The New York Times adds social networking: The nation’s biggest daily newspaper is embracing Web 2.0 with the launch of its new online feature: TimesPeople. This beta program allows users to build up a friends list and view a news feed for stories that their friends are recommending. It shows that newspapers aren’t just sitting back and letting the Internet wipe them out. On a personal page, a user can save all of the content the user has shared and review the recommendations of everyone else in the network. The beta release uses a Firefox browser add-on. The TimesPeople site will not monitor routine site activity or broadcast private activities. Who says you can’t learn something new from Facebook?
MySpace redesign goes live: The new design for MySpace is cleaner with fewer things to click upon on a user’s homepage. It makes more use of drop-down menus and the navigation has been redone to reduce the number of clicks to get any single task done. When you do a search for something, results that include your closest friends show up first.
Another virtual world launches: Dozens of virtual worlds are getting hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter. So it’s no surprise to see the launch of Meez Nation, a new virtual world which emphasizes cartoon-like 3-D avatars for playing games, socializing, and hanging out at cool locations. You can hang out in Roomz, which are nicer than those in the popular but flat 2-D world of Habbo Hotel.
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Verizon turns up the broadband tap: Starting next week, Verizon will make available the fastest broadband connections in the country to 10 million homes and businesses thanks to its FiOS Internet infrastructure build out. Speeds of 50 megabits per second for download and 20 megabits per second will be available in 16 different states. By 2010, it will reach more than 18 million.
Thinking of pitching technology to doctors? Maybe that’s a bad idea. A study shows that doctors aren’t embracing technology for electronic health records. Just four percent of doctors have adopted fully functional computerized health record systems.
Web analytics company ClickTale releases its free Form Analytics tool: The tool reveals how consumers interact with online forms and provides recommendations that can improve the rate at which consumers complete the online forms and make purchases. More detail is available here.
Gigaom declares console games dead: Wagner James Au says the failure of Grand Theft Auto IV to boost consoles of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (with just a month’s worth of data) shows that the “next-gen” heat-seeking consoles have peaked and the Nintendo Wii is the wave of the future. Online games made with smaller budgets for wider audiences are the wave of the future, Au says. We can’t argue all that much with that, but console games including the Wii are in the midst of their best year ever at a time in the cycle when they should logically be peaking. GTA IV had a better launch than any other previous game (including the predecessor) with 11 million units sold within just five weeks. Like that old Monty Python line suggests, “I’m not dead yet.”
Meanwhile, something we can all appreciate: You’ve heard of Obama Girl. Well, the Wii Fit Underwear Girl is famous thanks to this video where she shakes her tush while playing the Hula Hoop game on Nintendo’s new Wii Fit game. She tells MTV Multiplayer that she didn’t know that her boyfriend was taping her from behind while she was working out. The video has been viewed more than 3 million times.
[Editor’s note: Eric, to keep the site PG (or PC?) snuck in and cut out the embedded video so you’ll have to follow the link to watch.]
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.