Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, August 23, 2011, 11:59 AM
Facebook Plans More Mega-BuysBloomberg

Think Facebook's purchase of Snaptu for a reported $60 million was big? Well, if the social network has its way, you ain't seen nothing yet.

"Facebook ... is planning acquisitions that will improve site design, keep its service reliable and advance mobile features to stave off competition," Bloomberg reports, citing comments from Vaughan Smith, Facebook's director of corporate development. All told, "the company aims to make about 20 purchases in 2011, up from 10 last year."

"Facebook wants 2011 to be the company's biggest year to date for acquisitions," The Register writes, while joking that Smith "clearly wants to stay in his job by notching up buyouts."

"With Google+ and Twitter iterating their own services to capture users from rival networks, Facebook believes that a focus on adding talent to its team, supporting the growing number of mobile users and making sure the social network runs smoothly is key to keeping the company one step ahead of its competition," The Next Web writes.

"Interestingly, [Facebook's] zeroing in on designers," notes Business Insider, citing Smith's comments. "The better Facebook's design, the more time people will spend on the site, he says." Bloomberg believes that Facebook has a few billion to reach its acquisition goal, so "it will probably be going after smaller companies in the coming months."

Adds The Next Web: "Analysts believe Facebook could make an acquisition in computing, seeking to buy companies with technology and employees that can help strengthen its system and open up new opportunities for the company."

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, August 23, 2011, 11:59 AM
  • Is Food Fastest Way To App Users' Hearts? Do we really need another restaurant-discovery app for the iPhone? Forkly -- a new restaurant-discovery app the iPhone -- thinks so, and ReadWriteWeb agrees. Not only does Forkly recommend restaurants, it also suggests specific dishes based on a user's individual taste. "Built by former leaders of location-based social network Brightkite, Forkly has been talked about in the tech press for almost a year but it just launched quietly tonight," ReadWriteWeb explains.

    "It looks a lot like FoodSpotting, but with more and better social hooks: influencer scores, embeddable widgets for food bloggers and a prominent news feed of food photos from your friends." On the backend, Forkly offers restaurant owners analytics and loyalty rewards sort of little like Foursquare, along with special features like customizable menus.

    Brand promotion has also been baked into the equation, ReadWriteWeb notes. Regarding Forkly's "Cold Start," it adds: "Tight Twitter integration is one part of" solving that problem. Read the whole story...
  • Study: Web Browsing Improves Productivity Office managers should encourage employee Web browsing! That's right, according to a new study, surfing the Web actually refreshes tired workers and increases their productivity, compared to other distractions like personal calls, texts or emails.

    "Browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function," the authors of the study tell The Wall Street Journal. "Personal emailing, by contrast, was particularly distracting for workers. "The study, "Impact of Cyberloafing on Psychological Engagement," by Don J.Q. Chen and Vivien K.G Lim of the National University of Singapore, was presented last week at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management.

    When browsing the Internet, people "usually choose to visit only the sites they like -- it's like going for a coffee or snack break. Breaks of such nature are pleasurable, rejuvenating the Web surfer," wrote Dr. Lim, in an email to The Journal. By contrast, workers can't control the kinds of email they receive, and reading and replying to each message is "cognitively more demanding, relative to Web surfing, as you need to pay attention to what is said on the email," she added. Read the whole story...
  • The Case Against Net Neutrality Bandwidth hogs like Netflix need to pay their fair share of the costs associated with building and maintaining our telecommunications infrastructure.

    So argue John Sununu and Harold Ford Jr. -- former U.S. Senator and congressman, respectively -- in MercuryNews.com. "Broadband networks are delivering more than just the latest sitcom episodes and hottest movies," they contend. "It hardly seems fair to make users of these services pay more in order to subsidize Netflix's costs of delivering their videos online."This call for a fairer pricing model and a more realistic long-term investment strategy has bipartisan support."

    Netflix, as Sununu and Ford see it, argues that the marginal cost to the network providers of streaming a half-hour TV show to a residential customer is "one penny." Yet, "this ignores the hundreds of billions of dollars in sunken network investments needed to create that one-penny marginal cost efficiency at the customer's end," Sununu and Ford say. As such, "In 2010, the FCC said government policy should not discourage 'broadband providers from asking subscribers who use the network less to pay less, and subscribers who use the network more to pay more.'" Read the whole story...
  • White House Plans Regulation-Free Privacy Law What can corporations expect from the White House's forthcoming approach to Internet consumer protection? "Privacy law without regulation," reports CNet, citing comments this week from administration aid.

    "Businesses that are engaged in responsible privacy practices today ought not to face any additional burdens," said Danny Weitzner, associate administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, on assignment to the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

    "You can have stronger privacy law, clearer rules, clearer principles established in law, without the costs and downsides of a traditional regulatory structure," Weitzner explained at a Technology Policy Institute conference this week. In December, as CNet notes, the U.S. Commerce Department outlined proposals for how federal laws regulating companies' data collection practices could be updated. "An administration-wide white paper is expected this fall," according to CNet. Read the whole story...