Social gaming company Zynga seems attached to Facebook at the hip.
The vast majority of Zynga’s 120m monthly users come from Facebook, and the slightest change in the Facebook news feed can have a major impact on how Zynga promotes its games.
As of December, Zynga and Facebook even share the same investors.
Mark Pincus, Zynga’s chief executive, sat down with the FT to talk about Facebook, the iPad and the future of social gaming. Read more
Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft’s business division, sat down with the FT for a chat about the competitive landscape, Google and Office 2010.
Twitter may already seem hard to escape on the Web, but it is now trying to become truly ubiquitous.
Its new @anywhere platform, announced at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, will allow other sites to integrate Twitter deeply into their own content pages. A dozen sites, including The New York Times, Amazon.com, msnbc.com and The Huffington Post are participating in the launch.
Sites that implement @anywhere will be able to add Twitter-rich hyperlinks; when a user rolls over a link to, say, the name of a person, a bubble will appear with that person’s Twitter handle, last Tweet and other information. The new platform will also allow users to perform some actions — such as following and retweeting — without leaving the partner site.
“The big thing that @everywhere does is reduce friction,” said Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, announcing the platform during a conversation with Umair Haque. “It gives [sites] a connection back to the users that [they] didn’t have before.” Read more
Indian PayPal users can once again use local banks to withdraw money from their accounts, resolving a hiccup that for weeks had prevented users in the world’s second most populous country from getting cash from their accounts.
The trouble began last month, when Indian regulators threw a wrench into PayPal’s business in the country as they investigated whether PayPal, the world’s largest online payments company, should be considered a remittances business.
As a result, PayPal stopped allowing users to transfer funds directly from one personal account to another, and also made it impossible for its customers in India to withdraw PayPal funds through a bank, effectively shutting down the only method for retrieving an account’s balance. Person-to-person transfers will likely be suspended for a few months as the company works with regulators to obtain new licenses that will allow it to legally handle remittances. Read more
A new alliance should make it a bit easier to get around the web without accumulating yet more usernames and passwords.
The Open Identity Exchange will enable users of PayPal, Google and Equifax to sign into certain US government websites using their credentials from those sites.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the first government website accepting these credentials. Once signed into the NIH website with, say, a PayPal ID, users can perform customized library searches, access training resources, register for conferences, and contribute to medical research wikis. Read more
Local reviews site Yelp is facing some unflattering reviews of its own service.
In a class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court, the red-hot startup is accused of unfair competition and what amounts to extorting small businesses.
The plaintiff in the suit, an animal hospital in Los Angeles, alleges that after negative reviews about its business appeared on Yelp, sales representatives from the company called and said that for $300 per month, they could make the ads disappear.
Don’t be surprised if this sounds familiar. In a lengthy article last year, the East Bay Express leveled similar charges against the company. But in an interview with the FT, Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman flatly denied the claims. Read more
Those who use the mobile web use it a lot. In urban centres it’s not uncommon to see dozens of people walking down the street peering into a smartphone screen.
Sometimes they are surfing the web or checking email, but oftentimes they are looking to do something — make a reservation at a restaurant, find a show or movie to go to, or make travel arrangements. But navigating the full web on a tiny screen can be cumbersome (especially when you’re walking or driving or on the train).
Siri, a startup that just launched its “virtual personal assistant” today, has identified this pain point and come up with an elegant solution. Read more
As Stephen Colbert prepared to announce the nominees for Song of the Year at the Grammys on Sunday night, he reached into his pocket for the list.
“And the nominees are . . . I’m sorry where’s the list?” he said, looking offstage.
Then he turned to face the audience. “Oh I know,” he said. “It’s on my iPad.”
Colbert then unbuttoned his jacket and pulled out an Apple iPad. (Video after the jump.) Read more
To the critics, fanboys and sceptics who have been waiting for Apple iPad for months, today’s first impressions ranged from elation to exasperation.
Writing at Slate.com, Farhad Manjoo said the iPad is the second computer he’s been looking for. “I wanted a flat, portable, easy-to-use machine that I could use for e-mail and reading the Web,” he writes. “The iPad is that device. Jobs described it as the perfect hybrid of a laptop and a phone, and I agree. Everything about it—its size, shape, weight, and fantastically intuitive user interface—feels just right.” Read more