you see on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a pure place for linked content that people and entities you follow are promoting. CrunchBase InformationDiggInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Pete Cashmore: How Open Data Applications are Improving Government

Fri, 28 May 2010 21:05:25 +0000

Geoff Livingston co-founded Zoetica to focus on cause-related work, and released an award-winning book on new media Now is Gone in 2007.Open data is the big trend these days when people talk about “Government 2.0.” In reality, the open data movement has just begun, with governments finally starting to release data en masse in an effort to promote transparency. While projects like Apps for Democracy have received significant media attention, we are just at the dawn of the government open data app movement.“Open data apps are becoming ever-more effective, but insofar as they have actually had a dramatic ‘effect’ on the systems that most influence our lives, we still have a long way to go,” said Jake Brewer, engagement director for the Sunlight Foundation. “I always say that until my mom or dad in Middle Tennessee are actively using open data apps that our community creates, we haven’t gotten there yet. At this point, it’s clear open data applications are in their infancy from the relatively low number of new apps being produced and the usage stats of those apps once the initial buzz factor dies down.”Here’s a look at how public sector open data apps are evolving.Transparency Fosters Better CitizenshipCitizens often get frustrated with their local, state and national governments, but they rarely understand how much demand the system faces. Lack of transparency into governmental departments and processes can leave the average American bewildered. Apps can change that with transparency.“This transparency makes it possible to track how well the city is keeping up with requests, their performance over time, which neighborhoods are getting help first, etc.,” said Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America. “[W]hen you see the other requests in the queue and realize that your issue is one of thousands in your community, it’s not just the government who becomes accountable; you start to be held accountable as a citizen as well.“If you could see a list of all the lights that weren’t fixed in your city, and see that a dozen people had complained that there had been a spike in crime under another broken light in another part of town and that people were really suffering because of it, you might you think to yourself ‘hey, it’s more important to fix that light than my own,’” explained Pahlka. “This is a moment of citizenship, when the needs of the larger group take precedence over the individual’s needs.”Improving Application AccessSome apps, like SeeClickFix, have been wildly successful, but in general, open data applications don’t always make the impact that designers would like. Not every American has an iPhone — far from it. Ad Mob statistics show only 10.7 million units in the United States. Pragmatic accessibility for the average citizen can be a difference maker.“A lot of people started to make iPhone apps with this public data, which is great, but for many cities there isn’t a high overlap between bus ridership and iPhone use,” said Christopher Csikszentmihalyi, Director, MIT Center for Future Civic Media. “We are currently deploying a public/private initiative called LostInBoston which includes a cheap LED sign that shows real-time estimates of when the next MassDOT bus is coming.“If government were to do this, it would probably take many years and be incredibly expensive. We are looking at a couple of hundred dollars for a sign placed on private property, in the window of a restaurant or corner shop,” said Csikszentmihalyi. “Business owners get customers coming in because pedestrians know they have a few minutes … Bus drivers are excited beca[...]

Richard MacManus: Chrome Extensions Get Desktop Notifications

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:54:57 +0000

Extensions for Google Chrome can now send out desktop notifications. Google just announced the availability of a notifications API for Chrome extension developers. Until now, only websites were able to deliver non-model messages with the notifications API, which was first introduced in Chrome 4 for Windows. Now, extension developers will be able to make use of the desktop notifications API to deliver notifications that appear outside of the browser window as well. Sponsor One of the first extensions to make use of these system-wide notifications is the popular Gmail Notifier add-on for Chrome. After installing the extension, you will receive a notification whenever a new email arrives in your inbox. The advantage of this system is that you will see this notification, even if you are not looking at your browser. Some users will surely complain that OSX and Linux already have perfectly good system-wide notifications systems. This new notifications API, however, allows developers to create their extensions without having to think about the desktop platform and Google's own developers won't have to interface with multiple third-party desktop notifications platforms either. Chances are that we will see a variation of these desktop notifications in Google's Chrome OS as well. Discuss [...]

Pete Cashmore: Meet the Cast of “If I Can Dream” [VIDEO]

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:44:29 +0000

What’s it like to live on camera 24 hours a day? The cast of If I Can Dream, Simon Fuller’s direct-to-Hulu reality television series, is uniquely qualified to answer that question.We had a chance to visit the Dream House — nestled in Beverly Hills and outfitted with more than 60 video cameras — and sit down with the show’s five Hollywood hopefuls.We’ve previously written about If I Can Dream as one of the more interesting projects at the intersection of entertainment, social media and the plugged-in landscape we now inhabit. The technology powering the show is notable enough in its own right (check out our exclusive tour of Dream Studios for a glimpse at behind-the-scenes production), and as all of the cast members discuss in the video below, the series is also a unique opportunity to allow an audience in on the process of becoming a successful artist.See below for the cast’s thoughts on what it’s like to live entirely in public at all times, their favorite aspects of social media integration with the show, whether or not the series represents their actual lives, and the lessons they’ve learned from the project thus far. And if you’re a fan of the show, stay tuned next week for our tour of the Dream House and the technology that makes the world’s largest 24/7 live event possible. For more entertainment coverage, follow Mashable Entertainment on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, TwitterTags: entertainment, facebook, hulu, If I Can Dream, IICD, music, myspace, reality tv, Simon Fuller, social media, television, tv, twitter [...]

Tech Crunch: jason

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:28:17 +0000

Last week at the Founder Showcase, a quarterly event put on by Adeo Ressi’s TheFunded, Evernote CEO Phil Libin gave a presentation discussing some of the startup’s key revenue numbers and strategy. During his talk, Libin outlined some of the ingredients in making the freemium model work, and how long-term users actually become more valuable over time. Evernote, for those who haven’t used it, is a great service for quickly storing and organizing ideas, photos, documents and other information that you encounter both online and in the real world. This is actually one of the secrets to the service’s success — as people add more of their content to the site over time, it becomes increasingly valuable to them. Libin has previously shared similar information during his mentorship at Ressi’s incubator The Founder Institute Here are some of the main points Libin covered during his talk: Sometimes people say “The best product doesn’t always win”, and are implying that you should focus on other areas, like marketing. In the Internet age, a good product can get the rest of that stuff (marketing, etc.) for free. So focus on that. And then charge for it. A year ago Evernote was making most of its money from licensing its technology, but it focused on its premium plans ($5/month or $45/year) because that was more scalable. Now, premium subscriptions bring in around $300-400k a month, and licensing represents around $45k. Evernote has 3.1 million cumulative users, and adds around 10k a day. Around 68k paying customers. Users have grown more valuable over time. New users convert to premium at a rate of .5%.  But of the users that signed up two years ago and are still active, 20% have become paid customers. This trend is important — most users quit quickly. But the ones that stay become much more likely to pay over time. Evernote’s cost per user is around 9 cents per active user per month. It makes around 25 cents per user per month. The site reached break even a year and a half ago. Entrepreneurs should aim to be making money on each new active user as soon as possible. Otherwise scaling just means you’re losing money faster, rather than earning it We should note that Libin has previously discussed similar information, though the video provides more detail. CrunchBase InformationPhil LibinEvernoteInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Tech Crunch: not

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:21:49 +0000

Google Chrome has been my primary browser for a few months now. And since it became fully stable, it’s the only browser I use. It’s fast, lightweight, and awesome. And it keeps getting more awesome. One of the best things about Chrome is extension support. There are already nearly 5,000 of them despite only launching this past December. And the extensions continue to get more powerful. Today, on the Chromium Blog, Google has announced that desktop notifications are now available to third-party extension developers. Previously, the only way to notify Chrome users of an update by way of extension was to do so by badging an extension icon itself. Now, full messages can pop-up on the desktop (assuming you allow them, of course). A great example is the Gmail Notifier extension, which gives you Growl-like notifications of new emails as they come in. As of Chrome 5 (the latest stable version), these desktop notifications are available to all extension developers. And Google says they’ll be looking for the best ones to feature in the Extension Gallery. CrunchBase InformationGoogle ChromeInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Tech Crunch: leena

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:20:14 +0000

PostRank is a nifty tool that measures different ways that readers engage with online content. The ranking is based on how many times a particular post has been linked to, voted up on Digg, shared on Google Buzz, commented on, Twittered about, bookmarked on or viewed through feed readers like AideRSS and Google Reader. Today, the startup is adding a new feature that actually stores and shows you these activities. As PostRank says, the activity streams feature similar in theory to a FriendFeed, but for a blog or site’s content. Previously, PostRank aggregated and reported activity events but the new feature aggregates Tweets, votes, distributed comments and more in a single view. Publishers simply have to insert their RSS feed into PostRank Analytics and the startup will aggregate and filter activity into a dashboard. PostRank analytics is free for the first thirty days and only costs $9 per month after that. PostRank aggregates over 10 million daily activities from over 20 different social hubs, so it’s fair to assume that you’ll get a healthy snapshot of the different types of interactions that are taking place with your content. CrunchBase InformationPostRankInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Richard MacManus: Chris Saad: "Facebook's Claims About Data Portability Are False"

