• Travel Biz Dreading Google, ITA Deal
    Rumors that Google has its eye on ITA Software -- a provider of reservation and inventory management software -- has travel industry execs sweating, reports Reuters. ITA is a key source of airfare information for airlines, travel agents and other sites, including American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Hotwire, Kayak, Orbitz and even Microsoft's Bing. "The concerns are so real that Kayak offered to buy ITA to keep the company out of Google's hands," writes Reuters, citing an informed travel industry source. Kayak, says Reuters' source, was being backed by Expedia, which would have put up upwards of $200 million to ...
  • China Partially Blocking Google Search
    On Monday, Google announced plans to change how Web users in China access its search engine in light of objections from the Chinese government over its recent strategy of redirecting users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong. Now, the search giant says some Web search features have been partially blocked in China, Bloomberg reports. The blockage affects the "suggest" tool, which helps users refine queries as they're typed, Google said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. At least for now, traditional searches are not being affected. "Partially blocked" means accessibility has dropped "to 10% to 66%," writes Bloomberg, ...
  • Ad Deal Weds Warring Viacom & YouTube
    Warner Music Group has tapped MTV Music Group to sell advertising on its digital platforms, including all WMG artist-branded Web sites and mobile services. The deal also extends to WMG's artist presence on YouTube -- which, as MediaMemo notes, is a touch ironic given that MTV parent Viacom is still pursuing a lawsuit against the Google-owned video-sharing site over copyright infringement. "Google and Viacom are still fighting in court," writes MediaMemo. "But in the real world, they're about to be partners, in a way." Indeed, "MTV's chief job will be to sell ads against Warner's clips on the giant ...
  • Foursquare Funders Make Their Case
    On the heels of Foursquare's latest round of funding, Fast Company is asking: "What exactly is so hot about this hot-topic location-based game tech?" Its visionary co-founder and CEO Denis Crowley, for one, according to Ben Horowitz -- whose VC firm Andreessen Horowitz participated in the latest $20 million round, along with Union Square Ventures and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. What's more, "When you look at the numbers [it's] growing faster than Twitter did at this stage," writes Horowitz in a blog post. "At a macro level, over 4.6 billion people have mobile phones," which, for Horowitz, means plenty ...
  • Credible Hulk: Latest Verizon iPhone Rumors Could Be True
    We've heard this one before, but Bloomberg has it on good authority that Verizon Wireless will start selling iPhones by January. But, beyond fewer dropped calls, what are the implications of such a deal? First and foremost, Apple will increase its dominance in smartphones, UBS AG analyst John Hodulik tells Bloomberg. Indeed, adding Verizon Wireless to the mix -- in addition to AT&T, which has had an exclusive carrier deal with Apple since the iPhone debuted in mid-2007 -- "is going to dramatically increase the number of devices [Apple] sells in the U.S., Hodulik says. "It's ...
  • Report: Android Gaining On iPhone
    Apple's rumored partnership with Verizon Wireless could be coming just in the nick of time. As of May, 7 of the top 10 smartphones were running Google's Android mobile operating system -- including the Motorola Droid, HTC Magic and HTC Hero -- according to a new report from mobile analytics and tracking firm, AdMob. "The introduction of numerous Android-based phones has allowed the mobile OS's market share to increase dramatically over the past year," notes ReadWriteWeb. Indeed, one graph in AdMob's report shows a sharp increase in Android's market share while Apple's iOS market share drops. In February, Apple ...
  • Is Google's Facebook Killer All Buzz And No Bite?
    Never one to shy away from a fight, Google is presently hard at work on "a full, first-class" Facebook killer, reports Inside Facebook, citing various sourcing, including early Facebook exec and chief technology officer Adam D'Angelo. "This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it," according to Inside Facebook. Google, it reports, "realized that Buzz wasn't enough and that they need to build out a full, first-class social network. They are modeling it off of Facebook ... Unlike previous attempts (before Buzz at least), this is a high-priority project within ...
  • Hulu's Premium Plus Debuts
    Following months of rumors and speculation, Hulu on Tuesday unveiled its subscription service, "promising access to episodes of more TV shows to customers who pay $9.99 a month," reports The New York Times' Media Decoder blog. Hulu Plus will essentially offer user more episodes of more shows on more platforms. "Hulu Plus amounts to a sweeping vision of the future of online, on-demand television viewing," concludes Media Decoder. "Bypassing cable and satellite companies, broadcast networks are collecting money from viewers directly and allowing them to watch entire seasons of hit shows." For the first time ever, Hulu ...
  • Music Licensing Service Goes Mainstream
    Giving artistic license to auteur of all shapes and sizes, music licensing company Rumblefish has debuted a new music program for YouTube users that lets them buy a lifetime, worldwide music license on a particular music track for $1.99, which they can then fully edit into their videos. Visitors to the Friendly Music online store can access Rumblefish's catalog of copyright-cleared songs -- of about 35,000 tracks -- which they can use to create soundtracks for their videos. The service, which launched today but had been announced last week, provides a solution to CG videos getting pulled because they used ...
  • Another Big Gamer Adopts Facebook Credits
    Social gaming company Crowdstar is giving its nod of approval to Facebook Credits, which the social network recently launched as a sort of universal currency for all manner of ecommerce. Indeed, Crowdstar just made a five-year commitment to using Facebook's virtual currency, and will now scrap its own in-game currencies. "Crowdstar is a big player on Facebook, with more than 50 million users in games that include the hit titles Happy Aquarium, Happy Island, Zoo Paradise, Happy Pets and Hello City," reports VentureBeat. "In adopting Facebook Credits, Crowdstar is following in the footsteps of Zynga, the biggest ...
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