Tuesday, August 31, 2010
  • Gavin O'Malley, August 31, 2010, 1:47 PM
  • Google doesn't pretend that Gmail pays the bills, but that doesn't keep the search giant from continually trying to improve the popular service. Its latest effort is Priority Inbox, which will push users' most important emails to the top of their inboxes.

    "It used to be people wanted to separate spam from not-spam," Gmail product director Keith Coleman tells CNN. "But now, the not-spam is of varying degrees of importance."

    VentureBeat calls Priority Inbox "an ambitious new attack on the problem" of email overload. Bigger picture, "Google is competing feverishly to get businesses, universities and government agencies to switch to Gmail and other software that competes with Microsoft's Office and Outlook software," reports MercuryNews.com.

    What's more, in making the enhancements, "Google is really going back to one of its core assets, which is Gmail," Ray Valdes, an analyst for Gartner, tells Mercury News.

    In late 2008, "Yahoo had something similar in mind when it initiated its 'smarter inbox' strategy that used two-way connections as a filter for email," notes Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land. "That capability is no longer present in YMail though the company continues to pursue a social strategy in email."

    While younger generations seem to consider email too "slow," the medium remains a key for of communication for many, and professionals in particular.

    Presently, over 294 billion e-mails are sent daily, while the average corporate computer user sends and receives about 110 e-mails, According to digital researchers the Radicati Group. Read the whole story...
  • Contradicting an earlier report in TechCrunch, sources tell Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog that Cisco is not considering an acquisition of Skype. Citing one of its "more reliable sources," TechCrunch on Monday reported that Cisco -- which has been on a extended acquisition spree -- even made an offer to buy the popular VoIP service. "Skype insiders are hoping for an out of the gate valuation of $5 billion or so, we've heard," reported TechCrunch. However, sources tell Tech Trader Daily: "There have been no talks between Cisco and Skype." According to TechCrunch, Google was rumored to be kicking Skype's tires, but antitrust concerns likely dissuaded the search giant from making a formal offer. Read the whole story...
  • Rivaling the ubiquity of Google's search bar, Facebook on Tuesday firmly lodged itself on the front page of NYTimes.com. "The functionality appears to be similar to Facebook's recommended articles social plugin, with users being required to opt-in to the service," notes All Facebook.

    "The most notable aspect of this new service however is that the typically design-conscious company, has a plugin which doesn't align with the rest of the site." According to The New York Times, the only information that will be displayed on one's Facebook profile is recommendations that they chose to share on Facebook. What's more, all information being used by NYTimes.com will be explicitly stated. What the partnership does not do is integrate Facebook with the New York Times' existing TimesPeople social news network. Rather, as All Facebook reports, "The company has chosen to use a number of separated social tools for providing more interaction among its users." Read the whole story...
  • During a critical period for Digg, the social news site has named Amazon exec Matt Williams as its new CEO. That's according to TechCrunch, which reports that Digg founder Kevin Rose -- who has served as interim CEO since the ouster of Jay Adelson in April -- will now become "chief architect" of the company. Williams was at Amazon since 1999, most recently as GM of Consumer Payments.

    His other positions at the ecommerce giant included GM of its Webstore, Director of Tech Alliances, Director of Community & Cross-Merchandising, and Director of Auctions and Marketplace. Industry watchers are awaiting Digg's next relaunch, which many suggest could make or break the social news pioneer. The forthcoming version of the site is largely a reaction to newer services that have captured market share, Rose said early this month. Read the whole story...
  • Last week, sources told Bloomberg that Apple is in advanced talks with News Corp. to let iTunes users rent TV shows for 99 cents. Now, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that execs within News Corp. are deeply divided over the deal, and that (surprise, surprise!) Rupert Murdoch will have the final say. "Some executives of News Corp. ... worry that offering 99-cent episode rentals will cut into lucrative DVD sales and pull viewers away from watching network TV," the LA Times reports. "But other top officials at News Corp. -- especially Murdoch -- are prepared to join Apple's six-month pricing trial because it could cement a relationship with Apple's powerful chief executive, Steve Jobs, and reap benefits for other divisions within the company, namely newspapers." To date, Murdoch has said that the Apple iPad will rescue old print media by capturing readers who would not otherwise subscribe to a newspaper. Read the whole story...
  • Microsoft has released an official Bing for Mobile Android App for customers of Verizon Wireless. According to eWeek, the exclusive arrangement "underscores how Android has become a significant mobile platform to rival Apple's iPhone." We're just struck by how willing archrivals Microsoft and Android maker Google are to put aside their differences in the name of trouncing Apple.

    Owners of Android-based smartphones from the Motorola Droid to the Droid Incredible can now download the free application from the Verizon Wireless Marketplace. Bing for Mobile Android comes a few months after Microsoft launched its Bing for iPhone app, which has seen several iterations. As eWeek notes, the app is the latest step in Microsoft's $500 million deal to have Bing featured on Verizon smartphones and feature phones. Read the whole story...