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Here’s the latest, as of Tuesday afternoon:
Google to let you avoid clicking through to pages? — Google has bought software developed by a graduate student in Australia, Ori Allon, that displays information from Web sites directly without users having to click through to seperate pages. The idea is that it takes too much time to click on a result — because you can click on a page only to find it is not interesting, and then be forced to click back to the main results page, and so on. If we understand correctly, the software, called Orion, is a preview technology similar to start-ups like Browster and Cooliris, and the “binoculars” feature at Ask.com. Orion also displays search results for topics related to the user’s query. Here is more info about the 26-year-old who developed the software in six months, and who is now a Google employee.
Local Matters is a head-scratcher — Local Matters is a local yellow pages search/ad company that churned up only $8.5 million in revenue last year. And yet it is trying to raise $57.5M in an initial public offering. True, it has merged with some other entities, and their combined revenue is up to about $30 million, but that is still below the $60 million or so threshold used lately by investment bankers for judging whether a company is ready to go public or not. Same for Omniture, a Web analytics company that had only $40 million in revenues last year, and lost $17 million the same year. Its growing, though, and that’s probably why the bankers are willing to take it on. Signs things are hopping again in IPO-land?
Web 2.0 lemming rush continues — Guba is a San Francisco company is yet another company trying to embrace “online video hosting and sharing,” when there has got to be nearly 90 other companies already doing that, Om Malik correctly points out. It is splitting its adult content business into a separate unit. And now the hope expressed by Thomas Mcinerney, co-founder: “…We’re expecting Guba to be in the Alexa top 100 inside of 6 months.” Unfortunately, not everybody can be in the Alexa top 100, even if all 100 do end up all video related. And if you’ve got 100 video-sharing companies, how do they all make money? Final surprise, Guba is looking to raise venture capital.
More Web 2.0…Zooomr & Ookles latest photo sites — We’re simply referring to these latest Flickr-like products, in case you like experimenting with these sorts of features. There are just too many to keep criticizing them for not having a business model. Some appear to be quick ‘n dirty two-week projects, not really designed to make money, while others are more ambitious. Can’t speak for Zooomr or Ookles. In the case of Zooomr, it is designed by 17-year-old founder Kristopher Tate, and according to Mike Arrington, is coming out this week. And remember the guy, Scott Johnson, who raised seed funding for his company Ookles while talking on the phone in Om Malik’s loo? Well Mike says Johnson, a founder of the blog search engine Feedster, apparently got $75,000, and is declaring Ookles will be Flickr+Riya+YouTube.
Web 2.0 ad nauseam….When should publishers get nervous about these RSS-rippers? — There’s a San Francisco company called Pixsy, which scans through RSS feeds from publishers for photos and videos and then makes millions of them searchable on its site. That could get some publishers anxious, if they are paying photographers full salaries to take pictures, only to see those pictures pop up on some other site like Pixsy. And then there’s a company called Veoh, which is being accused of using RSS to hijack videobloggers’ content. Perhaps a better question is how many of these RSS video rippers are there going to be? Won’t they simply die from irrelevance, and lack of a business plan?
Spotting gun shots is expensive — ShotSpotter has raised $9.4 million more in venture capital. This Santa Clara company makes technology that lets you know where gun shots come from, and can help trigger 911 dispatches. We wrote about them a while ago, when they raised just under $2 million.
Atiq Raza’s last, last stand? — Atiq Raza has raised $20 million for his Cupertino chip design company, Raza Microelectronics, as he awaits revenue. Last year, we blogged about the sweat that Atiq Raza has poured into this chip design company, which he salvaged in the wake of the Internet bubble burst. He’s already raised more than $100 million.
Two more ways to pay with your cell phone — In case you missed the news from last week’s CTIA conference, two Silicon Valley companies, PayPal of eBay, and Obopay, have elaborated on their cell phone payment technologies. Obopay, which has been secretive until now, says beginning this Sunday users can control how much money is available on a debit card that is linked to their Oboypay account, and they can transfer money to other Obopay accounts. Meanwhile, with PayPal, you can send $10 to a friend by typing a text message “10 To (Your friend’s phone number).” You send it to a PayPal code. PayPal calls you back, asks for your pin number, and once it verifies your identity, it completes the transaction. Your friend then gets a text message telling them how to access the money. PayPal will continue to charge a fee.
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