torsdag 31. desember 2009

5 o’clock round-up: Genachowski spams, Google blogs, Wikipedia rounds up donations

Here’s the last action of this decade:
The FCC chairman spams his Facebook friends. Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, sent a cryptic Facebook message to all of his friends this morning, saying “Adam got me started making money with this.” It contained a broken link. Facebook suspended the account and said Genachowski will have to go through a “remediation process” and “learn security best practices” to reactivate his account.
MySpace replaces Imeem’s embedded playlists with advertising. The Imeem acquisition fiasco continues. After MySpace pulled the plug on developer access to Imeem song streams without warning, it gives users another unpleasant surprise. Ads now show up in place of embedded Imeem playlists, according to Wired. MySpace tells the magazine that they’re looking into this “asap”. Uh huh.
Google celebrates its fifth year of corporate blogging. The company’s official blog attracted north of 14 million visitors this year, with top billing going to the posts on Chrome OS, Wave and Google Voice. Twitter becomes the top non-Google referrer of traffic to the site, signaling the networks growing power in pushing traffic around the web.
Chrome OS also topped Techmeme as the biggest tech story of the year: Second place went to the death of Michael Arrington’s much anticipated tablet computer, the Crunchpad, amid legal disputes. Third went to Steve Jobs’ letter, outlining his health problems. But as we learned out later, he was not all that forthcoming, blaming a “hormone imbalance” when he actually received a liver transplant later in the year.
Wikipedia reached its fundraising goal of $7.5 million Because the online encyclopedia isn’t a commercial operation, founder Jimmy Wales asked the public for donations to sustain it. On the first day alone, 13,000 people donated $430,000.

Peering into MySpace’s collective consciousness with real-time search

One of the most provocative essays on Internet culture I’ve read in the last couple years is Danah Boyd’s take on viewing class divisions through social networks. She controversially argued that “white flight” was playing out on the Internet, with MySpace becoming a digital ghetto as wealthier, more educated users fled for Facebook. As an anthropologist, her work is more qualitative and based largely on interviews, experiences and anecdotes, paired with data from external research institutes like the Pew Research Center.
But now that social networks like Twitter and MySpace are opening up their public data for indexing and mashups, more hard numbers can be put toward comparing and contrasting the kinds of conversations that take place in different online communities. (That said, quantitative data can have its faults too when looking at social issues that are hard to pin down like class divisions.)
Collecta launched its own variation on MySpace real-time search this week after the News Corp.-owned social network released a brand-new set of application programming interfaces this month for publicly shared content. Obviously you’d want to look at Facebook too, but the company’s not there — yet. Facebook gave Microsoft access to its public status updates, but whatever incarnation that stream of data will assume is not yet available. Plus, up until the big privacy change this month, Facebook’s public real-time content was also limited to mainly commercial messages on Pages and updates from those who were willing to bare parts of their lives to the world.
So using real-time search, I just wanted to compare real-time conversations on both networks. It’s very unscientific. I’m basically dipping my toes into the stream, so to speak, and capturing a few updates of what’s being said now. You can try it yourself here with Twitter and here with MySpace.
Hopefully, someone out there — an academic or developer — will come up with a more rigorous way of doing this for Facebook, MySpace or Twitter through real-time search. (Or even better, for specific Twitter lists.) I’d be interested to see stats on what people talk about, the style of language, foreign languages, replies, how far content gets shared or propagated through each network.
It’s not comfortable to admit, but I do think looking at Twitter and MySpace searches underscore some of Boyd’s points about class divisions playing themselves out in online communities. Of course, Facebook has become much more mainstream than it was when she originally wrote that post in 2007. But we don’t have access to all their real-time conversations. (Facebook did its own analysis on racial composition this month using peoples’ surnames and found that the site’s user base is coming closer to mirroring the U.S. population’s makeup.)

Anyway, here are a few Twitter-vs.-Myspace searches. And let us know how you think anthropologists and sociologists should make use of real-time data.
1) “Decade” — (Because it’s the end of the decade).
Here’s Myspace –

And Twitter –

2) “New Years”

Here’s MySpace –

And here’s Twitter –

3) “Avatar” Both sites actually look pretty much the same here.
Here’s MySpace –

And here’s Twitter –

4) “2010″ Numbers bring more non-English language updates.
Here’s MySpace –

And Twitter –

5) “Google” Twitter has the leg-up here with a lot of the tech community present. There are more shared links to interesting blog posts.

6) “Lady Gaga” A single MySpace search for a music artist is actually not really all that useful. People are changing their profile songs, which doesn’t make it that interesting. But this data could be used to create all sorts of music charts.

2009’s top 9 forward-looking cleantech investments

It was a big year for cleantech. After a dismal start in the first quarter, things picked up, leaving it in prime position to be one of the largest areas of investment in 2010. Overall, 2009 saw 356 deals totaling $4.85 billion, according to a new report released by Greentech Media. That’s six more deals than in 2008, but almost $3 billion less. Last year was a banner year for the sector, but this is also telling that investors leaned toward more smaller deals, mitigating risk while still placing their bets.
Solar took the cake this year, taking in more than $1.4 billion across 84 deals. Biofuels came in second with $976 million across 44. But it’s not as interesting to look at the biggest and most publicized venture deals, as it is to look at the ones that may say something about future trends. So here, based on the full gamut of deals this year, is a list of the top 10 deals that seem to be prescient about the cleantech industry of tomorrow.
1. Novomer — In April, Novomer, a company that sequesters carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants and other sources in biodegradable plastic consumer products, brought in $14 million from OVP Venture Partners, Physic Ventures, Flagship Ventures, and DSM Venturing. Relying on an extensive collection of patents, Novomer’s technology has the opportunity to capture a vast amount of carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere while cheaply making plastic products that don’t require as much petroleum. It’s basically greening two businesses at once.
As carbon capture becomes more popular, whether a cap-and-trade system is established in the U.S. or not, and emissions become too costly, companies like Novomer are prepared to reap the benefits. Most of the top-tier sequestration companies plan to bury the emissions underground, or dispose of it some other way. One company, CalStar Products, wants to funnel them into cheaper, greener bricks. But Novomer has one of the most innovative approaches in the mix. And now it has much of the money it needs to scale.
2. Silver Spring Networks — This month, Silver Spring Networks landed $100 million in equity from existing investors Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Northgate Capital and Foundation Capital, giving it the boost it needs to probably go public in 2010. The company, which makes networking equipment for utilities and smart meters, is leading the Smart Grid market as the most likely candidate for an IPO. The investment also indicates renewed investor faith in the smart metering segment of the business.
But now that almost every major utility in the U.S. has plans to roll out millions of meters to their coverage bases, firms are scrambling to get on board companies that these meters will depend on, like the networking and backend service providers. Now that Silver Spring has partnered with AT&T to use its wireless networks for data transfer, there is little standing in the way of it going public. The recent equity providers could be in for a big payday.
3. ClearEdge Power — In August, home fuel-cell maker ClearEdge, brought in $15 million in a fifth round of funding from Applied Ventures, Big Basin Ventures and the Kohlberg family. Powered by propane or natural gas, its lead product, a fuel cell a little larger than a standard refrigerator, can provide extremely clean power for households and small businesses.
Based in Hillsboro, Ore., the company’s fuel cell has a capacity of 5-kilowatts. Even though it does release carbon dioxide, it releases far fewer emissions than power plants that burn natural gas do. It recycles the heat that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, making it 90 percent efficient. This makes it a viable source of clean energy for home where solar panels simply wouldn’t work. The only hurdle it faces to wide adoption is its price — at $37,500 after rebate, its still slightly more expensive than solar. Further investment in the company could make it price competitive.

4. Hara — This environmental footprint tracker raised $14 million in a second round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins and including Jafco Ventures and Nth power. It’s certainly impressed the right people. Kleiner brought it into the limelight last year with a $6 million first round. With so many carbon accounting companies in the mix, what makes it unique? Hara claims to track water, gas, energy and emissions for companies looking to improve their eco-profiles.
Even though things are looking bleak for the legislation that would create a carbon cap-and-trade system in the U.S., many companies are still interested in containing waste to save money and improve their public images. Just look at Wal-Mart making efforts to catalogue their  products’ footprints throughout their supply chains. If any policies are passed, even on the state level, to enforce emissions reporting, companies like Hara will benefit tremendously — and it looks like its the best funded, most PR savvy one of the bunch.
5. Aquamarine Power — This deal didn’t get much attention here in the U.S. because the wave energy company is based in Scotland. Its lead product, called the Oyster, harvests wave energy and transmits it to efficient on-shore devices for easier use. It landed $16.3 million in a first round of funding earlier this year from Scottish Enterprise, Scottish and Southern Energy and Sigma Capital.
Ocean power hasn’t really caught on yet. It’s faced a bout of technical difficulties and lackluster investor interest, but Aquamarine might have figured out how to make it work, rising to the forefront of the industry. Most of its competitors have tried to derive energy from devices that float on the top of deep water. Aquamarine’s Oyster sits underwater in shallower water. This could redefine tidal power, which the Electric Power Research Institute says could provide up to 10 gigawatts to the U.S. — enough to power about 1 million homes.
6. SunRun — Also recently, home solar panel installer SunRun received $90 million in equity from Bancorp, pushing its total raised into the “serious money” category ($120 million now total). This could be enough for the company to trounce pesky competitors like Solar City, which also installs panels for a small fee in order to sell the power generated.
With SunRun leading the way, this investment could jumpstart the rooftop solar market in the U.S. Already, prices for solar equipment and materials is on the decline. And new innovations are coming out of the woodwork to make residential solar even more price competitive with traditional natural gas and coal sources of energy. If solar can become more affordable, and renewable energy policies like California’s 33 percent mandate speed things along, SunRun could become a massive business with the potential to go public.
7. Solyndra — This one is somewhat of a no-brainer. In September, Argonaut Ventures sunk a huge $198 million in capital into Solyndra, maker of cylindrical thin-film solar modules with high efficiencies at a relatively low cost. Certainly Argonaut wasn’t taking on that much risk, considering that its investment came six months after the U.S. Department of Energy infused the company with $535 million in low-interest loans via the federal stimulus package. It must have seemed like a pretty safe bet.
But the move was obviously forward-thinking on the firm’s part, as just three months later, Solyndra has filed to go public, with the odds looking incredibly good. The company is racing to get its new manufacturing facility in Fremont, Calif. up and running in order to meet demand and begin racking up revenue. But the blessing of the DOE has suddenly propelled it into the same ranks as public giant First Solar.
8. Soane Energy — Taking a step away from the industries that usually fall under the cleantech banner, Soane Energy, a company that offers technology that makes oil extraction cleaner, and more efficient, got $10 million in a first round of institutional funding from Chevron and oilfield investor Intervale this year. It plans to use the money to further refine its techniques. Eventually Soane says it will help substantially reduce waste of water, energy and heat in addition to carbon emissions.
So why is this investment prescient? A lot of people object to money being funneled into greening fossil fuels. There’s always a certain measure of pushback with a clean coal technology gets funding, or when supposedly green leaning venture firms spring to make natural gas technologies more efficient. But the fact of the matter is that fossil fuels — coal, natural gas, etc. — are still the cheapest, most prevalent forms of energy available, and will continue to be regardless of what policies are adopted or projects launched. Making them as eco-friendly as possible is going to be a multi-billion dollar business before they are fully replaced, and Soane is on the right track.