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:20:00 +0000

Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook's recent privacy changes were not nefarious, but rather an unselfish pursuit of "a concept called data portability." As the one of the people who popularized that concept in relation to social networks, and as a founding member of the organization representing that cause, I'd like to call bullshit on that. Sponsor Guest author Chris Saad is VP of strategy at Echo, a leading provider of comment/conversation technology to Tier 1 publishers. His role is to track trends in the marketplace, listen to and participate in the community and translate those needs into actionable product direction. His background includes co-authoring the Synaptic Web strawman , co-authoring the Attention Profiling Markup Language (APML) specification, and co-founding the DataPortability Project. The DataPortability project's mission is to advocate interoperable data portability for users, developers and vendors. "The lack of honesty and clarity from the company and its representatives ... and the continued trend of taking established language - such as "open technology" or "data portability" - and corrupting it for its own marketing purposes, is far more disconcerting than the boundaries it's pushing with its technology choices."Until now I have stayed largely silent on the privacy hoopla because data portability and the open Web are not strictly related to privacy - at least in the sense that things don't need to be public for them to be portable or interoperable. For example, just because the Web is based on open technologies (HTTP, HTML, SSL, JavaScript, etc.), it does not mean using your credit card on a properly configured website is public or unsafe. Sending email from one person to another does not mean third party websites can now suddenly "instantly personalize" their recommendations to you based on keywords found in your inbox. Despite being based on interoperable technologies, these transactions remain private and secure. Advocating Open Technologies Is Not Promoting the Death of Secrets In the face of this, however, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook continue to (deliberately?) confuse the idea of open technologies with "sharing in public." The attempt to correlate the two things is at best misinformed and at worst dishonest. With his latest statement, Zuckerberg and Facebook are now going so far as to declare their privacy missteps as "data portability." Actually, Facebook's changes have nothing to do with data portability. In fact, the root of the user backlash has nothing to do with what the company is doing but rather how its are doing it. Its problem is that, as a service, Facebook started as a place for people to share with friends and family in a private setting. Users expected privacy. This expectation is referred to as a "social compact." It is an implied agreement that has less to do with the terms of service and more to do with user expectations and ethics. When I give you my business card, for example, I expect (through our implied social compact) that you won't give it to spammers. It turns out, however, that this compact was good for users but not great for Facebook's business. There are two broad reasons why Facebook has felt forced to make the service more public. Mark Zuckerberg Facebook SXSWi 2008. Photo by deneyterrio. First, it's hard, if not impossible, to monetize private communication. People don't use those kinds of service with the intent to buy, but rather with the intent to communicate. Intention is critical when it comes to advertising and e-commerce. Second, competition from services like Twitter have made it coo[...]

Pete Cashmore: Create a Socially Integrated Online Shop in 60 Seconds

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:17:48 +0000

This post is part of Mashable’s Spark of Genius series, which highlights a unique feature of startups. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here. The series is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark.Name: Quick Pitch: is the easiest way to sell virtually anything and is the world’s first socially integrated e-commerce website. Genius Idea: If you are thinking of putting an old watch up for auction on eBay or listing your latest T-shirt design on Etsy, you may want to check out is an e-commerce service that enables users to create quick listings for their products or services. Simply fill out the name, price and a quick description of the good or service you’d like to sell, type in a few personal details and upload a picture. You can also opt to donate the proceeds of the sale to charity, and identify your product or service’s location on a map.You can then share your listing directly with your social networks or set up your own online store on your blog or website. The whole process can take less than a minute.The service only asks for your name and your PayPal e-mail address; you don’t even need to set up an account or share any of your bank information. You can also sync your listing with Facebook, Twitter and Google Product Search to share your listings instantaneously.While the service is great for selling your products and services quickly and easily, it lacks many of the benefits of e-commerce sites like eBay, Etsy and Amazon Marketplace. They are destination sites for buyers and drive most of the traffic to the listings of individual sellers via marketing and excellent search and recommendation engines. And although allows visitors to leave comments on a product, it has yet to implement seller and product ratings.In other words, if you want to succeed with, you’re going to have to depend entirely on your website and social networks to advertise and sell your goods.What do you think of Have you ever sold anything online? If so, what e-commerce service did you use?Find out more about the service in the video below.Sponsored by Microsoft BizSparkBizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the Azure Services platform for their website hosting and storage needs. Microsoft recently announced the “new CloudApp()” contest – use the Azure Services Platform for hosting your .NET or PHP app, and you could be the lucky winner of a USD 5000* (please see website for official rules and guidelines).”Reviews: Facebook, PHP, Twitter, eBayTags: bizspark, e-commerce, [...]

Richard MacManus: Does the Mobile Web Need a Yahoo-Style Directory?

Fri, 28 May 2010 20:00:08 +0000

Do you remember the days when Yahoo was a yellow pages-like directory of websites? Back in the early days of the Internet, a number of companies created vast, human-edited databases that aimed to catalog all the Web - and some even sold these as printed books. According to mobile search engine Taptu, the mobile Internet is at a similar point today, where a directory is simply the easiest way to discover content. While Taptu's main focus is still on its crawler-based mobile search engine for mobile sites, the company also just launched a Yahoo-like directory of touch-friendly websites. Sponsor The Mobile Web is Going Through Its "Yahoo Phase" Earlier this year, AdMob's CEO and founder Omar Hamoui argued that the mobile web is going through its "Yahoo phase," as it is still possible to find mobile apps using directory-like app stores instead of having to rely on more advanced search engines. While Hamoui was mostly talking about apps, the same could be said about the mobile web in general. The number of touch-friendly mobile sites is still relatively small when compared the the Web as a whole, and services like Taptu new directory still make sense at this point. Taptu's Directory To help its users find the best touch-friendly sites for mobile phones, Taptu decided to create a directory of touch-friendly sites. Taptu notes that phones with touchscreens are quickly becoming mass-market devices, but a lot of these devices don't feature app stores. For Taptu, the top five traffic-generating phones include the Samsung Caliber, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Samsung Finesse. Thanks to Taptu's focus on touch-friendly sites, the directory turns out to be a fun way to find interesting sites on the go, without the hassle of having to deal with sites that don't work well on small screens. To access Taptu's directory, just head over to the company's mobile site and look for the Categories icon at the top of the page. Discuss [...]

Pete Cashmore: SIRIUS XM Android App Brings Satellite Radio to Your Phone

Fri, 28 May 2010 19:51:43 +0000

SIRIUS XM satellite radio subscribers can now access the service on yet another mobile platform with today’s launch of the SIRIUS XM Android client.Already available for the iPhone and BlackBerry devices, the expansion to Android smartphones extends the reach of the country’s only satellite radio service to a wide new range of supported handsets.Subscribers have access to more than 120 channels of commercial-free audio programming from entertainment to sports to comedy and more, accessible over both cellular and Wi-Fi networks via the app. You can also mark channels as “Favorites” for faster retrieval, and of course the built-in multi-tasking on the Android platform allows users to listen to tunes while doing other activities like web browsing.There’s no extra charge for accessing SIRIUS XM content via your smartphone if you’re already a Premium Online subscriber, and non-subscribers can take advantage of a seven-day trial on their Android smartphones.What do you think of satellite radio as an entertainment service? Does it compare favorably or unfavorably with other music and entertainment options available for the Android platform?For more mobile coverage, follow Mashable Mobile on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Android, BlackBerry Rocks!, Facebook, Twitter, favorites, iPhoneTags: android, music, radio, satellite radio, sirius xm [...]

Tech Crunch: img_0080

Fri, 28 May 2010 19:43:23 +0000

The ability to multitask got a lot of press when iPhone 4.0 OS was first announced. But less attention was given to some of the more subtle things this will allow, such as always-on location for third-party apps. This feature could actually make a service like Google Latitude useful on the device. So it’s coming, right? Maybe. I asked Google senior product manager Steve Lee (who is in charge of Latitude) whether Google would build a native app for the iPhone now that it includes background location. “From the start, we’ve made Latitude available across platforms. Supporting iPhone with a great Latitude user experience is extremely important to us, and we’re evaluating the best way to deliver that on iPhone OS 4.0 now, so we don’t have anything to announce just yet,” Lee answer (emphasis his). Latitude has been available for the iPhone since July of last year — but it is only available as an HTML5 app, not a native app. This makes it pretty useless since you would have to have your web browser open to this page at all times for Latitude to work the web it should — which is all the time. So why didn’t Google release it as a native app? Well, the obvious answer would be that there wasn’t the ability to update location in the background on the iPhone previously, so it didn’t really matter if it was a native app or a web app. But actually it’s more complicated than that. Back in July, Google actually noted why it was doing Latitude as a web app vs. a native app: We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users. After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone, which uses Google to serve maps tiles. At the time, that sounded a little odd to me. After all, there are plenty of other apps that use maps. I wondered if it really meant that Apple was planning on baking this feature into their own Maps app on the iPhone (which was built with the help of Google). But looking back now, it’s likely much more complicated. This was right before it was revealed that Apple rejected the Google Voice app on the grounds that it would confuse iPhone users, or access information on the phone, or something. The Latitude situation was just the first shot in what is now a full-fledged war between the two companies. Long story short, even if Google wants to build a native Latitude app for the iPhone (as they said they did before), Apple may or may not allow it. Let’s hope they do. Because with the new Location History features, and APIs, it could be awesome. And it could push passive location into the spotlight. CrunchBase InformationGoogle LatitudeiPhoneAppleInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Richard MacManus: Skype Video Coming to Android, Is 2010 the Year of Mobile Video Chat?

