Google’s virtual world, the blog filter rush & more

(Updated) Round-up in Silicon Valley:

Googleearthsl2.bmpGoogle working on a Google Earth version of Second Life? — So says venture capitalist Michael Eisenberg, a partner at Benchmark capital, the firm that invested in Second Life, citing a rumor from the “PhD grapevine.” [Update: Google spokesman Daniel Pastor says: “We’re continually exploring opportunities to expand our offerings, but we don’t have anything to announce at this time.”] Google co-founders have always been about having “impact.” This would give them a chance to act as virtual central bankers, a function Second Life has been having problems with. See the latest allegations, for example, that Second Life is akin to a pyramid scheme, and that it’s much harder to pull your money out than you’re led to believe.

Marketclusters, latest effort to filter blogs for corporate clients — It is the old lemming play. Monitor110, of New York, and TechDirt, of Belmont, Calif. (Silicon Valley) are doing versions of this, and have just raised capital to sign up clients. And so Marketclusters, of London, has raised $3 million from New Media Spark. It serves corporate and financial clients. Notably, it lists among its clients Silicon Valley venture firm Benchmark Capital, which happens to be an investor in Seeking Alpha, a company that aggregrates information from financial blogs, and so is somewhat related. Benchmark has been known to hedge (for example, investing in both online loan marketplace competitors, Zopa and Prosper).

The world’s densest memory circuit — Researchers at Caltech and UCLA said they have created a circuit 100 times denser than today’s standard memory circuits — while remaining as small as a human white blood cell.

Adobe’s curious acquisition of a peer-to-peer networking companyOm speculates on why Adobe, the giant software and Flash multimedia maker, has bought a Santa Cruz, Calif. P2P networking start-up, Amicima though we’re still left scratching our heads about exactly why.

Bix, the little $41M web site?Bix, you’ll recall, was the light-weight Web site that let people compete in online karaoke, hot or not and other contests. It raised $6.7 million, and then was snatched up by Yahoo, apparently for a 6-fold return (according to one rough account), within six months of launching. Not bad. [Update: A credible source close to Bix tells VentureBeat the actual price was higher than $41M]

CleverSet latest online behavior monitoring company — This company joins a number of other players, including Aggregate Knowledge, that try to predict what people will want to buy based on their behavior. CleverSet watches what you click on, what information its clients have about you, your purchase history, all to help their online retail clients make better merchandise recommendations to you. The Seattle company just raised $2 million. On its advisory board are Dr. Peter Norvig, director of research for Google, and Dr. Andreas Weigend, former chief scientist of Amazon.com.


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