Bad drivers beware? CarPong launches driver social networking

Ever been cut off by a bad driver and wished you could have given them a piece of your mind? Well, now you can. Virginia startup CarPong recently launched and is letting users write short messages to other drivers.

Janta Foundation launches p2p micro-loan site for child education

More than 300 million children worldwide lack access to education, and about 500 million adults are illiterate, according to UNESCO. To bring these numbers down, the San Francisco-based Janta Foundation launched today to broker peer-to-peer microloans targeted at educating young people.

Seesmic launches key upgrades to mobile Android version

There’s no shortage of Twitter clients available to users looking to stay away from Twitter.com– even though Twitter itself remains the most visited by users, according to TwitStat. One of those top clients is Seesmic, but until today it had a lackluster mobile versions on phones using Google’s Android operating system.

Good week for app directories: OneForty raising $2.4M

Applications have been a hot ticket to venture funding this week. Two directory-style startups landed cash to help users navigate the thousands of different apps for iPhone and Twitter. Not a new concept, we recently spotlighted several different companies that focused on leveraging social data to make recommendations for iPhone apps.

Twitter launches in German, enjoys relatively easy sweep across Europe

A week after launching an Italian language version, Twitter has announced the availability of a German version – noted as one of the most widespread languages in Europe. German now brings the total language versions up to six, including English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Japanese.

iFart launches first farting social network for the iPhone

There’s nothing that brings together family and friends around the holidays like a good iPhone fart application. While there are many, there’s one that is dubbed king — iFart from InfoMedia. When we wrote about iFart Mobile last Christmas, developer Joel Comm said he was pulling in over $10,000 a day. The app sells for $.99.

My Health Direct secures $4M, not just redirecting emergency room patients

If you’ve ever had to visit the emergency room at your local hospital then you’re no stranger to a jam packed waiting room, crying babies and a long wait. In an effort to remedy the problem, My Health Direct, a company that provides a web-based software for healthcare providers to redirect patients with non-emergency conditions to other health care providers, has secured $4 million in first round funding led by Chrysalis Ventures.

MobBuzz brings forums to any iPhone app

Making an iPhone application stand out among 100,000 others is a nearly impossible task. To make it a bit easier, the UserSquare team today launched MobBuzz, an app-based social networking tool to help developers distinguish their creations.

Google saves you precious seconds with improved search features

Google just announced that it has added universal search features to Google Suggest, as well as a new Chrome extension called Google Quick Scroll. Both features are meant to help users find the content they are looking for more quickly.

Twitter launches in Italian

Twitter’s global spread continues. After launching a translation project in October and a Spanish version in November, Twitter has just announced on its blog the launch of an Italian version of its website.

Facebook gamers offered virtual cash to oppose Obama health care reform

Like to play social games on Facebook? You could now be a target for health insurance industry trade groups opposed to President Obama’s health care reform efforts. At least, that’s what OMGPOP chief executive Dan Porter told Business Insider after spotting a petition on Facebook offering virtual cash if users would fill it out and submit. The petition would then be immediately forwarded to your U.S. senators and House representatives.

Trulia looks to capitalize with iPhone app and mobile web upgrades

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator of housing activity, is on the rise. With housing activity heating up, it’s no surprise that Trulia, a real estate search engine, today released its upgraded iPhone application and new mobile version of its web site.

Treehoo launches email service to plant trees and combat carbon

Today marks the start of the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) taking place in Copenhagen from Dec. 7 to 18. For those that can’t attend, but feel compelled to help the environment, Swedish company Treehoo has an interesting opportunity for you — help to plant trees and fight global warming with every email you send.

Chitika launches new Twitter tool for webmasters

Anything that makes Twittering easier is OK in my book. Which is why I’m excited about a new product release from Chitika, an online advertising network helping companies target online consumers and buyers. Today, it annouced the launch of a new Twitter tool for webmasters called TinyTweets. The company’s first non-ad based product, TinyTweets allows webmasters to insert a special code into any website which then gives visitors the ability to tweet any highlighted copy directly from the website.

YouTube tries out bandwidth friendly viewer Feather

For those with limited bandwidth who still enjoy watching quality videos on YouTube, check out the new streamlined watch page called “Feather.” Launched today within TestTube, the idea incubator for testing of potential products, Feather was developed so that users could experience the lowest latency possible if they have a less than stellar connection.

StockTwits gets $3M more for stock-related comments on Twitter

StockTwits, a startup that lets you view people’s stock-related comments on microblogging service Twitter, today announced $3 million in second-round funding from Foundry Group and returning investor True Ventures.

The Smart Alarm tracks the weather to determine when you should wake up

Ever wake up, perform your morning routine and walk our the door to find your car buried under four feet of snow? It’s those moments you wished you had woken up 20 minutes earlier to have time  to shovel and get to work on-time. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to automatically wake up earlier if there was bad weather and you needed the extra time?

RelayRides launches first peer-to-peer carsharing service

For many urban dwellers, the idea of owning a car just doesn’t make sense. Public transportation as well as highly marketed car renting services like Zipcar and City CarShare make it easy enough to get around. But if you do own a car, wouldn’t it be nice to make some extra money with your car that usually sits on the street or in a garage for most of the day? Well, one company is betting on just that.