Fri, 28 May 2010 19:40:00 +0000

The fast-growing population of Android users will soon be able to chat face-to-face thanks to a Skype mobile application that will hit the marketplace with video functionality "later this year." As reported on the gadget blog Skatter Tech, Skype representatives have been quoted confirming the release of a carrier-independent app that will allow users to use voice and video to chat on their Android devices. This is a giant step forward for Android users who were disappointed to learn earlier this year that Skype's initial offerings on the platform were restricted to Verizon's 3G network. Sponsor "We're betting big on video, and we intend to set the bar on mobile video calling, and it's something we're going to do this year," said Skype PR representative Brianna Reynaud. "We will be bringing a direct to consumer app to the Android marketplace later this year. This application will be available for all consumers globally to download regardless of carriers." Though it remains to be seen if any other restrictions or limitations will be placed on the app, this news is certainly exciting to Android users. The announcement also comes amidst speculation that Apple's forthcoming refreshed iPhone will feature a forward-facing camera for video calls. Whether Skype is also working with Apple to launch an iPhone application this year is unknown, and some have suggested that Apple may reserve the functionality for a native iChat application. Either way, a new dawn of mobile video chatting seems to be upon us. The question is, however, will people actually take to this new form of communication? In 1993, AT&T ran a series of commercials suggesting the breakthrough technologies the company hoped to bring to its customers in the future. The ads include technologies prevalent today, including e-readers, in-car GPS, tablet PCs and even automated toll booth systems like EZ Pass. One innovation featured in the ads that has yet to take off significantly is the idea of video replacing standard phone communication. Skype chat on the desktop and enterprise video conferencing solutions have become popular in recent years, but they haven't gone gangbusters and replaced the way we communicate all together. In fact, in the same interview with Skatter Tech, Reynaud said that only one-third of Skype calls are video calls, so the majority of users are simply using the voice functionality. This is not to say that video-calls on a mobile device shouldn't have a place in our current technological ecosystem. Video chatting on a phone could be great for special situations, like when a group of friends are getting together and they call up an absent friend and pass the phone around the room. It's going to take some time for the novelty of mobile video chat to ware off before it finds itself being used more and more as a common means of communication. We as humans, for better or for worse, have evolved into incredible multi-taskers. We listen to music, watch videos, read stories, check email, update our social status - sometimes all at the same time. Video chatting, from my experience, does not fit in well with a multi-tasker's mindset. Think of all the things we do while talking on the phone - driving our cars, eating, doing laundry, etc. Now think of trying to do anything else while video chatting; it's nearly impossible because it requires the majority of your attention. Will mobile video chatting take off? That still remains to be seen; however, regardless of these assertions, it[...]

Pete Cashmore: Opera Mini a Hit on the iPhone

Fri, 28 May 2010 19:28:41 +0000

Since its release last month, Opera Mini for the iPhone has been used by more than 2.6 million users and is now the third most popular Opera Mini device worldwide.This data was presented in Opera’s State of the Mobile Web report for April 2010. Opera’s report focuses on the most popular websites, based on Opera Mini users, and also showcases the demonstrable international impact that the iPhone has had on its data. Opera Mini was released for the iPhone in the middle of April 2010, meaning that the impact demonstrated in the report took place in just two weeks. In that time, the iPhone became the most popular Opera Mini handset in the U.S., beating previous leader BlackBerry by a significant margin.Many were surprised when Opera Mini was accepted into the App Store, in part because Apple has historically blocked apps that “duplicate [the] functionality” of its native apps; in this case, Opera Mini competed with the iPhone’s native Safari browser.And while Opera Mini cannot be selected as the default web browser (meaning links opened in Mail or from other apps cannot open in Opera Mini) its success indicates that there is indeed a base of users who want an alternative web browser for the iPhone.Have you used Opera Mini for the iPhone? What are your thoughts?For more mobile coverage, follow Mashable Mobile on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: App Store, Facebook, Opera, Opera Mini, Safari, TwitterTags: Browsers, iphone apps, opera, opera mini [...]

Tech Crunch: ar

Fri, 28 May 2010 19:10:02 +0000

Augmented Reality may not be super practical yet. But it sure is cool, and a lot of fun. And a new Android game looks to make it even more fun. Space InvadAR is a new Android game by Zenitum. It’s the world’s first “vision-based” AR game, according to the team. And it looks awesome — watch the video below. Basically, you load the game and aim your device’s camera at a printed out target image (which you can get on the game’s website). Once you do this, the image (in this first case, a planet) comes alive on your screen. And then aliens begin to show up and you kill them. It looks awesome. Now for the downsides: first, the game is $25 in the Android Market. Second, it only works on the Nexus One or HTC Desire. Third, it’s impossible to win the game. So it may be more of a really cool demo then anything else right now, but again, just watch the video. CrunchBase InformationAndroidInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Pete Cashmore: 5 Steps to Taking Customer Service Social

Fri, 28 May 2010 19:08:11 +0000

Lauren Vargas is a Community Manager at Radian6, the social media monitoring and engagement platform. She blogs at Communicators Anonymous and is @VargasL on Twitter.The debate over who owns the customer still looms in the shadows of company hallways and conference rooms. There is no one right answer because every department, team and employee owns the customer and takes part in shaping a positive customer experience.Customer service is no longer an area to triage customer complaints. It’s about anticipating customer needs at the right time and place. Organizations must relearn how to interact with their community, shed some of the heavily automated barriers, and get back to the basics of customer service.1. Apply Your Current Service Strategy to Social MediaTo get where you’re going, sometimes it’s helpful to learn more about out where you’ve been.Most likely, your company has a customer service and response strategy in place to handle issues through e-mail, chat and phone. Avoid reinventing the wheel by creating new response strategies and processes. Take time to review how customer inquiries and outreach are currently being handled. What are the customer service goals? Do any current processes need to be updated? Can current strategies be adopted for social media implementation?Answer these questions, and you are not only improving your company’s customer service, but making it possible for any person in your organization to take on this task.2. Put Human Relationships Back Into Your ServiceThe human element has been taken out of the customer service experience in many companies and replaced with automated messages and prompts. By the time a human operator is reached, their responses are often scripted and they do not have the authority or knowledge to solve complex issues. As elementary as it may sound, organizations need to empower their workforce to go beyond canned responses and develop a more relationship-building approach to customer service, as opposed to one-off interactions.Adding social back into the customer service mix does not involve throwing out processes already in place, but improving upon them. Begin by establishing customer engagement policies. Social media policies and guidelines can provide the education and structure for how to engage online, and empower your workforce to operate within accepted and encouraged boundaries with the freedom to be themselves.Next, coordinate a system of gathering information, categorizing, segmenting and analyzing customer engagement that is transparent within your company. Finally, establish workflows to distribute customer engagement responsibilities throughout the organization to ensure the right person is interacting with the right customer at the right time.3. Establish a Knowledge BaseThe customer service department is often separated from the rest of the company, training and operating in a “silo.” Bring customer service agents out from the shadows and provide them with the training they need to engage customers on their turf within the social web.Establish a company wiki where all departments can contribute social media knowledge and lessons learned. Train agents beyond their role. Develop subject matter experts who can handle taking conversations to the next level and solve issues in real-time on the channel of the customer’s choice.In turn, allow your customer[...]

Pete Cashmore: Mark Zuckerberg Donated to Facebook Alternative, Diaspora

Fri, 28 May 2010 18:50:30 +0000

During a follow-up interview to Wednesday’s privacy controls announcement, Wired asked Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg what he thought of Diaspora, the anti-Facebook project that four NYU students will spend the summer building. Zuckerberg’s response: “I donated. I think it is a cool idea.”His support for an idea that directly opposes the openness of Facebook is somewhat surprising, especially since Zuckerberg is intent on “making the world more open.”How much Zuckerberg donated to Diaspora’s Kickstarter fund is unknown, but he revealed that he’s motivated to help these college kids because he sees “a little of myself in them.”Zuckerberg also claims to welcome a different approach to sharing, and looks forward to seeing whether these NYU students can come up with a new solution for handling the trickier challenges Facebook has faced in dealing with privacy around content shared with friends of friends.We find the gesture to be quite benevolent, although it could be a more calculated maneuver to help paint the CEO in a more positive light.For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, TwitterTags: diaspora, facebook, mark zuckerberg [...]

Tech Crunch: evelynrusli

Fri, 28 May 2010 18:33:44 +0000

Facebook is not evil, despite the disproportionately loud grumblings of its critics — which (as Mark Zuckerberg recently pointed out) is a small fraction of its 400-million-plus user base. But Facebook is also not a non-profit despite Zuckerberg’s claim that they’re not in “this for the money.” On Wednesday’s press conference, Zuckerberg said: “It might seem weird, we’re not doing this to make more money. For all the people inside the company, that could not be more true. It’s such a big disconnect that we’re doing this for the money.” Methinks the Zuckerberg doth protest too much. Zuckerberg is not a saint and he’s also not the same 19-year old who allegedly mocked his users for trusting him with their information, but somewhere in between lies reality. He’s a CEO and he runs the world’s most powerful social network. Following Wednesday’s announcement, he spoke with NPR, and acknowledged that Facebook needs money from advertisers to operate, “to run a service like this that serves more than 400 million users.” However, no one believes that Facebook is trying to make just enough money to keep the lights on, nor should we expect them to. But we can expect a higher level of honesty and transparency. Mark, it’s OK to want to make money (and heaps of it), just don’t pretend that every action is designed to augment the user experience. You could argue that Zuckerberg’s comment (“we’re not doing this to make money”) was just a throwaway line, that I’m reading too much into it. However, it seems to be an emerging tagline for the entire company, on par with Google’s “don’t be evil.” His comment echoes a similar statement from Facebook’s VP of product, Chris Cox, during a backstage interview on Tuesday: Cox says, “Anybody who knows Mark knows that he’s not doing this to make money…none of the changes we’re making are fundamentally about making money. That’s just not how the company rolls, that’s not how we’ve ever rolled.” Cox acknowledged that Facebook is trying to build “a great ads product,” but he immediately reiterated the idea that money is “not the motivating force behind a lot of the stuff that we’re rolling out.” When I pressed him on the issue of Facebook credits and the rich 30/70 breakdown (Facebook effectively gets 30% of a developer’s proceeds), he said it helps developers by establishing an official currency, similar to the Euro. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t justify Facebook’s 30% commission nor does it dovetail nicely with a company trying to project an indifference to profits. Will the real Facebook please stand up? Zuckerberg seems to be genuinely interested in changing the world, after all he did reject significant buyout offers, but he also seems to be genuinely interested in turning Facebook into a multi-billion-dollar machine. As I said earlier, I have no problem with a profitable Facebook making obscene amounts of cash, I’m just imploring Zuckerberg to portray his mission honestly. CrunchBase InformationFacebookInformation provided by CrunchBase CrunchBase InformationChris CoxInformat[...]

