Time Warner, Getty Images Launch New Life.com

Time Warner and partner Getty Images on Tuesday launched the new Life.com, an online incarnation of the now-defunct LIFE photo magazine. Life.com will allow users to view 7 million images and share them on Facebook, Flickr and other sites, print copies, and license usage rights from Getty Images. Users can also create custom print magazines and books featuring the images, ranging in cost from $6 to $89. more

Wikia Search Project to Shut Down

Wikia Search, an open-source search engine project launched by Wikia and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, has shut down.

"In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely," Wales wrote in a blog post. "It's something I care about deeply. I will return to again and again in my career to search, either as an investor, a contributor, a donor, or a cheerleader." more 

Google Ventures

Google is searching for "the next big thing" in technology as it announces its latest effort, Google Ventures. Its new venture capitalist arm pledged to help find and develop "exceptional start-ups", offering early stage investments to a range of new firms. Areas it will look at include consumer internet, software, clean tech, bio tech and healthcare. But it will also include "areas we haven't thought of yet," the partners of the new venture said. more

Can the model behind the HuffPo's new venture keep journalism afloat?

As newspapers continue the struggle to adapt and survive in a digital world, just about everyone in the business is trying to figure out how to make journalism a profitable exercise in the 21st century, especially online. Charging for content is back in vogue, but charging for valuable content that publishers have foolishly devalued through ad-supported business models that don't look so great today is a tough proposition.

The Huffington Post, the American political news blog founded by political personality Arianna Huffington, is trying a new model. It has teamed up with The Atlantic Philanthropies and a number of other donors to launch the Huffington Post Investigative Fund with an initial budget of $1.75 million. That should be enough for 10 staff journalists who will primarily coordinate stories with freelancers, said Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.

World's Press Condemns UN Council¹s Decision on Defamation of Religion

The World Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum have condemned a
resolution approved by the United Nations Human Rights Council on
³defamation of religion,² calling the measure an attack on the basic human
right of freedom of expression.

³This decision brings discredit on the UN Human Rights Council, which should
not justify censorship and the stifling of dissenting voices,² said the
Paris-based WAN and WEF, the global organisations of the world¹s press.

³Religion is a legitimate subject for criticism, satire and debate. The
concept of defamation of religion is likely to severely stifle that debate,²
the statement said. "We are seriously concerned that this resolution will be
relied on by authoritarian governments to suppress freedom of expression.²

WAN and WEF called on Council members to "take all steps necessary to ensure
that international standards of freedom of expression are fully supported by
the UN Human Rights Council and not undermined by resolutions such as this."

The Council's resolution, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation
of the Islamic Conference and approved by the Council on Friday, calls for a
global fight against ³defamation of religions.² Islamic countries argue that
criticizing or lampooning religions is a violation of the rights of
believers and leads to discrimination and violence against them.

But such measures also are used to stifle debate and dissent. A list of some
recent cases can be found at http://www.wan-press.org/article18081.html

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry,
defends and promotes press freedom and the professional and business
interests of newspapers world-wide. Representing 18,000 newspapers, its
membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies
and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and
11 regional and world-wide press groups.

Dell becomes MVNO in Japan, pushes HSPA-enabled laptops

Computer maker Dell made a move in Japan that could signal a change in the way the vendor sells laptops and assist operators worldwide looking to push data access plans.

The Japanese arm of Dell has become an MVNO in Japan and is bundling its notebook PCs with a built-in HSPA cards. The laptops will go on sale this summer starting at about $500 and increase to almost four times that amount. Dell will reportedly bundle a fixed amount of mobile broadband access, after which users pay by credit card for additional access. The computer maker is understood to have applied for an MVNO license and is using NTT DocoMo's network. more

Google Ditches AdSense for Video

Google announced it will stop AdSense for Video by the end of April, one year after it started implementing the program, writes Search Engine Journal. AdSense for Video allowed AdSense publishers and YouTube users to embed YouTube video with AdSense units on their blogs and websites.

The Inside AdSense blog relates that the decision was made because the program was not creating the impact that Google has hoped for. Translation: it was not effectively generating income for Google. more

Microsoft shuts Encarta - killed by Wiki

 Microsoft will discontinue publication of its MSN Encarta online reference site and related software products later this year, according to a notice quietly posted on the site, as spotted by Emil Protalinksi of Ars Technica. The decision comes after years of competition with Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that relies on the contributions of experts and other users for its material.

"Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years," the notice says. "However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past. As part of Microsoft's goal to deliver the most effective and engaging resources for today's consumer, it has made the decision to exit the Encarta business." 

Iphone users to get Skype

Skype has said that iPhone users will be able to use its internet telephony service to make calls, but only using wi-fi and not the mobile network. The firm's native voice over internet protocol (VoIP) application - Skype for iPhone - will be available for download from Apple's iTunes store on Tuesday. The new service will allow users to make free calls to Skype users, but will charge for calls to other numbers. more

Google china offers free music downloads

Google is offering free downloads of licensed music tracks in China. Rival search engines in China point users to unlicensed music, which reportedly makes up 99% of all tracks distributed in China.The firm has just 16.6% share of the search market versus 76.9% for Baidu.com, according to the Chinese Internet Network Information Centre. Google said it had no plans to expand its music service beyond China. More than 350,000 songs, from Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal, will be available to Chinese users of Google, which has partnered with music website Top100.cn. Google will share advertising revenue with the major music labels. more 

Major cyber spy network uncovered

An electronic spy network, based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices around the world, Canadian researchers say. They said the network had infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries. They included computers belonging to foreign ministries and embassies and those linked with the Dalai Lama - Tibet's spiritual leader. There is no conclusive evidence China's government was behind it, researchers say. Beijing also denied involvement. more

Yahoo Shuttering Travel Bargains Site FareChase Today

Yahoo is cutting more fat today by closing its travel bargains website FareChase, which it originally acquired back in July 2004 and re-launched two years later. The company will be announcing the shut-down later today, and will start redirecting visitors of the service to its main travel site soon. more

Facebook Forced By Angry Users To Change Redesign

Facebook was forced to respond to widespread criticism over its latest redesign by saying it will make yet more changes in an attempt to appease angry users. As VentureBeat's Eric Eldon points out, the scale of the dissatisfaction with the redesign hasn't been clear, although more than 1 million users have expressed opposition. Facebook has nearly 200 million users worldwide.

