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? Last.fm, 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 Wallstrip.com, 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 Last.fm founder, outlined the company’s reasoning about the deal on the recently-launched Last.fm 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 eventful.com, 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 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
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
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