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Facebook Launches A Live Stream Box, Partners With Ustream

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

19Today, Facebook is launching a new “Live Stream Box” feature which allows for Facebook Pages to offer their own live video and chat area. And Ustream will be the first to take advantage of it with Ustream on Facebook, a new service to provide live video support to select Facebook users.

This functionality is an extension of what Ustream and Facebook did with some Jonas Brothers concerts last month — events which drew huge numbers. How huge? This huge, according to Ustream:

  • 1.5 million unique posts were made via Facebook Live Feed
  • 23K average posts per minute
  • More than 100K users joined the webcast after seeing their friend’s comment on Facebook
  • 974K total unique viewers watched the one hour webcast
  • Ustream reports the Jonas Brothers webcast on Facebook surpassed the largest live video event they have hosted for any music artist

So clearly, there’s a big demand for certain live events via Facebook, and Ustream is jumping on it, as Facebook’s preferred partner.

Apparently, how this will work is that on Facebook Pages there will now be a way to add a “Live” tab, which will house things such as the Ustream on Facebook feature. Previously, beyond the Jonas Brothers, Facebook has tested this with CNN and the NBA All-Star game. Here’s what Facebook has to say:

Today, Facebook is launching the Facebook Live Stream Box as a feature that any website owner or developer can use to enable Facebook users to connect, share, and post updates in real-time as they witness an event online. Websites can run the Live Stream Box next to live streaming videos of concerts, speeches, sporting events, webcasts, TV shows, presentations, or webinars. Sites can also run the Live Stream Box in multi-player games, or with any other experience where many people are visiting a website at the same time.

But Ustream’s funtionality is not for everyone yet, due to what will undoubtedly be high demand, we’re told. Any artist or person who thinks they could benefit from the Ustream functionality, can apply to have the feature turned on here. With it, you’ll get not only the live player, but a customizable banner that can link to places like iTunes or Amazon (obviously important for artists).

Right now, there are two versions of the player: A free ad-supported version, and a white-label version. The free version is the one with limited sign-ups allowed right now, so click that link above quickly if you think you need the feature. The white-label version comes with a one-time development fee of $15,000. But you also get an ongoing subscription to Ustream’s white-label platform, Watershed.

Find out more information here. Eventually, Ustream hopes to port this Facebook experience over to its main site as well using Facebook Connect, we’re told.

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iPhone 3GS JavaScript Performance Blows Away Rivals, Approaches MacBook Speed

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

speed_racer_movie_poster_newA few speed tests done on the new iPhone 3GS pitting it both against the old iPhone as well as its main rivals. So far, these have either been eyeball tests or page rendering/boot time tests that take a bunch of variables into account. Mobile analytics and advertising company Medialets has released numbers for a test that it considers to be the most direct line of comparison for the iPhone 3GS against the iPhone 3G, the Palm Pre and the Android G1. And once again, the 3GS blows everyone away.

In Medialets test, they are specifically testing WebKit JavaScript performance. This makes sense since all these devices have a WebKit-based browser. WebKit offers a JavaScript test suite, SunSpider, which is used to determine the results. And just to make clear how fast the iPhone 3GS’ JavaScript speed is, Medialets set a 2GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook as the baseline.

Compared to the MacBook, the iPhone 3G running the iPhone OS 2.2.1 software had JavaScript performance that was 96 times worse. Meanwhile, an iPhone 3G running the iPhone 3.0 software was on 36 times worse. A T-Mobile G1 running the new Android 1.5 “Cupcake” software was 67 times worse than the baseline. And the Palm Pre was 36 times worse, equalling the iPhone 3G running the 3.0 software. So how did the iPhone 3GS do? It’s performance was only 12 times worse that of the MacBook — three times better than the Pre.

That’s pretty incredible when you think about it. Sure, this is only a JavaScript test, and hardly indicative of everything you can do on the device, but JavaScript is an integral part of the web, and sites continue to use it more and more as websites get more robust. And the rate of improvement that the iPhone is seeing in performance in that regards means that soon we could see a mobile device that handles the web just as fast as an actual computer.

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There’s That Facebook “Everyone Button” We Told You About

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

Phase 4 has launched. Last week we told you about Facebook’s new “everyone button” that lets users who have chosen to keep their profiles at least partially private send the occasional status message or other content out to the public. That feature, which goes hand-in-hand with the recent search engine for public status messages, launched today to a small number of users.

