Who or what’s to blame for the U.S.’s inferior broadband infrastructure? Private carriers and toadying government regulators, according Susan Crawford, a Harvard visiting professor, and author of the forthcoming book, “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age.” If the U.S. is to compete with the rest of the world, Crawford insists that the country needs to move to a utility model.
Writing in The New York Times, Steve Lohr warns marketers to take the promise of “big data” with a dollop of skepticism. “The problem is that a math model, like a metaphor, is a simplification,” he explains. “This type of modeling came out of the sciences, where the behavior of particles in a fluid, for example, is predictable according to the laws of physics.” Consumers, Lohr warns, are less predictable.
As promised, Zynga is commencing with a major cost-cutting initiative that will result in 11 game titles getting axed, removed from app stores, or closed to new players. “Along with layoffs, the shutdowns are part of the hard road to recovery for Zynga,” TechCrunch reports. “The gaming giant will reallocate resources to more successful titles as well as creating new ones.”
Google this week began testing a new search features for searching users’ Gmail inboxes from Google.com on their desktops, as well as they iOS or Android phones. “Previously, Google already let you find you flights by using the [my flights] search operator, but now you can also use queries like [my purchases] to find your latest Amazon acquisitions and track they packages they are coming in,” TechCrunch reports.
Can the U.S. market support another online music streaming service? It looks like we’re about to find out as Paris-based Deezer sets its sights on the states. This week, the company debuted a free streaming service in more than 150 countries. The rollout marketed “the first time that Deezer has offered a free service backed by advertising outside France,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
To the delight of mobile marketers everywhere, new data shows that ad-friendly tablets are turning e-readers into an endangered species. Indeed, worldwide shipments of e-book readers will fall 35%, this year, to just 14.9 million, according to eMarketer. Simply put, “People are choosing to pay extra to get the features of a tablet,” The New York Times Bits blog writes.
Selling the “TV Everywhere” dream, NimbleTV debuted its service, this week. “Nimble’s pitch is simple,” reports AllThingsD. “Pay them a monthly fee, and they’ll deliver TV, over the Web, to any device you want.” Users will still have to pay for cable TV, but Nimble will make sure to get the video to them, wherever they are.
Google’s Street View service is not limited to the street. Highlighting that fact, Google is now adding indoor images of select businesses to search results pages. “To see the inside of these businesses, users simply have to click on the ‘see inside’ image and they’ll be taken right to the indoor imagery on Google Maps,” TechCrunch writes. “There is no special interface for this feature, so it does take you away from the search results page and you do have to click the back button if you want to exit the Street View interface.”
With the stated intention of making it easier for users to control their privacy settings, Facebook this week began rolling out related menus and notifications. “The changes … are designed to give users easier access to and awareness of ways that they can control the privacy of their information on the site,” The Next Web writes. For instance, “A new privacy shortcut menu has been added to the main bar that runs across the site.”
Twitter this week named Ali Rowghani as its new chief operating officer. With the microblogging leader since 2010, Rowghani came to Twitter to act as chief financial officer after leaving the same role he held at Walt Disney Company’s Pixar animation studios. Writes AllThingsD: “Rowghani has often been noted as the quiet, behind-the-scenes body man to Twitter CEO Costolo.”