WeCanDo.Biz launches automated lead generation tool for Twitter

More and more Twitter is becoming a destination for millions of users to ask questions about products and services or even seek direct recommendations from their trusted network. While there are tools for listening to Twitter conversations, businesses are increasingly realizing the difficulties of trying to listen to millions of users and trying to determine potential customers. However, new services are emerging for Twitter business users to help increase the lead generation process and turn tweets into customers.

Ustream launches viewer app for Android

Interested in seeing a live KISS concert tonight? Ustream, a company that lets people broadcast live interactive video, has embraced the mobile phone even more aggressively: It just launched a mobile viewer feature for Android phones. Called Android Viewer, it enables users to watch any Ustream show on Wifi or 3G.

Siri raises $15.5M more for virtual personal assistant

For those of you awaiting the next generation of personal assistants, San Jose startup Siri, who’s product aims to be a virtual personal assistant (VPA), has just raised $15.5 million in round two funding from Menlo Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures says VentureWire.

Spot Runner launches web-based TV ad exchange — finally

TV ad company Spot Runner has launched Project Malibu, their much anticipated web-based platform for buying and selling television advertising. The move comes after nearly two years of development, massive layoffs, a heated lawsuit from investor WPP and a whopping $120 million raised from more than a dozen investors.

Cloud Engines launches next generation Pogoplug

San Francisco startup Cloud Engines, maker of a box-like device called Pogoplug that makes external hard drives accessible from any computer or iPhone, today launched the next generation of the device, supporting more hardware and software capabilities.

Google creates automatic captions for YouTube videos

Google announced today that YouTube will be able to automatically include captions in videos. Previously, you had to enter the caption manually while the video was uploading, an option that was usually overlooked. That was also a problem for those impaired or might have language barriers that are looking to consumer video.

Runa’s new service looks to turn web surfers into sales

Last year, e-commerce retailers spend $21 billion, or 15 percent of their revenues, in online marketing to drive traffic to their websites. The end result — a dismal 2-3 percent conversion rate between visitors and sales.

All-in-one TV service Sezmi lands $25M

There are a few words that when put together are music to my ears — one of them being “all-in-one.” Startup Sezmi has just landed $25 million in third round funding and is hoping consumers are interested in just that — an all-in-one television service. As more and more companies begin to offer their own set-top boxes, the chances that consumers will bite are good.

Appirio launches interactive cloud computing map

Companies often realize the potential of cloud computing but lack the resources and knowledge to proceed with any kind of integration. Enter Appirio, a startup cloud solution provider, that has launched a public tool to bring some clarity to the sometimes daunting cloud.

Google’s Sidewiki: The good, the bad and the ugly

Today, Google mentioned on its blog that it has been 2 months since the company officially launched Google Sidewiki — the feature that appears as a browser sidebar, where you can read and write entries along the side of any website.

Vega unveiled as first in home Android device

For some time now Google’s been talking about having their Android operating system run on multiple devices, not just phones. In August, T-Mobile even suggested that Android would be appearing on a home phone and a tablet computer early next year, both running Android.  Today unveils the first in home device to run the Android OS and it’s even kitchen-friendly.

Google’s SafeSearch now locks out explicit content

Today, Google announced a new locking feature within SafeSearch, the filtering mechanism that keeps unwanted sexually explicit text and images out of our daily search results. While SafeSearch has been around for some time, users had no way of locking their settings. Allowing anyone say, a child looking for some risque material to easily access the Google search preference page and change the settings on a particular computer.

Kaon Interactive brings 3D to online presentations

Who hasn’t sat through a presentation that is utterly boring and has you thinking about what you’re going to eat for lunch. The ability to capture an audience, hold them spell bound and generate a call-to-action has been an elusive art-form. However, there are tools available that can help.

ClickFuel provides internet tools to small businesses

As a web generation, when we’re looking for a dentist, plumber, or other small business, our first instinct is to go online when we need these services. Sure, there’s Yellow Pages that can find a name, number and address, but as consumers we are used to more and these small businesses usually lack a formal online presence. However, there are several companies that have emerged with the tools to help.

New tools use social data to find iPhone apps

Apple’s big news today is the historic accomplishment of over100,000 applications in their App Store. With those numbers, it’s no surprise that the evolution of the iPhone user and how they find and use iPhone apps have progressively changed. Most recently, users have found that a simple search just doesn’t cut it anymore. There are just too many apps!

Ribbit challenges Google Voice with Ribbit Mobile

Over the past year, Ribbit, a web-based service that provides a new way to manage calls, messages and phones, has had a flurry of activity, including their acquisition by British Telecom and most recently, their integration of several gadgets with Google Wave allowing voice calls, phone conferencing, text messaging and voicemail transcription. Today, Ribbit is at it again, this time with the launch of Ribbit Mobile — a free cloud-based service that enables users to merge multiple phones, route mobile calls to other phones and answer their mobile calls on the Internet.