Monthly Archives: May 2007

Gears_3 Microsoft is facing a Web triumvirate trying to muscle in on its domination of the desktop.

Google Gears, announced today, will enable Google applications such as Gmail, Calendar, Docs & Spreadsheets and Reader to be used without an internet connection, although only the last named will initially have this offline capability.  Read more

For all its talk about not being evil, Google’s latest maps innovation is, well, a bit creepy. Similar to the now-defunct "block view" feature on Amazon’s A9 search engine, Google’s new "street view", makes it possible to zoom in for an up close view of addresses in Google Maps.

That is well and good for someone who was interested in locating something like the FT bureau in San Francisco, for example. But it veers into the Orwellian when it allows you to peek into the windows of unsuspecting private citizens such as this Boingboing reader, who was startled to see that Google’s street-level photographers had  captured an image of her tabby cat perching in her living room window. Read more

People and companies around the world will print the equivalent of more than 50 trillion pages in 2010. Vyomseh, Joshi, head of Hewlett-Packard’s $27bn imaging and printing group, spent this morning in New York outlining how the company plans to capture more of them.

According to HP, an astouding 48 per cent of pages printed in the home now come from the world wide web, in the form of travel itineraries, directions, news articles and other online media. In spite of this huge demand for web printing, formatting remains a problem. Simply put, most web pages look terrible when you print them out. Read more

Who says European entrepreneurship is dead?, a music site that pools its users’ preferences to offer personalised music recommendations, became the latest EU-based startup to be bought out on Wednesday after it agreed to be acquired by CBS for $280m. The company, which operates from the gritty streets of East London, is the latest in a string of internet deals for the US television network. Other recent deals include CBS’s acquisition of, an innovative web show; and investments in Joost, the online TV site created by the founders of Skype, and Spot Runner, a web-based TV ad group.

Richard Jones, a founder, outlined the company’s reasoning about the deal on the recently-launched blog:  Read more

US presidential hopefuls reliance on the internet for their 2008 campaigns extends to it telling them where they should next hold their rallies.

Eventful Demand, a service offered by the events website, is used by more than 12,000 musicians to help them plan tours according to where their fanbase is located. Fans “vote” for bands to visit their cities, revealing where they are most popular. Read more

Fabrik Fabrik is attempting to take online storage to the next level and the backing of venture capital group 3i this week ought to help.

Fourth-round funding of $25m will help Fabrik launch an integrated service in the autumn that will give users control through a single interface over documents, photos and video stored online, offline and on any local or network-attached devices. Read more

The games console and phone are increasingly blending into one, and convergence is happening from all angles. Nokia has for a long time been talking about putting its N-Gage gaming platform onto a series of smartphones. Now Sony has done a deal with BT to put voice and video call capabilities on the PlayStation Portable.

Of course, given that the PSP can connect to the internet via a wi-fi connection, you can already make internet calls on the device, if you can be bothered to set up Skype or something similar. However, from around September this year, BT are planning to make calls from the device a much easier, one-click operation.  Read more

Fifa_07 Electronic Arts became the world’s biggest video game publisher without ever having a serious impact in Asia.

That may be changing. On Monday, it announced it was taking a 15 per cent stake in The9, one of the leading online game operators in China, for $167m. Read more

Microsoft’s $6bn acquisition of aQuantive today isn’t just Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever. It may be the biggest deal for an advertising company in history. Are things getting out of hand in the suddenly red-hot online advertising sector?

AQuantive’s stock price shot up more than 77 per cent today after word of Microsoft’s $6bn takeover. Paying $6bn in cash for a company on Friday that was worth $3bn on Monday might seem over the top, but a closer look at the numbers shows that the valuation Microsoft put on the company falls somewhere between what Google paid for DoubleClick and what Yahoo paid for Right Media.  Read more

Pokemon_diamond The Nintendo Wii has extended its domination over Sony’s PlayStation 3 to an embarrassing level, according to the latest US sales estimates from the NPD Group.