9. Tendril — In June, home energy management provider Tendril raised $30 million in a third round funding, pushing its total capital to $43.5 million. Backed by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Good Energies, Vista Ventures and RRE Ventures, the company provides a platform for regular consumers to view how much energy they are using in real time, and even how much it is costing them — encouraging them to both conserve and save on their electricity bills. This sounds pretty cool, but Tendril faces a bevy of competitors. Home energy management may just be the next cleantech bubble with players like OpenPeak, Silver Spring Networks, AlertMe, Gridpoint, EnergyHub, Control4 and more all reaching for a share of the market.
But Tendril is different. Not only does it have some of the best designed products — sleek like Apple, yet still data intensive — its stellar public relations team has given it enough momentum and brand recognition to clobber the smaller players. Its position has only been strengthened by its partnership with General Electric to interact with its appliances. Sure, Itron may be partnering with OpenPeak, and Silver Spring Networks has acquired similar service GreenBox, but neither of them have made consumer-facing home energy monitoring their core concern. Tendril has, and this focus on what regular people understand and want when it comes to their understanding of energy could make it the strongest man standing following a wave of consolidation, buyouts and the like.

Kunne Apple selge 10 millioner tabletter i et år?

Another day, another Apple ryktet. I dag er vi fortalt at Apple forventer 10 millioner av as-yet-uanmeldt tavle-PCer i det første året etter lanseringen. Men dette kommer fra Kai-Fu Lee, tidligere Google-ledelsen, som har laget prognose på bloggen hans og sa at en venn er kjent med prosjektet fortalte ham det. Apple har visstnok planlagt en annonsering om enheten for den 26 januar. Det skal visstnok selge for mindre enn $ 1000 og har en 10,1-tommers multitouch-skjermen med 3-D grafikk. Lee sa at det ville se ut som et stort iPhone. Lee er nå leder for innovasjon Works, en Beijing-basert teknologi fondet. Selge ti millioner av noe i det første året er et høyt for enhver bedrift. Lee sa at informasjonen ikke kommer fra Apple eller dets produsent, Foxconn. Det er utrolig hvordan hype cycle favoriserer Apple. Som vi tenker på slutten av tiåret, er det morsomt å tenke at de fleste alle, bortsett fra for die-hard Apple fans trodde at Apple ikke kunne gjøre noe akkurat 10 år siden.

CNET medgrunnlegger's Whiskey Media raiser $ 2.5M

Whiskey Media, et selskap som har bygget nettsteder rundt temaer som tegneserier og dataspill, har tjente NOK 2.5 millioner i støtte. Den Sausalito, Calif Selskapet ble opprettet av Shelby Bonnie, som tidligere medgrunnlegger online News Network CNET. Whiskey Media nettsteder er en blanding av kataloger og nettsamfunn, og inkluderer ComicVine, AnimeVice og GiantBomb (emnene av de to første nettstedene skal være selvinnlysende, fokuserer den tredje på dataspill). Når Bonnie lansert Whiskey Media i fjor, sa han til The New York Times at han ønsket å bruke en liten stab for å bygge populære nettsteder: "Hvis det er et sted som folk er lidenskapelig rundt, og du gjør det enkelt å være lidenskapelig, finner du en svært liten gruppe mennesker kan gjøre noe ekstraordinært, og gjør det omfattende. Midlene ble først rapportert peHUB basert på en regulerende arkivering, og selskapet har siden bekreftet nyheten på bloggen sin, og sier pengene kommer fra "sann familie og nære venner." Og hva kan vi forvente i emnefeltet Whiskey neste nettsted? Kanskje science fiction.

Mint’s Aaron Patzer: Quicken’s future is online

Three months after finance software maker Intuit bought online finance startup, Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint and now Intuit’s general manager of personal finance, is still giving a lot of thought to how Mint and Intuit fit together.
Right after Intuit bought his startup, Patzer told me that the online version of Intuit’s personal finance software Quicken would eventually become “powered by Mint.” (Prior to the acquisition, the two personal finance websites were competing.) A couple of months later, he said Quicken Online would be shut down while its customer data was migrated to an improved version of Mint that incorporates “the best of both” and was integrated with Intuit’s other personal finance software. And when I talked to Patzer earlier this month, he outlined a long-term vision that’s even more web-centric and Mint-y — not just for Quicken Online, but also for the more established, traditional version of Quicken.
“What I’d like to is combine them all into one codebase,” Patzer said.
In other words, there will no longer be a distinction between Mint the website and Quicken the software you install on your computer. Instead, there will be one website where all Intuit users manage their personal finances.
For more traditional customers who don’t want to go online every time they need to manage their finances, there will be an offline version, but it won’t take the form of boxed software — it will just be a desktop extension of the website built using technology like Microsoft Silverlight or Adobe AIR. So users can view their accounts while offline, then “anytime they want, they can flip it up to the cloud,” he said.
To be clear, Patzer wasn’t talking about Intuit’s product plans, just his thoughts on where things are going. I’m guessing there will be plenty of resistance to these ideas from within Intuit, and from longtime customers. On the other hand, it’s a vision that makes sense, especially as more people become more comfortable with storing this information online and as Intuit’s desktop products add online components like app stores.
More concretely, Patzer said Mint will be switching from Yodlee to Intuit technology to handle its bank transactions, and it’ll be adding support for many more banks. The Mint iPhone app will add Quicken Online’s ability to find nearby ATMs and track cash transactions. And while Patzer is currently splitting his time between the Mint and Intuit offices, the two campuses will merge at the end of January, he said.

The most anticipated video games of 2010

It’s that time of year again, when people look ahead to the new year and salivate over tomorrow’s videogames. 2010 is shaping up to be a stellar year for hardcore gamers. And with so many games coming out, narrowing down the list to just 10 wasn’t an easy task. But we’ve eliminated games that haven’t officially been announced yet and focused on big games for each console, as well as the PC. We’ve also arranged these games in alphabetical order.
Although there are dozens of big games across every genre, this list includes samples from the key game types across platforms and PC. Any way you look at 2010, it’s going to be a very good year for gaming. And with the recession finally becoming a thing of the past, these big games – and many others – should account for an upswing in software sales come Jan. 1, 2011. Here’s a peek at last year’s list. And vote for your favorite at the bottom.
DC Universe Online (PlayStation 3, PC). Sony Online Entertainment/Sony Online Entertainment Austin Studio. Despite the recent success of J.J. Abrams Star Trek film reboot and Atari’s upcoming release of Cryptic Studio’s Star Trek Online, the standout massively multiplayer online game experience of 2010 should be DC Universe Online. As the first licensed comic book MMO game to market, DC Universe Online has the potential to attract fans of The Dark Knight, Wonder Woman and Superman to a huge new world filled with superheroes and master villains. With an emphasis on PlayStation 3-style arcade controls, DC Universe Online is the first MMO designed for the console audience. SOE Austin has used Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 to create third-person action filled with customizable superpowers and completely destructible environments. The ability to join forces (for good or evil) and battle together adds a multiplayer experience not possible in stand-alone games like Electronic Arts’ Superman Returns or Eidos’ recent masterpiece, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Cryptic Studios already showed the potential of comics with its City of Heroes/Villains franchise for NcSoft. Now SOE, which has 10 years of experience with EverQuest, hopes 75 years of DC Comics mythology will be the next big thing in MMO gaming.
Disney Epic Mickey (Wii). Disney Interactive Studios/Junction Point. At first glance, Warren Spector, the man behind such revered games as Ultima, Deus Ex, and Thief doesn’t seem like the first choice to reboot Mickey Mouse for Disney. But it turns out that Spector was a fan of Walt Disney’s second creation from way back. The new game pits Mickey against his brother, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who happens to be Walt’s first animated creation and the star of 26 silent cartoons for Universal back in 1927. The new game takes place in the Cartoon Wasteland where old characters go to live. Oswald rules over this world, which Mickey stumbles upon. The player will use the Wii Remote to literally paint or erase the many areas within this world, changing the very playing field before their eyes. Designed for a broad audience, Disney is banking on the ubiquitous Wii, which itself has lost steam recently, to entice families to see Mickey’s first game adventure in years. From a bigger picture perspective, this game could be a launching point for a new, more mischievous mouse across other media moving forward.
God of War III (PlayStation 3). Sony Computer Entertainment America/Santa Monica Studios. Gamers have been waiting what seems like an eternity since March 2007 when Kratos’ exploits last appeared on a console. Sony had success with God of War: Chains of Olympus in 2008 and more recently with the God of War Collection, a remastered high-definition version of the first two games on Blu-ray Disc for PS3. And fans have been buying up Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s District 9 Blu-ray to play the God of War 3 demo. The ex-Spartan warrior is out for revenge in this third game, which features towering giants and lethal creatures. The leap from PS2 to PS3 is truly mesmerizing when playing the new game, which should help Sony sell more hardware throughout the year. This is a killer app and it’s exactly the kind of game that showcases what’s possible on PS3, a console that has been gaining steam since 2009’s price drops.
Halo Reach (Xbox 360). Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie. Given the recent success of Halo: ODST, gamers have not grown tired of the Halo franchise. Next year, Halo Reach takes fans to the beginning of the conflict between the humans and the Covenant. This prequel to Halo is set in the colony world of Reach, one of the United Nations Space Command’s most important military centers (and training center for the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers). Players step into the role of the Lieutenant, a member of the SPARTAN supersoldiers Noble Team. When it comes to shooters, Bungie knows what its fans want – and they have a lot of fans. This fall 2010 release is a guaranteed blockbuster. The big question is whether Microsoft will release both a new Halo and Gears of War game in the same quarter. Microsoft and Epic have been mum on Gears of War 3, but given the past development timetable, 2010 would be the next release year for that shooter franchise.
Lost Planet 2 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC). Capcom. Capcom hit one out of the park when it released Lost Planet: Extreme Condition in North America in January 2007. This sequel takes place 10 years later and replaces the snowy landscapes of the original with a variety of locales, including dense jungles. Up to four players will be able to take part in the new co-op mode, which also supports fully customizable characters and RPG-style experience points. Gamers can also engage in online multiplayer action for up to 16 players. Capcom, which recently delayed the release of this game to an undisclosed time, has been busy improving gameplay elements. Players will be able to control the mech-style Vital Suits while teammates hang on to the sides and take out enemies. Hollywood has taken notice, as well, with a Warner Bros. Pictures movie in development. This franchise is poised to deliver across media in 2010 and beyond.
Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, PC). Electronic Arts/BioWare. When BioWare releases a role-playing game, it’s like printing money. The acclaimed studio consistently lives up to the hype that surrounds each new game. Mass Effect took the gaming world by storm in November 2007 introducing a sci-fi universe that was rich in story, characters and action. One of the key tenants of BioWare has been to create emotional connections with virtual characters. Mass Effect 2 promises to push this envelope further. This sequel once again focuses on Commander Shepard, who must put together a crew and embark on a suicide mission to save the universe. The second part of a planned trilogy, Mass Effect 2 will ride the wave of accolades and the huge sales of the original to further expand its gaming audience in late January.
ModNation Racers (PlayStation 3). Sony Computer Entertainment America/United Front Games. At the end of 2010, this game might not sit atop sales leaders like Sony’s Gran Turismo 5, but like Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers should usher in even more user-generated games across genres. While the idea behind LittleBigPlanet was in the right place, that game was far too difficult for mainstream players to create content for. United Front Games has focused on simplicity as well as creativity, allowing even novice players to build a complex racetrack in just minutes. For those who want to dig deeper, there’s plenty more under the hood and time invested in creating tracks will be enjoyed by everyone online. Gamers have seen customizable vehicles and characters before, and even track editors; but there’s never been such an intuitive package that allows one’s mind to race as fast as the kart racers they create. Nintendo has made a killing over the years with Mario Kart, and now Sony has ModNation Racers. It’s also worth noting that developer United Front Games is also building Activision’s True Crime reboot, which makes this independent studio one to watch for 2010 and beyond.
Tom Clancy’s  Splinter Cell: Conviction (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC). Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal. Originally slated to ship back in Fall 2007, Ubisoft’s acclaimed Montreal studio literally went back to the drawing board to ensure that the fifth installment of the best-selling spy franchise remained a blockbuster. The extra development time has resulted in one of the most mainstream-friendly games in the franchise. There’s even a new prequel cooperative story mode that introduces two new characters, Archer and Kestrel. In the single-player game, Sam Fisher’s out to avenge the death of his daughter and he’s gone rogue, which means Third Echelon is on his trail, along with an assortment of bad guys. The game borrows from Hollywood to let the environments and interactions propel the story forward. Fisher can blend into these open worlds more seamlessly (taking a page from Assassin’s Creed) and he has a new arsenal of weapons and gadgets at his disposal. Ubisoft made the right decision to invest more time and money into one of its key franchises, and gamers will buy this one up as a result.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC and Mac). Activision Blizzard/Blizzard Entertainment. The PC games business has very much become a franchise-driven business. Blizzard Entertainment, which dominates the PC gaming market with its World of Warcraft franchise, is finally ready to release its sequel to the 1998 real-time strategy (RTS) game. This long-awaited game is so big that it’s already encompassing three parts. Wings of Liberty will focus on the Terrans, human exiles from Earth, while two expansion packs will explore the insectoid Zerg (Heart of the Swarm) and the psionic alien Protoss (Legacy of the Void). While the focus of this game has always been multiplayer strategy, each of these three experiences offers a rich single-player game that spans about 30 missions. With new non-linear gameplay, players will be able to explore this hostile 26th Century universe as they please, or jump into the fray as one of the three factions and engage in combat on Once unleashed, look for StarCraft II to rule the PC charts for quite some time.
TRON Evolution (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC). Disney Interactive Studios/Propaganda Games. This time next year TRON Legacy should be doing the kind of 3D box office that Avatar is achieving now. While the final word on whether Ubisoft’s Avatar game has lived up to the hype is still out (critics booed it), the potential audience for both the TRON movie and game is much bigger. After all, the movie is set in a videogame universe. And there has been a solid track record of successes from the TRON arcade game to Tron 2.0 PC, Xbox and GameBoy titles of 2003. The new game will bridge the gap between the 1982 film (which launched the computer-generated imagery revolution in Hollywood) and the December 2010 3D movie (which was filmed with Avatar’s camera system). Actress Olivia Wilde will reprise her role as Quorra from TRON Legacy in the new Evolution game, which should further fuel the fanboy fire to make both the movie and the game a success next Christmas.

