Friday, August 28, 2009
  • Gavin O'Malley, August 28, 2009, 2:09 PM
  • Facebook's overhauled 3.0 iPhone app is officially live, but speculation that this latest version would somehow marginalize Twitter seems to have been premature.

    Analysts praise 3.0 for allowing users to reach out directly to friends via text and phone, but Twitter is hardly a texting or direct messaging service. "One of the best new features," writes GigaOm, "is the ability to send texts and call your Facebook friends directly from the app, a functionality that's been in the works for awhile."

    Also, as PC World notes, 3.0 fails to offer push notifications, so the only way to get instant notifications from your news feed -- so popular among Twitter users -- when the Facebook app is closed, is either to set up e-mail alerts from within Facebook or the use SMS alerts. "The iPhone's e-mail client can fetch new messages only every 15 minutes and SMS alerts are not as widely available, so these two options can't really replace push notifications," PC World writes.

    Overall, TechCrunch believes 3.0 "may be the most useful app on the App Store," but says nothing about its utility in comparison to Twitter's.

    Facebook is apparently testing a new service dubbed "Facebook Lite," which, by all appearances, could challenge Twitter more directly. A completely stripped-down version of the Facebook platform, "Lite" users can see their most recent status updates and the updates of friends just like in a Twitter stream.

    Word is that the new service was only designed for regions of the world with spotty and prohibitively expensive broadband service like India -- where it is, in fact, being tested.

    That Facebook isn't breathing down Twitter's neck is hard to believe, however, particularly given its recent decision to buy FriendFeed for $50 million, and then roll out a real-time search capability. Read the whole story...
  • That Microsoft, and various other Google rivals, would like nothing more than to "screw" the search giant is self evident. The idea that Microsoft lobbyists and representatives of other unnamed interests are holding regular "screw Google" meetings in D.C. to "discredit" the company enters Watergate territory. Yet, one modern-day Deep Throat tells Daily Finance: "Microsoft is trying to harm Google in the regulatory, legal, and litigation arenas because they're having problems with Google in the competitive marketplace." Whether any laws are being broken is still unclear, but, at this rate, Microsoft seems prepared to do a lot worse than breaking and entering. Read the whole story...
  • Google Maps has made a few changes to its Street View feature, including a new pop-up bubble function. So, for example, if you search for "pizza restaurants near Brooklyn" on Google Maps, and click on a search result, a bubble pops up with various links, including a link to "Street View." Users can also click on the "Street View" link to see the restaurant marked directly in Street View with a 3D marker like the one you would find on the map, while clicking the marker displays more details about the restaurant without leaving Street View. Read the whole story...
  • Have any interest in a slightly used peer-to-peer Internet telephony service? It's Oprah's favorite! If not, a new group of venture capital and private equity firms have reportedly joined forces to take Skype off of eBay's hands. Along with a few multi-billion dollar private equity firms, some early Skype investors are apparently involved, including Index Ventures. eBay, which recently announced plans to spin off Scype in 2010 IPO, is said to be looking for at least $2 billion. Read the whole story...
  • Quartered black mission figs with delicately rolled Serrano ham. Miniature beef meatballs with pine nuts and sweet yellow peaches. Tender braised rabbit with moscatel, cinnamon, and fresh cherries. Rich chocolate roulade cake shot through with rum. That's just a taste of what they're serving up every day at Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters. Read the whole story...
  • Jam-packed with pioneering design and technology, it's a wonder that anything could stand in the way of iPhone's mobile supremacy. Rumors that the phone can blow your face off, however, might do the trick. Apple, therefore, isn't wasting any time dispelling reports that overheated batteries in the phones can turn them into mobile explosives. Rather, says Apple, the handsets they've seen with broken screens were caused by an "external force." Read the whole story...