Daily Archives: May 19, 2009

The beginning of June is shaping up to be the big moment in this year’s smartphone calendar.

Palm and Sprint just announced a launch date for the much-anticipated Pre: Saturday 6th June. We got pretty excited about the device ourselves when it was first shown off at the start of the year, though a veiled threat of a lawsuit from Apple and a warning that early sales will fall well short of the hype are a reminder that this remains a high-risk proposition for the struggling Palm.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the launch has been set for two days before an Apple event at which the latest iteration of its iPhone is expected to be introduced – and, possibly, a larger touchscreen device that pushes the boundaries of this new category. Read more

When Dow Jones executives last week came out with guidelines describing how employees of The Wall Street Journal and other publications should use social media, they were lambasted for putting forward an approach that many saw as out of touch. Among the new rules were restrictions against promoting one’s own work and becoming Facebook friends with confidential sources.

But Dow Jones should be commended for even trying. Social media can catch businesses off guard if they are unprepared — witness Motrin’s belated attempt to make amends with offended mommy bloggers — yet most companies have not formalised their policies around it. While a limited number of savvy corporations are developing social media guidelines, most are still unsure what to make of conversational technologies such as Facebook and Twitter. Read more

  • Look out Amazon. Scribd, a digital document sharing service, is launching an online retail market for books and documents, betting that a surge in interest in reading online will help it transform into an Ebay or an Amazon.com of text. The two-year-old Silicon Valley start-up, whose doubling of audience size every six months has been compared to YouTube’s explosive growth, will let some 60m readers of its service begin charging each other for the rights to access just about anything uploaded to the service.
  • Facebook became a relying party for OpenID, the universal web login standard that is trying to gain traction. That means, for example, that Facebook users with an associated Gmail account will be able to browse Facebook without having to login if they are coming from Gmail. But Google, an issuing party, is not likely to become a relying party anytime soon. Doing so would mean surrendering some control of access to their proprietary accounts.

 Read more

Flock, the social web browser that fell victim to Web 2.0 hype in 2005, appears to be finally taking flight four years later, with a new release that swoops on the surge in social media usage.

Flock 2.5, released today, amounts to the popular Firefox browser on social-media steroids. “This is our biggest release since the commercial deployment of 1.0 [in 2007],” Shawn Hardin, chief executive, told me during a demo of the product. Read more

Whoever devised the “soft launch” plan for Steven Wolfram’s new search engine – er, computational knowledge engine – deserves a bonus.

Since Wolfram Alpha was shown off informally to a group of online writers earlier this month, the hype has been building fast. Before long, the question was inescapable: Has the Google-killer finally arrived? Read more