Google Buzz, announced today, aims to bring together a slew of Google services and a stew of social networking ideas.

The challenge for Google is to make its Swiss-army-knife complexity appealing to a public that might prefer the separate simplicity of 140-character tweets and the close social connections enabled by Facebook. Read more

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, like so many private company bosses, is notoriously coy when it comes to numbers. He only periodically provides updates on the all-important number of active users (250m was the last official tally). And don’t bother trying to get Mr Zuckerberg to estimate revenues (unofficial estimates are $500m for the year). But in a rare moment of candour, Mr Zuckerberg provided Bloomberg with two interesting figures.

He said that Facebook plans to expand its headcount by as much as 50 per cent this year. The recession has resulted in a surplus of talented engineers, and Facebook plans to scoop up some of these workers while they are on the market. Though the engineers at FriendFeed were gainfully employed, Facebook’s acquisition of FriendFeed two weeks ago clearly fits into Mr Zuckerberg’s bulking-up strategy. Read more

Our notion of real time as it relates to the web is still fuzzy in its newness.

The Real-Time Stream Crunchup event in Silicon Valley was the first major conference to look at this year’s buzz trend – the real-time web. Ironically, it was running over an hour late by the time I got there on Friday. Read more

The web browser has undergone a renaissance in the past year, compared to the Dark Ages of underdevelopment of the first half of this decade after Microsoft crushed competition from Netscape.

Google has introduced Chrome, Apple has just issued a lightning-fast version of Safari with a new user interface and HTML 5 is being adopted to enable browsers to run every kind of program normally associated with native desktop applications.

But the browser’s basic design is still centred around representing web pages rather than the activity of users and their connections. Read more

  • Time Warner moved closer to spinning off AOL, while at the same time reporting a 14 per cent decline in quarterly net profit due to a drop in online and print advertising. Disposing of AOL would untangle what many consider one of the worst mergers in US corporate history, one that has lost shareholders more than $100bn.
  • Google lost its fourth high-profile executive since March, with the departure of display ad chief David Rosenblatt, the former chief executive of DoubleClick, which Google acquired last year. Mr Rosenblatt reportedly doesn’t have another job lined up yet, but is aiming to leave Silicon Valley and move to New York.

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Facebook talks about it, Twitter feels like it, but only FriendFeed has managed to pull it off.

The web is moving to another gear, with the lifestreaming site founded by former Google workers launching the first truly real-time social media service today. Read more

The social network Facebook, with 175m members,  is a far bigger service than Twitter or the lifestreaming site FriendFeed.

So, as the big kid on the block, it really ought not to have a complex about the capabilities of its pipsqueak rivals. Read more

Facebook is launching a new-look home page for its 175m users and adding features that can boost the presence of businesses and brands on the social networking service.

In a presentation at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto, founder Mark Zuckerberg talked about making Facebook more “real time”, referring to the popularity of the micro-blogging service Twitter. Read more