Roundup: Verizon, Gdrive, and more

1) Verizon to let “any apps, any device” onto its network
2) Google GDrive is real, almost here
3) Brightcove to focus on video distribution for its partners
4) JotSpot, where are you?
5) GuildCafe, a social network for gamers, buys Uberguilds Network, an online gaming network
6) Xbox introduces more advanced friend features

Verizon to let “any apps, any device” onto its network – There’s lots of excitement today about an announcement by oligarchic mobile carrier Verizon that it will let any application or device developer access its network — even somebody “in their basement,” a Verizon executive said.

At first glance, this is great news for mobile startups, because it could mean they’ll get less restricted access to Verizon’s 63.7 million customers. Verizon will publish its technical standards in early 2008, that developers will need to follow in order to work with Verizon’s mobile network. If you meet the minimal standard, Verizon will activate you, with designs being tested and approved in a special Verizon testing lab. Verizon customers will be able to choose any application on their devices.

With this timing, Verizon will be getting a jump on a rival effort, the Google-led Android open source mobile software project, as Larry Dignan points out.

There are all sorts of details that need to be clarified in Verizon’s plans or developers may stay in their basements, such as what turnaround time for testing will be, a better understanding of Verizon’s standards and the price of certification fees.

For more, see Om’s pithy take.

Google GDrive is real, almost here – Rumors have abounded around the blogosphere for years about such a service. Google’s GDrive will let you store large files, like video, music, and images Like Box.net, the Wall Street Journal reports. This apparently means it will compete against file-hosting startups like Box.net, Divshare and many others. Google already lets users have a few gigabyts of storage for free in GMail, its online email service. Gmail has been steadily increasing its storage capacity, recently adding a subscription-fee enterprise version with storage up to 25 gigabytes for a single account.

Brightcove to focus on video distribution for its partners – The company has until now offered a public site, Brightcove.tv, where users could share videos, but it was really late to the game. There are a horde of online video startups experimenting with variations on that theme. Brightcove, which raised a huge $59 million round last January, will stop allowing users to upload videos on December 17. It will focus on being a specialized media platform for media companies — including some of its funders, such as the The New York Times, Hearst, CBS, and others.

JotSpot, where are you? – Since JotSpot, the wiki company, was purchased by Google in 2006, it has closed off registration for new users and has otherwise gone quiet. The sharp eyes in the forums section of Google Blogoscoped spotted another clue over the weekend that JotSpot is returning soon — a new mention of Jotspot in some Google software code. We’ve also been hearing rumblings that it will be introduced soon and integrated with other Google Apps like Gmail and Google Docs.

GuildCafe, a social network for gamers, buys Uberguilds Network, an online gaming network — Guildcafe connects gamers across so-called massively multiplayer online role-playing games (or MMOGs), including World of Warcraft, the Lord of the Rings Online, and Guild Wars. Players can form groups, or “guilds,” that can move across these games. The purchase negotiation was no doubt bloodily simulated between the two companies in a virtual battle fought across the MMOGscape. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Guildcafe raised an undisclosed amount from IDG Ventures Boston back in July, apparently to acquire companies.

Xbox introduces more advanced friend features – If you’re one of the eight million Xbox Live users around the world, you’ll be able to see who your friends on Xbox are friends with. Question is, when will Xbox owner Microsoft sync this the data in its social network ally, Facebook.

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