What is your most anticipated game of 2010?(poll)

TenYears: The Biggest Produkt Flops av tiåret

Det er nesten 1 januar 2010 og vi har vært mulling over våre favoritter av 2009 - og det forrige tiåret. Her presenterer vi et avdrag på våre "TenYears" liste. Vi har allerede hadde de største taperne i den teknologisk industri men hvorfor ikke snakke om det største produktet flopper? Her er noen av de største fiaskoer av tiåret, og starter med en monster-utgivelse fra en ganske kjent bedrift.

Could a Twitter/Amazon partnership be on the horizon?

A couple of days ago, Twitter announced some improvements to its API and Terms of Service (TOS). Effectively, it’s raising the limit on the number of calls per hour that each application can make and opening up its Firehose API (already available to Google and Microsoft) to other developers as a paid service.
This certainly opens the door to even more innovation within the Twitter ecosystem (currently 50,000 apps strong). Nevertheless, I can’t help wondering if the additonal operational demands of handling the increased traffic might not best be placed in the hands of a company with that type of focus so that Twitter itself can focus on “higher layer” innovation.
Though Twitter has made some strides over the last several months in improving the performance of its infrastructure, changes to its TOS and API limits will increase traffic substantially. I’ve always been impressed by the number of things Twitter needs to get right day in and day out. It not only provides search and other functions to give users insight, just as Google does, but unlike Google, it also has to host all the data it draws from (tweets). That’s no trivial challenge for such a small company, as is evidenced by the multiple instances of traffic overflow messages over the last years.
Leaked documents earlier this year showed us that several big players — Google, Microsoft and Facebook — have shown an interest in taking this problem off Twitter’s hands by acquiring the company and integrating its information into Google Search, Bing or Facebook Search. But the Twitter executive team clearly hasn’t been interested in an acquisition.
Still, I’d posit there’s a good chance Twitter execs might be willing to form a tight infrastructure alliance in 2010 with one of the industry heavyweights. And while Google, Microsoft and Facebook would all be good bets, I’d actually wager on someone like Amazon and, more specifically, Amazon Web Services (more on that in a minute).
Twitter’s founders have expressed their desire to invest the time required to build out an independent company. To do this and maintain its momentum, the company needs to execute on a number of different levels as it continues to look for ways to offer users added value (e.g., search, etc.) from its platform. All of this is a tall order for any management team and becomes even more daunting when one adds to the mix the operational demands associated with this vertically integrated strategy.
Probably the scarcest resource Twitter has right now is its management’s time and bandwidth. So help with operations would free some of that to focus on higher-level value.
From Twitter’s perspective a deal with Amazon Web Services would offer a number of opportunities. One possibility would be to use Amazon Web Services as a hosting environment for part or all tweets as well as a partner for managing a large portion of the thousands of developers in the Twitter ecosystem. Twitter would require the same kind of substantial operations prowess that Google has developed to cull insight from a growing ocean of data. Nevertheless, hosting tweets and reliably making them available to a user population that increasingly depends on them in realtime, might be better left to another.
From Amazon’s perspective, integrating the Twitter API into one or more Amazon Web Services offerings would further strengthen the company’s position in the nascent Cloud Computing space. Applications that integrate insight from personal tweets and, possibly, leverage Amazon’s recommendation engine technology, could provide more relevant information and advertising to users. More importantly for Amazon, the power of aligning the Twitter brand with its own might be enough to recruit a good portion of future Cloud Computing developers who might have sat on the fence for a while longer.
Whichever way you cut it, 2010 will certainly be a year of critical strategic decisions for Twitter. It might choose to tackle all fronts alone. Or it could look for options to reach its objectives more rapidly and change the industry’s competitive dynamics in the process.

Wibiya kraftige Webbasert verktøylinjen Legger Twitter, Facebook, og videoprat på noen av sidene

Det er ingen mangel på nettbaserte interaktive verktøylinjer å velge mellom. Denne uken er en ny oppstart inn i rommet, Wibiya, som gir et spennende nettbasert, tilpassbare verktøylinjen til utgivere. Wibiya verktøylinjen for blogger og utgivere integrerte tjenester, sosiale medier nettsteder, programmer og widgets. Alt er passelig, gir utgiverne muligheten til å legge Facebook Connect, som gir Twitter varsler, og ganske lett. Verktøylinjen har en ganske dyptgående integrasjon med Twitter, Søk, siste tweets, Tweets om hver side og mer. Utgivere kan også bringe deres Facebook Fan Page strøm til verktøylinjen. Interessant, har Wibiya en "App Store" av arter, hvor utgivere kan tilpasse sine barer med en rekke programmer, blant annet Google Translate, YouTube, spill med mer. Dessverre App Store er begrenset med bare 25 apps for øyeblikket.

Proteus tar inn $ 25.4M å behandle helhetlig kronisk sykdom

Proteus Biomedical, et selskap som samler enheten, farmasøytiske og bioteknologiske selskaper for å finne svarene for hjerte-og hjertesvikt pasienter har brakt inn $ 25.4 millioner kroner av en forventet 35 millioner dollar runde av egenkapital, ifølge en filing til SEC. Basert i Redwood City, California, selskapet er støttet Carlyle Group og Essex Woodlands Venture Partners blant andre.