Yesterday's announcement doesn't mean that Facebook will revert back to the previous design, however. But, as Eldon says, the changes "should make some new features more accessible to most users." Significantly, Faceboook will refine what information appears in users' news feeds, emphasizing photos that they are tagged in, for instance. Users will also have more control over what kind of information appears in the "stream" (as Facebook is now calling it) from both users and third party applications. Real-time updates are also coming soon, Eldon says. more

The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter

Twitter isn't just a cute way for keeping in instant touch with friends on mobile phones anymore. It has ramped up quickly to be the search engine of choice for some with its human driven results. Applications galore allow you to find friends all over the world with similar interests and keep up with them in real time. More

twittonary.com , tweetlater.com, hashtags.org, twitterholic.com, twittercounter.com, twittown.com

New Twitter Phenomenon Debuts at SXSWi - TwitterJobSearch

Rounding off the buzz at this year's SXSWi is the launch of TwitterJobSearch, the first 'smart' search engine that extracts meaning from Twitter content to create a real-time, global online resource of all jobs posted onto the platform.

Using relevancy algorithms developed by Workhound, the UK's largest job search engine, the technology will build out into further social media channels and topics, providing semantic intelligence capabilities for social media platforms, business and consumers. more

Microsoft Challenges Google Street View With GeoSynth

Software maker Microsoft Corp. is showing its might with its latest venture to compete with search engine giant Google's popular Street View service, apparently plans to launch a mapping service later this year with its own application dubbed GeoSynth, according to reports.

Google Street View has been both celebrated and criticized among the masses since it launched two years ago in the United States, and later it has been rolled out to other countries around the world, with the UK and the Netherlands the two most recent additions. more

Vodafone UK May Replace Yahoo As Mobile Ad Sales Partner

 Yahoo's mobile ad sales deal with Vodafone in the UK may not be renewed when the exclusive contract between the two ends next month. NMA.co.uk reports that industry sources have said that the carrier, which recently laid off its UK head of mobile Shan Henderson, is rethinking its mobile ad strategy, and is apparently looking over a new sales partner, although no official proposal requests have yet been distributed.

The original ad sales deal between the two companies was struck in November 2006, with the first advertising debuting in June 2007. An end to the partnership would be "a blow" to Yahoo, which has been pushing aggressively into mobile in both ad sales and search default deals as its online business struggles. more

Nokia takes minority stake in Obopay

Obopay, a provider of mobile payments technology, announced on Wednesday that Nokia has taken a minority stake in the company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Launched in 2005, Redwood City, Calif.-based Obopay lets consumers and businesses purchase, pay and transfer money through any mobile phone. more

China bans Youtube

On Monday, traffic from China to YouTube began dwindling until it dried up nearly completely today, due to a site-wide block of the popular video sharing site in that country.

Google says it has no idea why it's being blocked. China has demonstrated the ability to block access only to certain YouTube URLs as part of its ongoing censorship of the internet, so this site-wide ban represents a significant change in strategy.

Some speculate that officials could be upset about footage of Chinese soldiers beating Tibetans appearing on the site.

Another possible reason for the blockade is the US Navy's recent release of videos depicting five Chinese ships apparently trying to snag a Sonar array cable trailing behind the USNS Impeccable, which appeared on YouTube.  more 

Nickelodeon reveals new-look Shockwave portal

The Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group has revealed a brand new look for its Shockwave casual games portal, along with new membership incentives and a range of over 400 games.

Full access to the site is priced at $29.95 per year, and users will have the chance to win daily cash prizes of up to $4,999 and an annual grand prize of $25,000. The site also offers a number of community features such as Trophies. Membership of the site also now comes as part of the Shockwave Unlimited downloadable games package. more

Federated Media, Twitter and Microsoft Launch ExecTweets

ExecTweets is a new Twitter-powered site that provides an information-rich and curated view of just well-known executives grouped by fields of expertise. The site makes it easy to quickly vote up specific tweets as they appear as well as send a reply via Twitter if you want to engage in conversation. According to the official Twitter blog, Federated Media accepted the request to build the site in response to pressure for a more topic-based Twitter site. The site is sponsored by Microsoft. more

YouTube Tries Bigger Home-Page Ads

YouTube blew out one aspect of its money-making plan last week: way bigger home-page ads.

YouTube gave Lionsgate two rich-media units and exclusivity on its home page to advertise 'The Haunting in Connecticut.'
YouTube gave Lionsgate two rich-media units and exclusivity on its home page to advertise 'The Haunting in Connecticut.'

YouTube started experimenting with giant masthead ads across the top of the page late last year. Electronic Arts bought the space to promote the video game "Spore," Universal Pictures promoted the next "Fast and the Furious" there, and ABC advertised the new season of "Lost."

But on March 20, YouTube pushed it a bit further, giving Lionsgate both the masthead and the standard box unit on the right for a new unit it's calling a "cross talk" ad. It promotes the studio's upcoming horror film, "The Haunting in Connecticut," which opens March 27.  more

‘The Economist’ Tops Adweek’s Hot List

Adweek has released its annual Hot List, the consumer magazines with standout track records of advertising revenue and page performance.

