Google Acquires Like.com For Over $100 Million

Like.com is the latest addition to the long list of acquisitions made by Google in last couple of years. Like.com is a visual search and shopping tool that uses an advanced image recognition technology to offer an automated cross-matching system for clothes and accessories.

The CEO of Like.com, Manjul Shah, has confirmed the acquisition on Like.com’s home page, though no specific details have been mentioned about the future of the startup. Would Google simply use the technology to optimize its visual search? Is Google planning to enter the visual eCommerce arena?  Google’s intentions in buying Like.com are still unclear but what’s obvious is that Google has been wanting to get their hands on the technology for a while now. Back in 2006, Google tried to buy Riya, the original startup by Manjul Shah that used the same technology which now fuels Like.com.

The technology behind Like.com also powers some other visual shopping and fashion sites including Weardrobe, Covet and Couturious.  The rumors of acquisition first surfaced last week when TechCrunch mentioned the deal.

Google Launches New Ad Formats for iPad Apps

The iPad has been the most successful gadget this year; it has created a whole new market and has filled the gap between laptops and mobile phones. Scores of other manufacturers are now rushing to launch their own tablets. Even developers are flocking to the iPad to create applications and games.

Google today announced three new ad formats specifically for iPad developers. Developers currently participating in the Adsense for Mobile Application beta program who reside in the United States or Canada can now monetize their iPad applications using Google Ads.

Advertisers whose campaigns run on the Google Display Network and include text or image ads in the above sizes can now show ads within iPad applications provided their campaigns are targeting mobile devices or specifically the iPad.

The ad formats which developers can display in their iPad apps are

Leaderboard (728 x 90)
Banner (468 x 60)
Medium Rectangle (300 x 250)

Adsense Mobile for iPad

Adsense for Mobile ads may not be as visually enticing as iAd ads, but they have a much larger inventory and much better fill rates. The best option for any developer is to use a mix of both. Apple’s iAd program will soon become available for the iPad platform also, so this is a very well timed move by Google. For more details, check out New Ad Format Options Available for iPad Applications

Swedish Authorities Issue Arrest Warrant Against WikiLeaks Founder on Rape and Molestation Charges

WikiLeaksJulian Assange, the enigmatic founder of WikiLeaks has always been a controversial personality. He has been hailed by many as a savior of free speech, criticized by Cryptome for money laundering, and now accused by the Swedish Police of rape and molestation.

WikiLeaks is a controversial secretive organization that takes pride in exposing confidential documents of public interest. The award winning organization came under the mainstream spotlight after leaking the Baghdad Airstrike video (showing civilian casualties) and the Afghan war chest.

According to the Swedish daily Expressen, he met with these women last week, when he was in Sweden to apply for a publishing certificate that will enable the website to advantage of Swedish laws providing protection to whistle-blowers.

WikiLeaks tried to downplay the charges as “dirty tricks”. In a statement issued over the micro blogging website, Julian Assange said, “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing”.

Update: The Swedish authorities have withdrawn the rape charges and dropped the arrest warrant.

Android Completes Five years at Google, threatens the iPhone, earns an IP infringement Lawsuit and keeps getting Better!

Five years ago, around this time, Google acquired the Android OS as a part of the acquisition of Android Inc. Just 22 months old at that time, who knew that today, Google Android will be a renowned name in the mobile world!

android-logo

The development and growth of Android was extremely secretive and there was not much word about it. The only  fact known to Businessinsider was that it was an operating system for cellphones. Google too was not very open about the acquisition and stated that,

We acquired Android because of the talented engineers and great technology. We’re thrilled to have them here.

Today, we know all that Google had so much more for Android in its mind. Android OS is the fastest growing mobile OS and has the potential to take over every other mobile OS in future. It is available for tablets and for notebooks as well. It has numerous developers who appreciate the openness of the platform and the development process. It has an equally good variant Cyanogen Mod, which releases coordinated with Android releases.

In short, Android has developed a successful community around itself. This strong circle is just what a product needs to survive and grow forever.

Facebook Launches New Geolocation Service: Facebook Places

Facebook has launched its long awaited geolocation service, Facebook Places. Places is very similar to other location based services like Foursquare and Gowalla. It allows you to check in to places you visit, and also tag friends with you at the same place. You can also edit the privacy controls to disable tagging with Places.

You can view the recent activity of your friends at the place you are checking in. There is also a “People Here Now” section which allows you to see others who are checked in at the same place at that time. You can prevent yourself from being added to the section by editing your privacy controls.

Facebook Places

Facebook is also working with companies like Foursquare, Gowalla, Booyah and Yelp; they can use the Places API in their applications to get and send location data to and from Facebook.

Facebook Places is currently available only for users in the US. To start using Places, you can download the latest version of Facebook for iPhone or use touch.facebook.com if your mobile browser supports HTML 5 and Geolocation.

Facebook has a 500 million user base which is much higher than all the other location services combined. With Places, it can also rule the geolocation space.

Intel Acquires McAfee for $7.68 Billion

McAfeeIn an interesting move, Intel has announced that it will be buying the security software firm McAfee for $7.68 billion. This acquisition comes close on the heels of McAfee’s acquisition of tenCube – the developer of WaveSecure.

At first glance this might appear to be a strange acquisition, given that Intel is mainly a hardware manufacturer, whereas McAfee is a software developer. However, as Intel goes on to explain in the following statement, McAfee will help Intel in its goal of providing on-chip security.

The acquisition reflects that security is now a fundamental component of online computing. Today’s security approach does not fully address the billions of new Internet-ready devices connecting, including mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines as well as the accompanying surge in cyber threats. Providing protection to a diverse online world requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services.