Pete Cashmore: The Muppets Celebrate Memorial Day with “American Woman” Cover [VIDEO]

Fri, 28 May 2010 18:24:36 +0000

It ain’t a holiday without a little musical accompaniment courtesy of the Muppets — or at least that seems to be the trend of late. The Muppets Studio has released a new video on its YouTube channel in honor of Memorial Day featuring Sam the Eagle’s take on The Guess Who’s “American Woman.”The furry puppets have been dominating the ‘net lately — they dropped in at Lost headquarters not too long ago, and even picked up a Webby for their rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”It’s good to see that Sam & Co. aren’t taking the three-day weekend as an excuse to slack off, unlike you, Sir or Ma’am, currently surfing the web. Now watch this vid and get back to that spreadsheet!For more web video coverage, follow Mashable Web Video on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeTags: humor, music, viral video [...]

Pete Cashmore: UK Postman Admits to Using Facebook and Bebo to Abuse Hundreds of Children

Fri, 28 May 2010 18:06:12 +0000

A UK postman admitted to using Facebook and Bebo to abuse “hundreds” of children in a case that included 27 sexual abuse charges.Michael Williams, a 28-year-old from Cornwall, used the sites to pursue and friend children, sometimes using false names and posing as a teenager, according to the BBC. With some of the victims, he used the sites to arrange meetings.The case comes at a time when social network users have grown concerned about their privacy while on such sites. In fact, 71% of 18-29 year olds limit the information they share with others on social networks, according to a Pew Research report.Williams’s charges included “inciting sexual activity, grooming and distributing indecent images” and more. Police worry that many more children have been abused and have yet to come forward because he used social sites to approach “hundreds.” Williams will be sentenced in three months after psychiatric reports are complete.How do you think social networking sites can prevent such atrocities from occurring?[img credit: lizzardo]For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, TwitterTags: bebo, cornwall, facebook, Pew report, social networking privacy, uk [...]

Richard MacManus: Rumored $99 Apple TV to Feature Cloud Storage, iPhone OS

Fri, 28 May 2010 18:00:00 +0000

After Google's announcement last week of their upcoming Google TV service, many speculated whether Apple would respond by refreshing its neglected Apple TV. Though Steve Jobs called the product a "hobby" at its launch, the rumor mill has begun to churn as reports point to an overhauled Apple TV with cloud storage and an attractive $99 price tag. According to gadget blog Engadget, a "a source very close to Apple" has confirmed speculation that a simplified version of the set-top box closely resembling the internals of the upcoming fourth generation iPhone is currently in development. Sponsor The device has apparently been described as "an iPhone without a screen," says Engadget's Joshua Topolsky. The CPU (Apple's A4 chip), storage (estimated at 16 GB) and OS will mirror those found on an iPhone, but this new device will reportedly also include support for full 1080p HD video. Though storage is limited, users will be able to access other local storage devices (supposedly local systems and networked storage devices) via WiFi, as well as cloud storage. With the current Apple TV selling at a hefty $229 with 160 GB of storage, this new product could be a significant pivot for Apple in the set-top box realm. The transition from local to cloud-based storage may have something to do with recent rumors that Apple's MobileMe service may soon be provided free to all users - a possible use for the new data farm the company is building in North Carolina. The reported $99 price seems logical because the majority of the cost of the Apple TV goes toward 160 GB of storage. Additionally, by designing it to mimic the iPhone's specs, Apple can streamline the production of the product and remove the most expensive part of the phone - the screen. Topolsky says no mention was made of whether apps would be supported on the device, but he suggests that scaling up iPhone and iPad apps to a TV wouldn't look particularly attractive (not to mention the lack of a touch interface). I wouldn't be surprised to see some integration with the upcoming iPhone OS release that would allow users to control and browse from content on their phones or iPads and watch it on their TVs. Jobs has been adamant about how "couch friendly" the iPad is, so it only makes sense that a refreshed Apple TV would interface with the company's existing handheld devices. If the speculation is correct, Apple and Google are poised for a Web TV showdown - a competition between to fierce competitors that could lead to some great feature innovations for users. While this is all based on rumor and some reading of the tea leaves, many have speculated that Apple "leaks" information to the press intentionally to generate buzz or divert attention from other products. The timing of this information - a week following the Google TV announcement, and at the midpoint between iPad and assumed iPhone launches - seems a bit convenient for Apple, but whether that lends credibility to the reports is yet to be seen. Through all of this, one thing is certain: it would be unwise to buy and iPhone or Apple TV any time soon. Discuss [...]

Tech Crunch: gregkumparak

Fri, 28 May 2010 17:44:55 +0000

Safari on the iPhone is by no means a bad mobile browser — in fact, it’s arguably the best one out there. Just because people have something good doesn’t mean they don’t want to peek at what else is out there, though. Even if someone’s dating the finest supermodel in all the lands, they’ll still sneak casual glances at other potential mates. Its just human nature. People like having options. For quite some time, Apple blocked third-party apps that challenged those that came on the handset out of the box, citing “duplication of functionality”. When Opera submitted the Opera Mini browser to the App Store, much ado was made over whether or not it would be approved. It was — and naturally, people looked. 2.6 million of them, in just 2 weeks. Read the rest at MobileCrunch >> [...]

Pete Cashmore: Our Favorite YouTube Videos This Week: Brits, Biebs, Babies & More

Fri, 28 May 2010 17:43:58 +0000

You there, lazily rolling about in your office chair, dreaming feverishly about how you plan to while away those three glorious days stretching before you like a verdant meadow — you know what would make this afternoon more tolerable? Some utterly delightful — yet utterly ridiculous — YouTube vids.The Mashable staff has gone wading in the stream that is the Internet to bring you a passel of the above. So nix that fifth cup of coffee, Joe Office Chair, and plug in those headphones.2-year-old Ella Singing “Baby” — Justin BieberMatt Silverman: This little girl is only slightly younger than Justin Bieber but shows twice as much hustle. My only complaint? The missing battery cover on her remote control/microphone. Amateur.Confrontation Between Reporter And PR Guy Gets WeirdVadim Lavrusik: This reporter just doesn’t like being touched. It’s a video that just makes you cringe as you watch it.David Mitchell Writes – Dear America…Amy-Mae Elliott: What jolly fun us Brits have at America’s expense when it comes to the Queen’s English. UK comic Mitchell here highlights a few no-nos as far as American-English goes. You might think it’s “garbage*” but don’t throw your toys out of the “baby stroller**” in the comments please, we’re all “buddies***” here.*Rubbish **Pram ***MatesCat Holds Fox Hostage and Starts LickingBrenna Ehrlich: Can’t…look…away…too…cute… (I guess my heart hasn’t wholly turned to stone, yet.)Miles Fisher – “This Must Be The Place”Brett Petersel: I’m a huge fan of American Psycho, the film based upon Bret Easton Ellis’s book. Miles Fisher nails this cover of the Talking Heads song, maybe better than the original!Jew YorkLauren Rubin I’m moving to London in a month. When I think about leaving NYC, I want to remember the lifestyle I know and love. Minus the velour tracksuits.The Noid Dominoes 1980sChristina Warren: Man, claymation as a trend was so cool. The Noid, the California Raisins…For more web video coverage, follow Mashable Web Video on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookTags: humor, viral video, youtube [...]

Pete Cashmore: Facebook Testing Related Photos Feature

Fri, 28 May 2010 17:19:49 +0000

Facebook is testing an upgrade to its popular Facebook Photos application called “Related Photos” with select users.Related photos appear in a right-hand sidebar adjacent to the photo the user is viewing. The product shows additional photos of friends tagged in the displayed photo, as well as photos from other albums by the Facebook user, according to reports from Inside Facebook.“This is a feature we’re currently testing with a small percentage of users,” a Faceboook representative confirmed in a message to Mashable.The application feature addition is designed to drive users to explore additional photos that may be of interest based on the photo they’re currently viewing, thereby further personalizing the experience (and increasing page views). Inside Facebook also explains that “when it displays additional photos by the same author, the title line above the photo only shows the photo-owner’s first name, giving the feature an intimate feel.”Photos of friends and family members tend to demand attention and suck people in, hence the popularity of Facebook Photos. We can certainly understand why Facebook would be experimenting with “Related Photos” as a way to increase user interaction time with photos on Facebook.[img credit: Fati.m.a. Maria, Inside Facebook]For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, Mashable, TwitterTags: facebook, facebook photos [...]