The list is once again topped by The Economist, which grew ad revenue by 25.5% to $131.5 million and ad pages by 4.4%. Circulation was up 9.2%. No. 2 was Elle, with an increase in ad revenue of 11.2% to $325.5 million, and an increase in ad pages of 5%. Circulation grew 6.6%.

People landed the third spot on the list, though both ad revenue and ad pages were down (8.2% and 12% respectively). Circulation was up 2%. "In 'the year of the eyeball,' 43.5 million audience makes People a 'must buy,'" writes Adweek. more

MTV Mobile tops 1 million subscribers in France, sells 100k MTV phones

The MTV brand needs no introduction, so the fact that it's successful even in the mobile industry may not be such a big surprise. However, it's definitely worth noting that MTV Mobile has topped 1 million subscribers in France since April 23 2008 (when it was launched via SFR – the second largest French carrier). Moreover, helped by SFR, MTV sold more than 100,000 of its own-branded phones (including the MTV 3.4, released in November 2008) – mainly to young mobile users, of course. more

Dell phone rejected by Telcos

Dell has learned the hard way that wireless carriers still wield a ton of control in the wireless industry. It appears that unless you are Apple Google, or even Palm, it's not that easy to win the carriers over. After rumors spread earlier this year that Dell and other computer makers were entering the smartphone market, it now appears that the company's first attempts will never see the day of light.

Shaw Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Bros., asserts in a research note today that the company's first attempt was basically rejected by the carriers. The reason? It was too "Dell-like," reports Tech Trader Daily. Despite two prototypes—using both Windows Mobile and Google's Android—Wu writes that the carriers weren't impressed. "From our conversation with supply chain and industry sources, it appears that it ultimately came down to lack of carrier interest and small subsidies, making it difficult for Dell to make a profit." Apparently, they lacked differentiation.  more

Call to shut down Google Street View in UK

A formal complaint about Google's Street View has been sent to the Information Commissioner (ICO). Drawn up by privacy campaigners, it cites more than 200 reports from members of the public identifiable via the service. Privacy International wants the ICO to look again at how Street View works. Amongst the complainants were two colleagues pictured in an apparently compromising position who suffered embarrassment when the image was circulated at their workplace. more

Google Launches New Site Chromeexperiments.com to Showcase the Power of Chrome and JavaScript

Google announced a new beta version of Chrome, which features a significantly faster version of V8, Google's JavaScript engine. Today, Google also launched Chrome Experiments, which showcases JavaScript intensive games, apps, and visualizations. The site is obviously meant to highlight the power of the combination of V8 and Chrome, though quite a few of the apps should also work on Firefox, Safari and IE. In our tests, however, Chrome did indeed provide the best experience. more

The Financial Times Launches Its Own Business News Search Engine (Newssift).

The Financial Times Group, which is owned by the British publisher Pearson, is not exactly the place you'd expect to find the latest search engine. But a startup deep within the bowels of the organization called FT Search is launching one at 8PM ET tonight called Newssift. It is a semantic search engine that sifts through business news, and it is not half bad, especially for bigger companies and broader topics.

Robin Johnson, the CEO of FT Search, used to run the Financial Times in the U.S. as its president. He's been working on Newssift for the past two years, and currently employs a team of 25 people. "The object was to create a tool to allow a busy business person to assess what is the skinny on a problem they do not know the answer to,"


Internet Explorer 8 Has Arrived

After more than a year of beta testing, Microsoft released version 8 of Internet Explorer today. IE8 is definitely a better browser than IE7, and features quite a few important new functions, including accelerators, and web slices. IE8 is also significantly faster than IE7 and features a large number of new functions that make browsing the web easier and more secure. IE8 is an important upgrade for those users who are still using IE7, but we don't think that it offers enough compelling reasons for users of other browsers to switch back to Internet Explorer. more

S&P: More Newspapers Bankruptcies in 2009

Newspaper publishers may face more bankruptcies this year as ad sales at newspapers decline almost 20%, said Standard & Poor's analyst Emile Courtney at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit. Gannett and The New York Times Co. aren't likely candidates for bankruptcy, he said, but he didn't identify which publishers are.

Courtney also said the switch to online-only "is very difficult" for papers because the Web generates just 10% of total revenue for most newspaper publishers. Courtney further warned that newspapers have a "limited market" for asset sales. - more

Twitter Grows 1,382%

A small new survey from Nielsen about the five fastest growing "member community destinations" in the U.S. reveals what we all kind of knew already: Twitter is at the top. From February 2008 to February 2009, it clocked in at a whopping 1,382 percent growth rate. That's to be expected, considering the amount of press the still-without-a-business-model microblogging service has gotten in recent months.

In third place is Facebook, with 228 percent growth year-over-year according to Nielsen. That's not terribly surprising, as Facebook is still growing in the U.S. but not quite as exponentially as it once was. more

Gmail Gets A Panic Button

Have you ever sent an email, and just as it was going on its merry way, you realize you misspelled something or you sent it to the wrong person. This happens to me a lot on Gmail because sending an email is not always instant. And you have more chances to experience email regret as you are waiting for one to send.

Well, now you can take advantage of that delay to "undo" the message. (Not to be confused with Gmail Goggles, which is geared more at preventing drunken emails from ever being sent out in the first place). Just enable the feature in Gmail Labs in Settings (Scroll down, it is not at the top for some reason). It only works during that 5 second delay between the time you hit send and the time that Gmail actually sends the message. more

Social Media Becomes Prevalent in China

Eighty percent of respondents describe the Internet in China as social, according to "Media Shifts to Social: China," released by Netpop Research. The report is part of the Netpop Connect series, which follows a report released on the U.S. audience earlier this month.

