Amazon Debuts International Kindle; Cuts U.S Price to $259

Seattle - on Wednesday introduced an international version of its Kindle e-book reader device, the which will come bundled with AT&T 3G network coverage available in 100 countries, and retail for $279 when its ships on Oct. 19. Over 85 U.S. and international newspapers will be available in the Kindle Store, including La Stampa (Italy); El País (Spain); El Universal (Mexico); O Globo (Brazil); The Daily Telegraph (UK); Le Monde (France); and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany).more

Google Health Adds Two More Insurers, Only Has 267 To Go

Google announced today the addition of two new health insurance companies to its Google Health platform at the Health 2.0 – original naming FTW – event in San Francisco. The fact that the company is touting this addition on its main blog is telling because it cuts to the heart of the product's main challenge. With today's addition of both Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the American Postal Workers Union Health Plan to the program, the current count of participating insurers is three (Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA joined late last year). Needless to say, there are hundreds more health insurance providers in the United States, so it's going to be a long haul for Google to include the majority of them in the program.  more

Microsoft launches Windows phones

The first Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphones go on sale on Tuesday, alongside an application store and cloud backup service. Microsoft is also formally launching its application store, known as Windows Marketplace for Mobile. more

Google targeted in e-mail scam

Google's web-based e-mail system, Gmail, has been targeted as part of an "industry-wide phishing scheme".

The firm said that it had immediately safeguarded the affected accounts. BBC News has seen two lists that detail more than 30,000 names and passwords from e-mail providers, including Yahoo and AOL, which were posted online.

The lists also include details of thousands of Microsoft Hotmail users. Google said fewer than 500 of its accounts had been affected by the scam.  more

Google announces View-through conversion reporting

Google has added a feature on the Google Content Network called View-through conversion reporting. The tool lets people better measure the impact of display ad campaigns where ads are seen, but not immediately clicked on, according to Amanda Kelly. She provides examples of how to use the tool, as well as the benefits. Some of those benefits include how to determine the best ways and places to advertise, how best to optimize display ad campaigns, and how to spend advertising dollars more effectively more

IBM taking on Google email platform

IBM is hoping to garner a share the corporate-mail market by introducing an inexpensive web-based corporate email service to compete with Google Inc's Google Apps and Microsoft.

The new web-based system, to be unveiled today will let users pick their domain name and will cost $3 per month, a price aimed directly at undercutting Google's $50 per year and the $10 to $12 per month that Microsoft charges for its webmail services. IBM also says it will offer 1 gigabyte of storage, twice the amount of Microsoft. It also hopes to move into the new territory as Google is encountering technical problems--some recent outages that have left business users in the dark for hours. more

Amazon Pays $150K to Settle Suit Over Kindle E-book Deletions has paid $150,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by two Kindle e-book reader device owners over the company's remote deletion of their copies of George Orwell's "1984."

One of the plaintiffs was a high school student who claimed that, along with the copy of "1984," all of his annotations done for coursework had also been wiped out when Amazon deleted the book from his Kindle. more 

U.S. Internet Advertising Revenue Drops 5.3% in First Half

U.S. Internet advertising revenue dipped 5.3% to $10.9 billion in the first half of this year, according to new figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Search-related advertising amounted to more than $5.1 billion of the figure, up slightly from the same period in 2008, while spending on display ads fell 1.1% to $3.8 billion.more

Facebook Deploys a Twitter-Style '@' Tag

Facebook has just introduced the latest feature in its ongoing evolution to blur the lines between social networking and search engine- tags. The new '@' tags allow users to tag other users in posts and integrates a whole new realm of search capabilities.

The new tagging is in posts or status updates, though, rather than images. For example, if I write a post about going to my best friend's wedding, I can tag the post with my best friend's name. The tag will make it easy for other users who read my post to be able to link to and view all other status posts related to my friend no matter who wrote the posts. Its sort of like an instant search function with the tagged friend being the search term. more

Microsoft Testing Bing & Ping

Microsoft has begun inviting Facebook fans to sign up and test a program it calls Bing & Ping, which will let them share what they search for on Bing with friends through Facebook, Twitter, email, and possibly other social sites that are soon to be announced.

Fans will have the opportunity to share restaurant recommendations and local movie times, post a flight status with Facebook friends, and more. Microsoft plans to share more information in the "coming days." more

'Economist' Replaces Local Newsstand With Cellphone

Advertising Age
The Economist is introducing a trial program today that lets New Yorkers use their cellphones to order overnight home delivery of the new issue of the magazine at the regular newsstand price. This is how it works: New Yorkers who have signed up for weekly texts announcing each issue's topics will also receive a URL for a web page they can visit to order the issue. Those who order by 9 p.m. are guaranteed a hand-delivered copy by 6 a.m. the next morning -- in time to beat the commute.

In England, where The Economist first tried the approach two months ago, people who have preregistered can just reply to the text messages to get their overnight copies. The Economist hopes to have that simpler system in place by the time it widens the New York trial to cover the entire U.S. Overnighted copies of the magazine cost $6.99, the same price as the newsstand copies. The Economist says the resulting circulation revenue is just as profitable because the delivered copies don't require giving cuts to retailers or wholesalers. Circulation generated through the cellphone program is likely to remain very small, however. In England, the number of buyers via text has numbered hundreds a week. - Read the whole story...

Print ads that sell

The strategic goal behind every print advertisement is probably a bit different. Some ads are designed to build an image, some are written to drive readers to a website and some announce limited-time offers. But most marketers hope the time, money and creativity that goes into developing their advertising campaigns moves the needle in terms of sales.

Print ads that sell
Print ads that sell

MRI Starch Communications set out to learn exactly what makes a print ad sell.  more

The slide show

Facebook ad revenue comes from surprising segment

As Facebook soars in popularity, its ad revenue is growing quickly. But where that money is coming from may come as a surprise. Of the $310 million Facebook will make in revenue this year, 74 percent ($229 million) will come from local advertisers, according to a report from Borrell Associates. more

Tour de France Traffic Soars on

Versus is posting huge traffic increases for its Web coverage of the Tour de France, with page views on the site jumping 109 percent through the first 15 stages of the 21-stage race. Through the 15th stage of the race on Sunday, generated about 24 million page views, more than double the 11 million page views that it had generated last year, spokeswoman Katie Bradshaw said today.