21 companies that will lead the green car charge

Last January, VentureBeat ran a story listing 30 electric car companies poised to make a splash over the next couple of years. That post went on to become one of the most popular in the history of this web site, racking up 189 comments.
Today, we bring you a redux of that article — but instead of a list of all of the companies with an EV in a works, here’s a rundown of 21 companies were strong and focused enough to make progress toward something realistic this year.
It’s worth noting that of this group, only two are producing interstate-worthy vehicles today: Tesla Motors, with its Roadster, and Venturi, with its Fetish. These models go for $109,000 and $400,000 respectively — not exactly what you would call practical.
2010 is certain to be a big year for the EV industry, with both the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt finally coming to market, or so they say. They will pave the way for another batch already set to launch in 2011 (including Tesla Motors’ hotly-anticipated Model S) and 2012 (namely, Toyota’s revamped Prius).
Without further ado, here are the 21 car companies that we believe will lead the approaching wave of clean transportation. Let’s start with the big boys, those coming out of established manufacturers with the production capacity and R&D budgets to change the game:
Nissan Leaf – A fully-electric vehicle, the Leaf travels just upwards of 100 miles on a single charge. Why is it special? It can be charged wirelessly — an industry first. For cell phones and PDA devices, wireless charging requires more power than plugging in. It’s unclear how Nissan has worked around this inefficiency, or if it has at all. Regardless, Leaf owners will be able to park their cars on special charging stations installed in their garages or elsewhere, and won’t need to touch a single cord or cable. This makes it the most hands-off vehicle yet.
Chevy Volt — This car is the best of the crop if you want to take a road trip. As a plug-in hybrid, it can travel 40 miles on a charge before its small gasoline generator kicks on and powers the electric motor. This allows it to go more than 300 miles without stopping. Most Americans don’t commute more than 40 miles though, so its feasible you could never need to use gas. Cadillac has showed off a higher-end version of the Volt called the Converj that uses the same power train.
Toyota Prius — This plug-in take on Toyota’s popular Prius model should be available to the general market by Q1 of 2013. The company isn’t rushing this one, and it doesn’t need to. It has had so much success with its current Prius and Highlander hybrids (dominating 75 percent of the hybrid market) that it’s still the frontrunning brand when it comes to green cars. The current plug-in prototypes reach a maximum speed of 62 miles per hour and can travel 12 miles on batteries alone. The real kicker: It can go 870 miles on a full tank of gas. That’s 134 miles per gallon.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV – To be launched first in Oregon, this car can travel up to 80 miles per hour on its lithium-ion battery packs. It takes about 12 to 14 hours to charge up when plugged into a standard wall socket. But if you happen to stop at a Coulomb Technologies ChargePoint charging station, offering higher voltage, it should take under a half an hour. Expect a range of about 100 miles. Mitsubishi has yet to release pricing information, but it’s slated to be a mid-market entry level vehicle.
BMW Mini-E — Looking an awful lot like the Mini Cooper, this fully-electric car is expected to rev up to freeway speed in just over 6 seconds, charge up in 4.5 hours and cost around $50,000. A two-seater, it will have the standard 100-mile range as well.
Now, here are the cars out of smaller, more experimental companies. Whether they are available to be driven today (if you can get your hands on one), or soon to be on the market for neighborhood driving or commercial fleets — this is the batch of companies devising truly disruptive ideas for the automotive market.
Tesla Motors Roadster — This is without a doubt the best known all-electric model in existence. Blazing fast, cranking it up to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds, the Roadster can make it 313 miles on a single charge. The company is advertising a battery life of seven years, or 100,000 miles, and an average driving range of 244 miles, with a top speed of 120 miles per hour. (That top speed is electronically limited. Let us know if you find a way to hack this and determine the true limit on this beast.) The car can recharge on a standard outlet in 3.5 hours. Right now, it’s the only car on the market you can buy and drive home on the freeway without burning gas. But it’ll get some tough competition soon.
Fisker Automotive’s Karma — A plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt, the Karma is a step away from going into production. With the gas generator, you could drive it about 300 miles before needing to recharge or gas up. Delivery dates have been pushed around a few times now, but earlier this month, Fisker promised that it will roll into showrooms during the third quarter of 2010. It will have a top speed of 125 miles per hour and speed to 60 miles per hour in less than 6 seconds, which isn’t half bad for a luxury vehicle. The company is asking for a $5,000 deposit for the hard-top model, and $25,000 for the convertible. The sticker price is $87,900.
Venturi Fetish — A French supercar built in Monaco, it will reach 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds and have an average driving range of 150 miles. It will max out at 100 miles per hour. But what really distinguishes it? It’s $400,000 price tag. It’s definitely a pretty car, but come on.
Myers Motors NMG — An acronym for No More Gas, the name is apt for this car. On three wheels, it can go 100 miles and up to 75 miles per hour. But it’s only slated to cost $27,000, making it one of the most affordable models in the green category. This isn’t bad for a commuter vehicle, but it still doesn’t have enough room for a weekly grocery trip, much less a family and all its trappings.
The Twike — A one-seater with three wheels, you’ll be able to pick one of these up for $35,000 when it’s released. It will take you almost to freeway speed, about 53 miles per hour, with a standard driving range of 100 miles. It charges at a rate of about 1 kilometer per minute via a standard outlet. That means it takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes to charge fully. The real trouble will be actually getting a Twike; the company has sold all the vehicles, it can make and has a waiting list.
Dynasty Electric — This brand actually covers five models of electric cars. The most consumer-friendly among them is its sedan, which looks a bit like the VW Bug from the front, and would be useful for making one short trip a day. Its top speed, 24 miles per hour, can be achieved in 10 seconds, and it has a maximum driving range of 30 miles. Right now it operates off of lead-acid batteries that charge in 6 to 8 hours.
GEM — A subsidiary of Chrysler, this company offers three plug-in models that all resemble golf carts. Appropriate for getting around your retirement community at a top speed of 25 miles per hour, it enjoys a maximum range of 30 miles and will retail for $8,000. It can be charged via a standard wall outlet in 6 to 8 hours.
ElBil Norge METRO Buddy — On sale in Norway, this car can go 75 miles per charge and accelerate to 30 miles per hour in 7 seconds. There are no known plans to bring the Buddy to U.S., where it would compete with several domestically-produced vehicles with similar performance standards.
Reva — Based in India, this company is technically the largest electric vehicle manufacturer worldwide. Selling a sporty Smart lookalike that can get you 100 miles down the road on a single charge, which takes 6 hours. It tops out at about 50 miles per hour. For now its only available in Europe, Chile and India. Reva already has a faster model slated for release in 2012.
Miles Electric Vehicles — Relying on lead-acid batteries, this company’s EV model is capable of running at 25 miles per hour for 40 to 50 miles. It takes 4 to 6 hours to charge, which isn’t bad for this class of vehicle. Price in the high teens, these cars are built in the U.S. and best suited for fleet-vehicle use.
Smith Electric Vehicles — This company has made news recently, tapping Valence Technology to provide batteries for its cars. Based in the U.K., Smith also has offices in Hong Kong, Missouri and the Netherlands. Smith builds fleet vehicles ranging from city-oriented vans to 12-ton capacity trucks. Its aerodynamic 12-ton van will carry a load up to 150 miles and accelerate to 30 miles per hour faster than most diesels, so it’s a good choice for urban fleet operations.
Modec — This company also makes models used best as fleet vehicles. The box truck gets up to 50 miles per hour with a maximum range of 100 miles and an “overnight” charge time. It might do well in an urban delivery role, though it doesn’t have the range for rural use. Modec is based in the U.K. but is also expanding on the European continent. The company has made no mention of plans for U.S. expansion.
The Ford Transit BEV — This car is also planned for fleet use. Planning to release it sometime during 2010, Ford hasn’t offered up any hard numbers on its range or performance. The company is working with Azure Dynamics, which has recently decided on Johnson Controls-Saft as its battery supplier.
Aptera — The spacey-looking, three-wheeled Aptera 2e has been around for a couple of years now. Boasting superior aerodynamics and a range of somewhere around 100 miles, it is supposed to be released on the general market in 2010. It charges overnight via a standard wall outlet and can reach a highway speed in under 10 seconds (not all that impressive). Its top speed is 85 miles per hour. Most of the Aptera’s media coverage has focused on the company’s financial trouble, production delays and winnowing staff. If it makes it to market, the target price will be around $40,000.
Th!nk City — If you stay in the right lane, you could (hopefully) take this car to work. Based in Norway, Th!nk has had a hard time with funding, causing release dates to keep getting pushed back. The design would allow the City to travel just over 100 miles, with a top speed of 62 miles per hour. Th!nk is a company that has been barely surviving for years, so it’s probably not in danger of shutting down yet. If it can bring its product to market, it will probably be one of the most practical available at a price of $20,000. The company has declined to discuss whether it will be made available in the U.S.
Persu Mobility — Formerly known as Venture Vehicles, Persu is working to release a three-wheeled hybrid. Right now, its prototype has an estimated top speed of 100 miles per hour and a mileage of 75 miles per gallon. It can travel purely on its electric motor for 20 miles.
Phoenix Motorcars — This company is working to make America’s obsession with SUVs and pickups greener. Both its SUT and SUV models get 100 miles before draining their batteries. An optional quick charger can get it to 95 percent power in under 10 minutes, but via a standard outlet, it will take 5 to 6 hours to reach full charge. Top speed is electronically limited to 95 miles per hour. Phoenix has had some trouble, though. In April, it entered bankruptcy and still declines to comment on when or if its vehicles will make it to market.

Viralheat tar $ 75K for sosiale medier analytics

Viralheat, leverandør av programvare som registrerer beregninger for sosiale medieprogrammer, har tatt i $ 75.000 i gjeld finansiering, ifølge en filing til SEC. Basert i San Jose, California, selskapet har ikke reist noen penger tidligere til dette.

OpenFeint data viser tunge iPhone spilling i ferier

Ser ut som mobile spillere var limt fast til sine iPhones i løpet av ferien. Aurora Feint delte data i dag som viste spill med OpenFeint sosial spilling nettverk så fem ganger normal bruker aktivitet og tre ganger det normale salg i løpet av 24 desember til 26 desember helligdager. OpenFeint er Burlingame, California-basert Aurora Feint plattform som utviklere bruker for å legge for flere utfordringer, leaderboards og andre sosiale funksjoner til iPhone-spill. Det hjelper spillene spres raskere og få mer gjenta behandling. Mer enn 650 iPhone-spill bruker det og OpenFeint har syv millioner brukere. Disse tallene viser at spillerne blir stadig engasjert med sine iPhones. Det er bra for Apple, og ikke så bra for de som ønsker å unseat iPhone. De programmene som har generert mest nye OpenFeint kontoene er Tic Tac Toe, PocketGod, A Christmas Santa, iFishing, Rollercoaster Rush Free, StickWars Lite, Fish Food Frenzy Free, XenoWars, Finger Fysikk og Slime Ball Lite. I løpet av ferien ble det 11 millioner rekordar presentert og to millioner prestasjoner ble presentert. Dette viser at å tilbringe tid med familien i ferier er overvurdert. Of course, siden disse er sosial spilling statistikk, kan det hende at iPhone familier var samlet for å spille sammen. OpenFeint's rivals inkluderer Scoreloop og Ngmoco's Plus + plattform.

Topp 10 MobileCrunch innlegg av 2009

Har du lurt på hvilke historier av 2009 mennesker på Internett finner mest interessant? Jeg kan egentlig ikke hjelpe deg der, men jeg kan fortelle deg hvilke historier på MobileCrunch fikk mest sidevisninger. Nå kan du anta at de fleste av våre populære historier involvert iPhone, men - ja, faktisk, ville du ha rett. The iPhone er ikke alene på listen, selvfølgelig; Android gjør en håndfull kamper blant våre mest populære historier, blant annet en at jeg aldri ville ha sett komme.

Google Countdown avslører sin eksplosivt fargerike Secret

For noen uker siden vi skrev om en mystisk påskeegg på Googles hjemmeside som vi kalte Google Countdown. Når du har klikket på "Jeg prøver lykken"-knappen uten søket angitt, vil siden vise en nedtellingstidtaker tikkende ned sekunder til ... noe. Litt lureri med datamaskinen våre klokker avslørt at timeren ble teller ned til 1 januar 2010 kl 12:00 (på nyåret, for de av dere som ikke har vært oppmerksomme). Men ingenting skjedde en gang til tidtaker nådd null. Dag har Google snudd bryteren på sin New Years overraskelse. Nei, det er ikke en fantastisk ny gratis webtjeneste. I stedet er det en cheesy digitalt fyrverkeri som overlegg den klassiske Google-hjemmesiden med mangefargede stjerner og "Happy New Year" bannere danser over skjermen. Jeg kan ikke hjelpe, men være litt la ned, men da igjen, er det kun fem dager til ryktet lanseringen av Nexus One. Og den er ganske morsomt.