Broadband penetration in China totals 243 million for users age 13 and above. Of those, 224 million, or 92 percent, contribute to social media. That's compared to 105 million Americans, or 76 percent of the U.S. broadband population. Social media activities are defined as uploading audio, video, posting to a wiki, publishing a blog, uploading photos or a podcast, publishing a Web site, tagging articles or videos, posting to a microblog, sending or forwarding e-mail, living in a virtual world, posting to a blog or forum, rating or reviewing a product, sharing files on a P2P network, or using social networking sites to publish personal pages. more

Cisco Buys Flip-Maker Pure Digital For $590 Million

Networking equipment giant Cisco (NASD: CSCO) announced on Thursday that it will acquire Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip Video line of Web-ready digital camcorders, for $590 million in stock. Cisco will also offer $15 million as incentives for retaining Pure Digital employees. San Francisco-based Pure Digital began selling its camcorders, priced at $100 to $299, in 2007, and has since sold more than 2 million units. more

LinkedIn Finally Makes Groups More Useful

Managing Groups in LinkedIn so far didn't require a whole lot of management, nor was it very useful to those who created them. While other social networking services have long incorporated ways for group administrators to communicate more efficiently with their members, LinkedIn for whatever obscure reason never even bothered to create a feature that allowed admins to e-mail group members directly for the sake of sharing announcements.

LinkedIn has announced that this feature is now finally being added, "in response to overwhelming demand from group managers" (no kidding) and that group managers can now blast out e-mails with announcements and create a discussion topic that members can comment on automatically in the process. As a privacy measure, LinkedIn is removing the ability to download or view member e-mail addresses.

Google pulls some street images

Google has removed dozens of photos from its new UK Street View service. The street-mapping facility launched amid a fanfare of publicity but now the firm has been forced to pull some of the images after complaints. It is thought the pictures removed contained revealing images of homes, a man entering a London sex shop, people being arrested and a man being sick. A spokesperson for Google told the BBC that anyone could have their images removed if they asked. more

Microsoft's I'm a PC campaign a Success!!!!

Microsoft (MSFT) and its partners are reaping big rewards from the $300 million Windows marketing campaign.

The February U.S. retail PC sales data released by NPD on March 16 shows Apple's (AAPL) steep U.S. retail sales declines continued in February, comparatively worse than January's already dismal showing. Meanwhile, Windows PC sales continued their recent year-over-year growth rally. The contrast is startling. U.S. retail Windows PC unit sales rose 22 percent year over year in February compared with a 16.7 percent Mac sales decline. By revenue, Windows PCs posted modest 1.4 percent growth, compared with a stunning 23.3 percent Mac revenue decline. It's not a Mac bloodbath, but massacre. more 

The Path to 4G

A year ago, the discussion usually centered on what 4G was and whether carriers should select WiMAX or LTE. 

Today when the industry talks about 4G, the discussion is focused on when it will happen and what it will look like. It's clear that WiMAX and LTE are the two technology choices available to operators. And though many Tier 1 operators have chosen their 4G technology path, many Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators are still weighing their options. more

Google Chrome beta catches up to dev version

Google pushed out a new beta version of Google Chrome today, claiming greater speed than ever. To be clear this is a beta-channel release - Chrome itself officially is not a Google Beta anymore.

Google has three versions of Chrome - dev, beta and stable (I run dev on my test box). The most recent dev version came out last week and was number It is that version of dev that the new beta version is based on.  more

Behind Microsoft's New Viral Video

Microsoft's latest viral video, which uses the creative theme "Pretending to work," was actually created by a group of workaholic freelancers who did it on the weekends. The viral video, which went live last week, has logged more than 40,000 views on YouTube with no promotion from Microsoft and little from the video's creators. more

Nutella: Web Giant?

When Facebook released a list of its most popular pages last month, the first two—President Barack Obama and Coca-Cola—were fairly predictable. But No. 3? What was Nutella doing up there?

Though many of those 3 million or so fans were no doubt based in Europe, the Italian hazelnut/chocolate spread has achieved an enviable notoriety in the U.S. as well, branding experts say. "It has all the dimensions of a cult brand," said Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of Landor Associates, who said that the brand's relatively low profile gives consumers social currency. "Part of what drives it is this idea of 'I've found something really cool. I want to get my friends inside something that they won't see in a two-page spread in People magazine.'"

Nevertheless, Douglas Atkin, author of The Culting of Brands, isn't sure that Nutella fits the description of a cult brand. Atkin says that one thing that distinguishes such brands is the ability of fans to talk about things beside the product. But judging by Nutella's Facebook discussions, fans seem to want to talk about little else than Nutella. "Nutella or sex?" is the title of one discussion. "Nutella and pizza" reads another. more 

New electronic reader beats Kindle on color, not on cost

Electronic book readers have been flooding the market in recent months, trying to carve out some of the market established by Amazon's Kindle. Now a long rumored device by Fujitsu is preparing to launch. Called the FLEPia, it's only available in Japan for now and comes with a hefty price tag of about $1,000. But it has something the new Kindle 2 doesn't: color display.

The FLEPia will start shipping in April. Described by Fujitsu as "the world's first color e-paper mobile terminal," it sports an 8-inch display screen "capable of showing up to 260,000 colors in high-definition" and can "can store the equivalent of 5,000 conventional paper-based books." Fujitsu didn't say if and when the device might be available in the U.S. or other markets. more 

Ericsson Looking to Exit Sony Ericsson Joint Venture

Sweden-based telecommunications firm Ericsson is looking into backing out of its Sony Ericsson joint venture, the German magazine Manager reported on Wednesday. According to the report, Sony has "expressed interest" in seeking out banks to help it purchase Ericsson's 50% stake in the company. Electronista reports that Ericsson and Sony have frequently been rumored as fighting each other over the future direction of phones. Sony has allegedly refused to compromise on developing a PlayStation phone and has increasingly taken control of its phones' design directions, such as with the XPERIA X1.