The live and on-demand video coverage Versus is offering of the entire race this year is one of the most popular areas of its site. It has delivered more than 10 million videos through July 19, nearly doubling the 6.5 million videos it delivered last year, and more than tripling its total video delivery count in 2007, Bradshaw said.  more

Video: Kevin Spacey tries to explain Twitter to David Letterman

This is Kevin Spacey. He's a man who gets paid millions of dollars to pretend to be other men, for entertainment. And here he is on the "Late Show With David Letterman" trying to explain Twitter, the pulse of the planet, to Mr. Letterman.

Key points to remember: Twitter is free; you type with your thumbs; it's "a waste of time."

Mr. Spacey: "And now, I'll get, in about an hour, lots and lots of people saying 'hi' back."
Mr. Letterman: "That really is a miracle."  more 

The video

Bartz thinks Bing is a good product as MS deal nears

"I think actually Bing is a good product," said Bartz. "I think they've done a good job. I think Microsoft should be given kudos for Bing."

It was a politic thing to say, to be sure, especially with Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO) still zeroing in on a search and online advertising deal, as has been previously reported by BoomTown.  more

U.K. Mobile Coupon Users Like Cookies More than Toilet Paper

Consumers in the U.K. who have redeemed discounts and coupons via their cell phone prefer to receive offers for cookies, chips, candy and other snack items rather than necessities such as toilet paper and soap, according to (pdf) a mobile survey conducted by Mobilize Systems to gauge consumers' interest in different types of product promotions offered via mobile device. more

Amazon acquires online shoe retailer Zappos for $850 million is acquiring online shoe and merchandise retailer Zappos in a mostly stock deal valued at about $850 million. It is the biggest acquisition in Amazon's history. The Zappos acquisition dwarfs other recent Amazon deals. The company spent a total of $432 million on acquisitions in 2008, about $300 million of which went toward acquiring audiobook company Audible. Amazon said the Zappos management team in Las Vegas will remain intact and Zappos will continue to operate as its own brand. more

MySpace to Launch Web Email Service Thursday

This Thursday, MySpace plans to roll out its own webmail, paidContent has learned from sources familiar with the plans. The News Corp. social network, like competitor Facebook, allows messaging—a much-used service—but this will give them their own addresses "" in what was described to me as a "logical extension of that relationship."

Yahoo to Sell HotJobs; Buy Xoopit

Yahoo  is looking to unload its HotJobs and Yahoo Small Business units, reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Yahoo bought job listings site HotJobs for $436 million in 2001, and launched Yahoo Small Business to provide smaller companies with tools to help create an online presence. Meanwhile, Yahoo's corporate blog reports that it has acquired Xoopit, the provider of a service that lets users post media contained in emails to social networks and blogs

Law Firm Readying Class-Action Suit Against Amazon For Deleting Orwell Books From Users' Kindles

 A law firm known for bringing class-action suits on behalf of consumers against Internet companies says it's readying a case against Amazon for deleting George Orwell books on users' Kindles. "This is an incredible situation," says Jay Edelson of the law firm KamberEdelson. "What Amazon did was plainly illegal."

Last week, Amazon stunned consumers by deleting copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Big Brother from users' Kindles after learning of a copyright problem. The company, which sold the books for 99 cents each, discovered last week that the books had been added to its catalog by a company that didn't have the rights to them.  more 

ICANN Changes Could Lead to Brand-Specific Domains

Will .com and .net be followed by .toyota and .pepsi? Businesses that haven't given much thought lately to their domain names may have reason to take another look at them starting next spring. If all goes according to schedule, that's when the long approval process will begin for new top-level domains to challenge the dominance of .com.  more

Samsung releases Mondi as WiMAX takes off in Vegas

Samsung announced the commercial availability of its Mondi WiMAX tablet just as both Clearwire and Sprint Nextel made a flurry of announcements about the expanded availability of their mobile WiMAX service. The Mondi is compatible with Clearwire's mobile WiMAX service and features WiFi connectivity, though it has no voice component. The device has a 4.3-inch touchscreen and runs on Windows Mobile 6.1. It has a full Qwerty keyboard, optical mouse, built-in GPS, the Opera 9.5 browser, push email support, a 3-megapixel camera and camcorder and supports instant messaging and MMS. more

Conde Nast Says Goodbye to, Hello to,

 Conde Nast will shut down one of its web-only brands,, when it gives two of its titles, GQ and Details, their own websites in October. The move marks a partial dismantling of Conde Nast's strategy of creating web-only brands to house magazine content, such as, and, and the realization that in many cases the best brand for the web is the one that's been successful in print.

The move comes in the midst of a terrible advertising climate and companywide budget cuts, and on the heels of the repositioning of one of its men's titles, Men's Vogue, as a twice-a-year supplement late last year.  more

Twitter Generates $48 Million of Media Coverage in a Month

Twitter's been the toast of TV news programs, daytime talk shows, magazine editors and newspaper reporters. But what's all that chatter worth?

According to news-monitoring service VMS, a cool $48 million over the past 30 days. (That's half of what Microsoft plans to spend marketing its biggest product launch of the year, Bing.)

Twitter received almost 3 billion impressions -- 2.73 billion, to be exact -- in the past month, a time period that doesn't even include the frenzied weeks in April in which Oprah and Ellen weighed in on the micro-blogging service. TV contributed to 57% of the PR value, newspapers 37% and magazines 5%. Incidentally, Fox News bested CNN in terms of total PR value delivered by its Twitter mentions, although CNN dropped the name more often. more 

Apps 'to be as big as internet' by 2020

The market for mobile applications, or apps, will become "as big as the internet", peaking at 10 million apps in 2020, a leading online store says. However, GetJar say, the developer community will decline drastically as each developer makes less money.  To date, Apple runs the most popular application store with over 65,000 applications. Last week it notched up another milestone with 1.5 billion downloads. more


China internet users outnumber total US population

There are now 338 million users on the Internet in China compared to under 307 million in the U.S. This means that there are now more people online in China than there are people in the U.S. According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC), the increase is a 13.4 percent inflation since the end of 2008. However, of China's population of more than 1.3 billion, only 25.5 percent are online. more

Microsoft 'retiring' YouTube challenger Soapbox

After hinting at this possibility last month, Microsoft today said it will shut down its Soapbox user-generated video service in stages in the coming weeks. Microsoft launched Soapbox in 2006 as challenge to YouTube, but it never became a credible rival. more

Barnes & Noble Debuts eBookstore With 700K Titles

Barnes & Noble has announced the launch of what it says is the world's largest eBookstore, which initially will offer more than 700,000 titles in a range of e-book formats. The company also announced an exclusive deal to sell a forthcoming e-book reader hardware device made by Plastic Logic, taking a page from rival Amazon with its Kindle reader. 