Don’t be fooled by what appears to be a minor change in the user interface. This is another indication of Facebook’s extreme desire to get users to make as much of their data public as possible. Just like Twitter.

This new version of Publisher lets users add content such as photos, videos, and status updates on your home page and profile. Each piece of content can be shared with everyone, friends and networks, friends of friends and friends. Users can also customize the settings further.

You can now control who you want to inform of your Facebook friends when you add any kind of content to the site. Here’s how it works: After writing a status, uploading a photo or creating other content from the Publisher, use the lock icon in the lower-right corner of the Publisher to access the drop-down menu. From there, you can then choose to make the post visible to everyone, friends and certain networks, friends of friends, and a custom list.

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FriendFeed Adds File Sharing. No Movies, But MP3s Are Fine.

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

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The killer features of FriendFeed continue. Today, the service has just added a way to share files on the service. So now it’s just as easy to share a PDF or text file as it is to share a picture. “You can attach (almost) any file to your FriendFeed posts via the web interface or by emailing file attachments to share@friendfeed.com,” FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor says.

And what’s really great about this is that using FriendFeed direct messaging aspect, you can easily transfer files to certain individuals, or groups of people at the same time.

Unfortunately, it looks like you can’t do things like share movies, but it can share MP3 files, which is awesome. And yes, those MP3s can be played inline right from within FriendFeed. The obvious question is, will this lead to PiracyFeed? You can, after all, download these MP3s after they are shared. Though one-at-time songs might be a little tedious for rabid piracy.

Update: Apparently, you can only upload 3 MP3s a day, which is FriendFeed’s attempt to prevent all-out piracy. And as of right now you can only play actual MP3 files on FriendFeed, but Taylor notes that he hopes to add M4A (AAC) files soon, so that iPhone voice memos are supported.

Here’s more from Taylor:

We have a rolling 24-hour upload limit, so if you upload a number of big files, you will eventually hit it.

We have stricter limit on audio file uploads (3 per day per user now, but it could change in the future). Regarding copyrighted materials, our policy is to respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable intellectual property law (including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. You can see details of our policy here: http://friendfeed.com/about/dmca.

Our target users for this launch are the people using FriendFeed groups for collaboration, so we optimized the feature for sharing smaller documents, not just media files.

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Changing Of The Guard: Jeff Weiner Takes CEO Spot At LinkedIn

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

LinkedIn had a management shakeup last December – CEO Dan Nye stepped down. Founding CEO Reid Hoffman stepped in again and former Yahoo exec Jeff Weiner joined the company as President.

The hiring of Weiner as President was clearly an interim move, and we predicted he’d move into the CEO role sometime this year: “The addition of Weiner is also quirky, and may explain the changes. Weiner was likely expecting a CEO role as his next job. He’s now second to Hoffman. Perhaps the company is using the interim period to see how he can handle himself leading the company. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Weiner take the CEO job at LinkedIn sometime in 2009, or else leave the company.” It turns out that is exactly what happened.

LinkedIn continues to roll. They are the fifth most valuable social network according to our recent model. The site attracts over 15 million monthly unique visitors (Comscore worldwide, April 2009), up from less than 7 million a year ago, and has 42 million registered profiles. They’ve been ebitda profitable since last year and say they plan to be cash flow positive this year. In February, Hoffman told me “We can go public any time we want to.”

And Weiner agrees, telling me today that their current plan to to build an independent public company, with three key revenue sources: premium subscriptions, corporate solutions and advertising. To date the company has raised over $100 million. The last round, a year ago, valued the company at just over $1 billion.

Hoffman will stay with the company, becoming the executive chairman. This is a full time exec role, he says, not just a board of directors seat. For his part, Weiner has already managed day to day operations of the company. Hoffman says he has done “an exceptional job leading the company.”

It was just a year ago that we broke the news of Weiner’s departure from a troubled Yahoo. Weiner first joined Yahoo when former CEO Terry Semel took charge in 2000 and was one of the top execs when he departed, running the Network division (which included Yahoo’s home page, mail, search and media properties). Former Yahoo president Sue Decker gave him a nice sendoff when he resigned. Prior to joining LinkedIn Weiner was an EIR at both Accel Partners and Greylock Partners.