IBM courting SUN. Deal could be worth $6.5 billion

IBM is in talks to acquire server maker Sun Microsystems in a potential deal that could be worth more than $6.5 billion. If consummated, it would mark the largest acquisition in IBM's history, helping to strengthen its position against rival HP.  IBM currently leads the world's server market with a 31.4% market share, HP is second (29.5%), Dell third (11.6%) and Sun fourth (10.6), according to IDC. more 


HSTP: Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol

IBM's research scientists in India have developed a technology that will offer users the ability to talk to the Web and create 'voice' sites using mobile phones according to a news article in the Economic Times today.

Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol (HSTP), a protocol designed to seamlessly connect telephony voice applications, will enable users to browse across voice applications by navigating the Hyperspeech (the voice hyperlink) content in a voice application.

"People will talk to the Web and the Web will respond. The research technology is analogous to the Internet. Unlike personal computers it will work on mobile phones where people can simply create their voice sites," IBM India Research Laboratory Associate Director Manish Gupta told the Economic Times. 

Thomson Reuters, Harvard Create 'Media Cloud'

Thomson Reuters has partnered with Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society to launch the Media Cloud, a set of research tools for tracking online media coverage.

The joint effort is meant to bring some clarity to the vast tangle of news and information on the Web, attempting to answer questions about what types of stories are covered by which media sources, where stories begin, and how blogosphere coverage compares to that of the mainstream media.

The open-source project will debut in the second quarter of 2009. more 

Hearst Closing Seattle P-I Print Edition, Going Online Only

Hearst Corporation announced today that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (P-I) will become the nation's largest daily newspaper to shift to an entirely digital news product. The announcement was made by Frank A. Bennack, Jr., vice chairman and chief executive officer, Hearst Corporation, and Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers. The final print issue of the newspaper will appear tomorrow.

"The P-I has a rich 146-year history of service to the people of the Northwest, which makes the decision to stop publishing the newspaper an extraordinarily difficult one," Bennack said. "We extend our profound gratitude and admiration to our P-I colleagues who have done such an exemplary job under extremely difficult circumstances over the past several years. Our goal now is to turn seattlepi.com into the leading news and information portal in the region."

"Seattlepi.com isn't a newspaper online—it's an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information Web site at its core," said Swartz. It won't be staffed the same—editorial will have 20 staffers, down from 150-plus—and it won't be framed the same.

more | Announcement 

Why the Print Industry Should Subsidize the Kindle

Newspaper and magazine execs have long regretted making their crown jewels -- quality content -- available for free. No one has really been able to make a go of digital subscriptions.

As the tangible media era ends, the media formerly known as print can't count on advertising alone to survive. They need to find healthy subscription revenues. Thankfully, an unusual white knight has emerged: the Amazon Kindle.

The Kindle 2.0's debut was a watershed moment for print media. It offers one last solid shot to build a robust digital-subscription businesses -- if newspapers and magazines move quickly. more  

How Two Coke Fans Brought the Brand to Facebook Fame

Who has the most popular page on Facebook? Barack Obama. Who's second? Coca-Cola. Yes, sugared water runs second only to the leader of the free world. Who was it again that said people don't want to be friends with brands?

Coca-Cola still remains perplexed over why, of the 253 pages on Facebook devoted to the beverage, Messrs. Sorg and Jedrzejewski's page is the only one that has amassed millions of 'fans.'
Coca-Cola still remains perplexed over why, of the 253 pages on Facebook devoted to the beverage, Messrs. Sorg and Jedrzejewski's page is the only one that has amassed millions of 'fans.'

The Coke page, which totals 3.3 million "fans," wasn't even created by Coca-Cola, but by a pair of Los Angelenos who just love Coke.

In late August 2008, aspiring actor Dusty Sorg was hunting for a Coca-Cola fan page he could join on Facebook. He didn't find one that seemed legitimate so he hunted down a high-resolution digital image of a Coke can, uploaded it to Facebook and made a page. more 

SEM Spend, Topping $26B by 2013, Cannibalizes Print Media

Spending on search engine marketing in North America is expected to hit $26 billion by 2013, as the industry continues to grow and SEM and search engine optimization become deeply embedded in marketers' advertising strategies, according to the 2008 annual survey and forecast from the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO).

The 2008 report estimates industry spending in 2008 at $13.5 billion, and forecasts spending to reach $14.7 billion in 2009, $16.7 billion in 2010 and $19.8 billion in 2011. These projections have been revised downward from the 2007 report to reflect the current state of the economy, writes Marketing Charts. more 

HTC Plans to Launch New G1 Smart Phones in 2009

Taiwanese smart-phone producer HTC Corp. said it plans to launch more than three versions of the Google phone in 2009, including the second generation of the phone in the quarter ending June 30. Last year, sales of the first version of the Google phone, or G1, exceeded the targeted one million units, HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou said Tuesday. more 

Apple upgrades Iphone OS - 100 new features

The new functions include cut, copy and paste, long demanded by iPhone users, picture messaging and an in-phone search feature, but not Flash video. "The upgrade is a big big deal and will help persuade consumers to stay with Apple," said Gartner analyst Van Baker. Some of the other main features Apple highlighted for consumers include a voice memo and stereo Bluetooth. A new search tool called Spotlight to allow users to search files and applications on the iPhone or iPod Touch. more | The iPhone OS 3.0 Announcement Scorecard by Mobile Crunch

Discovery Files Patent Suit Against Amazon Over Kindle

Discovery Communications, the owner of cable TV networks including Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, announced on Tuesday that it has filed a patent infringement suit against Amazon over its Kindle e-book reader device.

Discovery alleges that the Kindle and Kindle 2 violate its patent describing an "electronic book security and copyright protection system."

The company said that founder John S. Hendricks was a "significant player in the development of digital content and delivery services in the 1990's," and that his work "included inventions of a secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission and sale of electronic books."  more 

Nokia to Lay Off 1,700 Employees

Nokia announced on Tuesday that it will cut 1,700 jobs worldwide in the coming months, in a bid to "increase cost-efficiency and adapt to the market situation."

