Those blog posts have been read by 400 million readers across the globe, Kim adds. And according to the video below, 75 percent of traffic comes from outside the United States (the service is available in 50 languages).
Now the product is getting an overhaul, the biggest change being a more modern user interface for both the editor and the dashboard (fi-na-lly), built with Google Web Toolkit.
Google says it will be showcasing the new design of the Blogger back-end at SXSW (our coverage of the event), as well as a new content discovery feature that lets users find new content to read based on the topics of the blog they’re visiting.
The new UI is shown extensively in the video below as well, in case you’re not in Austin.
We heard earlier that AT&T was making calls to Japan free until between March 11 and March 31, in the wake of the devasting earthquake and tsunami in the region. Verizon is also joining in this effort and will be making calls to Japan free for most wireless and residential customers through April 10.
According to the release, all Verizon Wireless post-paid customers will receive free calling to Japan from March 11 through April 10 and will receive free text and multimedia messaging to Japan for the same time period. And Verizon Prepaid Phone Card charges for all long-distance calls placed to Japan from the United States will also be waived from March 11 until April 10. Verizon will also be providing FiOS TV customers who are not subscribed to the channel free access to TV Japan through March 17.
Who do you trust most when it comes to recommendations: an algorithm or your friends? Or perhaps a mixture of machine learning and your social graph. That's something that a lot of startups are trying to figure out right now.
LoveThis.com, which launches out of Beta today, is firmly in the social camp with its 'black book' of your friends' recommendations, from websites and apps, places to eat and go, or something more practical like a good plumber. That may sound like a very general list of recommendations but the site's premise is that your friends not only know best but also vouch for products and services all of the time, just not necessarily when you actually need those recommendations.
RedLaser, the barcode scanning mobile app that eBay acquired from Occipital in June 2010, is nearing a significant milestone—nine million total downloads of its iPhone and Android apps. That’s up from 2 million downloads at the time of the acquisitions, which is nearly a 350% increase in downloads.
RedLaser’s barcode scanning technology allows users to comparison shop on the go. Anyone can scan a barcode on an item at a store and then automatically access any eBay listings and local availability (courtesy of Milo) of the product on the marketplace. Sellers can also use the scanning technology to scan and item and list the product in very little time. RedLaser’s technology was also integrated into eBay’s dedicated iPhone and Android apps.
The Italian group says the acquisition of Onebip will enhance its offering to international merchants, particularly coupled with its strong mobile carrier relationships throughout Europe and Latin America.
Financial details on the transaction were not disclosed but we've learned Onebip's co-founders, Diego Mortillaro and Marko Maras, will remain on board.
Betting on sports is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the world. And for good reason. Unlike more traditional gambling, people often have feelings about the teams and stars they’re betting on. Both the money-making and the fan aspect are also what help drive fantasy sports. And StarStreet thinks they can tap into what people like about both with a different approach.
But don’t call it “betting”, founder Jeremy Levine is quick to note. These are “investments”, not “bets”.
One of last year’s TechStars graduates, we first noted StarStreet last June. What they’ve built is a stock market system for sports that uses real money. The first market was for the NFL, but it temporarily closes down when that season is over. So now they offer a NBA market. And beginning today they’re offering a MLB Market and a NCAA March Madness Market.
Travel search engine Kayak is making an interesting move today. The site is now allowing users to make hotel bookings directly through the company’s website. Kayak is partnering with Travelocity to power the hotel booking feature.
So previously, if you wanted to book a hotel using Kayak’s search engine, you would click through to the hotel or partner site to book the reservation. Kayak would receive a affiliate fee from the transaction but the actual booking would be made outside of the search engine.
Now, you can make the reservation within the Kayak platform, similar to the experience of making a hotel booking through Expedia (although you’ll still be able to book via the hotel or other sites as well). Travelocity will process the transactions and provide customer service on a white label basis. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The feature was previously released in a limited beta and will be available on its website and iPhone application in the coming weeks.
Today, the United States Marine Corps completed its largest solar installation to date — a 1.4 megawatt ground-mounted system — that will generate electricity for Base Camp Pendleton outside of San Diego, Calif. The system was installed atop an inactive landfill.
According to a press statement from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest: the installation should produce about 2,400 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually, or enough electricity to power 400 average U.S. homes.
The $9.4 million project is expected to save the Marine Corps at least $336,000 yearly in electricity costs, while tripling its previous solar energy capacity.
A Japanese company with significant operations in San Diego, Kyocera Solar, Inc. produced and supplied the photovoltaic modules for the system, domestically. Kyocera reported that 6,300 of its KD235 variety solar modules were used in the project, within some 225 panels.
Intel, through stand-alone subsidiary Intel Mobile Communications, today announced that it has acquired most of the assets of SySDSoft, a Cairo, Egypt-based software company to accelerate its 4G LTE efforts.
