With iPhone app upgrade, iLike moves towards front of live music business

ILike is one of the larger music startups to survive the recession (and music-licensing issues). It has managed to become a “self-sustaining” business through its iTunes plugin and its popular social networking applications. Today, the company is expanding while most of the industry struggles, introducing an upgrade to its “Local Concerts” iPhone application, plus more than 250 musicians’ customized apps for iPhone and iPod Touch.

Watercooler brings new revenue strategy to this fall’s Facebook fantasy football season

Watercooler, a company that has gained 25 million users on Facebook sports and television applications, is hoping to rack up the revenue this fall with a new version of its popular fantasy football app, Fantasy Football 2009, that emphasizes a combination of payments and targeted ads. It is using a couple tactics honed over the last year by a variety of social games.

MySpace Mail launches, officially part of the new MySpace

While MySpace is figuring out its future as a sort of entertainment portal, an older and but still heavily-used product has made it out the door. MySpace Mail has been upgraded from simple messaging to a full-blown email service. You can send and receive real emails.

What real-time data means to me: A better commute

Real-time: It’s a hot new buzzword trying describe the potential that immediately available data can have in our day-to-day lives. But what potential? When I’ve tried to think about how real-time data services are going to transform my daily routine, I haven’t been too successful.

With uncertain future, Bebo gets a new president

AOL might spin out its expensively-purchased social network, Bebo, as it prepares to be separated from media parent company, Time Warner. Or so say long-running rumors. In the meantime, Bebo has a new president: Stephane Panier, its former chief operating officer, who has previously been a senior finance director at Google.

Any port in a storm: Social network Friendster up for sale

Popular-in-Asia social networking site Friendster is up for sale, according to banker documents obtained by TechCrunch. One of the earliest social networks, the company has been haunted by younger rivals, starting with MySpace, which became more popular in the US earlier this decade.

MySpace is a big gaming platform but it hopes to be more of one

Many of MySpace’s nearly 125 million monthly active users are already playing social games made by companies like Playdom and Zynga. But the News Corp.-owned social network is hoping for more, chief digital officer Jonathan Miller said today at the Fortune Brainstorm: Tech conference happening in Pasadena, Calif.

Arrington on Twittergate: “I wouldn’t do things any differently”

As a reporter who blogs — and who has been competing against Michael Arrington for the past couple of years — I’ve been helplessly fascinated by the Twittergate debate of the last couple of weeks. It is a perfect storm of technology news and journalism ethics in the digital age, pitting widely popular microblog service Twitter versus hated, envied, and also popular Arrington and his TechCrunch publication.

Twitter 101: An official how-to guide for the David Lettermans of the business world

Microblogging service Twitter is hot — or at least it has been experiencing heat waves of growth. So the company has just rolled out an extensive guide so businesses can get a better understanding of how to make use of its 140-character broadcasting service. Called Twitter 101, the guide includes a whole range of stuff: Simple explanations about its features, case studies from companies like Best Buy and Dell, best practices, and links to some related sites. All in all, the information seems pretty basic.

YouTube Insight shows global reach of political videos

Yesterday, YouTube began letting video uploaders share traffic statistics with the public via its Insight analytics service. One interesting early result, political technology blog techPresident has discovered, is that you can see who is watching — or not watching — President Barack Obama’s speeches.

With My Career launch, Plaxo moves deeper into business networking

Social address book service Plaxo has been busy over the last few years building out social features, like a lifestreaming service, and integrating social data from sites like Facebook. But now it’s moving deeper into helping people do business networking.

Facebook Connect now available in more languages

Around 70 percent of Facebook’s 250 million monthly active users are outside of the US, and most of them aren’t speaking English. The site has been seeing massive growth around the world, partly the result of Facebook letting users translate the site into their own languages over the past couple of years. Now, the company is aiming to capitalize on its international growth by providing translated versions of its web-wide identity service, Facebook Connect.

Panjiva: Using government data as a platform for international trade

The White House doesn’t yet have much to show yet for its efforts to make the government more transparent. But, unsurprisingly, the private sector is forging ahead where there are business opportunities. A fascinating example is Panjiva, a company that processes publicly-available trade data about any business that ships anything into the United States through any seaport in the country. And today, it is launching a new service that lets other companies with international trade data provide what they know on top of Panjiva’s service.

AOL Ventures gets new leader to clean, rebuild house

Former Googler Tim Armstrong is making more moves to redefine AOL, the struggling and soon-to-be spun off former Time Warner subsidiary that he is now chief executive of. He just named an old business partner, Jon Brod, to run the company’s venture unit, according to BoomTown.