The layoffs will focus on Nokia's Devices and Markets units, as well as in its Corporate Development Office and global support functions. more 

Google Launches Village Voicemail With Noticeboard in India

 Google is getting into voice, not only with its highly anticipated relaunch of GrandCentral, but all over the world. Google Labs in India, for instance, just released Google Noticeboard in beta. This is a service geared at developing nations where not everyone has a computer. You can think of it as village voicemail on shared computers.

An administrator sets up a noticeboard on a shared computer in a village or Internet cafe. Then the applications acts as public noticeboard, where anyone can record a voice message. Text can also be added, but it is designed to work in places where literacy rates are low. People from the village can check for new group messages on any shared village computer with the software installed. It works as a Firefox add-on for Windows only. more 

Google Friend Connect Now Allows Deeper Integration with APIs

Google Friend Connect Is trying to catch up with Facebook Connect, and just now released its first set of APIs, which will let developers integrate Google Friend Connect more deeply into their sites and applications. Google Friend Connect offers a single sign-on service as well as several data portability features. more 

StumbleUpon To Launch su.pr ShortUrl Service

StumbleUpon is preparing to launch a shortURL service (a web service that provides short aliases for redirection of long URLs, like TinyURL or Bit.ly) in the next couple of weeks called su.pr

Founder Garrett Camp announced the new service on Twitter without any description of what it might be on March 3. In an email exchange he says it will be a shortURL service to share StumbleUpon links on sites like Twitter and Facebook and that it will be launched in a week or two. The site currently redirects to StumbleUpon.

Yahoo Integrates Fire Eagle Into Facebook: Counters Google Latitude

Taking a different approach to Google's Latitude software, Yahoo's Fire Eagle team on Friday released a new app called, Friends on Fire, which integrates the location-based service to Facebook's social network, enabling people to share their location with each other. 

Google Latitude is an island unto itself, employing Google's own technology for cell phone-based location detection and for managing who gets access to your location. On the other hand Friends on Fire, though combines together a variety of services: Yahoo's Fire Eagle, a service that can store and share your location with authorized applications, and Facebook, which handles the issue of identifying who your friends are and granting them permission to see your location. more 

Microsoft Pulls Plug On adCenter Analytics Beta

Microsoft on Thursday pulled the plug on adCenter Analytics service, even before it exited the beta at the end of the year, and it seems that the company does not plan to replace it. Testers received a letter from Microsoft on March 12 to informing them that it was discontinuing the analytics test.

Technically, it has already been closed, but existing users will be able to access their accounts through December 31, 2009. more 

Google launches Google Voice

google_voice_logo_mar09.pngGoogle today finally announced its plans for GrandCentral, the telephony service it acquired in July 2007. GrandCentral will be reborn as Google Voice, a comprehensive suite of telephony services, including all of GrandCentral's features. In addition, Google Voice will also include an automated voicemail transcription service, the ability to send and receive text messages, and integration with your Gmail contacts. Users can now also call any number in the the U.S. for free. 

more on RWW | on BBC 

Google Introduces 'Interest-Based' Advertising

Google just announced that it will now let you decide which ads you want to see as you surf the web by allowing you to create a profile of your interests. Thanks to Google's new Ads Preferences manager, you can now add your own interests, or wait for Google to customize them automatically based on your browsing habits. Fearing a backlash from privacy advocates, Google also provides users with a number of ways to opt out from this "interest based advertising." more 

Microsoft’s ‘Mobile Incubation Week’

Microsoft has announced a "Mobile Incubation Week" in April in Silicon Valley, followed by events in Europe and Asia. The event is free and companies can send up to 3 people, with the intent being to foster development on the Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.5 platforms. There are more than 20,000 apps for Windows Mobile, but they're scattered over several stores—something Microsoft hopes to fix with Windows Marketplace For Mobiles. Apple  just passed the 25,000 mark in apps for its iPhone, meaning it now has more total apps that Windows Mobile does—something Microsoft probably wants to change. more 

New York Relaunches Web Site Via Huge

NYCGo.comIn an effort to better promote local commerce and tourism in a down economy, New York City has relaunched NYCGo.com, its online face to the world.

NYC & Company--the city's marketing, tourism and partnership organization--commissioned digital design firm Huge Inc. to more vividly reflect the city's leadership in the areas of entertainment, culture, design, and spectacle.more  

The 50 Media Sites Bloggers Link To The Most

Media search engine Technorati is about to release The Technorati Attention Index, which measures the mainstream media websites with the highest number of blogs linking to them in the past 30 days. Right now it has a blog post with the inaugural list.

Here's the list in its entirety from Technorati's index:

  1. YouTube
  2. New York Times
  3. BBC News
  4. CNN.com
  5. MSN
  6. guardian.co.uk
  7. Washington Post
  8. Yahoo! News
  9. Reuters
  10. Los Angeles Times
  11. Telegraph.co.uk
  12. MSNBC
  13. The Wall Street Journal
  14. Time
  15. Wired
  16. USA Today
  17. boston.com
  18. FOX News
  19. Daily Mail
  20. ESPN
  21. CBS News
  22. Financial Times
  23. Forbes
  24. San Francisco Chronicle
  25. Chicago Tribune
  26. The White House
  27. New York Post
  28. New York Daily News
  29. International Herald Tribune
  30. PBS
  31. Salon.com
  32. BusinessWeek
  33. Slate
  34. Newsweek
  35. New York Magazine
  36. Economist.com
  37. CBC.ca
  38. San Francisco Examiner
  39. MarketWatch
  40. Chicago Sun-Times
  41. US News & World Report
  42. Houston Chronicle
  43. Yahoo! Sports
  44. Entertainment Weekly
  45. Seattle Times
  46. E! Online
  47. People
  48. Science Daily
  49. Style.com
  50. The Christian Science Monitor

