• Sean Parker Likes Social-Voting Site Votizen
    Social-voting site Votizen has secured $750,000 in new funding from some high-wattage investors, including Sean Parker. Famous for founding Napster, Parker tells AllThingsD that "politics is one of the few remaining large-scale consumer-facing opportunities on the Internet." For the past two years or so, Votizen has been busy digitizing 200 million U.S. voting records from magnetic tape, computer databases and spreadsheets. Though the network “only has tens of thousand of members who have registered and connected to their voter profiles, it is trying to push out products and attract users in time to get involved with this year’s general election,” AllThingsD reports. ...
  • Apple Still Thinking Big
    In other Apple news, the company proved this week that it’s still ready to wow consumers -- even without the leadership of Steve Jobs. Plying some of the salesmanship for which Jobs was known, CEO Tim Cook boasted that Apple has a pipeline of products that will blow consumers’ minds. “You can be assured we are working as hard as ever this year to deliver an incredible year and some products that will blow your mind,” Apple’s CEO said this week at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Not breaking with traditional, however, Apple isn’t saying much about what it has ...
  • QR Code Startup Scan Secures $1.7M
    QR code assistant Scan has raised $1.7 million in funding from some choice investors, including Menlo Ventures and Google Ventures. The start-up boasts 10 million downloads in less than a year later. What’s driving usage? “The company wanted to make it simple for anyone to create a QR code and to find ways to engage with them that took user experience seriously,” VentureBeat reports. Said Scan founder Garrett Gee: “Most people are interacting with QR codes using their phones, but a lot of time that took them to a mobile Web site that was poorly designed.” Driving additional interest in ...
  • Report: Video Driving Mobile Traffic
    Mobile video now accounts for half of all mobile traffic, according to a new report from mobile analytics firm Bytemobile. “On some networks, that number is as high as 69% -- a testament to the rise of smartphones and tablets as the mobile devices of choice for consumers, and their growing interest in using these devices to do a lot more than just make phone calls,” TechCrunch reports. Bytemobile also found that Android is generating more mobile ad volume than iOS devices, and that Google now accounted for a whopping 75% of ad-generated data across all platforms. “As many have ...
  • Microsoft Files EU Complaint Against Motorola/Google
    Microsoft has filed a competition complaint against Motorola Mobility and Google with the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. In a (once revised) blog post, Dave Heiner, a Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel, said the step was necessary “because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products.” As The Seattle Times explains: “Microsoft's complaint is the latest move in an ongoing, global battle among tech companies over patents,” adding: “Apple, too, has filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility over the same issue.” The move, however, is ...
  • Flickr Planning Pinterest-Like Upgrades
    Keeping users on their toes, Flickr a planning a number of new changes in the coming months, including a new photo stream design, dubbed “Justified View,” and a new uploading feature, named “Uploadr.” With the new tools, Flickr is mainly after increased user engagement, as Markus Spiering, head of product at the Yahoo-owned photo-sharing site, tells Mashable. Set to go live at the end of the month, Justified View trades Flickr’s current white space-filled layout “for something that looks a lot more like Pinterest (as has become the trend in Web design),” Mashable reports. “The new photo stream will first ...
  • Facebook Planning Big, New Ad Platform
    Eying bigger ad revenues, Facebook reportedly plans to introduce a new advertising format before the end of the month. According to leaked documents published by GigaOm, Facebook plans to upgrade its premium ads on Feb. 29. “The company expects the new ads to perform 40 to 80 percent better than its previous product,” Peter Corbett, CEO of iStrategyLabs, writes in GigaOm.  “As the owner of a social creative agency, and as a rapacious buyer of Facebook ads for clients and for marketing my own company, I live for this kind of news,” Corbett writes. “In an age of over-sharing, these documents landed in my ...
  • Nook Shines Bright For Barnes & Noble
    It’s no iPad, but the Nook is certainly good for Barnes and Noble’s bottom line. For the company’s fiscal third-quarter, its Nook business -- across all of its segments, including sales of digital content, device hardware and related accessories -- increased 38% to $542 million. “Nook unit sales, including Nook Simple Touch, Nook Color and the new Nook Tablet, increased 64% during the third quarter as compared to the same period last year,” reports TechCrunch, citing Barnes and Noble data. Digital content sales increased 85% on a comparable basis. Overall, Barnes and Noble reported a total sales increase of 5% ...
  • Twitter, Yandex Let Russians Show New Tweets
    In Russia, Twitter and Yandex have entered into a partnership that will let the Russian search engine show new tweets in its search results almost instantly. “Twitter will give Yandex access to its so-called firehose of all public tweets,” reports Reuters, which compares the agreement to the one that Twitter has with Microsoft's search engine, Bing. Yandex currently controls about 60% of the Russian search market, according to Reuters -- ahead of Google’s roughly quarter of the market, although the U.S. search giant has recently been gaining. As Twitter's director of business development, April Underwood, told Reuters: "We wanted to ...
  • Pinterest Empowers Content Owners
    As part of a larger effort to appease content owners, Pinterest has released code for sites that wish to block the “pinning” of their content to users’ personal “pinboards.” Even though the image-based social network drives traffic back to original sources, not all of them like people co-opting their content. The issue has been exacerbated by Pinterest’s huge growth over the past year, according to LLsocial blogger Josh Davis. So as not to become the next Napster, Pinterest is also following the Digital Millenmium Copyright Act, and will remove any image that someone claims is violating copyright laws. The site ...
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