Google Commemorates 40th Anniversary Of Apollo 11 With Virtual Tour Of The Moon

on Monday, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, search engine giant Google released Moon in Google Earth, an addition to the popular Google Earth mapping software that lets you reproduce the same experience, well almost, with footage released by NASA that has been integrated in Google's Earth application includes 3-D images of the moon's landscape.

Yahoo To Launch Revamped Home Page, First Since 2006

An outstandingly revamped home page is finally coming to the, one of the top-most traveled destinations on the Internet, and the company's search page will follow suit starting next month. Struggling search engine pioneer Yahoo Inc. is expected to launch its new homepage today, as the company strives to make itself more relevant to Web surfers and establish new ways to sell advertising. more

Youtube testing 3D videos

 a YouTube engineer is playing around with the addition of 3D viewing capabilities to web videos on the insanely popular video destination site, reports Search Engine Roundtable.

The news site's Barry Schwartz discovered a recent thread on the YouTube help forum and found out an employee named Pete is experimenting with the 3D viewing feature on his 20% free fiddling time:

Facebook releases 3 new ad filters

Facebook has released three new filters for its ads program, equipping advertisers to make addressable audiences more granular.

Connections lets advertisers target the members of groups, pages, or events they own. They can also target users that aren't already members, meaning ads encouraging either participation in a group, or joining a group, go directly to the most relevant user without any overlap.

The other two filters empower advertisers to target by Location and Birthday. Locations lets you target by country or multiple countries; and Birthday lets you send specific messages to users on their birthdays. more

Wikipedia painting row escalates

The battle over Wikipedia's use of images from a British art gallery's website has intensified. The online encyclopaedia has accused the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) of betraying its public service mission. But the gallery has said it needs to recoup the £1m cost of its digitisation programme and claims Wikipedia has misrepresented its position. more

Amazon Remotely Deletes Unauthorized Kindle E-books

In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.

An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. "When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers," he said. more 

Yahoo Investor Icahn Backs Microsoft Search, Advertising Deal

Yahoo (NASD: YHOO) investor and board member Carl Icahn has spoken out in favor of a search and advertising deal with Microsoft (NASD: MSFT) that was reported last week to be nearing completion, Reuters reported. "I've been a strong advocate of getting a search deal done with Microsoft," Icahn, who owns about 5% of Yahoo, told Reuters. more

The Onion Said To Be Negotiating Sale

The Onion this month told staff that resisting advertiser pressure is a "losing game." But it seems the humor publication isn't just keen to sell its soul to sponsors; we hear The Onion is talking about selling everything.

A tipster says word out out of the publication is that it's in negotiations to sell to a large media company. It's not clear how far apart the two sides are; we're not assuming any deal is imminent. more

Amazon Promises To Replace Cracked Kindles

 Following a customer lawsuit, Amazon says it will replace Kindles that have been cracked by the cover the online retailer sells as an accessory to the electronic book reader.

The move marks a change in Amazon's previous position over the apparent flaw, which was to charge customers $200 to replace the device. Amazon had said the damage wasn't covered under the warranty.  more

Fortune Launches Tech Site To Complement Its Conference

Everything's up for change at the biz mags this week, it seems. Fortune is launching a new tech site this morning, called BrainstormTech (screenshot here), complementing its eight-year-old Brainstorm conference. The site will be a sub-section on, and brings together an all-star team of reporters on a Wordpress-driven blog. Besides contributions from its journalists, it will have guest columns from tech execs, including at launch, from Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Brightcove, John Chen, CEO of Sybase, and Iqbal Quadir, founder of Grameen Phone.  And of course, video from its Green and Tech Brainstorm conferences. more

Financial Times Editor Says Most News Web Sites Will Charge Within a Year

The Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, has predicted that "almost all" news organisations will be charging for online content within a year.

Barber said building online platforms that could charge readers on an article-by-article or subscription basis was one of the key challenges facing news organisations.

"How these online payment models work and how much revenue they can generate is still up in the air," Barber said in a speech at at a Media Standards Trust event at the British Academy last night. more

Yahoo Search Ad Deal With Microsoft “Down to the Short Strokes”

Unless there is some major glitch, there might finally be a search and online advertising deal struck between Yahoo and Microsoft at long last.

Top executives at Microsoft–including SVP of the Online Audience Business Group Yusuf Mehdi, search head Satya Nadella and top digital exec Qi Lu, as well as others–have all flown down to Silicon Valley from their Redmond, Wash., HQ today to iron out the remaining issues, which seem to have to do with the deployment of technology. more

Amazon Plans to be MVNO in UK?

According to a report over on itproportal, US retailer Amazon has plans to become an MVNO. Amazon US is in negotiations with a mobile operator with a view to becoming a mobile virtual network operator in the United Kingdom. Amazon has already launched Amazon Wireless in the states which offers wireless plans and mobile phones, so they are looking to do something similar in the UK.

Twitter Fights Back

TechCrunch began publishing documents stolen from Twitter by a hacker this week, claiming they got the "green light" from Twitter Inc. Not so, say the Twitter founders.

In an embarrassment similar to having your seventh-grade diary read aloud to the whole school, the stolen documents have revealed Twitter's possible plans for an IPO, swipes at Facebook, outlandish forecasts, and even a burn on P. Diddy ("Diddy values his contribution higher than we do").

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams reacted via Twitter [ed. note: how else?] and co-founder Biz Stone reacted in a post on the Twitter blog, saying, "The publication of stolen documents is irresponsible and we absolutely did not give permission for these documents to be shared." more

Qualcomm pulls the plug on LifeComm MVNO

It's been more than four years since Qualcomm first announced its plans to help launch a healthcare-focused mobile phone service, called LifeComm. Qualcomm and its (still) undisclosed partners recently decided that it was time to pull the plug on LifeComm after failing to raise additional third party funding reports Mobile Health more

Conde Nast Moves Into e-Commerce with Wine Widget

In the first of several e-commerce partnerships it plans for its Web sites this year, Condé Nast is allowing users to buy wine at its food site Content from the site comes from sibling magazines Gourmet and Bon Appétit.

