• Series Marries Online Video and Social Networks
    Online video sharing is an important part of social networks like Facebook, while social-media tools have become an integral part of YouTube and other major online video sites. But is there a way to integrate the two? A new online video series called "KateModern," just a week old, is doing it. Brought to us by the folks who produced the popular video series "LonelyGirl," KateModern has caught fire with users of the British social network Bebo, in which its fictional main characters interact with its audience through public profiles, comments, chat, polls, quizzes, even plot suggestions. The result ...
  • Giving Search A "Semantic" Understanding
    Search startup Hakia is creating what it likes to call "semantic" search, which means that Hakia's engine will try to understand user search queries rather than relying on statistical methods like linking, keyword analysis and user history to return relevant search results. Here's the idea: Search for "headache," and Hakia will presumably know enough about what you want to return "Tylenol," "Advil" or another brand name. Right now, the only way for brands to get in front of "headache" is by buying keywords. However, this kind of understanding is a massive undertaking for a search company--it may ...
  • Could Tur Bring YouTube Down?
    Bob Tur filed a lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement, ast July--months before it made a dime from advertising or was purchased by Google. Since then, Tur's case has been overshadowed by Viacom's $1 billion copyright suit. Despite being asked to step aside by the major media player, Tur won't back down. First and foremost, he says he's suing on principle, not for the money. An independent photojournalist, Tur licenses his work--which has ranged from famous images of the 1992 Los Angeles riots to O.J. Simpson fleeing police in his white Bronco in 1994. He believes big ...
  • Google May Build Wireless Network
    Google is making waves in the mobile industry after the company announced it would bid on a $4.6 billion slice of wireless spectrum to be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission early next year. A somewhat unexpected decision, industry watchers now wonder if it plans to build a wireless mobile network, or even a Google phone. Google execs reveal that the company's main goal in bidding on the airwaves is to provide Internet access to those who live in hard-to-reach areas of the country. However, should Google decide to build a network, it would be thrust into ...
  • Microsoft's Gates On Fading Away
    Microsoft is in the midst of the greatest change/challenge in its history, and yet the company's main man still intends to step down. Co-founder Bill Gates is a year into a planned two-year transition, which will ultimately see Craig Mundie, Microsoft head of research and strategy, and software architect Ray Ozzie, take his place. But Gates is carefully planning the futures of both his $33 billion foundation, which he will eventually devote most of his energy to, and the company he founded 32 years ago, laying out a decade-long plan for Microsoft during its second quarter earnings call last week. ...
  • Wikia Search Acquires Web Crawler
    Jimmy Wales' long-delayed open-source search product, Wikia, is coming into better focus. On Friday, Wales told a conference of software developers that his company had acquired Grub, a search crawler that will help power the wiki-based search engine. As part of Wikia, it will continue to be open to developers, but Wikia will absorb its brand name. Terms were not disclosed. "If we can get good quality search results, I think it will really change the balance of power from the search companies back to the publishers," said Wales, chairman of San Mateo, California-based Wikia. "I could be ...
  • Startup Brings HD-Quality To Web Video
    Web video startup Hotswap.com is stamping its claim to legitimacy, attracting investment from a pair of media industry billionaire-legends: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. No, Hotswap is not an online video sharing service; rather, its goal is to improve your online video viewing experience. Hotswap uses a compression technology to transform those fuzzy YouTube videos into HD-quality. Hotswap is currently applying for a patent. Interestingly, the company's focus in the short-term is on e-commerce--despite the fact that it could be used for any Web video genre. This is partly because McCombs' AutoNation chain ...
  • How Amazon Beat the Street
    Amazon.com co-founder/chief Jeff Bezos e deserves serious kudos for the way his company is pulling away from the rest of the online retailing pack. He built a multibillion-dollar company without turning a profit for eight years, and somehow gets away with not charging for shipping--unheard of in the online retail business. However, just a few short years ago, Amazon was dragging its feet badly. Bezos attributes the change to the introduction of Amazon Prime, an innovative product offering unlimited two-day shipping for an annual fee of $79. Wall Street never thought it would work, but it turns out that ...
  • What's Pownce All About?
    Among the tech elite, Pownce, the latest darling of the social networking industry, has more cachet than Facebook. You need an invite, that's why. Within 10 days of announcing that invitations were required to join this latest endeavor from Digg co-founder Kevin Rose, invites were selling on eBay for as much as $10. Some believe Pownce represents social networking 2.0 because it encourages file-sharing between friends, which while popular, has never been the cornerstone of MySpace or Facebook. The combination of private messaging and file-sharing makes Pownce novel. A lot of the buzz stems from the ...
  • The Internet is Dead, Long Live the Intranet
    Mark Cuban, who famously got away with selling Broadcast.com to Yahoo in 1999 for $5.7 billion, declared Wednesday: "The Internet's dead. It's over." Speaking before a room of operators of high-bandwidth cable systems, Cuban said the Internet is for old people, adding that YouTube was the "new application" of any importance. The future, he said, belongs to intranets, or closed networks. Which would be a good thing given his Internet service provider audience. Cuban said cable and satellite networks have become superior platforms for building interactive services, not the open, stretched-for-bandwidth mess the Web has become. ...
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