Here’s the full press release:

LinkedIn Names Jeff Weiner Chief Executive Officer
Co-founder Reid Hoffman continues as Executive Chairman

Mountain View, CA —June 24, 2009— LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, today announced that Jeff Weiner has been named LinkedIn’s chief executive officer and appointed to the board of directors. Reid Hoffman will remain focused on LinkedIn in his day-to-day role as founder and executive chairman.

Since joining LinkedIn as interim president in January 2009, Weiner has overseen all operations and played a defining role in developing and executing the company’s strategy to address the accelerating demand for LinkedIn’s products and services on a global basis. “Working closely with Reid and the team over the past six months exceeded all of my expectations coming into the company,” said Weiner. “I couldn’t be more excited about our progress to date, and the opportunity ahead of us.”

“LinkedIn was founded to harness the power of the internet to create a tool that would help individuals become more effective and successful professionals,” said Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman, LinkedIn. “Over the past six months, Jeff has done an exceptional job leading the company and I look forward to continuing the work that we have begun together.”

In the past year, LinkedIn has achieved records across virtually all key operating and financial metrics, most recently exceeding 42 million global members. LinkedIn has an established business model with three lines of revenue, including premium subscriptions, corporate solutions and advertising. The company operated profitably in 2008 and is expected to be profitable in 2009. LinkedIn has secured more than $100 million in funding from some of the world’s premiere investors.

Weiner brings more than 14 years of consumer web experience to the position. Prior to joining LinkedIn as interim president, Weiner was executive in residence at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners. He had previously held key leadership roles at Yahoo!, most recently serving as executive vice president of Yahoo!’s Network Division with responsibility for Yahoo!’s consumer web product portfolio, including Yahoo!’s Front Page, Mail, Search and Media products. In addition to LinkedIn, Weiner serves on the boards of DonorsChoose.org and Malaria No More. For more information, please see Jeff Weiner’s LinkedIn profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffweiner08.

About LinkedIn
LinkedIn takes your personal business network online, giving you access to people, jobs and opportunities like never before. Built upon trusted connections and relationships, LinkedIn has established the world’s largest and most powerful professional network. Currently, over 42 million professionals are on LinkedIn, representing all five hundred of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as a wide range of household names in technology, financial services, media, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, fashion, and numerous other industries. LinkedIn is backed by world-class investors including Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, the European Founders Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Goldman Sachs, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and SAP Ventures.

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Google’s Mobile AdSense For iPhone and Android Apps Now In Public Beta

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

Google is moving into the mobile ad market with AdSense for mobile apps. Over the past few months, Google has been testing both text and graphical ads with ten mobile app developers, including Shazam and Urbanspoon. Today it is opening the private beta to more developers who meet certain criteria.

These are contextual ads for iPhone and Android apps. They can be targeted by “applications, locations, categories, or keywords,” according to Google’s Mobile AdSense information page. To qualify for the public beta, the apps must be free and generate at least 100,000 pageviews per day. The program is only for iPhone or Android apps. Developers must be ready to go live with the ads in four weeks and participate for three months.

Developers with 100,000 pageviews a day is still a limited set of the top free apps, but Google is serious about competing in this market. Mobile ad startups such as AdMob and Greystripe are now officially in Google’s direct line of fire.

Google is keeping things small right now to test out different ways to target ads inside apps, but it can pull out the big guns any time it wants. It already has more advertisers than any startup ad network and thus has a clear advantage when it comes to filling up mobile ad inventory. Although it is separate now, when marketers can check mobile apps as part of their overall AdSense campaigns, there should be a lot more bidding for those mobile ad spots within iPhone and Android apps, and those mobile ad rates should go up as a consequence.

Mobile app developers are going to sign up whichever ad network can give them the highest CPMs, and will swap out the ones which can’t keep up. Already, we are seeing some jostling for position among the mobile ad network startups. AdMob just kicked out AdWhirl from showing ads within its platform. I wonder if AdMob will allow Mobile AdSense ads on its network. Update: AdMob responds that it will work with any mobile app developer on a non-exclusive basis and that developers which have established a direct relationship with AdMob can work with competing ad networks.