The deal calls for wine site to provide wine suggestions for Epicurious' recipes. When users click on a wine pairing, they'll get more information on the wine and will be able to click through to a retailer to buy it. Winemakers can pay to have their wine offered as an appropriate choice for a given recipe. more

Google Friend Connect Adds Support for 47 More Languages

Google Friend Connect has announced support for 47 new languages. (It's already supported in English.) Google Friend Connect launched last year and is a tool for web developers to add social networking to websites. It simply allows people to log into the network via their Google account. Then they can connect with others using the site. more

Facebook: The Movie

Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin are said to have contracted with Aaron Sorkin--writer of movies such as A Few Good Men and Charlie Wilson's War and for the television series West Wing and Sports Night--to write a script about the genesis of Facebook. more 

Amazon Sued Over Kindle Cover Said to Crack Screens

 The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, where Amazon is based, claims that the covers designed and sold by Amazon to protect the device often end up cracking the Kindle screens due to pressure on the hinge. The plaintiff alleges that a customer service supervisor at Amazon acknowledged that such cracking was a "common problem" but would not be covered by a warranty. Geise was instructed to pay $200 for a replacement Kindle, the complaint says. more

Newspaper Publisher Gannett Swings to Second-Quarter Profit

In a hopeful sign for the newspaper industry, Gannett, the publisher of USA Today and 83 other daily papers, on Wednesday reported a second-quarter profit that easily topped the estimates of Wall Street analysts and sent company shares up more than 20% by midday.


Facebook Hits 250 Million Users Worldwide

Facebook, which recently passed News Corp.'s MySpace as the most-visited social network in the U.S., now counts 250 million users, having added 50 million since early April, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a blog post on Wednesday. "The rapid pace of our growth is humbling and exciting for us, and it affirms that people everywhere are realizing the power of staying connected to everything they care about on Facebook," wrote Zuckerberg. " more

Facebook Sued For Click Fraud

Sports site RootZoo has sued Facebook for click fraud, alleging that the social networking site charged for more clicks than actually occurred. The lawsuit comes several weeks after Facebook users began flooding message boards with complaints about overcharging.

RootZoo, which advertised on Facebook from November of 2007 until June of last year, alleges that its own analytics programs showed significant discrepancies between the data provided by its own analytics programs and the numbers claimed by Facebook. more 

WSJ Launches Financial Jobs Site; More Coming?

The Wall Street Journal has launched a new financial-jobs site, its first jobs/career launch since it started with CareerJournal way back. Kevin Hatfield, the GM of Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) Ventures (DJV) and formerly the Chief Revenue Officer of Jobster, is the GM of the site. more

Breakingviews in Sale Talks With Thomson Reuters

Breakingviews, the financial commentary Web site and a content partner of The New York Times, is in preliminary discussions to be acquired by Thomson Reuters, people briefed on the negotiations told DealBook.

The privately held media company, based in London, has made no comment about the talks, which was first reported in The Times of London earlier on Tuesday. more 

Wikipedia Officially Launches Mobile Site

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has officially launched their mobile site. It has been in beta for quite a while but now it is on a new server and considered good enough to call it done.

The Wikimedia Tech Blog says that the iPhone, Android, Palm Pre and Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle are officially supported. You can access the site by going to on your phone's browser. The site should support mobile redirects as well, so if you are reading an article, such as this blog post, and in the midst of a brilliant political analysis it references Antidisestablishmentarianism, when you click on that link from your supported phone, it should redirect to the mobile site. more

IAB Unveils Mobile Media Buying Guide

With education still seen as a key step to expanding mobile marketing, the Interactive Advertising Bureau Monday released its first primer on mobile media buying for advertisers and agencies. The IAB's Mobile Buyer's Guide covers topics including an overview of the mobile ecosystem, key mobile ad terms, shortcode campaigns, and examples of various mobile ad executions. more 

Time Inc. Relaunches with Coupon Database

Time Inc. has become the latest publisher to feature coupon offers online. The company has partnered with to launch a coupon database on women's site

According to All You executive editor Susan Spencer, the partnership is part of a redesign to deliver more money-saving content. "In addition to delivering value-focused content from budget beauty ideas to meals under $2, the new site also allows us to share exclusive printable coupons, discount codes and up-to-the minute deals," Spencer said in a statement. more

Facebook Rules in Time Spent Online

Facebook may be ranked sixth in unique visitors, but it reigns supreme in the amount of time users spend there -- topping Google, Yahoo, AOL and eBay.

The social networking site checks in at a bit over 4.5 hours per person, on average, for the month of June, according to Nielsen Online's June 2009 report.

Coming in second is Yahoo, which sees about three hours per user for the month, followed by AOL at two hours and 43 minutes, Google, with 2.5 hours and Microsoft's sites, with two hours and 12 minutes. more 

Facebook Valued at $6.5 Billion for Employee Share Sale

Online social network Facebook has been valued at $6.5 billion for a transaction that will see Russia's Digital Sky Technologies purchase some $100 million worth of employees' shares in the company for $14.77 per share, Reuters reported. The deal will boost Digital Sky's stake in Facebook to as much as 3.5%.

When Digital Sky initially purchased Facebook shares back in May, the company was valued at $10 billion.  In 2007, when Microsoft invested $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook, the company was valued at $15 billion.  more 

$800 Apple Tablet Coming in October?

apple_media_pad_conceptSo that mysterious touch tablet Apple's rumored to be developing? It's about to go into production in advance of an October launch date. This according to a report in the Information Times, which claims that three of Apple's manufacturing partners–Foxconn, Wintek and Dynapack–have received orders from Apple (AAPL) that suggest the company is building a "netbook" with a 9.7-inch touchscreen. more 

Hershey shuts down its online Gifts website

Hershey Co., maker of Reese's products, Jolly Rancher and its own namesake chocolate, announced recently that it was closing its Hershey's Gifts online service on July 31. After that, if customers want the candymaker's products, they'll have to visit stores.