Google 2009: Vi Power bloggere og Frickin 'Love Twitter

Mange bloggere tar 31 desember hvert år for å gjøre en oppsummering av året sitt i blogging. Google er ikke noe unntak. The multi-milliard-dollar har selskapet en post i dag klappe seg selv på ryggen for en solid fem år verd av blogging. Flere spesielt, snakker de om hvordan beløpet de blogging har økt betydelig de siste årene. I 2009 hadde Google 423 innlegg på Google-bloggen, som er bare ett av dusinvis av blogger de kjører. Som representerer en 15 prosent økning i forhold til 2008. De har også oppmerksom på at bare om lag 14,5 millioner mennesker innom bloggen i år, som er en 21 prosent økning i forhold til året før. Make no mistake: Google tar sin blogging svært alvorlig.

Is ChaCha now #1 mobile search, ahead of Google?

For most of 2009, SMS-based, human-powered question-and-answer service ChaCha has made surprising leaps up Nielsen Mobile’s rating for mobile search services.
ChaCha, which uses $2.50-an-hour freelancers to answer questions texted to it at 242242, has been the fastest-growing mobile search service all year, according to Nielsen. ChaCha shot from 7 percent market share to 28 percent in 90 days in the first half of 2009.
Today, in a post about ChaCha’s financials, TechCrunch editor Mike Arrington mentioned in passing that “They recently passed Google and ChaCha is the no. 1 SMS search service according to Nielsen Mobile.”
Is that true? I haven’t been able to catch Mike, ChaCha, or Nielsen today to confirm that statement.
It’s one thing to be the fastest climber on Nielsen’s chart, but it’s a whole new game if ChaCha is the #1 mobile search service. That would mean a startup from Carmel, Indiana has beaten Google at its core product, search.
I wrote about ChaCha last week when the company announced $7 million in new funding. The Indiana-based company, founded in 2006, had redefined itself away from Web chats and onto SMS to provide answers to customers’ questions. By doing everything in short text blasts from near-volunteers, ChaCha CEO Scott Jones told TechCrunch that they’ll soon be spending less than a penny per answer.
P.S. A clarificatin: TechCrunch’s headline might lead you to think ChaCha is profitable as a company. To be clear, Jones said they are profitable on each search. As for the overall operation, Arrington estimated that “Their current revenue run rate is $9 million or so. My guess is they need to roughly double that to become profitable as a business and support their 60 or so full time employees.”

VentureBeat’s 10 most popular stories of 2009

Here are our biggest stories of the year, as determined by you, the VentureBeat readers, and where you clicked. The list covers some of 2009’s most important products, announcements, and ideas, but also includes posts that fell squarely into the “just for fun” column.
We’re counting down to the most popular stories of the year:
10. 10 lessons from a failed startup (April 10) — Entrepreneur Mark Goldenson shares what he learned from the failure of his internet TV network for games. Hopefully that knowledge will help him with his new startup, BreakThrough.
9. New OnLive service could turn the video game world upside down (March 23) — Steve Perlman’s new company could transform the video game industry by allowing game computation to be done in distant servers, rather than on game consoles or high-end computers. So instead of buying games in stores, gamers could play them across the network — without downloading them.
8. iPhone prototype goes missing; Chinese worker investigated, commits suicide (July 21) — The story of 25-year-old Sun Danyong, who committed suicide after a fourth-generation iPhone he was responsible for went missing, suggests how Apple’s secretive ways send extreme pressure all the way down the company’s international supply chain.
7. Pictures: President Obama’s inauguration as seen from space (January 20) — These photos were taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite, which is known as the “Google satellite” because the company has permission to use some of its images for its Google Earth and Google Maps products.
6. GeoEye-1, the “Google satellite,” will capture the inauguration from space (January 16) — Yep, people sure were excited about that Google satellite. And, uh, the Obama inauguration too.
5. Droid, the phone that finally lets me cancel my iPhone; here’s why (October 19) — Based on early reports and rumors, VentureBeat editor Matt Marshall jumped on the bandwagon for Droid, the second generation phone using Google’s Android operating system. And if you’re wondering, Matt was serious about his love for the Droid . Once it was released, he pretty much abandoned his iPhone.
4. How investigators tracked down a Modern Warfare 2 cyber pirate (November 6) — It seems readers couldn’t get enough of our coverage of the blockbuster video game, but the most popular Modern Warfare story was our account of how a private investigation firm stumbled on a scheme to pirate Modern Warfare 2 and sell a bunch of fake copies on the Internet.
3. Technorati: Full-time bloggers are making more money than ever (October 22) — Although most bloggers are hobbyists, blog aggregator Technorati released a State of the Blogosphere report saying the average income for full-timers is $122,222.
2. Android netbooks are on their way, likely by 2010 (January 1) — This was the first of a number of stories this year talking about how Android is an operating system for devices beyond mobile phones. The question now is whether those netbooks will run Android or Google’s other new operating system, Chrome OS.
1. This is the Microsoft I want to see (February 28) — This features a video presenting Microsoft’s vision for the future. VentureBeat alum MG Siegler argued that the frequently mocked software giant has some cool ideas about where it wants to go, but has failed to translate that vision into good products. It’s hard to disagree — even Microsoft executives acknowledged that the company has lost some of its mojo, though they argued it was coming back with Bing and Windows 7.

Whiskey Media Hever $ 2.5 millioner for å sette i verk mer strukturert innhold Sites

Cnet grunnlegger Shelby Bonnie og andre engler har satt en annen $ 2.5 millioner i Whiskey Media, som opererer nisje medier steder som ComicVine (comics), GiantBomb (spill), og AnimeVice (anime). Selskapet, som har eksistert siden 2007, tidligere reist rundt 1,5 millioner dollar i angel penger også. Whiskey Medias nettsteder er wiki-lignende innholdssider i åre CrunchBase eller GDGT, som bygget rundt strukturerte databaser som kan redigeres av leserne . (Faktisk var CrunchBase inspirert av Whiskey Media første nettsted, nå pensjonert PoliticalBase).

Twitter Reigns Supreme On The Tube

SnapStream, en oppstart som gjør en enhet som lar bedrifter posten tusenvis av timer med TV (både fra satellitt og digital kabel kilder) og søk på innsiden av opptakene for søkeord, lanserte nylig et trending emner nettsted for TV. SnapStream har befridd dens øverste trendene på TV for 2009, med omtale av "Twitter" brukt oftere enn Facebook, MySpace og andre sosiale medieplattformer. . TV-programmer brukte ordet "Twitter" i programmering deres tre ganger oftere i desember 2009 enn de gjorde i slutten av 2008 og januar 2009, i henhold til dataene. SnapStream også gitt toppen søkeordet nevner på TV, som er i rekkefølge: Iran, Michael Jackson, svin influensa, Nord-Korea, AIG, Pirates, Hamas, (The) Innvielse, Ted Kennedy og Balloon (gutt). SnapStream avslørte også at omtaler av "helsevern" overskygget omtaler av "økonomi" mot slutten av året takket være president Obama's Healthcare initiativ.

Rumor: Samsung Mobile til å lansere absolutt ingenting på CES?

Huske sist Samsung gikk mer enn et par dager uten å lansere en ny telefon? Ja, heller ikke vi - så du må tilgi oss hvis vi høres litt skeptisk her. Da vi fikk beskjed om at Samsung Mobile holdt sin CES pressekonferanse på ugudelige time 7:30 på [...]

Raydiance bygger raske lasere med nye $ 3,1 millioner

Raydiance, som hevder å være i arbeid på "ultrafast lasere" med programmer i mikroelektronikk, solpanel produksjon, har øye operasjoner, dermatologi og kreft behandlinger, ført i $ 3.1 millioner kroner av en ventet 5 millioner dollar runde med finansiering. Basert på Petaluma, Calif, selskapet er støttet av Greenstreet Partnere og Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Det reist 20 millioner dollar i fjerde runde av midler i fjor.

Envivio lander $ 1M for videokomprimeringsteknologi

Envivio, leverandør av teknologi som komprimerer video, slik at den kan vises via TV, dataskjermer eller mobiltelefoner, har hevet $ 1 million i gjeld finansiering, ifølge en filing til SEC. Basert i South San Francisco er selskapet støttet av Atlantic Bridge, Credit Agricole Private Equity, Crescendo Ventures, The Solidarity Fund, Innovacom, Harbinger, HarbourVest, Intel Capital, NTT Finance, Helgenberetninger Capital, Samsung Ventures Amerika og Sigma Designs.

Google’s Nexus One toys with CBAK valuation

Google’s forthcoming smart phone, apparently, has the power to change fortunes. Following speculation that Chinese battery manufacturer BAK (CBAK) won the supply contract for Google’s phone, BAK stock rose 63 percent. After BAK’s chief financial officer Tony Shen denied these rumors, BAK stock dropped 24 percent and is at 2.79 at time of publishing (9:45 AM PST). The amazing thing here is that BAK hasn’t announced anything else of note. BAK’s valuation has been changing around speculation that they might supply batteries for a single model of phone.
Despite the 63 percent gains on 12.29, BAK is down 26 percent over the last three months.
The phone in question is the Nexus One. Following weeks of speculation, we are expecting release information by mid January, probably at a press event Google announced on January 5. The phone will likely be available unlocked and unsubsidized from Google, which would be the first time Google has sold hardware to consumers. The unsubsidized price is $530.
It will also be available subsidized with a two year contract from T-Mobile. The T-Mobile plan will include 500 voice minutes with text and data included for $80 a month. The phone will be built to Google’s specifications by HTC, unlike other Android phones that were built as manufacturers thought they should be. This is all according to a leaked internal document.
BAK has posted two straight years of losses. About two thirds of their business is in cell phone batteries. Another rough third is in laptop batteries and the rest is tied up in its expansion to the automotive battery business. To date, BAK has not been certified to supply OEMs and focuses on the replacement business. A week ago, CBAK announced it had won a $1 million contract to supply bus batteries in China.
If anyone doubted the power of Google before, let them now be convinced. Nothing is official about the Nexus One’s release or even its existence. None the less, rumors about who might supply the batteries for the Nexus One are driving stock prices. The Droid may have disappointed some but the Nexus One might just quietly sidle up into iPhone territory, sales wise.

Litium registrerer $ 18M å bygge kunderelasjoner kanaler

Lithium Technologies, byggmester av kundeforhold kanaler som tilpasses fora, blogger og sosiale nettverk for andre selskaper, har hentet inn 18 millioner av en forventet $ 23 million runde av venture-finansiering, ifølge en filing til SEC. Basert i Emeryville, Calif, selskapet er støttet av Benchmark Capital, Emergence Capital Partners og Shasta Ventures. Det har tjente NOK 39 millioner til dato.