Richard MacManus: Now Available: Anti-Virus for Your Facebook News Feed

Fri, 28 May 2010 17:15:40 +0000

Earlier this week we asked if Facebook had grown to the point that it needed its own anti-malware service and - would you look at this! - now it has one. Well, sort of. The well-known security company Symantec has released an anti-malware service for Facebook which protects you from dangerous links posted to your News Feed. And it comes to you by way of a free Facebook application called "Norton Safe Web." Sponsor Keeping Your News Feed Malware-Free Apparently, this News Feed-scanning anti-virus application was released into beta back in mid-April, but we're just now hearing of it thanks to the eagle-eyed bloggers over at All Facebook. Norton's free software functions the same way any other Facebook application does. You click to give it access to your profile and then Norton Safe Web scans your News Feed for malicious URLs. It even scans inside shortened links from services like or tinyURL. The results of the scan can then be shared with your friends from the application itself - a handy feature for warning others of any dangers on your Wall or theirs. Some Issues Unfortunately, when testing it ourselves we noticed a few issues. When using Google Chrome to perform the scan, we had to refresh the page manually to see the scan results. For some reason, the initial result was a blank page. For whatever reason, the app was unable to scan a couple URLs and simply marked them as "untested." The app only checks for URLs posted within the past 24 hours. And finally - and this is perhaps the most important of all - the software does not run automatically. That means anytime you want to test the safety of the links in your News Feed, you have to launch the app and run a scan. Manually. A Better Option? Defensio While the first few issues are minor complaints (the Chrome bug may have been on our end, after all), this last item is critical and a huge miss on Symantec's part. And it's not an issue of Facebook not allowing an app to run automatically in the background, either. For example, earlier this year, we looked a Defensio 2.0, one of the first-ever security suites for Facebook. The application checks for malicious files, links and scripts as well as for profanity and other unwanted content that's posted to your Facebook Wall. After you configure the level of protection you want, Defensio runs in the background, keeping an eye on your profile. When and if it finds some questionable content, it can automatically block it for you and send you an alert via email. I've personally been using it since January and it has sent me updates on more than a few occasions, warning me of potentially dangerous links or unwanted content. Not only does the app keep you safe from malware, it can help you keep your Facebook profile more "professional" as you can block URLs by category in order to keep links and posts about gambling, sex, drugs, racism and hate, or adult material from ever being posted in the first place. (If you have any friends who still think being tasteless is incredibly funny, you'll appreciate this sort of help.) Norton, however, falls far short of what Defensio provides today. Perhaps that's[...]

Tech Crunch: matt-burns

Fri, 28 May 2010 17:11:39 +0000

(image) Either you lead or follow and Chinese manufacturing houses have been chasing Apple's designs for years. The iPad is just their latest victim. You can't blame them, really. It's the hottest device since the rotary phone. We've seen a steady stream of clones flowing onto the web for months. Here's the seven best starting with the just-found iPed.(image)



Pete Cashmore: Foursquare Nearing 1 Million Checkins Per Day

Fri, 28 May 2010 17:10:13 +0000

A tweet from Foursquare yesterday revealed that the company is doing “10+ checkins per second.” We did the math and at 10 checkins per second, Foursquare is processing about 36,000 checkins per hour — putting the daily checkin total somewhere around 864,000.In fact, once Foursquare hits 11.58 checkins per second — a milestone foreseeable in the very near future — it will be processing over 1 million checkins per day.Foursquare is all the rage right now and has been growing at an astronomical rate of late. Earlier this month we learned that the location-sharing mobile game is adding around 15,000 users per day. The company has also seen the checkin rate shoot up from one per second in January to more than ten checkins per second today.We can attribute the company’s strategic allegiance with media companies like Bravo and retail corporations like Starbucks as primary contributing factors to Foursquare’s growth. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Foursquare has become a media darling — garnering mainstream attention for popularizing the location-sharing trend — in much the same way that Twitter did last year.Update: Foursquare Co-Founder Dennis Crowley says that the 10 plus checkins per second figure was on a Wednesday night, and that the company is averaging 700,000 checkins per day. He projects to hit the 1 million mark by mid to late June.For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, Foursquare, TwitterTags: checkins, foursquare, trending [...]

Richard MacManus: Millions of Incorrect Listings Plague Location-Based Services

Fri, 28 May 2010 17:00:00 +0000

As the market for location-based services continues to grow, it's becoming increasingly important for these companies to have access to correct location data. Placecast helps developers ensure that their location databases are accurate. The service also allows developers to exchange data with other services that might have slightly different data sets. After looking at the data sets of its 200 customers, Placecast found that the average fault rate for the location data sets is about 8%. Location databases that include a high proportion of user-generated content, however, had fault rates that were often as high as 40%. Sponsor Placecast wants to be the "Rosetta Stone" for developers that work with location data. The company's MatchAPI helps developers to create a single database with location data, even if they are getting their data from multiple sources and have to interact with multiple data sources. The MatchAPI disambiguates and de-duplicates addresses by identifying all the different ways that users (and other databases) can identify an address. This is especially important if an app allows users to create their own locations. If you are using a location-based service that often shows multiple names for the same venue (often with slight variations), you know how distracting these errors can be. Currently, there is no single location database with perfectly accurate information that all of the different vendors can access - and that's probably a good thing, as it allows developers to use the databases that suit their needs best. If Placecast's data is correct, however, an error rate that ranges from 8% to 40% is simply too high for consumer products that want to guide people to the right location in the real world. Discuss [...]

Pete Cashmore: HOW TO: Pick the Perfect Name for Your Startup

Fri, 28 May 2010 16:37:32 +0000

Frances McInnis is a journalist and crossword enthusiast based in New York City. She has written about culture for Momentum Magazine, business for Resource World Magazine, and a mess of assorted topics for The Huffington Post.Anyone who has sat stymied with their cursor blinking in a “username” field knows that coming up with a name is harder than you’d think. How do you find that perfect Twitter handle or that ideal epithet for your blog, website or startup — one that’s snappy and memorable, and that you won’t hate by next year? We talked to bloggers, social media gurus, linguists and naming experts (yes, they exist!) to get the scoop on finding a name that will work on the web.1. How Do I Start?Naming consultant Christopher Johnson, author of the The Name Inspector blog, says you should begin by brainstorming a list of keywords that relate to your blog, website or company. Then hit the reference materials; scan lists of synonyms and etymologies for more options. Friends are useful, too — find the best Scrabble player in your circle and get her involved.  Try to think of all different types of names. You can compound words (Facebook, YouTube), blend together words (Microsoft, Netscape), add affixes (Friendster, coComment), make up words (Squidoo, Odeo) or use phrases (StumbleUpon, GoToMeeting).Once you’ve got a healthy list, start culling. Ask yourself:2. Does It Mean Something?Names can be classified on a continuum based on how they communicate to consumers, says Nina Beckhardt, president of The Naming Group, an agency whose employees have crafted names for Walmart, Target and Puma. “There’s a spectrum from descriptive names which speak directly to a product benefit or attribute, to empty vessel names, where it doesn’t mean anything about the product that we’re talking about.”Descriptive names, such as Stuff White People Like or Blogging Basics 101, immediately convey information about what you do. They are simple, intuitive and help consumers easily identify the mandate of a blog or company.The downside? They can sound generic and boring, and the accompanying domain name is usually taken. They are also limiting in a fast-moving industry like tech, where what you do now might not be what you’ll be doing in a few years. “A name can be a prison,” says Michael Martine, the blogging and SEO expert behind Remarkablogger. “Take AT&T. There, the last T stands for telegraph.”3. Or Does It Mean Nothing?Beckhardt says that empty vessel names can be completely made-up words (Kodak or Squidoo), words in another language (Hulu, which roughly translates both to “holder of precious things” and “interactive recording” in Mandarin), or those whose meaning is so obscure that people interpret it as an invented word (Google is sparked from “googol,” the name for the number consisting of a one followed by a hundred zeros).Empty vessel names can be fun to say, can separate you from the crowd, and can be subtler than descriptive ones. “Empty vessel names generate b[...]

37signals: This week in Twitter

Fri, 28 May 2010 16:27:00 +0000

Highlights from this week’s 37signals staff posts at Twitter. @jasonfried: There’s a two-week-or-less version of just about everything. @mattlinderman: Love the photog of Olivo Barbieri. Shots of his site specific_NEW YORK CITY 07 here: @jamis: gah, another email announcing a “webinar”. That word just gives me the creeps. @JZ: “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” — Pablo Picasso @rjs: NPR guests are so frequently “struck by” things that they should start wearing helmets and armor inside the studio. @jasonfried: Register early for BIF-6. The BIF conference series is one of the best I’ve ever attended: @kiranmaxweber: Check out Episode #29 of Core Intuition with @danielpunkass and @manton – more talk about handling support email. @jasonfried: With every call being recorded for quality assurance purposes you’d think call center quality would be improving. @dhh: There’s something uniquely calming about shredding stuff. Paper be gone! More... [...]