"Hershey's is making the strategic decision to exit the online retail business," said Hershey spokesman Kirk Saville. "The current business model is not sustainable."  more

Magna Forecast: U.S. Ad Economy to Drop 14.5% This Year

In his first forecast as the new global director of forecasting for Interpublic Group of Cos.' Magna, Brian Wieser came bearing a new methodology and some bad news.

Brian Wieser
Brian Wieser

During a presentation this morning, Mr. Wieser said the U.S. advertising economy will drop 14.5% this year, with revenue at media suppliers -- meaning those entities that sell advertising -- falling from $189 billion to $161 billion. And Mr. Wieser said he doesn't anticipate the industry to start exiting the recession until the second half of next year. more

Teenager Sets Off Craze With Media Report

A teenage intern at Morgan Stanley has everyone freaking out over an entirely unscientific report he authored for the securities firm that trashes newspapers, Twitter Inc. , and TV. According to Bloomberg, the report received "five or six times more feedback than an average report by the group and elicited e-mails and phone calls from fund managers and chief executive officers." [Ed. note: Don't any of these people have teenage children they eat dinner with at least once a week?] more

Free Microsoft office!!

Microsoft will release a free version of its dominant Office software that users can access over the Web, catching up with products that archrival Google launched three years ago.

The world's largest software maker will offer a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a note-taking program with the same look and feel of their counterparts in the Office suites that it sells for personal computers.

It is the latest salvo in an intensifying war between the two technology giants. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced plans last week to challenge Windows with a free operating system. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) introduced a new search engine, dubbed Bing, last month, that has taken a small amount of market share from Google. more 

McGraw-Hill Exploring Sale of BusinessWeek Magazine

McGraw-Hill, the publisher of BusinessWeek magazine, has hired the investment bank Evercore Partners to help it explore strategic options, including a possible sale of the 80-year-old publication.

"BusinessWeek is a globally respected brand and one of the world's leading sources of essential and trusted content that informs and inspires business leaders to make smarter decisions in their professional and personal lives," the company said in a statement.  

PaidContent reports that Bloomberg and Dow Jones parent News Corp are among potential suitors that have been mentioned. more

WSJ: MySpace to Reposition Itself as Entertainment Portal

CEO Rupert Murdoch intends to reposition MySpace, the online social network his company purchased for $580 million in 2005, "as an entertainment portal," where "people are looking for common interests," The Wall Street Journal reported. Murdoch made the comments last week at the Sun Valley conference. more

Yahoo To Terminate GeoCities This Fall

Search engine giant Yahoo last week on the GeoCities website announced that it has finally decided to pull the shutter on it free web hosting sites and the entire service to rest, stating that GeoCities will cease to function on October 26, 2009. more

HP Partners With Green Social Network For Contest

 Hewlett Packard is partnering with green social network Greenwala to sponsor a contest "Choose to reuse" which will benefit ACTERRA, a nonprofit that brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet.

Consumers can visit the contest page at Greenwala and submit a photo of the most creative or innovative reuse of something that would otherwise be trashed. The most popular entry will win an Energy Star-qualified HP Mini 110 XP Notebook and a Deskjet D2660 printer. more


Evian's Dancing Babies Take Internet By Storm

 Evian's break-dancing babies have become an instant viral success -- which is just how the bottled water company likes it, since there's no TV media buy planned for the U.S. to support the new ad campaign, themed "Live young."

"The Web today has changed the way we communicate -- and in launching this campaign virally, it allows Evian, a global brand, to reach consumers worldwide in a way that traditional media cannot," says Evian Natural Spring Water spokesperson Cameryn Mercurio. "YouTube, in particular, is such a powerful force online, and reaches millions of people globally." more 

Murdoch Says News Corp. Kindle-Like Device ‘Isn’t Likely’: ‘We’ll Be Absolutely Neutral’

In the latest round of will he-won't he, Rupert Murdoch told his own Fox Business Network not to expect a Kindle-like device from News Corp (NYSE: NWS). Speaking in Sun Valley, where he is participating in the Allen & Co. conference, Murdoch said: "I don't think that's likely. We're looking and talking to a lot of laboratories and big companies around the world, like Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Samsung. We're all working on wireless readers for books or newspapers or for magazines.  I think they're a year or two away being marketed in a mass way, high quality ones, and we'll be absolutely neutral. We're happy to have our products distributed over any device provided it's only going to subscribers paying for it."

bearish." as frugal as ever?

It might seem that ecommerce giant had found every possible way of cutting costs. But it turns out those Snickers bars didn't need to be bathed in light after all. Workers at one of the company's fulfillment centers in Kentucky figured out how to save some money on energy bills by unscrewing the light bulbs in their cafeteria's vending machines -- a policy that has since been adopted company-wide. The light bulb initiative -- which CEO Jeff Bezos shared at the company's recent annual meeting -- is a sign that Amazon remains in some ways as cheap as ever, despite being a $33 billion company that is profiting handsomely in the current recession. more

Gannett Revenue Decline Hints at More Doom for Newspapers: JP Morgan

JP Morgan is forecasting that severe declines will continue at newspaper publisher Gannett in the second quarter.

Ad revenue will fall 32% in Q2, JP Morgan analysts have predicted, with consolidated EBITDA declining to a margin of 17%, compared to a margin of 25% in the second quarter of 2008, writes Editor & Publisher. Ad revenue fell 34% in the first quarter of the year.

Flagship publication USA Today will experience "severe declines," the analysts say. They predict that Gannett's weakness will "set the tone for another depressing reporting season in the newspaper universe." more

N.Y. AG Sues Tagged Social Network Over 'Fraudulent' Emails

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has sued San Francisco-based social network Tagged, alleging the company violated users' privacy and used deceptive marketing practices to inflate site traffic.

The lawsuit alleges that Tagged sent over 60 million emails to Web users, stating that their friends had posted photos online.

