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Monthly Archives: September 2007
Some very big bets are being placed on finding the next online media conglomerates. One thing these companies have in common: they don’t spend too much money on content, but have models designed to aggregate large audiences on the Web.
Glam Media, which claims to have the largest reach of any Website aimed at women, is understood to be looking to raise $250m from private investors. Glam likes to think of itself as a US-style TV network for the Web. It creates a small amount of content, a brand and advertising: other websites with relevant content that want to sign on to the network have to commit to an exclusive relationship, making them the equivalent of the "owned and operated" stations of the TV networks (though Glam doesn’t go actually buy them outright.) This aggregated audience has now reached 25m unique visitors. Read more
The most interesting of these is Forge, a map editor that lets Halo players roam around the game’s multi-player battlefields dropping weapons, vehicles and other materiel around the map. Players can then save their custom-built maps, invite friends and even upload them to the web site of Bungie, Halo 3′s developer, where they can be shared and commented on by the entire Halo 3 community. Read more
One of the consequences of the evolution of the web from a text-heavy to an increasingly video centric medium is that search tools also need to evolve.
The "wisdom of crowds" motif has become a tired cliche in online circles in recent years. With the latest in low-cost interactive Web technologies, though, there finally seems to be a real wave of experimentation underway in how to harness the knowledge of the masses.
The range of that experimentation is intriguing. Two of the companies presenting at the Demo conference – a showcase that tries to filter out the best tech start-ups, though the "winners" of this contest still have to pay $18,000 to show up – represent the extremes. Read more
Q: Where can you find 1m screens, at the heart of a multi-billion-dollar industry, that are just waiting to be connected to the internet?
A: Las Vegas, Atlantic City and anywhere else that players of the slots congregate. Read more
It is always good to kick off a conference – particularly a tech startup beauty show like Demo – with a splash. That is just what DemoFall’s longtime organiser, Chris Shipley, did with Digital Fountain, the kick off demonstrator at today’s event in San Diego.
Digital Fountain, a privately funded Fremont-based digital video infrastructure startup, showed off itsDF Splash technology which cleans up "lossy" IP-delivered video guaranteeing near broadcast quality video even when a sizable number of packets are dropped. Read more
The Demo, which has just started in San Diego, looks like being a great showcase for a wide range of practical businesses being built on today’s internet technologies: online video delivery networks, "wisdom of crowds" marketing systems, workplace social networks, mobile search engines. Read more
The advent of the web and GPS devices has made all that seem out of date. In 2000, the US removed selective availability from its GPS system, allowing locations to be nailed down to within three metres and leading to the growth of geocaching as a sport and worldwide treasure hunt. Read more
The merry-go-round of big internet companies looking to buy a piece of Facebook is taking another turn, with Microsoft coming into view again – a Wall Street Journal report says it is seeking to invest up to $500m in the social networking site.
Yahoo, Google and Microsoft are all understood to have flirted with Facebook in the past year or so, but it has remained resolutely independent, and there is every chance its founder Mark Zuckerberg would rebuff Microsoft again. Read more
The current credit crisis has caught monetary policy experts by surprise, from the governor of the Bank of England to executives in financial institutions around the world.
But would they have been better prepared if the contributing factors had already been rehearsed in a virtual world economy? Read more
That’s the main lesson for corporate types who want to use video sites like YouTube to promote their message, according to researchers at the Cass Business School. Viewers apparently don’t like to be taken in. Read more
For a conference that is all about wooing investors, panellists and the media, TechCrunch40 could really have benefited from the technology demonstrated by WooMe in the last session of the two-day start-up auditions.
WooMe brings speed dating online, allowing users to set up video chat sessions where they can meet five people in five minutes, or other combinations. Read more
Big Blue can still pack a punch in the Web 2.0 world. Silicon Valley’s eyes have been turned this week on the TechCrunch40 conference (see note below), a coming-out party for the Valley’s hottest new internet companies. How ironic, then, that some of the biggest news has come from an old tech giant that was conspicuously absent.
IBM has said it will distribute a version of Open Office, the open-source office productivity suite, to run with its Lotus Notes software. While Web 2.0 start-ups are racing to out-do each other with new online Office-type applications, IBM has just dusted off an old Microsoft competitor and given it a fresh coat of paint. Read more
Sales figures for the video game industry released by the NPD research firm today showed 277,000 360s were sold in August, compared to 170,000 in July. Read more
The latest rumour bouncing around Silicon Valley is that Facebook may be looking to raise another round of venture capital.
It’s an interesting idea, not least because any new funding round would force Facebook’s investors to put a valuation on the company. Peter Thiel, the site’s second-biggest investor, told us last month that Facebook and its founders think the site is worth $8bn to $10bn. It is unlikely that VCs would be tempted by such a high valuation – far more likely that Mr Thiel was throwing the number out as a signal to potential acquirers. Still, even at a much lower valuation, the buzz around Facebook is such that it could probably raise a hundred million dollars or more for a relatively small dilution in ownership. Read more
OQO, who thought of the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) category before Microsoft, Intel and Samsung attempted to define it (remember the Origami Project), launched new versions today of the “world’s smallest fully functional Windows Vista PC.”