Black Crowes sangeren velkommen en datter

En ting som kan være vanskelig å håndtere på nyåret for rockeren Chris Robinson? Bleie plikt!

Tørk av Slate Clean for 2010, Commit Web 2.0 Suicide

Er du lei av å bo i offentlig, lei av all privat teater i sosiale nettverk er å sette på, og bare ønsker å avslutte det hele på nettet? Nå kan du tørke av skifer rene med Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. (Advarsel: Dette vil virkelig slette din online tilstedeværelse og er ugjenkallelig). Bare sette i legitimasjonen din på Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, eller LinkedIn og vil slette alle dine venner og meldinger, og endre brukernavn, passord og bilde slik at du ikke kan logge inn igjen nettstedet er faktisk drives av Moddr, en Nye Media Lab i Rotterdam, som utfører den underliggende skript som sletter kontoer. Web 2.0 Suicide Machine er en digital Dr. Kevorkian. På Facebook, for eksempel fjerner den alle vennene dine en etter en, fjerner dine grupper og møter deg til sine egne "sosiale nettverk Suiciders", og lar deg dra noen siste ord. Så langt har 321 personer har brukt nettstedet Facebook til å begå selvmord. På Twitter, slettes alle dine Tweets, og fjerner alle de menneskene du følge og din tilhengere. Det gjør egentlig ikke slette disse kontoene, det bare legger dem til hvile.

The start-up chronicles: Reflecting on reflecting

(Editor’s Note: The Start-up Chronicles is a weekly feature giving an inside view of the trials of a bootstrapped start-up – The Cost Savings Guy. CEO and founder Bruce Judson is also the author of “Go It Alone!: The Secret to Building A Successful Business on Your Own” and a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management.)
The end of the year is traditionally a time for reflecting on goals for the coming twelve months, as well as past mistakes you don’t plan to repeat.  This year I have found myself focused on the idea of reflection itself.
For a solo entrepreneur, taking the time to reflect on how your business is evolving is particularly critical. The daily effort to build the business can be all consuming. The desire to jump at each new idea can be overwhelming. And, it’s easy to feel productive by doing things that can take enormous amounts of time, even if they ultimately add little to your overall sales effort. The real question is whether this is time well spent or something that simply creates the illusion of productivity.
My belief in the need for reflection is sufficiently strong that I try to set aside one to two hours every day for some form of longer-term thinking and activity. These hours may involve participating in constant experiments or may involve a rigorous assessment of what I have learned in the previous few days or weeks (and what I am trying to accomplish now).
A regular consideration is whether I am spending my time in the most effective manner possible. It’s so easy to get off track that I’ve set rules for my daily behavior. For example, if a specific effort is taking me longer than a half-hour, I stop and reflect on the project. Am I overly concerned with perfecting something that is unnecessary? How much longer will this initiative take? Was I realistic in my original thinking about the time and energy involved for this effort?
Before I instituted these rules, I would often find that I might have a list of five things I intended to accomplish in a given day, and a day of seemingly solid work would pass without finishing the first task on the list.
At this time of year, all of this leads me to reflect on whether I am doing enough reflecting throughout my typical workweek.  The constant hum of new ideas and services on the Internet make it possible to literally spend months on a constant stream of new initiatives – each one appearing more promising than the next. Yet, it’s also possible that none of these efforts will ultimately add to the success of the business.
Ultimately, success requires extraordinary discipline. It’s not the discipline of hard work. (In our era, that’s almost too easy.) It’s the discipline that comes from strategic thinking, the strength to focus on your agenda and the ability to be absolutely ruthless in how you allocate your time.
Success also requires the discipline to be completely honest with yourself about what is (and isn’t) working. Optimism is a necessary trait for winning solo entrepreneurs, but it can easily translate into unfounded positive delusions. It’s critical to see your business environment as it is and as you hope to make it – not as you want it to be.
So, as I reflect in this season of reflection, I ask myself a few questions related to these issues:  How have I been spending the bulk of my time for the past few months?  Are there ways I could have significantly cut the time spent on these activities? If so, what would have been the relevant trade-offs? Am I acting through strategic insights rather than reacting to other forces? And will I recognize the opportunity to make these changes in 2010?
It’s easy to be busy. It’s hard to accomplish something.

TenYears: PC Spill av tiåret

Det er nesten 1 januar 2010 og vi har vært mulling over våre favoritter av 2009 - og det forrige tiåret. Her presenterer vi et avdrag på våre "av tiåret" listene. Valve oppfølging av den revolusjonerende Half-Life er vår kamp av tiåret, ikke bare fordi det er et fantastisk spill, men fordi det er et fint eksempel på moderne spill. Det eksemplifiserer DLC gjort rett, samfunnet støtte gjort riktig, og kommer del og pakke med Steam, som har bidratt til å revolusjonere digital distribusjon for spill. Alt dette mens de fortsatt være den standarden som andre FPSes måles.

These are the ten best video games of the decade, dammit!

Here it is, New Year’s Eve, and I have exhausted all of my other list opportunities. Now it’s time to consider the best games of the decade. I procrastinated on this one because it wasn’t easy to do. But then I started seeing all of the other best of the decade lists being posted. I disagreed with them, and the annoyance built up so that it overflowed and I felt compelled to retaliate with my own list. So here’s my favorite games of the past 10 years and my reasons for liking them so much. Please leave your own comments if you agree or disagree, and pick your favorite game in the poll at the end. I’m grateful that a lot of these games were fairly recent, meaning that the game industry just keeps getting better and better. Please enjoy and thanks so much for reading in 2009!
1. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001, Bungie, Xbox). I am a believer in the cult of Master Chief. Don’t laugh at me. There are about 30 million of us. This game showed you could do a first-person shooter game on a game console instead of the PC. That sounds like a mere technical achievement, but it brought a wave of new gamers to the consoles, including me. The game was put together like an opera. It had a haunting musical score that sounded like chanting Gregorian monks. The sound of the assault gun’s fire and the clinking of bullet casings was immersive. The story line was deep and imaginative. And there was the wonder of Halo, a ring-like planet with vast beautiful areas where you had to fight for your life against overwhelming numbers of Covenant aliens. The combat was frenzied. You had to switch weapons and grenades to deal with a variety of smart aliens. You were able to drive tanks and bounce around in dune buggy style Warthogs. And there were some scary moments when you didn’t know what was coming next, underscored by the pulse-pounding music. There were some godawful flaws, like the long Library level. The story was saved by the game’s main relationship, between the slayer Master Chief and his artificial intelligence companion, Cortana. Their banter showed rare glimpses into Master Chief’s sense of humor, which made him seem all the more Clint Eastwood-like. It all came together as something that approached a work of art.
2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009, Naughty Dog, Sony PlayStation 3). Regular readers have seen me opine for much of the fall about this unexpectedly good game. Developer Naughty Dog managed to created a polished game that resembles a summer blockbuster movie. As Nathan Drake in this third-person shooter, you are always in an Indiana Jones style pickle. Mercenaries are shooting at you and you’re trying to climb a wall above a huge precipice. You’re trying not to fall off of a moving train, staying out of the line of sight of a helicopter gunship, and trying to shoot the armed soldiers coming after you. From the story dialogue scenes to the combat, everything is well done. The story is engrossing and there is a lot of tension between the characters of Drake and two women who appeal to different sides of the man. The environments have beautiful, vibrant colors and they evoke a sense of wonder. You move through jungles, war-torn cities, an ice glacier in the Himalayas, underground temples and a monastery carved into a cliff. And the special effects in this game tap the power of the PlayStation 3 and produce scenes that I’ve never seen in video games before, like when you stand on top of a building in a Nepalese city and gaze for miles in any direction.
3. Gears of War (2006, Epic Games, Xbox 360). This third-person shooter game showed that Microsoft could commission a winning title that wasn’t about Master Chief. The grunts like Marcus Fenix in Gears of War are among the biggest badasses in the history of games. They fight in close combat with extremely tough Locust horde enemies who come from underneath the earth and cause a near apocalypse as they undermine all of the human cities on the planet of Sera. You have to claw your way back amid the destroyed beauty of the planet. Since you aren’t invulnerable, you have to hide behind barriers and use smarter tactics to defeat enemies who often have a lot more firepower than you. Like Halo, the story, graphics, game play and overall dark mood come together in this game. Fighting General RAAM at the end of the game was one of the most difficult boss battles ever.
4. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007, Infinity Ward, multiple platforms). The Call of Duty franchise made its name by putting gamers into the shoes of World War II soldiers in the midst of hellish combat. But all of the previous games were just basic training for the experience that Infinity Ward delivered with the leap to modern combat with Modern Warfare. The first-person shooter had a flare for the dramatic. You didn’t just board a helicopter at the end of a mission. You ran and jumped for the deck, nearly fell off, and had to be pulled to safety by your friend. There was a scene inside a television station where you had to charge in and fight off hordes of soldiers tossing grenades at you and firing automatic weapons at the shattering TV monitors. It was a noisy game, full of intensity, and it had a good story with mature themes that respected the intelligence of gamers who had grown up playing games and were well aware of how terrorism has made the world a dangerous place. The multiplayer combat was so addictive that many played it for months.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009, Infinity Ward, multiple platforms). Yes, I never met a Call of Duty game that I didn’t like, and I’m partial to shooters if you haven’t figured that out yet. And this game’s silly plot and the poorly executed scene where you mow down Russian civilians at an airport both sorely tested my loyalty. But the combat situations in this game were a step up from its predecessor. You see a wide array of modern combat scenarios, from escaping a firefight in a snowmobile to raining from above aboard helicopter gunships. From Afghanistan to Siberia, you have to fight your way out of every pickle, one shot at a time. And the multiplayer combat is even more fun, with so many rewards for your accomplishments that you just want to keep on playing.
6. BioShock (2007, 2K Boston, Xbox 360). This game came up on everyone like a sleeper. It was a shooting game set in an underwater utopia that had turned into a horror show. It was so creepy that you felt like you were inside a horror movie where the director deliberately builds up your fear and anticipation. The game creators set their imaginations loose, coming up with terrifying but original female characters who laughed maniacally as they tried to dismember you. You could fight back with weapons that you assembled yourself from things called plasmids. You could electrocute your enemies, shoot them with flamethrowers and hear them scream, or blow them away with shotguns. Then there were the Big Daddys, the villains or friends who were like battle tanks when they were fighting you. Bringing one of them down is a task akin to Ulysses taking out the Cyclops in the Odyssey. The game was as deep as they come with a kind of fantasy setting that you would expect to spring from the mind of someone like the Joker in the Batman movies. And you had to decide whether to be good or evil toward the little sisters in the game, and your decision affects the outcome. The plot twist at the end is one of the most memorable in game history.
7. Guitar Hero (2005, Harmonix, multiple platforms). Music games were largely a small sector of the game industry until this one came from out of the blue and broke all the rules. It introduced a faux toy guitar as the interface with the game console, immediately making non-gamers feel more comfortable playing a game. The game play put you on stage, performing like a rock star and trying to keep the rhythm of the song playing. You didn’t have to know how to sing or play a guitar. You just had to press the buttons on the guitar at the right time. While it sounds simple, it took a lot imagination to create a game that could pull gamers away from hardcore shooters. This year, the bottom fell out of the music games market. But it just goes to show that fans always expect originality and reward it when they see it.
8. Wii Sports (2006, Nintendo, Wii). This game is one of the most important in the history of games because it showed off what the Wii could do. Nintendo foresaw that the graphics arms race was turning off non-gamers and it needed to create something that could pull the broader market in. Wii Sports was simple. You swung the motion-sensing Wii remote to hit a tennis ball or a baseball. It was a more intuitive way to play and it has set in motion huge changes in the game industry and revived Nintendo’s fortunes. Anybody could play, from a three-year-old kid to a 72-year-old grandmother. I know because I watched that happen in my own home, and it was one game where it was just as fun watching the interaction among players as it was watching the screen. With more than 60 million Wiis in the market and this game bundled into every one of them, Wii Sports has influenced and delighted an entire generation of gamers.
9. The Sims (2000, EA Maxis, PC). The quirky mind of SimCity creator Will Wright came up with this idea for a game, which was inspired by everything from architecture to dollhouses. You created your own family, moved them into a house, and watched them live their own zany lives. People became attached to their Sim characters and loved to micro-manage them. It was hilarious watching your Sims learn how to cook and then burn the house down. The game drew in more girls and women into games, broadening the appeal of the market and defusing criticism of games as useless and overly violent. After it was published, users took the game into their own hands, posting their own stories on the web about what they did with their Sims characters. Electronic Arts went on to sell more than 100 million copies of the game and its many spinoffs.
10. Civilization IV (2005, Firaxis, PC). This game is kind of like a bridge to the bygone era of computer strategy games that no one makes anymore. It paid homage to the tinkerers in all of us, but had plenty of pretty graphics and eye candy for those who didn’t like boring simulations. You could spend hours building up your civilization, creating your armies, and then figuring out how to cooperate with or conquer your neighboring societies. You didn’t have to win by conquest; you could achieve the pinnacle of human society instead by sending someone to the moon. The earlier games were fun too, but this one ran smooth and had exorcised all of the earlier bugs from the system. As an aside, I can’t wait for the Facebook version of this game to come out.
The many honorable mentions include: Portal, Wii Fit, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Grand Theft Auto 4, Resident Evil 4, Diablo II, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Spore, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Call to Power 2, Battlefield 1942, Left 4 Dead, Counter Strike: Source, Age of Empires II, God of War, Warcraft III, Mass Effect, Resistance: Fall of Man, Flower, Kingdom Hearts, Fable, Final Fantasy VII, Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid IV, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Super Mario Galaxy, Killzone 2,, and Metroid Prime.