The price offered by Intel amounts to $48 per share, which is a 60% premium on the value of McAfee’s stock. Intel obviously wants McAfee pretty desperately, since McAfee hasn’t traded at the quoted price since 1999. The acquisition will make McAfee a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel and is expected to be finalized after shareholder approval, regulatory clearances and other customary conditions specified in the agreement.

Google Unveils the Chrome Web Store; Launching in October

Google unveiled the Chrome Web Store at GDC Europe on August 16. Google developer advocates, Mark DeLoura and Michael Mahernoff, revealed that the Google Chrome Web Store, an online application store which will allow you to purchase and use Chrome Web applications will be launched in October.

Chrome Web Store

The payments will be handled by Google Checkout, and here’s the important bit for developers: Google will take only a 5% processing cut, much less compared to the 30% cut which is the norm in mobile application stores. It will also support in app transactions by the first half of 2011.

It will support Flash as well as HTML5 games. Google also showcased a lot of games based on Flash, HTML5 and Javascript in the session. Using WebGL in HTML5, developers can create graphically intensive games which run directly in the browser.

Chrome Web App

The Chrome Web Store may help Google win a nice share of the social/web gaming pie. The lower cut is probably directed at luring Facebook game developers to create applications and games for the Chrome Web Store.

Source:   1UP – Chrome Web Store

Twitter Launches “Twitter Tales”, Wants to Know Your Twitter Story

First it was Facebook, then it was Google and now it’s Twitter who wants you to submit a story and let the rest of the world know about it.   A few months back, Facebook pioneered the idea of “user stories” thereby inviting users to write all the creative ways they use Facebook nowadays.

Google followed suit and asked the users to submit their “search stories” which is basically about incidents when Google changed their lives. Twitter has joined the league by announcing the launch of Twitter Tales – a place where you can share your experience on how creatively you interact with the largest micro blogging site.

Presently, there are three stories listed:

Life: @natashabadhwar is a mother/filmmaker/photographer/writer from New Delhi who sees Twitter as a form of self therapy.
Community: @caltrain is a crowd-sourced Twitter account where people can help others avoid pitfalls on their daily commute.
Humor

Each week, Twitter will add a new story in the official Twitter blog’s sidebar which will highlight how individuals and businesses from around the world help make the Twitter experience awesome. You can read the user submitted stories from tales.twitter.com

Twitter has been quite busy in recent times and it’s clear that the company is focusing more and more on the user.   In the past weeks, the micro blogging giant came up with a Tweet button ( great for branding), added Fast Follow and SMS following (again a nice way to engage beginners), added “Who to follow and You both follow” and now it’s the “Twitter tale”.

With the number of Twitter user’s growing everyday, it’s imperative that Twitter adds more and more engagement and draws users to fun aspects of the community.

To submit your Twitter tale, all you have to do is open your email client, write the tale and send it to [email protected] And yes, you are allowed to write more than 140 characters !

( Image credit )

Why Android App Developers just cannot earn enough!

Android has progressed rapidly and so has the community of app developers. It is still far from the number of iPhone developers or the number of WinMo developers for that sake. However, an eternal concern with app developers is that of earning from app development.

Google Android apps are highly victimized to piracy and Google had announced earlier that it would try to DRM Market apps. However, all this protection and annoyance is too much for developer to take. Starting with, the developer comes up with a unique idea and decides to make his app a paid version. However, the paid app market is available only to a handful of countries. To be precise, it is available only to thirteen countries out of forty-six where Android phones are selling currently. On the other hand, Apple app store has paid market support in ninety countries.

That clearly explains the trend of using pirated apps that is so widespread in case of Android. That is what is fueling the stats. With the market not available in most countries, users have no other choice than installing cracked apps.

Google should seriously reconsider the availability of paid apps in various countries and should include some more countries in the list of paid market. If not combat piracy, that will help Google and us have a better picture of the situation.

(Source)

SlideShare Announces Pro Plans – Advanced Analytics, Branded Channel and More

Slideshare is a useful website where users can upload PowerPoint presentations, documents, videos and share with the world for free. You can also browse through presentations and documents uploaded by other users and follow people who have similar interests.

The company has now launched more features labeled under “Slideshare Pro” which will allow more functionality for premium publishers.

The following screenshot shows what these plans will cost and what the user is expected to gain with each plan:

Users who have signed up with the free plan can continue to use the existing features while professionals and business organizations can enjoy advanced features on a monthly subscription basis. The Pro plans starts at $19 a month, more information can be found on the official pricing page

With the PRO plan, companies can track and monitor their uploaded content ( presentations, documents and videos). Some of the very nifty features include social media monitoring, removing the advertisements, better analytics, lead capture on your content and a branded channel. Every Slideshare pro user gets a Pro badge and can upload HD videos.

Here is what Slideshare CEO Rashmi Sinha said in an official blog post:

We have bundled all these features together into Pro Accounts with three tiers. First is Silver ($19 / month) which is for any advanced user of SlideShare. You get access to Analytics and Social Analytics, ads are removed from your account, you can capture 30 leads per month, the ability to upload HD videos and a Pro badge which tells the world you are a Pro user.

Gold Pro accounts ($49 / month) are meant for small and medium-sized businesses. You get everything at Silver level. Additionally you also get a channel with a custom look and feel, that makes SlideShare a seamless extension of your brand.

I think what Slideshare is doing is really neat business. First it attracts the novice audience by letting them sign up for free, download documents and presentations, sharing content across social media and generate the buzz. Once the service becomes popular and well known, the company goes the extra mile and allows the user to pay a small subscription fee and do more with their content. After all, “Everything in the Internet should be free” does not fit everywhere.

Given the large number of businesses that use Slideshare, a PRO plan fits in naturally.

Via Businesswire