Monthly Archives: September 2009

From John Gapper’s blog

Google Voice, the company’s new free phone service in the US (you cannot yet use it in other parts of the world) is a smart service that deserves to succeed. It does, however, place Google in a tricky intellectual position.

Google has come up with a clever way of circumventing the barrier to using Skype or other free services on phones. Instead of you dialing out, Google Voice calls your number and simultaneously connects you with the one you want, like an automated assistant. Read more

Paul Taylor

Intelius provides background check and public records services to companies and individuals using the internet to sniff out personal data that sometimes people would rather forget. This is serious stuff that can make or break a job applicant.

Now however the company has turned its technology spotlight onto another area where reputation really matters: Dating. Read more

Paul Taylor

DemoFall 09 kicked off in San Diego today and the first session included some interesting new applications and technologies. Here are a couple of my favourites – one software, one hardware:

Sunnyvale-based Micello launched an indoor mapping service for the  iPhone that provides users with a clickable layout of indoor facilities like shopping malls, college campuses and so forth and potentially fills a hole in Google’s otherwise excellent mapping service. Read more

Chris Nuttall

HP today came up with a videoconferencing product that could work out 1,000 times cheaper than the telepresence mega-productions itself and Cisco have been pushing.

Cisco’s TelePresence or HP’s Halo can cost more than $300,000 for a boardroom suite setup, but HP’s  SkyRoom could link two boardrooms for less than $300. Read more

David Gelles

It is perhaps with good reason that Larry Ellison does not speak in public that often. Whenever he does, the famously bombastic Oracle chief executive seems certain to trash his rivals, make bold predictions about Oracle’s future, and wander off topic.

Last night at a meeting of the Churchill Club, Mr Ellison said that Sun Microsystems was losing $100m a month as European regulators scrutinise Oracle’s proposed takeover of the struggling hardware maker.

On the economy, Mr Ellison said it would be at least another five years before the US begins to recover. He said it would not be a V shaped recovery with a sharp rebound, or a W shaped recovery with a double dip, or a U shaped recovery with a pause before an uptick, but an L shaped recovery — “down and not coming back up.” Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Googlers will be breathing sighs of relief today that the European Court of Justice has indicated the search group can continue selling trademarked advertising keywords to anyone.

But for advertisers, the legal battle is far from over. Read more

David Gelles

This is a guest post from the FT’s media correspondent, Kenneth Li

Finding a good movie is generally a hit or miss proposition, Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, explained on Monday.

That’s a problem for Mr Hastings, whose billion dollar mail order movies rental business hinges on subscribers being progressively happier about what they watch next or risk dumping the service.

Netflix, which discovered early on that movies that were recommended generally pleased customers more than even new releases, spent a decade struggling to take the guesswork out of what to watch next and were unable to boost accuracy by 10 per cent.

Mr Hastings turned that challenge — telling customers what they want before they want it –- into a million dollar global challenge. The winners were announced todayRead more

Chris Nuttall

It was hard for Dallas Cowboys fans to look away from their team’s opening 33-31 home defeat to the New York Giants on Sunday night.

The Giants’ victory was writ large on huge Mitsubishi-made screens getting their National Football League debut in the Cowboys new $1.2bn stadium. Read more

Chris Nuttall, the  service we highlighted as competing to be your cell phone’s “social address book”, has also launched a Web “TV” version today. lets users record four-second video status updates and these are now being streamed in channel-like themes, several of them started by Justin Timberlake, its pop-star lead investor. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Google’s email service is finally returning to its original Gmail branding in the UK after a four-year absence, after Google settled a trademark dispute.

Google paid £226,324 for the intellectual property rights for Gmail to a small UK-based financial research firm, Independent International Investment ResearchRead more