Google AdSense Releases News Widget

Google AdSense recently released a new widget that allows sites to place news on their site. It looks like your basic AdSense box, but with "powered by Google News" in the tab at the bottom instead. Take a look:


CNN Sees Rise In Online, Mobile TV Viewing; Survey Finds 5 Percent Regularly Watch Mobile TV

Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) and CNN have surveyed CNN's online audience and found that of those people with mobile internet 56 percent access online content while on the move, via a mobile device or wireless LAN. Almost a third—29 percent—said that they recorded video with their mobile phone, and 23 percent said that their TV viewing on mobile devices has increased in the past 3 to 4 years. Five percent of respondents said they watched more than 10 hours of TV a week on their mobile devices, compared to 9 percent viewing that much on PCs and 35 percent viewing that much on the TV sets.  More 

Rupert Murdoch Buys The Brooklyn Paper

The Observer has learned that the 31-year-old independent newspaper, The Brooklyn Paper, has been purchased by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The Brooklyn Paper's editor (and onetime Observer profile subject) Gersh Kuntzman and its publisher Celia Weintrob confirmed the news. more 

How to Make Display Ads Suck Less

"Online display advertising sucks," says Ad Age contributor Noah Brier. He argues that all the attention on display advertising not working has been focused on "everything but the ad itself" -- that is, the creative, which he thinks has been generally poor. "First off," he says, the creative is "hardly ever aware of the content it is hanging out with. I'm not talking contextual ads here, just saying that display advertising needs to be aware of where it lives. At least it should know what site it's on and what people are there for."

Brier laments that the planning process is so heavily math-oriented that it doesn't matter whether an ad runs across a gossip, sports or gadget site, as long as it fits the IAB guidelines. "Without thinking about where the display is sitting, the creative is left focusing on a totally-out-of-context consumer." This, he says, "pretty much gives up the biggest advantage the web has over other media: the ability to target smaller groups affordably with discrete messages. As soon as we go with a single message across all these sites we're left with a glorified TV ad."

Brier argues that specfic ads should be created for big publishers. "If you know you're designing something for ESPN.com, for instance, you would create a very different thing than if it were for Newsweek." Then, by knowing what site your creative is running on, "we can start to design things that look like they belong a little more."  more 

Cisco and Google to replace GM and Citigroup on Dow Jones?

Google and Cisco are the top contenders to join the Dow Jones industrial average if Citigroup and General Motors are booted off, Reuters reports. Both Citigroup (NYSE: C) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) are trading below $2 -- though both are nearing that number after substantial gains Tuesday morning.

Other contenders to join the Dow, which has lost 25 percent of its value this year alone, include Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), US Steel (NYSE: X), Visa (NYSE: V) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). more 

Nokia's smartphone market share dropping

Nokia is losing its smartphone market share while smaller competitors such as Research In Motion, Apple and HTC have been gaining share in the fast-growing segment, according to new research from Gartner.

Nokia saw its market share for smartphones drop to 40.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to 50.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. Meanwhile, RIM, Apple, HTC and Samsung all saw their smartphone market shares climb substantially in the quarter. For all of 2008, Nokia's smartphone market share dropped to 43.7 percent, down from 49.4 percent in 2007. While Nokia still commands a strong worldwide lead, the insurgent competitors are certainly making inroads in the global market. more 

Company 4Q08 Sales Market Share4Q08 (%) 4Q07 Sales Market Share4Q07 (%) 4Q07-4Q08 Growth (%)
Nokia 15,561.7 40.8% 18,703.3 50.9% -16.8%
RIM 7,442.6 19.5% 4,024.7 10.9% 84.9%
Apple 4,079.4 10.7% 1,928.3 5.2% 111.6%
HTC 1,631.7 4.3% 1,361.1 3.7% 19.9%
Samsung 1,598.2 4.2% 671.5 1.8% 138.0%
Others 7,829.7 20.5% 10,077.3 27.4% -22.3%
Total 38,143.3 100% 36,766.1 100% 3.7%

Note: Under the name HTC, Gartner counts only the company's own-branded devices.
The devices that HTC designs for mobile operators are shown separately under the operators' names in these statistics.

Facebook Referring More Traffic to (Some) Big Sites than Google

Some big sites are getting big traffic, but it's not from the usual suspect of Google. Instead, it's from Facebook. PerezHilton.com and Cafemom.com are among the sites benefitting from the word of mouth and social networking going on at Facebook. Interestingly enough, there is one more site benefitting from Facebook traffic: Twitter, whose buzz as of late seems a bit of a threat to both Facebook and Google. The threat is less for Facebook, who benefits from user mashups allowing status updates to appear on Twitter and vice versa.

Facebook sees about 1/3 of the U.S. traffic that Google does. So, it's surprising to see this trend happen so soon. Still, Microsoft seems just a little more brilliant for becoming Facebook's search partner last year. 


Paul Allen's Plum takes on Twitter and Facebook

A Paul Allen-backed startup by the name of Plum today is introducing Plum Groups, a new way for like-minded individuals tin small groups o securely share status updates, photos and videos with one another.

"Services like Facebook and Twitter are powerful ways to broadcast to large groups of people, but they stop short of keeping real-world groups like families, close friends, schools and co-workers connected in a more private and intimate way" said CEO Hans Peter Brondmo.  more 

Apple Unveils New Talking iPod Shuffle

Apple on Wednesday introduced its new iPod shuffle, which the company said is half the size of its previous model and includes a new feature that speaks song titles, artists and playlist names. "The amazingly small new iPod shuffle takes a revolutionary approach to how you listen to your music by talking to you, also making it the first iPod shuffle with playlists," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod and iPhone product marketing.  more 

Google to Introduce "Interest-based" Behavioral Advertising

Google (NASD: GOOG) on Wednesday announced that it will soon begin serving "interest-based" ads, or those targeted to users based on surveillance of their Web surfing habits, beginning on YouTube and its AdSense partner sites. "If, for example, you love adventure travel and therefore visit adventure travel sites, Google could show you more ads for activities like hiking trips to Patagonia or African safaris," Google VP of product management Susan Wojcicki wrote, in describing the technology.