It says 82,000 PS3s were sold in April compared to 360,000 Wiis – meaning Nintendo’s next-generation machine is outselling Sony’s by more than four to one. Read more

Searchology The most striking aspect of Google’s new Universal Search pages is the embedded video, where searches relevant to content on Google Video and YouTube will be rewarded with actual video viewable on the page along with the usual relevant text links.

Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, suggested that YouTube might be seen in a new light other than pure entertainment. He said: Read more

Marissa_mayer Continuing our live notes from the Googleplex on Google’s Searchology event, 11.30 am Pacific time, Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products and User Experience, is now speaking and finally we have some meaty announcements:

"Our first announcement today is Universal Search breaking down the silos of search integrating Books, Local, Images, News and Video. When you search on Steve Jobs you get pictures of Steve, news, video of Steve, related searches, news archive results – all these items integrated on a page to give you a much more holistic answer.  Nosferatu, the horror movie still gives you an IMDB link, but also a video is there – 84 minute video uploaded to Google Video. We are also bringing it in from other providers such as Metacafe, for Google and YouTube you can watch it in the results page, for others it’s a link to their sites.  Read more

Udi_manber Continuing our live notes from the Googleplex on Google’s Searchology event, 11 am Pacific time, Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products and User Experience, and Udi Manber, VP Engineering, are up next talking about the next step in the evolution of search:

Udi talks first, he joined Google 15 months ago, but has been working on search for 18 years, he is head of search quality efforts. Read more

Craig_silverstein Live notes from technology director Craig SilverStein’s talk at Google’s Searchology event. He was Google’s first employee:

“Comprehensiveness, relevance, speed and user experience were the important things, we decided at the start. Read more

Google 9.30am pacific time: Google’s Searchology event is just starting here in Mountain View. It’s a day for the press and analysts to learn about what the agenda describes as the next step in the evolution of search. We’re starting with Search of Days Past from Craig Silverstein, Google’s Technology Director, then Search as We Know It Today, a talk by Ben Gomes, software engineer and Kerry Rodden, senior user experience researcher.
Then it’s Next Step in Evolution of Search – Udi Manber, VP engineering and Marissa Mayer, VP Search products and User Experience, before we get a Q&A and some search demos.
I’ll keep you updated on the morning’s events.

  Read more

Ansche_chung_neverdie Virtual worlds are to get their own Oscars and two of the richest and best known in-world characters are behind the new Virtual Academy.

Ansche Chung, a real-estate developer in Second Life, and NeverDie, a nightclub owner in the Entropia Universe, announced the academy on Tuesday and said its first award nominations would be made in February 2008. Read more

Powerfootball_2006_screenshot6 Benchmark Capital, the Silicon Valley VC firm, is building itself an interesting portfolio of online gaming and social networking companies, sometimes choosing start-ups that fuse both elements.

On Monday, it announced an $8m investment in the Swedish online sports games publisher and developer Power ChallengeRead more

Doh_matt_groening Electronic Arts held its summer preview of forthcoming attractions in San Francisco on Wednesday, with the announcement and demonstration of The Simpsons game taking centre stage.

This is not based on the forthcoming movie. It is 8,000 lines of original dialogue from the TV show’s writers – the equivalent of three episodes. Read more

Jobs Steve Jobs was in a feisty mood on Thursday as he took questions from the audience at Apple’s shareholder meeting.

In his first public comments about backdating since the scandal broke last year, Mr Jobs defended his role, swatting down a question from an AFL-CIO representative who asked "what did you know, and when did you know it?" Read more

Invasion_laptop_2 While Intel was launching its Centrino Duo and Pro platforms on Wednesday and showing off colourful laptops, its venture capital arm was announcing an investment that revealed part of its strategy for smaller devices.

Intel Capital said it was leading a 3rd round $15m funding of Jajah, the Silicon Valley-based internet phone company with more than 2m users. Read more