Programmable Web: Twitter to Remove “Unofficial” Search Endpoint Next Week

Fri, 28 May 2010 16:23:18 +0000

If you’re using Twitter’s Search API via the sub-domain, you have a week to switch to, according to a post from Twitter’s Taylor Singletary. The endpoint being removed has not been officially supported by Twitter, though other supported calls use the same sub-domain. Singletary writes: The only endpoint you should be using for search operations in the Twitter API today is — it doesn’t require user authentication or OAuth — simply identify yourself with a user-agent that is unique to your application. It’s important to note that Twitter is not taking away any functionality from its API. It is merely making clear what could be potentially confusing to developers. Twitter’s main API for authenticated commands, such as fetching timeline data and creating new tweets, will continue to be operational on The change only affects developers using the search API from the unsupported sub-domain. The confusion could have come when Twitter moved to a versioned API, because the search API is not versioned. Singletary also had some good developer tips for making the best use of the Search API: Many users of the Search API are better served by using the Streaming API. If you use the search API to track the tweets of specific users, hashtags, or simple keyword queries, it is highly recommended that you use the Streaming API instead. You shouldn’t issue the same request to the search API more frequently than once every 20 seconds — if you issue the same query more frequently than that, you’re in danger of getting blacklisted. In addition, if you find yourself repeating the same query frequently, be sure and make use of the since_id parameter on subsequent requests — without it, you put undue stress on the search infrastructure and will also be in danger of blacklisting. The Search API is bound to put significant stress on Twitter’s servers. That’s likely the biggest reason for having search on its own sub-domain. Engineers are able to have search servers tuned to its specific needs, without needing to support the authenticated calls. Related ProgrammableWeb Resources Twitter API Profile, 399 mashups Sponsored by [...]

Pete Cashmore: SNEAK PEEK: The Popular Mechanics iPad App [SCREENSHOTS]

Fri, 28 May 2010 16:09:25 +0000

Mashable was given a sneak peek of Popular Mechanics’s iPad app this week — which is still in development — and an interesting look at the thought process that goes into translating page to pixel.Hearst, which distributes Pop Mechanics, got some flack for not jumping on the app bandwagon prior to the launch of Steve Jobs’s “magical” product. Still, Deputy Editor Jerry Beilinson and Senior Technology Editor Glenn Derene explained to us that they didn’t think it wise to start laying out the app without getting their hands on the goods first.Consequently, the magazine is also creating the app in-house, rather than shipping it out to developers who may be unfamiliar with the publication. This process will lay the groundwork for how all other magazine apps are created at Hearst.The attention to detail shows. Instead of just taking the magazine and cramming it — PDF-style — into an app, Popular Mechanics took stock of what its audience wants. It seems head-smackingly simple when you think about it: An app should appeal to the same demographic as the magazine appeals to, therefore not all apps should be created the same. Readers of Rolling Stone might be more into streaming music than, say, adherents of Guns & Ammo, for instance.The reader of Popular Mechanics — whose median is age 46 — is described by the magazine as “a curious mindset — that’s what drives the Pop Mechanics reader to explore, become knowledgeable and actively participate in a wide range of interests. He is today’s influential neighborhood adviser that friends, family and colleagues turn to for advice.”OK, so the average reader is older and maybe he’s a bit more into traditional forms of communication (i.e. text) than the younger set, but he’s still ahead of the run-of-the-mill digital curb. Beilinson and Derene found that readers dig video and interactivity, but test groups really wanted an app that facilitated reading.Consequently, the team set out to create a “lean-back” app that is truly easy to use. In Beilinson and Derene’s opinion, re-teaching someone how to read a magazine is rather ridiculous — the iPad reading experience should come naturally.Navigation is rather handy, allowing one to browse through the magazine itself with a simple gesture or toggle through a table of contents. There’s also a page-flow bar at the bottom of the app where one can pick and choose which page to read, and a color-coded bar that shows you where in the magazine you’re currently located. (You can also zoom in on each page to get a better view before visiting it.)What’s interesting about the stories themselves is that although — on first glance — they appear to look identical to those in the magazine, the page layout, font and design has been altered to fit the iPad’s screen. If you’ve ever visited a magazine’s offices b[...]

Emily Chang: banksimple

Fri, 28 May 2010 16:00:29 +0000

Aims to be the simplest form of banking for people who are tired of hidden fees, overdrafts, and confusing products. Deposits will be FDIC-insured. Revenue streams will come from interchange and interest margin. To sign up, request an invitation. Bank set to launch later this year. URL: banksimple


Tech Crunch: erick

Fri, 28 May 2010 15:52:20 +0000

In two weeks on June 11, TechCrunch will celebrate its fifth birthday. We want to celebrate it with as many people as we can all around the world. So we are using the new Meetup Everywhere platform that Scott Heiferman announced on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt on Wednesday to organize TechCrunch Meetups on June 11 all around the world. Already there are almost 150 meetups planned in places including New York City, San Francisco, London, Hyderabad, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Jakarta, and Sophia. We will be throwing our own party in the Bay Area (more details on that coming soon), but for those who can’t fly to California, these meetups are a great way to gather with other people who obsess about technology and startups near where you live. We really think of this as a celebration of the last five years of technology and all that has happened on the Web since then. So join one of the 150 meetups already organized or start your own. To get some regional rivalries going, we will offer 50 free tickets to the next TechCrunch Disrupt (airfare and hotel not included) to each of the 50 largest meetups so that one person from each meetup will win a ticket. Winners will have to check in via a geo mobile service to qualify. We will be in touch with the organizers of each of the 50 largest meetups with more details. Our own TechCrunch Europe editor Mike Butcher will be at the London Meetup, and I will attend the one in New York City. I have a feeling some of these meetups will get quite large, so if anyone has space they can offer up or a venue wants to donate a local TechCrunch Meetup, go to the relevant Meetup page and offer it up. In New York City, Yext CEO Howard Lerman, who also launched a new product at Disrupt, is graciously opening up his office space in Chelsea for the meetup. Okay, who is bringing the food and booze? (Don’t worry, Howard, we promise not to trash the place too much). [...]

Tech Crunch: john

Fri, 28 May 2010 15:50:32 +0000

(image) The Sony Vaio Z-Series is a thin and light with a mission: to prove that a tiny - but expensive - laptop can run Windows 7 and almost anything you throw at it like a champ. When I opened the Sony Z-Series' plain brown box, my heart fell. "Another ultra-portable," I thought, "another sad-making thin-and-light without power or verve." But I fired it up, used it for a solid week, and came out on the other end convinced that Sony still has what it takes to make a nice laptop. (image)



Richard MacManus: NBC Says "No" to iPad, Wants People to Pay

Fri, 28 May 2010 15:49:04 +0000

NBC isn't hopping on the iPad bandwagon, according to recent reports. The media giant known for popular shows like "The Office" and "30 Rock" reportedly told Apple it won't be making any of its online shows iPad-compatible anytime soon. And it's not alone. Sources cited by The New York Post's Claire Atkinson say that Time Warner and several other "large media companies" are forgoing what they claim is an expensive reformatting of their video libraries. But is conversion expense the real reason why some media companies are eschewing the Apple iPad craze? Or is the fact that the ad dollars just aren't there yet to make it worth their while? Sponsor That some media companies aren't "iPad-ready" isn't new information by any means, but the fact that it's being rehashed, re-reported and re-analyzed is notable, especially following Google's newfound partnership with Adobe, whose Flash plugin stills powers much of the video on the Web today. With support for Flash in both the upcoming Google TV platform, as well as in Google's Android mobile operating system (an OS that's now outselling Apple's iPhone), Google is making it clear that for the time being, the Web still needs Flash. And media companies like NBC and Time Warner are along for the ride. Why convert videos for the iPad when Android may dominate? Why waste time on "iDevice" support when ad dollars associated with streaming media barely impact the bottom line? These are the very questions major media companies are considering as we speak. Streaming Ads Don't Pay Some TV and video is available for free on the iPad today, but it's still more limited that what you would find on the Web in general. ABC has an iPad app, but that's not surprising considering that the Disney-owned property has Jobs as its largest shareholder. CBS has an iPad-friendly site, but only a few shows are available, and media-filled sites like CNN, Fox News, and others offer varying degrees of iPad-readiness. But NBC won't be following these early adopters, it appears. There's a very telling quote about this issue from NBC Universal's president and CEO, Jeff Zucker, that he delivered in January. Speaking about tech advances and the iPad in particular, he said, "We believe in ubiquitous distribution of our content and the fact is consumers want to engage with our content wherever they are... As long as we get paid for that content, we don't really care where it's displayed or where it's used." "Get paid," he said. Streaming video sites, even the NBC Universal creation, have been struggling to make that a reality. Although Hulu finally reached profitability this year, the numbers aren't anywhere near what traditional TV advertising brings in. Hulu's revenue topped $100 million in 2009, according to Hulu chief Jason Kilar. To put that in perspective, a 30-second national broadcast TV commercia[...]

