• Gavin O'Malley, Apr 28, 2011, 12:00 PM
  • Pepsi Machines Get Semi-SocialMashable Combining two of today's hottest marketing trends, digital out-of-home and social, Pepsi is testing a vending machine that lets consumers send free soda to friends. With PepsiCo's Social Vending Machine, users select a beverage and enter the recipient's name, mobile number and personalized text message with a code redeemable at another vending machine. "Consumers can personalize the message with a short video recorded by the machine," explains Mashable.

    Says Mikel Durham, chief innovation officer at PepsiCo Foodservice: "The new machine 'extends our consumers' social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun." Yet, Mashable is critical of the fact that the initiative fails to factor Facebook or Twitter -- calling the absence "a glaring omission." Said to be experimenting with the social possibilities of it own vending machines, look for Coca-Cola take the idea to the next level. Read the whole story...
  • Has Facebook Peaked?Reuters On the secondary market, some Facebook shareholders are seeking to unload $1 billion worth of shares at a valuation of $70 billion. So says Reuters, citing five sources. Staggering though the valuation may seem, it's actually an indication to some that Facebook's growth isn't limitless. If the deal comes to pass, "It would represent one of the largest transactions of Facebook shares to date and points to a growing wariness among early-stage investors and employees who fear Facebook's growth cannot keep pace with its market valuation," Reuters writes.

    "The sellers have lowered their price after previously trying to offload shares at a price that valued the company at $90 billion." The deal, which includes stock held by Facebook employees, awaits approval from top Facebook executives including Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, sources say. Investors, including venture capital firms and investment banks, were recently falling over each other to invest in Facebook in anticipation of a likely IPO. Read the whole story...
  • YouTube Founders Save DeliciousReadWriteWeb Saving a beloved Web service from the dustbin of history, YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen has reportedly agreed to buy Delicious. Last fall, word got out that Yahoo was planning on "sunsetting" the bookmarking service, which many interpreted to mean killing. Yahoo later clarified that its intention was to find a new home for Delicious, but the service's future remained uncertain.

    Now, Hurley and Chen are acquiring Delicious for an undisclosed sum and founding a new company, AVOS. "A blog post on the Delicious site reassures users that the transition from Yahoo to AVOS will be seamless and the service will continue," notes ReadWriteWeb. "As creators of the largest online video platform, [Chen and Hurley] have firsthand experience enabling millions of users to share their experiences with the world," Delicious writes.

    It's not yet clear how Delicious will change under its management, or what business AVOS will be in. In a statement, AVOS says its founders are "aggressively hiring to build a world-class team to take on the challenge of building the best information discovery service on the Web." Read the whole story...
  • Data: Android On Track To Out-App AppleCNET, Google's Android is on track to surpass all mobile operating systems -- including Apple's iOS -- in total application offerings. "If all application stores maintain their current growth pace, approximately five months from now Google Android Market will be the largest store in terms of number of applications, followed by the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, BlackBerry App World and Nokia Ovi Store," according to market research firm Distimo.

    "The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace will also be larger than the Nokia Ovi Store and BlackBerry App World prior to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace being available for even a full year." As CNet points out, Apple is prone to touting the number of apps available to iOS users, which now exceeds 350,000. However, if Distimo's data is accurate -- and growth rates remain consistent -- Apple with soon have to find something else to brag about.

    According to Distimo, Google has already pushed past the App Store with 134,342 free applications versus the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch's 121,845 free applications. Read the whole story...
  • Apple Buys iCloud.comGigaOm Likely readying the launch of its online music storage service, Apple has reportedly bought the domain named iCloud.com. "My source, who is familiar with the company, says that [desktop-as-a-service company] Xcerion has sold the domain to Apple for about $4.5 million," reports GigaOm's Om Malik. "This is most certainly a possibility," TechCrunch writes of the report. "Last week, we also received a tip that Apple purchased iCloud.com." Whatever its name, "Apple is clearly plotting to launch a cloud-based media storage and online music streaming service in the foreseeable future," TechCrunch adds. "Apple is rushing to launch its service with licensing agreements from the four major music record labels before rivals Google and Amazon," writes VentureBeat. "If the company hadn't already secured the name of its service, it would be a priority near the top of the list. So the timing of this domain purchase would make sense." Amazon launched a similar service earlier this month, but without the approval of the big music labels. Apple, on the other hand, is reportedly seeking licenses for its service, and will pay the labels for the privilege. Perhaps erasing the need for a new name, however, Apple Insider recently suggested that the upcoming music streaming service would come in the form of an enhanced version of MobileMe. Yet "Apple's MobileMe service that syncs up your emails and contacts and stuff through the cloud is well-regarded but little-used because it's expensive and Google has similar services for free," points out Business Insider. "Plenty of people are waiting for Apple to ‘get' the cloud and come out with an innovative, free/cheap cloud service." Read the whole story...