When a user went to view the photos -- which did not exist -- they had to join the site. At this point, the company "would then illegally gain access to their personal email contacts to send more fraudulent invitations." more

Microsoft's Flash-Challenger Silverlight 3 Lights-Up A Day Early

Microsoft's challenger to Adobe Flash, Silverlight, has officially been planned to launch Silverlight 3 on Friday at an event in San Francisco, but Microsoft silently made the final code for the latest version of its Silverlight 3 runtime for users and software development kit (SDK) for programmers have been published to the web and were available for download as of Thursday afternoon. more

Microsoft's Bing Grew 25% In June, Nibbles At Google's Dominance -- Hitwise

Microsoft continues to spell progress against Google with its search engine Bing, but unfortunately for Bing is nibbling at Google's crumbs rather than taking large bites out of its pie. Microsoft's Bing captured 5.25% of the U.S. Internet search market in the four weeks ending June 27, while Google secured 74% of the market, according to data released by Hitwise Thursday.

Meanwhile, Yahoo managed to secure 16.2% of the search market last month--up from May, but down from the 20% last June, while IAC/Interactive Corp.'s sharply dropped to 3.2%. The remaining 48 search engines in the Hitwise Search Engine Analysis accounted for 1.36% of U.S. searches.


Twitter Outsources Ad Model Development

Twitter's phenomenal growth can be traced in large part to a decision the company made early on to let outside developers determine uses for the service. That's led to hundreds of applications that manipulate Twitter data in ways the company couldn't imagine.
It is taking a similar approach to the development of its business model. This week, two companies are working on ways to embed advertising with the Twitter experience, experiments that could pave the way to how Twitter will do the same.

Social Media, a San Francisco startup specializing in pioneering ad formats in social spaces, is introducing an ad product called Twitter Sparq that will embed advertising in Twitter streams by asking users of Twitter clients to answer a question in a message.

Meanwhile, Federated Media Publishing has rolled out its third sponsored Twitter aggregation site, The site, sponsored by Universal Pictures, aggregates Twitter messages on film topics.

Huggies Sponsors Circle of Moms Facebook App

Huggies maker Kimberly-Clark is sponsoring the Circle of Moms Facebook app, which claims to reach more than 2 million women with information, advice, and interactive tools.

The campaign was brought together by direct sales company Appssavvy and Kimberly-Clark agency Mindshare. Circle of Moms users who enter the site's new Huggies-sponsored "Baby Zone" will find an advice column, a mother-to-mother forum, age-specific information about diapers, and interactive tools such as a baby photo uploader. more 

Bing vs Google comparison on

The name "Bing", presumably, is supposed to evoke the sound of a winning game-show bell. The cynics online, however, joke that Bing is an acronym for "But It's Not Google."

Here's the shocker, though: in many ways, Bing is better.

That's quite a statement, of course — almost heresy. But check it out yourself. It's easy to compare the two, thanks to sites like Here, you're shown search results from both Bing and Google, side by side, on a split screen.


Murdoch Balks at Twitter Buy, MySpace Sale

News Corp. is not interested in buying popular microblogging site Twitter and will not sell its struggling social network MySpace, said the media conglomerate's chief executive, Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch, who arrived on Wednesday at the Allen & Co.investment bank's Sun Valley media and technology conference, said Twitter would be a tough investment to justify because it has not yet come up with a sustainable way to make money. more 

Google's AdSense for iPhone Trips up Advertisers

In the two weeks since Google announced it would open up AdSense for mobile, serving up text and display ads inside apps, there are signs the online-ad giant -- and marketers -- are still figuring out how to create good experiences for mobile users.

Google is helping marketers run ads on the mobile web and inside applications built for the iPhone and G1 Android phone, but some of those campaigns appear built for the desktop web and don't necessarily translate to the small screen. more may soon cost $5 a month

The New York Times may be the most popular news source on the Internet, but that doesn't mean they have any more insight into monetizing the web than anyone else in the media. Right now it looks like they're considering putting their content behind a pay wall again. 

A recent survey sent out to subscribers asked if they would be willing to pay a $5 or $2.50 monthly fee to acess the paper's website. And while getting print subscribers to pay seems like a good way to beef up revenue, it also promises to cut into the paper's ad revenue and influence online. more

French Senate Approves New 'Three-Strikes' P2P Bill

After France's highest legal authority stripped the teeth out of a law that would have severed the Internet connections of repeat file-swappers, the French Senate has passed a new, modified "three-strikes" bill, TorrentFreak reports. The Constitutional Council said that citizens deserved a court hearing, and that a court order was necessary before an Internet account could be severed -- instead of leaving it up to an independent agency called Hadopi. more

Hardware makers support Google OS

The search giant said it was working with many firms on Chrome OS hardware including Acer, Asus, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

The software is designed to work with the web and Google said it was most likely to appear on smaller portable computers known as netbooks.

The browser-based operating system will be released to the public in 2010.  from BBC

China Blocks Access To Twitter, Facebook After Riots

Following last weekend's deadly riots in its western region of Xinjiang, China's central government has taken all the usual steps to block citizens from accessing foreign web services: aside from crippling Internet service in general, the authorities have blocked Twitter, removed unapproved references to the violence from search engines and has now apparently moved to bar its citizens from accessing Facebook from most parts of Mainland China just now. Two weeks ago, the government had already blocked just about every Google service, including communication tools like Gmail, Google Apps and Google Talk. more

Top 20 Countries for SocNet Engagement


Of the 1.1 billion people ages 15+ worldwide who accessed the internet from a home or work location in May 2009, 734.2 million visited at least one social networking site during the month, a penetration of 65%, according to data from the comScore World Metrix service.  comScore also reported that among 40 individual countries reported by comScore, Russia has the world's most engaged social networking audience, with the average online Russian spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per month.

Brazil ranked close behind Russia at 6.3 hours, followed by Canada (5.6 hours), Puerto Rico (5.3 hours) and Spain (5.3 hours).

The US ranked at #9  in terms of social network engagement, with an average of 4.2 average hours and 477 pages consumed per visitor. more

Ad model for Kindle revealed

Over the last 30 days, the US Patent Office has published several patents for Amazon that lend insight on the company's future plans for its Kindle book reader.

One patent, filed in December 2006, will grant customers that purchase a print copy of a book the ability to access the electronic version as well.

Two other patents go into detail about incorporating targeted advertising in on-demand content on Kindle.