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TV Everywhere is Comcast and Time Warner’s Answer to Free Internet Video

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

Cable providers Comcast and Time Warner might be late to the Internet video party, but that doesn’t mean they are going to let us enjoy content for free that they pay for. Oh no, the TV Everywhere Model is designed to give Comcast and Time Warner paying subscribers access to content and block-out everyone else. And this system might find its way into Hulu.

You can’t blame the cable operators for their plans. They have to pay good money for access to cable stations. Then they, of course, pass along the cost to subs via a monthly bill. The thought is that those people that pay for the content should be able to watch all of it on both their TVs and computers.



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The Europas: Voting opens in TechCrunch Europe tech awards

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

We have now opened voting in The Europas, the tech innovation awards from techCrunch Europe honouring the best tech companies and startups across the web and mobile scene from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We’ll hold the awards ceremony in London on July 9 for 300 people: you can get a ticket here. There is more information about the awards here.

You can now vote for the nominated companies and personalities from the industry. You can only vote once for one entrant, so make it count. Your vote will be counted towards nominating the five finalists in each category. Voting will close on Wednesday July 2, next week. Thanks to Polldaddy for this voting mechanism. Now go vote!

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Microstock Photography Is Getting Big. iStockphoto Projects $200 Million In Revenues

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

The microstock photography business is growing out of nothing. The leader in the market, iStockphoto, is projecting $200 million in revenues this year. When iStockphoto was bought by Getty Images three years ago for $50 million, its revenues were about $23 million, according to COO Kelly Thompson. In 2007, revenues were $72 million, and the company never disclosed 2008 revenues. (Update: Thompson says 2008 revenues were around $150 million). Thompson says iStockPhoto has been profitable since before the acquisition and now represents a “significant chunk” of . (Getty Images is owned by the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and does not break out revenues formally via audited statements).

The demand for affordable images for use on Websites and in print is catching on and iStockphoto is the main beneficiary. It sells a photo, illustration, or video every second, and pays out $1.2 million a week to the photographers and artists who upload images to the site. There are nearly 80,000 artists in total represented on the site and 5 million images. “Definitely the print side is declining and we are seeing lots of Web usage,” reports Thompson.

But iStockphoto is not without competitors. Rival Fotolia is trying to catch up and recently received a massive cash infusion from TA Associates. It has about the same number of images and recently launched a completely free stock image service called PhotoXpress (which competes against Getty-owned Stock.xchng). Fotolia also has about 6 million images and roughly 90,000 contributors.

The battle, though, is now going to be around quality and price. iStockphoto is trying to go upmarket by exposing some of its top photographers to Getty clients. And today it just launched its Vetta Collection, which is comprised of about 35,000 higher-quality photos which are more produced than the typical stock image (the space farmer image above is one from Vetta). The Vetta images start at around $20 each, compared to regular images, which start at about $1.

Thompson says it is all part of iStock’s strategy to move customers up the chain to buy more expensive images:

Almost every industry has a free component, everyone gives away free samples. That is what we are doing. Even when it is free, it needs a license around it. Once people get used to using images like that, they move up to buying more expensive images. Even the traffic from iStock to Getty is more than we originally expected.

Image search is another area where the iStock needs to win. People need to find the images they want before they can buy them. iStock relies on photographers and artists to tag and title their own photos, but they don’t always do such a great job. After all, they tend to be more visually-oriented. So instead, iStock has been collecting data on which images people hover over and click on after they do a keyword search, and those now are ranked higher in results starting today. By August, the results will be fine-tuned by language and country of origin as well. But if you want to search only for Vetta images, you have to do that in advanced search right now (by tomorrow, you should be able to do it directly on the Vetta portion of the site).

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PRTMobile.com: The Mobile Web Comes to the Folks Next Door

June 24th, 2009 admin No comments

I was out for my evening constitutional last night, enjoying the sight of “For Sale” signs on homes throughout my neighborhood, when I spied with my little eye something new and novel. I’ve seen URLs on For Sale signs a couple of times, and always thought that that was a fine way to attract eyeballs to your property. Let’s face it: trawling though MLS listings sucks, so going directly to a property’s URL is a time saver! What I saw last night, though, was even better: a URL specifically geared for mobile phones. “Mobile users, go to prtmobile.com/1908.



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