Pete Cashmore: Is a New iPhone-based Apple TV in the Works? [RUMOR]

Fri, 28 May 2010 15:46:02 +0000

Is Apple hard at work on a new version of Apple TV?That’s what Engadget is reporting after receiving a tip and subsequent confirmation from sources “very close to Apple.” The new iteration of Apple TV, which reportedly will not be announced at the upcoming WWDC, will utilize the iPhone OS and depend on cloud — rather than local — storage.The new device will be based on the iPhone 4G architecture, meaning it will have an A4 CPU and a limited amount of flash-based storage — probably in the 16GB range — plus have the ability to display 1080p HD. The new version of the device will reportedly be priced at $99. Yeah, that’s right, $99. First introduced in 2007, Apple TV was Apple’s first attempt (well, second if you count the MacTV, we don’t) to bring its iTunes content to the living room. Over the past three and a half years, sales of the device haven’t been spectacular and Apple still considers the project a “hobby.”However, the connected TV space has actually really started to heat up over the last three and a half years, with companies like Boxee, Roku, VUDU and others actively seeking out methods to bring Internet content to viewers in a more seamless way.Last week at Google I/O, Google made a big splash with its official Google TV announcement. While Engadget’s sources say Apple started working on the next iteration of the Apple TV long before the first Google TV rumblings began, the rivalry between the two companies will likely still have an effect on Apple’s ultimate strategy.A leaner, cheaper Apple TV with a focus more on cloud content (which presumably might mean accessing iTunes purchases from the cloud — maybe, hopefully) is certainly a step in the right direction. Whether or not the product will be enough to lure in buyers will likely depend on how well it interfaces (or doesn’t interface) with non-iTunes content.If Engadget’s sources are accurate, we could see the announcement of the new Apple TV sometime this fall.For more Apple coverage, follow Mashable Apple on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Boxee, Facebook, Google, Internet, TwitterTags: apple, Apple TV, connected tv, google tv, iptv [...]

Tech Crunch: appgoo

Fri, 28 May 2010 15:13:01 +0000

The idea of putting iPhone apps on the Apple TV has been something some of us have been thinking about since at least 2008, when the original App Store launched. When rumors were swirling about Google TV, it became an even better idea as the living room was likely to be a new battleground for Apple/Google. And with the unveiling of Google TV last week, it became clear that this would be a next major fight — provided Apple started taking it seriously. Soon, they will be, if Engadget’s sources are correct. The gadget blog says that a tip they’ve since confirmed with “a source very close to Apple” suggests that Apple has been working on the next version of the Apple TV. The goods according to them: it will be a very small box (smaller than the current one) with perhaps only outputs for power and TV-out cables. It will run on Apple’s new A4 chip (the one found in the iPad and soon the new iPhone). It will still do 1080p video, but may have as little as 16GB of flash memory. That’s because the thing will be based around streaming over the cloud (or from other computers in your home) rather than local storage. Most significantly, it will run the iPhone OS. Basically, it’s an “iPhone without a screen,” is how Engadget hears it. Oh — and it will cost only $99, supposedly. A product update may seem obvious from Apple, considering the steady pace at which they iterate devices. But the Apple TV hasn’t received a major hardware upgrade in its entire lifespan — almost exactly 3 years. The reason is that Apple still considered the device a “hobby.” The likely reason for that is because they haven’t figured out a way to make money from it yet. But Google’s announcement of Google TV — a platform which will run on the mobile Android OS — changes everything. Apple needs to take the Apple TV seriously now, or it runs the risk of losing what should be an important battle with Google. While Engadget notes this product has been in development before Google’s announcement, you can probably bet that the announcement put it on the fast-track. Still, it seems hopeful at best that we’ll hear about it at Apple’s WWDC event next week in San Francisco. The new iPhone is expected to be the centerpiece there. But, if this new device really does run iPhone OS, might Apple hint at it considering the event will be iPhone-centric? Remember, Apple first showed off the original Apple TV a full 6 months before it launched (when it was still tentatively called “iTV”). Also consider that getting the iPhone OS on to the Apple TV will require some work as developers will yet again (just as with the iPad) have to work on scaling apps to correct resolutions. And that may be a big issue si[...]

Tech Crunch: erick

Fri, 28 May 2010 14:03:25 +0000

Have you ever tried to check into a place on Foursquare or some other geo service only to find that there are 10 names for the same location? For instance, Foursquare has tons of different “places” that are all inside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. There is Grand Central Terminal itself, but there is also Track 32, 34, 108, and so on. You can also check into the Blimpies or Hudson News inside the terminal, or the “5:22 Express To Grand Central Terminal” which is not a single place so much as it is a moving train (literally). While there are times you want to have the granularity of being able to say, “I am in front of the central ticket booth with the clock,” nine times out of ten simply checking into Grand Central Terminal is sufficient for most people. The Grand Central problem is replicated across many popular places in Foursquare and other places databases. According to mobile marketing startup Placecast, location datasets show similar mismatches up to 40 percent of the time. Placecast launched a MatchAPI two months ago for geo developers which helps resolve place duplication in their location database. Since then, 200 location services have signed up to tap into the free API, pushing 20 million locations through the API, of which 1.5 million were incorrect or duplicative. The mismatch rate ranges from 8 percent to 40 percent. Services which rely on their users to upload and identify places not surprisingly have the higher fault rate. Normalizing everything down to a single place per location isn’t necessarily the answer. Sometimes I want to tell my friends that I am on Track 32 in Grand Central Terminal, but most of the time I travel alone and simply want to check into Grand Central, the place. The overarching location should be the default, and it should be the same matches across different geo services. As I’ve argued in the past, ultimately an open database of places is going to be needed so that we can all collectively map the world once and various geo services can then tap into that universal places database and spend their efforts building their services on top of it. CrunchBase InformationPlacecastInformation provided by CrunchBase [...]

Tech Crunch: leena

Fri, 28 May 2010 12:58:20 +0000

Cloud storage and document sharing startup is the latest startup to adopt HTML5. The startup is announcing today that it is incorporating a broad implementation of HTML5 drag and drop functionality that supports native interaction with desktop. So basically, you can drag and drop files from the desktop right into your web application. The feature works on Firefox 3.6 and Chrome for PC (with support for Safari and Chrome on all platforms coming in the next few weeks). Box's CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie says that Flash didn't allow this at all due to security issues. While this is a small addition in terms of functionality, he believes that HTML5 provides a much richer user experience when it comes to enterprise applications and the interaction between the browser and the operating system . "HTML5 is the nail on the coffin of desktop applications because we can create this rich interactive experience that acts like a native app." Levie adds that HTML5 is also appealing because it works on every device. [...]

Pete Cashmore: Opera Makes Fun of Google Chrome Speed Test [VIDEO]

Fri, 28 May 2010 12:20:25 +0000

A couple of weeks ago, Google released a video demonstrating the speed of its Chrome web browser. The video proved that rendering a web page in Chrome is faster than some random (though admittedly very quick) events, such as blasting a potato through a tube. And if you thought that’s quite silly, you’re not alone: Opera thinks so, too.Opera’s answer to the Chrome Speed Test comes in the form of two very silly individuals, who are trying to determine whether loading a web page in Opera is faster than cooking a potato. We’re not going to tell you if Opera passed the test, but we do agree that fighting one another with fish is a great way to pass the time when you’ve got nothing better to do.[via Engadget]For more web video coverage, follow Mashable Web Video on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, Opera, TwitterTags: chrome, google chrome, opera, video [...]

Ajaxian: Amazing Audio API JavaScript Demos

Fri, 28 May 2010 12:01:21 +0000

David Humphrey and the hit squad of audio gurus have some new amazing demos for us. Perfect for a Friday. This is all through the rich Mozilla Audio API work which will hopefully be pushed into other browsers at some point in the not so distant future. Charles Cliffe has some awesome WebGL visualizations from Audio. David narrates: What I like most about these (other than the fact that he’s written the music, js libs, and demo) is that these combine a whole bunch of JavaScript libraries: dsp, cubicvr and beatdetection, and processing. Some people will tell you that doing anything complex in a browser is going to be slow; but Charles is masterfully proving that you can do many, many things at once and the browser can keep pace. Corban and Ricard Marxer have been busy exploring how far we can push audio write, and managed to also produce some amazing demos. The first is by Ricard, and is a graphic equalizer (video is here): The second is by Corban, and shows a JavaScript based audio sampler. His code can loop forward or backward, change playback speed, etc. (video is here): Chris McCormick has been working on porting Pure Data to JavaScript, and already has some basic components built. Here’s one that combines processing and webpd (video is here): I think that my favourite demo by far this time around is one that I’ve been waiting to see since we first began these experiments. I’ve written in the past that our work could be used to solve many web accessibility problems. A few weeks ago I mentioned on irc that someone should take a shot at building a text to speech engine in JavaScript, now that we have typed arrays. Yury quietly went off and built one based on the flite engine. When you run this, remember that you’re watching a browser speak with no plugins of any kind. This is all done in JavaScript (demo is here, video is here): In order to do this he had to overcome some interesting problems, for example, how to load large binary voice databases into the page. The straightforward approach of using a JS array was brittle, with JS sometimes running out of stack space trying to initialize the array. After trying various obvious ways, Yury decided to use the web to his advantage, and pushed the binary data into a PNG, then loaded it into a canvas, where getImageData allows him to access the bytes very quickly, using another typed array. The browser takes care of downloading and re-inflating the data automatically. Here’s what the database looks like: My favourite line is: What began as a series of experiments by a small group of strangers, has now turned into something much larger. What an awesome community you guys have̷[...]

Pete Cashmore: Apple iPad Launches Internationally, the Crowd Goes Wild

Fri, 28 May 2010 11:47:05 +0000

Although it came early to an address or two yesterday, Apple’s “magical” tablet is officially available today in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.Many of these countries report long lines in front of stores. As was the case in the U.S., some fans even spent the night in front of an Apple store to be one of the first to buy an iPad.This seems to be especially true for Japan, where the iPhone is by far the most popular smartphone on the market. Initial interest promises a similar fate for the iPhone’s big brother.According to recent reports, the iPad is sold out at most Apple stores, and some estimates say that Apple is selling 200,000 iPads per week. If this first day of international sales is any indication, Apple’s biggest problem in the following months concerning the iPad will be ensuring it has enough devices in stock.[Photo by Scott Campbell/NND Scotland]For more Apple coverage, follow Mashable Apple on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, TwitterTags: apple, Apple Tablet, international launch, ipad, trending [...]