Under the terms of the patents, Amazon could inserts ads throughout its ebooks: in the margins, between chapters or every 10 pages, from beginning to end, for example. 

on Mediapost

on Marketing Vox

on Media Buyer Planner

Gmail out of Beta

Google's Gmail has earned a unique distinction as one of the longest running programs to maintain a "beta" designation since its debut five years ago. Well the jokes about "Is Google ever going to finish this thing?" should start to peter out with today's news that the e-mail program no longer has the beta tag.

"For every product we have goals for feature completeness and we feel we've now met them," Rajen Sheth, a senior product manager for Google Apps, told more   

Thomson Reuters Acquires Webcasting Firm Streamlogics

Thomson Reuters, the provider of business information and webcasting services, announced that it has acquired Streamlogics, a provider of webcasting software. more

Wikimedia Gets $300K to Expand Web Media Repository

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that operates the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, has been awarded a $300,000 Ford Foundation grant that the company says will make it easier for people to participate in Wikimedia Commons, an online repository of shareable multimedia assets. more

Google OS - coming soon

 That Google operating system rumor is coming true--and it's based on Google's browser, Chrome.

The company announced Google Chrome OS on its blog Tuesday night, saying lower-end PCs called Netbooks from unnamed manufacturers will include it in the second half of 2010. Linux will run under the covers of the open-source project, but the applications will run on the Web itself.

In other words, Google's cloud-computing ambitions just got a lot bigger. 

BT gets wise, terminates Phorm - for now

Phorm, the company whose web tracking technology sparked international controversy, had a bad Monday as BT got wise and decided to drop its use of Phorm's Webwise product.

Phorm's loss, however, is a major victory for consumers.  more

Fwd: Unfortunate domain names

Independent Sources<>has
compiled a top 10 over companies with unfortunate domain names that
easily be misunderstood.

  1. A site called "*Who Represents*" where you can find the name of the
  agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is
  2. *Experts Exchange*, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange
  advice and views at
  3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than *Pen Island* at
  4. Need a therapist? Try *Therapist Finder* at
  5. Then of course, there's the *Italian Power Generator* company…
  6. And now, we have the *Mole Station Native Nursery*, based in New South
  7. If you're looking for computer software, there's always
  8. Welcome to the *First Cumming Methodist Church*. Their website is
  9. Then, of course, there's these brainless art designers, and their
  whacky website:
  10. Want to holiday in *Lake Tahoe*? Try their brochure website at

Google Launches TV Adverts To Promote Chrome Browser

Search engine giant Google Inc. desperately trying to compete the browser market, according to the official Google Blog announced that the Internet company has introduced its first television advertising campaign across a large networks in the US to promote its Chrome browser, in a bid to capture users away from a market dominated by Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Google became the dominant search engine over the uncharted World Wide Web without even having to advertise, but entering an altogether a new battle-ground it has been forced to take a different approach to build up market share for Chrome. more

Publisher MediaNews Plans to Begin Charging for Web Content

MediaNews Group, the Colorado-based newspaper publisher which owns about a dozen publications in the Bay Area, plans to begin charging for much of its online content, according to an internal memo published by Editor & Publisher.

"We will begin to move away from putting all of our newspaper content online for free," said the memo from CEO William Dean Singleton and President Jodi Lodovic.  more

French 'net piracy' bill passed

A controversial French bill which could disconnect people caught downloading content illegally three times has been passed by the National Assembly.

The legislation, backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, was surprisingly voted down by the Assembly last month.

The bill sets a tough global precedent in cracking down on internet piracy, and is being closely watched by other governments as a potential deterrent. The global music industry has been calling for tougher anti-piracy laws. The Creation and Internet bill was passed by a vote of 296 to 233 by the lower house and will go before the Senate for final approval on Wednesday.  more 

Gillette Is 'Stayin' Alive' With Viral Effort

Gillette may be moving toward more viral marketing approaches to promote its razors. The P&G unit has green-lighted a month-long program, "The Walk of Gillette," that will run through mid-May. Via BBDO, New York, the program drives consumers to sign up for a chance to win a free Fusion Razor with a video on various social media sites featuring the Gillette Champions -- athletes Roger Federer, Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods acting like '70s disco maniacs. The video hearkens back to the opening sequence of "Saturday Night Fever" and the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive."
The 60-second video is running at, YouTube and other channels, as well as during the 17 home Yankee games over the next month. And to date, the video has scored about half a million views between and YouTube in less than two weeks. more 

Opera Reports Explosive Mobile Web Growth Worldwide

If you need any more proof of how fast the mobile web is growing, just look at the latest numbers coming out of Opera today. The company is reporting a 157% increase in usage of their Opera Mini web browser from March 2008 to March 2009. And the mobile web isn't just booming here in the Western world - it's also experiencing rapid growth in places like Latin America and Nigeria, too.

As of last month, more than 23 million mobile web surfers used Opera Mini to surf more than 8.6 billion pages in March, which equates to 148 million megabytes of data sent to handsets worldwide. Since Opera Mini compresses data before sending, that number actually represents 1.4 petabytes (PB) of uncompressed data. Data traffic is up 319%, year-over-year, and page views have increased by 255%.  more 

Google Building New Google News?

Eric Schmidt says that in about six months, Google will roll out a system that will bring high-quality news content to users without them actively looking for it. Under this latest iteration of advanced search, users will be automatically served the kind of news that interests them just by calling up Google's page. The latest algorithms apply ever more sophisticated filtering – based on search words, user choices, purchases, a whole host of cues – to determine what the reader is looking for without knowing they're looking for it.


And on this basis, Google believes it will be able to sell premium ads against premium content. The first two news organizations to get this treatment, Schmidt said, will be the New York Times and the Washington Post.  more

Study: Twitter Audience Does Not Have A Return Policy

Twitter's audience is exploding. Now if only they could get people to stick around.

Over 60 percent of people who sign up to use the popular (and tremendously discussed) micro-blogging platform do not return to using it the following month, according to new data released by Nielsen Online. In other words, Twitter currently has just a 40 percent retention rate, up from just 30 percent in previous months--indicating an "I don't get it factor" among new users that is reminiscent of the similarly-over hyped Second Life from a few years ago.

