Monthly Archives: November 2010

Chris Nuttall

Google and Facebook have ceased to innovate, according to venture capitalist Fred Wilson, an allegation that John Doerr, a rival VC and Google board member, found hard to refute at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Mr Wilson (pictured right, photo courtesy of Web 2.0 Summit), author of the popular A VC blog and a managing partner at Union Square Ventures, said Google had not come up with anything truly transformative that was a home-grown product since Gmail, introduced in 2004. It had relied on acquisitions instead to develop new services. Read more

Green energy is often seen as the next gold mine for US innovation and entrepreneurship – following Silicon Valley’s successes in software and the internet – but it is a costly and complex business.

At a General Electric event in New York this morning, I was struck by a figure quoted by Jeff Immelt, GE’s chief executive – that a single solar panel plant costs as much to build as the entire venture capital investment in Google. Read more

Joseph Menn

After more than a year of arguing and pressure from regulators, Apple has finally blessed Google’s official Google Voice application for the iPhone.

Google announced the approval on its blog on Tuesday, touting features including low-cost international calls and free transcription of voicemail messages. Read more

Joseph Menn

Baidu chief executive Robin Li said he is planning to expand into new countries and offer more languages to users beyond the dominant Chinese search engine’s two-year-old foray in Japan.

Speaking for the first time at a US technology industry conference, Mr Li said Baidu also has dramatic room to grow in the company’s home country, which has one-third internet penetration.

He said that only 150m of China’s 800m mobile phones have internet access, and that eventually all will. Read more

Chris Nuttall

More than a third of a billion people are active users of Facebook Messages, which made major strides to becoming a fully fledged email service on Monday.

I am among the first batch of users to get an address in a rollout expected to take many months. First impressions on the new features after the jump: Read more

Joseph Menn

The version of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones due out in a few weeks can be used with specialised chips to authenticate the precise location of the mobile devices, paving the way for secure payments at physical stores, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said Monday.

Because the Near-Field Communication chips can store and exchange precise data about the phones, well beyond ordinary GPS, their adoption will allow phone owners to tap their gadgets against a physical surface to confirm their presence and identity, Mr Schmidt said. Read more

The bitter dispute between Google and China rumbles on. In the latest episode, the company has released a white paper urging the international community to fight internet restrictions, which it calls the “trade barriers of the 21st century”.

Naturally, Google officials denied that the report was targeted at a specific country. Bob Boorstin, Google’s director of public policy, told the FTRead more

Chris Nuttall

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the future of messaging was online conversations not email, as he unveiled an upgraded browser-based email and messaging service at a news conference in San Francisco on Monday.

With more than half a billion members, such a service could turn Facebook into a serious webmail challenger to Microsoft, Yahoo and Google overnight.

Our live coverage from the news conference is after the jump: Read more

Richard Waters

Google has never been shy about the fact that it automatically puts results from some of its own services at the top of search results pages if these help answer a users’ query faster. If you type in an address, a map from Google Maps might give you the instant answer you need.

But how often does Google do this, does it always result in superior results, and what effect does it have on companies that offer rival services? Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, has tested what he calls “hard-coding” by the search engine – that is, where it overrides the normal algorithmic results to put a Google answer first – and concludes the practice is now common. Read more

Chris Nuttall

It took a while for tablet rivals to emerge to Apple’s iPad, but Lenovo has wasted no time in coming out with a laptop competitor to the new MacBook Air.

The IdeaPad U260 will go on sale on Monday on Lenovo’s website starting at $899 as “the world’s first 12.5-inch ultra-portable consumer laptop, giving users a 16:9 widescreen dimension in a 12-inch form factor for the first time.” Read more