The privately-held company develops embedded wireless systems. Intel says it will hire roughly 100 of SySDSoft’s electrical engineers and computer scientists.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Animoto, a website that lets you easily create photo and video slideshows matched to music. The startup basically allows you to take your images, video and your music and mash them together to create cool videos. Not only is the platform easy to use, but it also renders the pictures so they’re in-step with the music you’ve chosen, adding nice transition effects. Today, the company is expanding its ecosystem with a new partner platform that allows third-party developers to embed Animoto’s video slideshow creation tool on their sites.
SuccessFactors has acquired Jambok, a SaaS social learning company founded by former Sun Chief Learning Officer Karie Willyerd and former Sun Chief Technology officer Charles Beckham. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Jambok’s SaaS enables companies and communities to share knowledge in the the cloud. Ideal for the “informal learning” (everything that’s not official training) part of corporate communications, the Jambok platform allows you to post video, audio, photos, as well as screen capture your desktop in order to share knowledge within your organization. Users can also rate, tag, and comment on content on both the web app and via mobile apps.
SuccessFactors plans to integrate Jambok’s social video creation and sharing tools into its social collaboration offering as well as other areas of the Business Execution (BizX) Suite, including social recruiting.
Three short years ago, almost to the day, I arrived in San Francisco and instantly fell in love.
As a former technology columnist for the Guardian (and, unbeknownst to me, about to become one again), I had more than a passing familiarity with the goings on in Silicon Valley. But unlike most tech writers, I’d never had more than a fleeting desire to actually come here.
London was my town – profane, drunken, debauched, wonderful London. Sure, our tech startups might never amount to shit on the Valley’s shoe, but by God we knew how to party. And I loved it; literally writing the book on the capital’s entrepreneurs and the fun we all had during the first three-quarter decade of the 2000s.
Fittingly, given what I’m going to say in a few lines’ time, it took a chance encounter at South By Southwest to change my mind. A pretty, enthusiastic girl called Eris who jumped on my shoulders at a party, under the misapprehension that we’d met once before.
“How are you?” she yelled into my ear.
“Uh… who are you?” I replied.
“We met in San Francisco” she insisted.
“Seems unlikely,” I said, “I’ve never been.”
Google will launch a “major new social network” imminently at the SXSW conference, said Read/Write Web early this morning. They were stupendously wrong on timing – Google told us and others that there was absolutely nothing launching in the next few days at the event.
The product details they got were fairly correct, though, from what I’ve heard from sources who’ve seen Google’s product iterations over the last few months. Google will focus a lot on groups of friends and how you share with them, and try to differentiate themselves from Facebook in this and other ways.
TechCrunch has learned that John Montorio has been named Culture and Entertainment Editor for Aol’s Huffington Post Media Group content division.
Montorio is a 30-year veteran of two of the country’s biggest newspapers – the New York Times and LA Times – but that’s not why his hiring is news-worthy. It’s news-worthy because it represents a dramatic shift in favour of real journalism within Aol.
Make no mistake there’s a battle raging for the soul of new media. Not the clichéd war between print and Web or between Silicon Valley and New York, but rather a series of internal battles being fought within nearly every publication. It’s the battle between journalism and churnalism.
LaunchRock, the startup that wants to help companies launch by setting them up with viral launch pages, is also launching a “Battle of the Startups” contest during SXSW. Companies that use LaunchRock pages to get beta signups will now have the chance to win $30K ($25K as a standard angel investment from collective VC firm Vencorps).
The contest is sponsored by LaunchRock, Sprout Social, Slate Studio, CloudSponge, HootSuite, Posterous, Rapleaf and VenCorps and consists of two parts: The first part is how many signups a startup is able to generate using the LaunchRock, up to $5K. The second consists of the VenCorps’ contribution, where LaunchRock startups who generate the most “social proof” via @ mentions in tweets and votes on Vencorps.com (from March 15th onwards) win 25K . Technically two different startups could win each contest.
Moving from iPad 1 to iPad 2 has been an exercise in confusion followed by fear followed by despair and now acceptance. I have no idea what I’ll be left with, given that I’ve attempted to move from one Mac Book Pro to another, back up iTunes to DVD, upgrade to 4.3 of iOS on 2 iPhones and the old iPad 1, and finally move everything that’s left to the new iPad 2. At this point I really don’t care what happens, just that it does.
Apple haters can jump in anytime with comments (oh, wait, they can’t anymore on the new Facebook Connect what-is-your-real-name gateway) about how iTunes should go away. Maybe, but who can say if this insanity would be improved by making it wireless. So while I’m waiting to be dismayed by the elimination of music, Mad Men 4th season files, family photos, contacts, my grandfathered unlimited AT&T account, and other arcana I don’t realize I’m going to miss, I’ll talk about something else.