The latest action:
Skype for iPhone — SHAPE Services, a Stuttgart, Germany-based company, known for making mobile IM clients, has announced Skype for iPhone, an iPhone-optimized Web site that allows you to access Skype via the iPhone’s browser. Om has details.Gbox, offering digital music without copy-protection — Gbox, a Cupertino, Calif. startup is apparently being used by Universal Music Group in its efforts to sell music without DRM. GBox has been secretive so far. AP has the details. Gbox will get referrals through ads to be listed beside Google results when people search for certain types of music. Songs at Gbox cost 99 cents each. It will launch Aug. 21, and is negotiating with other labels.
Gbox’s parent is Navio, a company we wrote about a year ago. See that story for the other notable features it offers. Navio has raised nearly $40 million, including $25.4 million in a second round of funding from WK Technology Fund and VantagePoint Venture Partners.
Yahoo thinking of giving up its paid search business to Google — Kara Swisher has details about supposed memos circulating at Yahoo, over at AllThingsD.
Google is closing Google Video Store — Users who have already bought videos through the store will be compensated for no longer being able to access those videos, but only with Google Checkout credit. Of course, this isn’t that great if you don’t happen to use Google Checkout.
The first hotel in space — Slated for a 2012 opening, ‘Galactic Suite’ will cost about $4 million for a three-day stay, according to Reuters. “But they may have solved the issue of how to take a shower in weightlessness — the guests will enter a spa room in which bubbles of water will float around. When guests are not admiring the view from their portholes they will take part in scientific experiments on space travel.” Company director Xavier Claramunt wouldn’t reveal his backer, but said a “space enthusiast” provided most of the $3 billion needed to build the hotel. The article is pretty vague on other details: “An American company intent on colonizing Mars, which sees Galaxy Suite as a first step, has since come on board, and private investors from Japan, the United States and the United Arab Emirates are in talks.”
BarCamp Block – The event for geeks is taking place Aug. 18-19. No superstar keynote speakers, no pre-programmed agendas. Back at SocialText offices in Palo Alto…”only this time, we are expanding it to the entire block to include the offices and boardrooms of many other tech startups who have benefited from BarCamp.” BarCamp leaders include Chris Messina, Ross Mayfield, Liz Henry, Tantek Çelik and Tara Hunt. Details here.