Nielsen found that Twitter's unique user base doubled in March. But most newbies aren't coming back. "People are signing up in droves," wrote  David Martin, vp, primary research, Nielsen Online in a blog posting on Tuesday (Apr. 28). "But despite the hockey-stick growth chart, Twitter faces an uphill battle in making sure these flocks of new users are enticed to return to the nest." more

Google Introduces Digg Style Social Voting Feature “What's Popular”

The latest gadget from Google is called "What's Popular?", a new Digg style social voting platform that can give iGoogle home page users a service similar to those offered by StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Mixx, and may signal that Google has lost any interest in acquiring Digg.

The gadget is very easy to use, and enables most of them functions not only in iGoogle but also on your PC using Google Desktop and in Gmail as a labs plugin. more

Microsoft keeps tabs in a crisis

Microsoft has launched a trial product to connect users to the people and places they care about especially when crisis hits. The company said the main inspiration for Vine came from Hurricane Katrina. The product is designed to keep family and friends in touch when other communications fail or falter. more 

Kingfisher Airlines (India) is tweeting

Kingfisher Airlines has joined the bandwagon to carry out conversation with its target audience. It has created a presence on Twitter, a social networking and micro-blogging website, at more

Online Ad Effectiveness Depends on Time of Day

While TV advertising has always been structured around times and dates, digital marketers are just waking up to the possibilities of how time targeting in the digital space can maximize the effectiveness of their messages.

A study by the U.K. Internet Advertising Bureau with Lightspeed Research found that online consumers of all ages believe they are more likely to pay attention to ads from the early evening onward. Younger audiences in particular showed more interest in commercial messages as the day progressed, while older age groups had distinct peaks in attention between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. more 

Apple Touts 1 Billionth Download

Apple hit the 1 billion download mark on apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. The company celebrated the milestone Friday with large leaderboard and banner ads on the home pages of major Web publishers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

The creative shows a stream of app icons pouring into an iPhone from one ad unit to the other, similar to the tandem ads Apple has used previously in its Mac v. PC campaign online.


NYTimes Co. Reconsiders Online Paid Subscriptions

The New York Times Co. is again considering charging for content on its flagship New York Times website and the sites of its other papers, chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. suggested to shareholders at the company's annual meeting this week.

The company plans to "take a fresh, hard and deep look at various subscription, purchase and micropayment models," he said (via Adweek) - but advertising will remain a key piece of its revenue. "What we believe is that the advertising model we have used at has generated more revenue than the vast majority of other organizations, including some that are much larger than our site." more

The Inexorable March Of Internet TV

Selling broadband connections to the web is the most profitable business for cable companies. They also have better—and cheaper—technology than the phone companies and mobile carriers for doing so. It costs only around $100 a home for the cable companies to upgrade their networks to the latest DOCSIS 3 standard—and that includes providing each customer with a new high-speed modem.

But they are not doing so because they are afraid of the consequences. Cable-television companies make money by selling packages of channels. The average American household pays $700 a year for over 100 channels of cable television but watches no more than 15. Most would welcome the chance to buy only those channels they want to watch, rather than pay for expensive packages of programming they are largely not interested in. more

AOL Launches Online “News Magazine” PoliticsDaily

AOL is adding a twist to old-fashioned political journalism with the launch of its new political news and blog site, The site, which will primarily focus on in-depth political commentary as opposed to breaking news, will only provide original content, from long-form analysis to blog posts on issues in the U.S. political landscape. Led by former New York Times Washington Correspondent, Melinda Henneberger, PoliticsDaily wants to tie the old media's in-depth political analysis with a sustainable digital medium more

Samsung unveils its first Android phone

Samsung released its first handset based on Google's Android platform, the I7500. O2 Germany will launch the phone in June.

The candybar handset will have tri-band 7.2 Mbps HSDPA (in the 900 MHz, 1700 MHz and 2100 MHz bands), WiFi, a 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera and 8GB of internal storage (with a microSD slot capable of holding up to an additional 32GB). It also has Bluetooth 2.0, GPS and a 3.5 mm headset jack. The phone does not have a physical keyboard.

Twitter in Kindergarten

A Seattle elementary school is embracing Twitter. A few weeks ago, teachers and administrators at the Meridian School in Wallingford started broadcasting the short, concise 140 character messages on Twitter to talk about everything from ice cream socials to library books to what happened in class that day.

"Right now we are exploring the concept of weight- we are testing how many pennies and paper-clips it will take to sink a boat," wrote first grade teacher Ramiza Saheed in a recent Tweet.


Gmail Introduces In-Browser Viewing Support For PowerPoint And TIFF Files

Consistently striving to improve its services, Google, just a few months back introduced a browser support for viewing PDF files in Gmail, and that has now been improved upon with the ability to view TIFF and PowerPoint (PPT) documents directly from within the Web browser without the need to install any additional software, powered by Google Apps. In order to view these files , Gmail users can now open them up without having to save them to the desktop and without having to buy, install, or wait for specific software to start up. more

Reckitt-Benckiser to Shift $20MM from TV to Web

Reckitt-Benckiser, the U.K.'s fourth-largest advertiser, plans to shift an estimated $20 million in advertising away from TV, investing instead in online advertising. The company, whose brands include Lysol, Clearasil, French's and Mucinex, spent less than $1 million in measured spending online in 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence, AdAge reports. About 90% of its measured media budget has traditionally been spent on television. more

Google's April fool joke - CADIE

Google today launched CADIE - Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed - Intelligence Entity. According to the announcement.

Research group switches on world's first "artificial intelligence" tasked-array system.

For several years now a small research group has been working on some challenging problems in the areas of neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving. Last fall this group achieved a significant breakthrough: a powerful new technique for solving reinforcement learning problems, resulting in the first functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster.

Since then progress has been rapid, and tonight we're pleased to announce that just moments ago, the world's first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE) was switched on and began performing some initial functions. It's an exciting moment that we're determined to build upon by coming to understand more fully what CADIE's emergence might mean, for Google and for our users. So although CADIE technology will be rolled out with the caution befitting any advance of this magnitude, in the months to come users can expect to notice her influence on various properties. Earlier today, for instance, CADIE deduced from a quick scan of the visual segment of the social web a set of online design principles from which she derived this intriguing homepage.

These are merely the first steps onto what will doubtless prove a long and difficult road. Considerable bugs remain in CADIE'S programming, and considerable development clearly is called for. But we can't imagine a more important journey for Google to have undertaken.

For more information about CADIE see this monograph, and follow CADIE's progress via her YouTube channel and blog.