Carrefour loses MVNO license in Spain

Carrefour, the supermarket chain, which also held a MVNO licence in Spain dubbed as Carrefour Movil has lost its licence as it failed to renew its services in due time.
The Spanish regulator, CMT, has cancelled nearly 500 mobile licence across Spain in total driven by MVNO's incompliance with the legal procedure. Carrefour, at present serves thousands of subscribers, in regard to which, regulator plans to maintain their phone lines. more 

Acer Wants To Offer Smartphones For Free

Acer just recently jumped into the smartphone market, but it's looking to make a major impact by offering handsets that are low cost or free with a service contract.

Despite the economic downturn that will lead to a rare decline in the overall mobile phone market, smartphones are expected to see rapid growth. Most industry watchers think shipments could rise by as much as 11%, but Acer said an annual growth rate of 15% is possible if companies can provide lower prices. more  

Twitter To Start Serving Local News To Users?

When asked about possible future features for Twitter, Twitter CEO Evan Williams reportedly said that one of the things being considered is an extension that lets people know what's happening in their immediate vicinity. That would basically mean that Twitter could actively ping users about local events that are going on in their neighborhood, in real-time, based on the location they've indicated. As an example, Williams says users could be alerted to the fact a fire is burning a few streets away from where Twitter knows (or thinks) they are. more 

Google's Renewable Energy Push

Google has this to say about energy: we waste to too much of it. The search giant continues to push beyond its bread and butter search and Web applications businesses to promote energy conservation to both consumers and business.

Earlier this week, the company gave the first public demo of its power metering application designed to help consumers track energy use. Today, in a blog post, Google encouraged users to get involved in a Power Down for the Planet video contest sponsored by the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI) a group co-founded by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). more | Eric Schmidt on WSJ  

New York Times Sells Building Stake for $225 Million

The New York Times Co. agreed to sell the space it occupies in its Manhattan headquarters for $225 million to pay debt as print advertising revenue declines.

The newspaper publisher will lease the building for 15 years from new owner W.P. Carey & Co., a New York-based real estate investment bank, and retain the option to buy back its stake in 2019 for $250 million, according to a statement today. The transaction covers 21 floors, or about 750,000 square feet, of the 52-story building on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st streets. The publisher, which has cut jobs and stopped paying dividends, is trying to sell assets to cope with an accelerating decline in revenue.more      

Zimbra Grows Bigger Trounces Google's Gmail

It is praiseworthy to be able to offer 31.2 million free Gmail accounts, as Google has. Nevertheless, it is even more praiseworthy to get customers to pay for 40 million mailboxes, as Zimbra, the Yahoo-owned email and business software provider, has crossed a new milestone reported last week, representing a sharp change from the 20 million paid mailboxes reported in early 2009. Zimbra's crossing the 40 million user mark, is no way a small achievement for a company that charges for email. In fact, according to comScore, Zimbra actually has more monthly unique visitors than Google's Gmail: 31.4 million to Gmail's 31.2 million. more 

How A Small Company Won A Suit Against Google

David vs. Goliath? Aaron Greenspan tells his tale of suing Google. It all started after Think Computer Corp. became a Google AdWords advertiser. Sadly, he writes, the several ad campaigns he tried ended in failure. Months passed until Greenspan signed up for an AdSense account, when trouble ensued.

Greenspan steps through the circumstances that led to the small claims court lawsuit for $721, how and why he filed the claim, and the findings that led the judge to rule in his favor. He also details Google's paralegal's defense and the judge's response. more 

Apple's Epic E-Book Fail

Amazon's new Kindle for iPhone represents a massive exploitation of the short-sightedness of Apple. Apple should have read this market better. Amazon's new Kindle for iPhone application shipped this week. The software lets you read any of Amazon's 240,000 Kindle books on an iPhone much like you would on an over-priced Amazon Kindle. "People don't read anymore," Steve Jobs told the New York Times more than a year ago in his explanation as to why the Amazon Kindle was irrelevant. Never mind that Amazon sold more Kindles in its first year of sales than Apple sold iPods in that gadget's first year. Never mind that Amazon sold more Kindles in its first year of sales than Apple sold iPods in that gadget's first year.  more 

Omniture Brings Twitter Tracking to SiteCatalyst

Through a SiteCatalyst API, Omniture is launching a tool that enables marketers to measure brand activity on Twitter. The offering counts the number of times a term is mentioned on the microblogging site, then presents that data in a bar graph that can be sorted by day. Twitter users are sorted by customer, vendor, employee and other categories, according to MarketingVOX.

Brand names can also be paired to other keywords or phrases for more granular tracking. "After using Twitter a lot I realized it takes an enormous amount of time to monitor your brand," said Director-Solution Architecture Adam Greco of Omniture. "These tweets are nothing more than text comments that we could incorporate in our suite platform." more 

Eric Schmidt interview : Google Is “Unlikely” To Buy Twitter And Wants To Turn Phones Into TVs

The wide-ranging interview touches upon everything from Google's origins and how it fell upon its advertising business model by accident to how search and other technologies will change society over the next twenty years. Asked if Google wants to buy Twitter, Schmdit responded: "We're unlikely to buy anything in the short term partly because I think prices are still high." And echoing Mayer's earlier enthusiasm for all things mobile, Schmidt painted a picture of Android-powered devices turning into TVs. more