Ajaxian: Rounded corners. Moving.

Fri, 28 May 2010 10:41:07 +0000

Chris Vanrensburg: “In a similar vein to a recent experiment with animating position, I wanted to see how curves could be applied to animating size changes for an object. To be expected, applying different interpolation curves for the width and height CSS style properties produces some fun effects (to be seen towards the bottom of the list of presets).”

The Web 2.0 crowd love their rounded corners. How about animating them! This is where Chris takes his latest experiment. Click around in the demo area and watch the smooth effects.


Tech Crunch: mike-butcher

Fri, 28 May 2010 09:52:12 +0000

(image) The UK has been gripped by the launch of the iPad if the Twitpics are to be believed. As you can see from the below ( thanks jasonlan and joanikin) there was a large crowd queuing outside Apple's flagship London store on Regent's Street, in a line which literally snaked around the corner into Hanover Square. Believe me, that is a long line. Some estimates have put the crowd at around 500 people outside, waiting to grab the iPad. (image)



Pete Cashmore: Hon Hai to Raise Salaries of Foxconn Workers

Fri, 28 May 2010 07:38:51 +0000

After a string of suicides in Foxconn’s China factories, home to some 400,000 workers who manufacture electronic devices for giants such as HP, Dell, and Apple, the management announced it plans to raise workers’ salaries by 20%.Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry, the anchor of Foxconn Technology Group, claims the salary increase has been planned for some time, but doesn’t say when the raise will be implemented. The timing of the announcement is most probably tied to the suicides at the Foxconn factory, as another employee jumped to his death on Wednesday, bringing the total suicide toll in 2010 to ten.“It may help the suicide situation, because we workers just need money and the financial pressure on us is great,” a Foxconn employee said.In another effort to stop the suicides, Foxconn also said it plans to raise safety nets around the dormitories and factory buildings. Meanwhile, Apple, HP and Dell said they’re independently investigating the conditions in Foxconn’s factories.For more business coverage, follow Mashable Business on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, TwitterTags: apple, dell, Foxconn, HP, suicides [...]

Richard MacManus: Why HP Thinks Sensors Will Lead to The Next Big Wave of Computing

Fri, 28 May 2010 07:20:21 +0000

Earlier this month I had the chance to visit Hewlett Packard Labs in Palo Alto. I spent my time there talking to a number of senior engineers and scientists about the exciting technology they're working on, much of it related to the Internet of Things (a trend I've paid particularly close attention to over the past 18 months). I started the morning with a visit to the laboratory of Dr. Peter Hartwell, a senior researcher at HP Labs and one of the brains behind HP's ambitious CeNSE project ("Central Nervous System for the Earth"). As I walked into the lab, Hartwell was busy playing with a new accelerometer that measures very fine vibrations - which I would soon find out has potential applications in industries such as medicine and mass transport. Sponsor The basic premise of CeNSE is to create a worldwide network of sensors that is connected to the Internet, which in turn creates a feedback loop for objects and people. An example HP often gives is putting thousands of sensors on a bridge, to measure vibrations. Peter Hartwell explained to me that there are around 600,000 bridges in the United States. 30-40% of these bridges are in need of maintenance, according to Hartwell. A large bridge such as Golden Gate in San Francisco would need anything between 1,000 - 10,000 sensors in order to give a good picture of its 'health.' Hartwell added that it's not simply the bridge data that HP wants to measure, but the system itself. Sensor Data Services In time HP foresees services arising out of sensor data. One example, said Peter Hartwell, is traffic services based on sensor data from bridges and roads. He said that this sensor data would allow companies to "build awareness" and perhaps even deliver services that people will pay for. Consumers may be willing to pay for the "best decision" about which route to take to a destination, he explained. That decision would come from a combination of sensors in the road and real-time analytics performed by HP, or a company that processes the data. HP is actively looking for partners for such services. Its first major project was announced in February, a partnership with Shell on a seismic solution which has up to 1 million wireless sensor nodes. It's early days though and Hartwell admitted there are issues still to be resolved with sensor data - in particular privacy, security and trust of data. He noted that if a hacker was able to spoof data, then that could cause havoc on the roadways (which made me think of the plot of Live Free or Die Hard, but I refrained from adding that to the conver[...]

Richard MacManus: 4 of 10 iPhones Sold to Enterprise Users

Fri, 28 May 2010 07:19:37 +0000

The idea is pretty much dead that the iPhone is just for your personal life. But to see that 40 percent of iPhone sales are for the enterprise is a bit of shocker. But according to Larry Dignan of ZDNet, that's just what an AT&T executive said at a conference this week. Ron Spears, CEO of AT&T's Business Solutions, said 4 of 10 iPhones are sold for business use. He also said increasingly the enterprise views the iPhone as a mobile computer that can even serve to replace a laptop. Sponsor Well, we find it impressive enough when someone like Graeme Thickens tells us he blogs from his iPhone. But to conduct business, handle documents and manage other tasks seems quite a feat in itself. Spears, though, said an iPhone can work just fine for people in the field who really just need one or two applications. And he said it's a lot cheaper, too, than a $1,000 or $1,200 laptop. That makes sense to some extent but netbooks are pretty affordable these days. In that respect, the iPad will sure to see its day in the enterprise, too. Will Android devices have the same potential? We think so. It's not your uncle's enterprise anymore. It's mobile. It's more savvy to the emerging apps universe. Android fits into that scope. A mobile device has to be awesome enough to be used for both personal and business use. Apple accomplishes that and the Android is getting there, too. Discuss [...]

Tech Crunch: michael-arrington

Fri, 28 May 2010 07:17:04 +0000

A certain founder of a certain hot startup made the mistake this evening of posting two messages to Twitter that he clearly didn’t intend to. They were sent via text message – and my guess is they were meant for a friend, not public consumption. Cleaning it up a little, it reads: …But the investors are already rich so this doesn’t change their lives like it does mine…[It will] come down to [investors] getting a high enough offer than the investors can [say] let’s take it. I haven’t been able to verify the messages, which were sent in via a tipster, as accurate and they were quickly taken down (I have contacted the company, no response yet).. It seems reasonable to remove the identifying information. But oh, the angst. The interests of founders and investors so often diverge when a company starts to get acquisition offers – offers that don’t interest venture capitalists looking for billion dollar exits but that give founders enough money to change their lives forever. That’s why you see a lot of venture deals where founders and key employees take some money off the table, relieving their pressure to sell early. My guess is [company named removed] may want to consider that sometime soon. [...]

Pete Cashmore: Pete Cashmore Discusses Facebook’s New Privacy Settings on PBS [VIDEO]

Fri, 28 May 2010 06:14:17 +0000

In response to mounting concern from users and the media, as well as a member of the Senate, Facebook unveiled simpler privacy options yesterday.Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore appeared on PBS today to discuss Facebook’s response to user backlash. While he agrees that Facebook’s decision to simplify privacy settings was a good one, he thinks the company should have gone a step further and made its Instant Personalization feature opt-in instead of opt-out.To hear the full discussion, watch the video below. (Note: Pete appears at around 4:30).Do you think Facebook needs to go further to address users’ concerns?For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on FacebookReviews: Facebook, TwitterTags: facebook, pbs, pete cashmore, privacy [...]

Tech Crunch: Bali_0350_web

Fri, 28 May 2010 06:05:13 +0000

From Silicon Valley to New York, from India to South Africa one question keeps popping up in the mind of Web and mobile Web entrepreneurs: What the hell is going on in Indonesia? Having matured from its early 2000s Internet obsession with Friendster, it seems Indonesia has become something of a Web force, embracing everything from Facebook to Foursquare catching people off guard with some uncommon swarms. We wrote about an obscure Indonesian awards show taking over Twitter back in March, and on May 6, Indonesians flocking to see Iron Man 2 won their first Super Swarm badge on FourSquare—something US Web addicts usually only earn at large events like SXSW. I’d like to say I hunted down some impressive Internet entrepreneurs during my current trip to Indonesia to ask them exactly what was going on here, but really they found me. (Just another sign of their Web savvy.) I had dinner with some of them in Jakarta last week, and they’re photographed above. They include (from left to right) Leontinus Alpha Edison of Tokopedia, an ecommerce platform; Eduardus Christmas of still-in-progress Evolitera; Rama Mamuaya, creator of the local blog DailySocial; Selina Limman of, a local review site; Satya Witoelar of, a location-based social network just acquired by Yahoo and Andrew Darwis of Kaskus, a forum and classifieds portal. I grilled them on some basic questions to bring you a Web-in-Indonesia primer. But before we get to those, here’s what impressed me the most about this small-but-tightly-knit community: It’s incredibly collegial. Plenty of research has shown that the biggest reason Silicon Valley beat Boston as a venture capital and startup hot spot was because culturally it was open, trading employees, funding, mentorship and ideas among competitors. It’s not uncommon to see Web competitors in the Valley having dinner together and generally discussing business challenges, before they go back to the office for some late night coding to bury one another in the market. This is something many emerging markets struggle with as they put up walls, try to enforce NDAs and are generally cagey about their ideas. But the Indonesian crew is so small that they’ve found each other—mostly via Twitter—and banded together, openly discussing challenges posed by uncertain waters of raising money and offers to get acquired. Since Indonesia has had little hype, the community seems to have grown organically—like the ea[...]