Arkadium CEO plans to adapt to social gaming’s popularity

It’s a time of big change in the game industry, but Kenny Rosenblatt is used to it. In 2001, he co-founded Arkadium with his wife Jessica Rovello. The New York-based company originally started as a casual game site. But that wasn’t successful. Instead, Arkadium made money licensing its games to well-known brands. So it shifted into “advergaming,” where a game is embedded with ads and essentially becomes a walking advertisement. Now the company has more than 200 Flash games which it licenses out to brands. We interviewed him about the changes happening in the game industry and his own shift into social games.

VB: Can you describe the business?
KR: We create intellectual property, or games. We now have the largest library of Flash games that we wholly own. We license those games and our platform to destination sites that want an online game offering. We describe that as a white-labeled Pogo in a box (so named after Electronic Arts’ casual online game site). Some of our clients are Lifetime, Hearst, MyYearbook,, and about 40 others who use our platform. We serve 6 million gamers a month, with hundreds of millions of game plays per month.
VB: How did the year go for you? It was a rough year for advertising.
KR: 2009 went well for us, despite the recession. We were still profitable and there is something to be said for that. Our business model held up in a very tough time. A lot of that has to do has to do with our business of licensing and customization. As long as customers were using our games, our revenues were stable. Where a lot of companies were dependent on CPM (cost per mil, or the measure of ad revenue per 1,000 users), which was falling, the revenues fell with the industry. It’s a blessing and a curse. We held still in a tough time.
VB: How does the monetization work?
KR: Our monetization is licensing. Our clients monetize via advertising. Since our clients are big media companies, they have sophisticated ad sales staff that can sell pre-roll ads (or videos that appear before a game is initiated). They can get CPMs of $15 or more. That works out well for them because they get extra ad impressions and more time spent on the site. Users stay at a site longer when they are playing games. That works out well for our customers and their ad partners. That’s been our model for the last seven years. It has worked very well for us. We have grown from two employees to 90 now. About 35 are in New York and the rest are in the Ukraine.
VB: How are you adapting?
KR: The exciting thing for us is that we have a new product that monetizes gamers through other means besides just advertising. We can have subscriptions, micro-transactions, and analytic tools that understand the gamer better and serve more relevant ads to the gamer. That provide us upside on our client’s success. Historically, if our clients licensed games do very well, we still got the same licensing fee. As our clients do well now, we can share in that.
VB: MyYearbook just did a deal with IMVU on creating a universal virtual currency. Is that appealing?
KR: MyYearbook has a currency called “lunch money.” Our game solution works with their lunch money economy. You can use that lunch money for lots of different things. So now you can take your lunch money and change it into other currencies? I see that being very difficult to manage because you have to keep a close eye on your economy and make sure that value is converted correctly. It’s a complicated thing. You need bankers. It’s a financial revenue model that should be managed by Wall Street guys. We could do that too. Our virtual currency is called treats. You earn them playing games and can buy them in the future. We have no immediate plans to interact with existing currencies. It seems like a lot of technical integration that may not be worth it.
VB: What lies ahead?
KR: We see 2010 as a big change where we will push more into social networks and iPhone and Android. In Q1, we will release our first social game. And we will have an iPhone and downloadable version of that game as well.
VB: Is that where everything is moving?
KR: You can’t deny what is happening on social sites. One challenge of the traditional casual web site game market over the past 10 years has been getting distribution. Game developers had to do deals with big casual game web sites like Oberon or Big Fish Games to get distribution and enough eyeballs looking at your product. Now, on social networks, you eliminate the aggregator. However, it’s not easy to get the eyeballs that Zynga and other social game companies already have. We see social networks as an exciting way for us to get to the end user. At the same time, we know that you need some type of marketing plan to succeed. You can’t put up a game and get five million monthly active users. These companies like Playfish and Zynga have huge online marketing teams that study the viral effects of games. But the nice thing is that what we have done for the last nine years is only one step away from what these social game companies are doing. We have been building online games in Flash. We have been building web software for that amount of time. So the transition to social is not as much of a stretch. Building online games is our core competency.
VB: Are you creating new games for Facebook or taking older properties and relaunching them?
KR: Our first game is Mahjong Dimensions laucnhing on Facebook in Q1. Then there are six new games behind it
which use new intellectual property. They are social in nature. It’ s hard to take a single player Flash game and make it compelling in a social network if you are not taking advantage of social features. You saw that when PopCap released Luxor on Facebook and it didn’t do well. Then they launched Bejeweled Blitz where you could play it for just a minute in a social challenge. It did much better. All of our games will be designed for social play and so you can monetize them in different ways.
VB: What are your predictions about virtual goods revenue?
KR: We see it growing. But if you dive into the numbers of the social game companies, the conversion rates are similar to casual games where 1 percent conversion was usual. That was considered pretty good. Two percent was great. The same is true on Facebook. When you add in the offers, and that funds your virtual wallet, then it expands the conversion rate. A lot of people are hesitant to pull out a credit card. But they will fill out an offer. Offers have gotten a terrible rap over the last couple of months. So we will not launch with offers now. It’s just a direct funding.
VB: Are you going to acquire Facebook developers?
KR: No. We think we have the team to become a premium Facebook game developer. We have identified a marketing and analytics company to partner with to get distribution and eyeballs. We don’t think we can compete without that type of partner. We will release who that partner is in Q1 and talk about how we could grow our reach.
VB: Do you mean companies like RockYou?

KR: Yeah, they have tens of millions of users. They could use that as a distribution network. Six months ago, it cost 25 cents to buy an installation of one app on Facebook. Now it is $1.50.
VB: I hear it’s tough on the iPhone, where it costs $3 in ads to get 99 cents from a user.
KR: That’s not a business I want to be in. Competing in the iPhone world is tough, given the large number of developers that are there. We are taking a slightly different approach there. We are not crossing our fingers and hoping our app rises on the leaderboard. We will focus on driving sales to earn that top spot. Through our Facebook channel, we can drive sales of our iPhone app and use the monthly actives to sell it. We aren’t just hoping it gets listed. It is similar to what PopCap is doing with Bejeweled Blitz. That’s a marketing channel for the brand.
VB: Yes, companies like Backflip Studios have used free games to market their paid games.
KR: You have to build an installed base. Then you can monetize it. That’s the big trick. That hurts premium game developers who only want to charge for their games. It’s hard to compete with companies that just want to gain market share through free apps.
VB: It’s still pretty early in the market and it’s still possible to break in?
KR: Absolutely. It’s just the beginning. There is no doubt the top 20 have advantages of having an installed base that they can market to. But the the viral channels are there. They are changing. You can succeed and break into the space. It’s a lot harder. But it is still possible. Every week there is a new developer that I have never heard of before getting into the top ten list. If your game is great, you should have the marketing plan because the big guys will come in and copy it and distribute across their channels. That will put you our real fast.
VB: What will a more mature market look like? If we are in the beginning now, what will it look like at the end of next year?
KR: the game experiences will be richer, deeper experiences. Right now, the games that are developed are based on the login history of Facebook users. People log in for five minutes a day. The games are adopted to take advantage of that. Bejeweled takes 25 minutes to play. But Bejeweled Blitz takes one minute and it takes advantage of these patterns. Most games today are simulations where you set things up and then you come back and see how it did. Over time, there will be more engaging experiences where you play for an hour. I also think there will be a large connection between the mobile and social aspects. You can take a mobile device, play the game, and see the changes reflected in the computer version. The revenues now come from virtual goods and micro-transactions. I think there will be a lot more creative revenue models that will come.
VB: What do you learn from international game markets like China, where a lot of the FarmVille style games came from?
KR: In Korea and China, games and the new business models have been taking off and we’re trying to get them to work in the U.S. It’s happening slowly. Part of the reason that it happened slowly was the aggregators of casual games stifled innovation. They never allowed for multiplayer games or collaborative games. So the social networks come and the innovation is a lot more open. The old guard in casual games is irrelevant.
VB: In casual downloadable games, they are trying to hold the line at $7, which is the new price for game downloads compared to $20 in years past.
KR: It’s so scary. It may drop to $2.99. Once a price war starts, it’s a scary place to be. The production values are increasing. It may take $200,000 to make a premium downloadable game. Five years ago, it sold for $20. Now it’s only selling for $6.99.
VB: Are there companies you admire for their ability to adapt?
KR: PopCap did a fantastic job of transitioninng from a casual game developer to a multifaceted company with  with Facebook, iPhone games, Xbox Live Arcade Games and others. They can reap the rewards. I think that Big Fish and Real Networks and Oberon have not moved as fast as they need to do. They will probably need to make acquisitions to make up for lost time. And they will be expensive. These social game companies that are being acquired are being pursued by every venture capitalist and private equity firm out there.
VB: It must still be a great time to start a Facebook developer firm?
KR: It is a good time to start a Facebook development firm. But you have to understand how it works. The marketing and analytics for what it takes to succeed in social are more important than game design. Some terrible games on Facebook have millions of monthly actives but are not fun to play. You need great game designers, strong marketing and analytics, and some way to get distribution.

En nasjon av remikser

Uansett hvilken sinnstilstand eller nåværende plassering, er det sannsynligvis en remix av "Empire State of Mind" tilgjengelig.

2009 celebrity style

I et tiår fylt med tvilsomme mote valg, 2009 var hjørnestein.

Limbaugh helse skremme

Rush Limbaugh tatt til Honolulu sykehus med brystsmerter onsdag, et show ansatt sa.

Motorola MileStone forhåndsvisning: Første titt

Motorola må ha hatt følelsen av tau mot ryggen. Det er ingen annen forklaring på milepæl. De har tydeligvis behov for å bli skjøvet mot tauene til husker hva som gjorde dem til verdens største produsent. Det har vært en lang vei for dem, med rikelig med milepæler. Men det siste markerer slutten på en spesielt bratt nedoverbakke stretch.

ChaCha Makes Its Crazy Business Model…Profitable

We've always had a lot of fun with Indianapolis-based startup ChaCha. They launched in 2007 as a human powered search engine - meaning a human found you answers when you typed in a query. Pranksters, obviously, loved it. And we noted the high cost of hiring humans to basically do Google searches and return results to people.

The human powered web search never really worked out. But ChaCha evolved. In 2008 they launched a mobile version of the service that lets users ask questions via SMS. Putting a human into the mix makes sense with mobile, with poor (or no) data connectivity and hard to use keyboards. But all phones have SMS, and ChaCha had a hit on their hands (they also had the infamous Eiffel Tower incident).

And ChaCha also made another smart move. They started archiving questions and answers on their website in January 2009. 300 million of them are now published on their website - you can view and search them from the ChaCha home page. Those pages have lots of ads generating revenue, and the search engines tend to rank pages like these highly. The company serves just under a million page views to answer pages per day, they say.

CEO Scott Jones says the company has had "explosive growth" in usage of their mobile product. In fact, the company has had to take steps in the past to control that growth, by limiting the number of questions people can ask each month. Even so, people now ask ChaCha a million questions a day via SMS. They recently passed Google and ChaCha is the no. 1 SMS search service according to Nielsen Mobile.

onsdag 30. desember 2009

Vi bor nemlig i offentlige nå. Bli vant til det.

Etter hvert som Internett blir mer sosiale, blir personvern vanskeligere og vanskeligere å komme forbi. Folk er over-deling på Facebook og Twitter, kringkasting deres oppholdssted hvert tiende trinn på firkantet og Gowalla, og laste opp bilder og videoer av deres mest private øyeblikk på Internett for alle å se. Det er enkelt å si at personvern er død, vi alle lever i offentlig nå, og bare håndtere det. Men det er litt mer komplisert. Det pleide å være at vi bodde i private og valgte å gjøre deler av livene våre offentlige. Nå som blir snudd på hodet. Vi lever i offentligheten, som filmen sier (bortsett fra via mikro-signaler ikke 24-7 video self-overvåking), og velge hvilke deler av våre liv for å holde privat. Offentlig er den nye standard.

På firkantet Venues, The Mayor Spiser gratis

Firkantet, geografisk plassering basert innsjekking spillet, nettopp annonsert at det første spillestedet er å kombinere emblemer og kampanjer. På firkantet får du merker for å sjekke ut steder. Den personen som sjekker inn et sted de blir "Mayor". Du får også tilbud fra restauranter og barer i nærheten basert på plasseringen din. Nå er de to elementene blir bundet sammen. For eksempel Blynk Organic en restaurant i Charlotte, North Carolina er den første arena dette tilbudet: Ordfører spiser gratis! Bare vis oss din telefon etter å ha sjekket inn for å validere. 25% av egg smørbrød til alle Gym Rats (firkantet merke required)

Nine startup dreams and industries Google crushed in 2009

If you’re an ambitious young tech entrepreneur with a compelling product hacked together and a slide-deck in hand, there’s always one giant elephant in the room to worry about.
That, of course, is Google.
The search giant has made a ton of product announcements this year, ranging from minor tweaks to major new applications. There’s even a brand-new operating system. In doing so, Google left a lot of collateral damage. Tiny startups with high-fallutin’ dreams to established industries have found themselves in the path of the search behemoth.
Who did Google make cry this year? We’re looking back at some of the dreams that were deferred, we mean, destroyed!
The navigation companies: TomTom, Garmin, and TeleNav charge for mobile applications offering turn-by-turn directions, often for a sizable fee. The TomTom app, for example, normally costs $100, though there’s a holiday discount cutting the price to $49.99. Then Google decided to get into the market, and its app wasn’t just a little cheaper — it’s free. In its IPO filing, TeleNav even acknowledged that this was a major risk. The one piece of good news for competitors is that Google’s directions are currently limited to phones using its Android operating system, but how long will that last?
And let’s not forget TeleAtlas: But this is for a slightly different reason. Google used to rely on TeleAtlas for mapping data, but it decided this fall that it would go it alone. Instead, Google is relying on public data, StreetView and user-generated content, controlling the entire process. Google’s user-generated map efforts have been so successful that the company has been able to create street maps in developing countries where no professional ones existed before like in India and Vietnam.
The cloud OS startups: Jolicloud and Good OS wanted to take advantage of the increasing interest in netbooks (the cheap laptops that are used mainly to access the web). They created operating systems that were dubbed “cloud OSs,” to reflect a shift away from applications on your computer and towards applications that run in the Internet cloud. Then Google announced its own operating system, Chrome OS, which is launching next year on select netbooks. And while Jolicloud said the news “validates” the market, this is one area where I’m betting startups will have a particularly steep uphill climb. I’m fine using a website from a company I haven’t heard of, but trust and name recognition mean a lot more when it comes to something as crucial as an operating system.
The real-time search contenders: We profiled about a dozen startups including Topsy, Scoopler, CrowdEye and OneRiot, that were competing to be the top gun in the emerging space of sifting and sorting real-time data. Google was relatively quiet in the beginning of the year, with co-founder Larry Page admitting the company had fallen behind on indexing content on a per-second basis. That raised a whiff of unspoken hope that either it or its arch-rival Microsoft’s Bing might make an acquisition in the space. Or that a young and hungry player with quality filtering technology could start attracting large audiences looking for real-time content. But by October, it became clear that Google was hard at work behind the scenes when it signed a deal with Twitter for the full firehose of its data. Then in December, Google unveiled its work, showing real-time search results that streamed down the page, Friendfeed style.
So what of the real-time hopefuls? Scoopler is shifting its focus to discovery, and surfacing unexpectedly interesting real-time content. OneRiot is busy at work, building an ads system against its results and trending topics. Both it and Collecta are putting their heads down and focusing on distribution with application programming interfaces and developer partners. Twitter, while maintaining a search engine, signaled that it wasn’t going to try and monopolize the space when it signed distribution deals with Google and Microsoft.
Rupert Murdoch: Okay, the Australian media kingpin is definitely not a startup. We just wanted to put him in the list anyway because the empire he spent more than half a century building is not so impenetrable in the Internet age. He tried to kill the messenger, but Murdoch’s posturing and threat to remove News Corp. content from Google indexing only amounted to a few cosmetic concessions from the search giant. The company changed its first-click free program, which lets you read a page of walled content for free if you click through in Google search results. It now limits how much non-paying subscribers can access even more. Boo hoo.

The Google Wave team: To quote Nelson, “Ha ha.”
Wave was ballyhooed as a product that would change the way we communicate, merging the best-of-breed qualities from e-mail, chat and collaborative technologies like the wiki. Created by the team that developed Google Maps, Wave was like a startup in its own right. The team was given a lot more leeway and engineering resources than other typical Google projects and was far from headquarters in Australia. It sounded really cool in concept, and the buzz was insane, but then people actually tried to use it. Wave was clunky and confusing in practice.
Although its technical backbone was impressive, it was released before it had a well-designed user interface. Many users (including us) couldn’t even figure out why they needed to use it at all and gave up. That doesn’t bode well for the final product. So by overhyping Wave, failing to communicate how to use it, and inviting the public in too early, Google bungled its own dreams.

And here are some that need to watch out next year!
Google has made moves that encroach on the startups below, but it’s just too early to tell. The link shortening startup is still the kingpin for now. It handles about 58 percent of shortened links that pass through Twitter, according to eminent retweet button maker Tweetmeme. But that’s down from above 80 percent earlier this fall as Google and Facebook launched their own link shorteners and custom-made ones took hold. Some of those custom-made shortened links might be though, as the company launched a professional service for publishers like The New York Times. This gives a solid revenue source even if or eat into their market share. But they need more media companies to jump on the bandwagon. Will it work? Stay tuned….

Milo: The shopping site sent consumers to local stores by pulling information about what was on the store shelves. The site attracted 1 million monthly users and some big-name investors to its site, but Google just announced that it’s gradually adding similar features to its Product Search. This is one case where I actually had a chance to interview the startup’s chief executive Jack Abraham about why his company won’t be crushed by Google. Basically, he said that when Google pits its search against a more focused startup, it usually loses — for example, Google Local search results versus Yelp.
Augmented reality browsers: Google stealthily launched an augmented reality product when it debuted Google Goggles earlier this month. It’s a visual search tool — meaning you can take a picture of the Eiffel Tower, Google Goggles will recognize it, and then search for it. Paired with GPS coordinates, that makes for a potentially powerful tool for navigating your physical surroundings. During the launch, the company showed off some basic augmented reality features. You can pan around and Google Goggles will overlay the names of businesses onto buildings around you. Although Goggles is imperfect and is still in Google Labs, that’s the essence of what could be the killer augmented reality app.
Most of what’s available on the market today can be very gimmicky, and not useful, like putting 3-D animations in your mobile phone’s viewfinder while looking around. Companies like Mobilizy, Tonchidot and Layar are trying to stay ahead of the game by encouraging developers to add layers of useful information to their augmented reality browsers. But if Goggles gets any better, they should watch out!