MobileBeat: Making mobile software social

Mobile software on compelling new devices like the iPhone is creating huge new industries, but the world is a year or two away — at least — from seeing the results really manifest themselves.

Can Facebook help apps get iPhone distribution?

One of the biggest problems for iPhone apps is finding users — the main way growth happens now is, paradoxically, by climbing the charts of the iTunes app store rankings. The more popular you get, the higher you get in the rankings, and the more people see you as a result. But Facebook is working on a new version of its popular iPhone app, and it could provide a new way for any iPhone app using Facebook Connect to get more Facebook users on the iPhone.

Penguin FB: A truce offering or Trojan Horse from Facebook to Twitter?

Now this is interesting. Facebook, which at one point a few months ago seemed set on becoming Twitter, might now be experimenting with a way of making its service work rather smoothly with the microblogging service. Earlier today, Inside Facebook spotted a tweet from Facebook developer Blake Ross, who said “test” from a service called “penguin fb” (he’s since taken it down).

Facebook adds 50 million users in 3.5 months, now up to 250 million actives

Facebook likes to keep its traffic numbers close to its chest. Its last update was at the beginning of April, when it said it hit 200 million monthly active users worldwide. Today, it says it has 250 million monthly active users — so an increase of 50 million users over the last three and a half months. This sort of growth, at least in theory, is what the company needs to keep seeing if it wants to become a multi-billion dollar business.

Profitable (!) chat service Paltalk buys back shares from investor

You usually don’t think of profit when you think of instant messaging services, but Paltalk has been making money for years through its subscription service — and the company has just bought back shares from investor Softbank Capital Partners, also at a profit for the firm.

Should Facebook employees sell stock to DST now? (Probably not)

Facebook doesn’t plan to go public for years, so it’s trying to keep employees happy in the meantime by letting them sell stock to Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies. Employees who own common stock can sell for $14.77 per share, starting now and continuing until sometime in August, DST tells me. The investment holding firm has previously bought around two percent of Facebook’s investor-class preferred stock for  $200 million, and it plans to spend up to $100 million more buying stock from employees.

Ron Conway’s top ten ways to make money from real-time data

I’m here at TechCrunch’s “Real-Time Stream CrunchUp” event in Redwood City, California. Investors Ron Conway and John Borthwick are on stage, talking effusively about how Twitter — and real-time services in general — will end up being a big industry. The technology for instantly being able to share information back and forth, Conway says, is now where Google was in 1998 — the beginning of a huge rise.

Ain’t no thang: Socialthing sort of becomes AIM Connect

This past April, AOL began testing out a social toolbar for web sites, under the name of a lifestreaming service called Socialthing, which it acquired in 2008. The toolbar is now going through a rough transition into something else, although it’s not totally clear what’s happening. At least judging by the live test that AOL has been running on its country music site The Boot. The Socialthing name has been dropped (and some features broken) in favor of a new name: AIM Connect.

FriendFeed introduces real-time search

Lifestreaming service FriendFeed is introducing real-time search, so you can search for anything on the site and see it instantly. Real-time search is also live for advanced search options, including search terms that you can save and track through FriendFeed, and on its blog widget.

Facebook to get simpler privacy, sharing features

Today, Facebook is announcing simpler ways for users to share information. I’m on a briefing call with a bunch of other reporters, listening to Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly and product manager Leah Pearlman walk us through a presentation about the specific changes the company is currently testing out.

Meebo launches toolbar ads today, ramping up revenue

Meebo is taking another big step towards making its instant messaging service profitable. It’s officially launching a new product that runs interactive pop-out ads within its IM toolbar available on partner sites. You might be on a racing site, for example, chatting with friends about car models, and you’ll see an ad for Toyota’s Prius — with AT&T, it’s one of the two marquee advertisers now using the service.

Themes: Another way that FriendFeed is getting more like Gmail

Lifestreaming service FriendFeed is getting more and more like Gmail, the popular email service that the startup’s founders built back when they were at Google. Today, FriendFeed is getting themes so users can personalize the site interface — like what Gmail introduced last year. Last week, it introduced file-sharing, so you don’t need to upload and share files through email or other services.

Facebook gets new CFO: Genentech veteran David Ebersman

Facebook chief financial officer Gideon Yu left the company this spring, in somewhat strange circumstances, with Facebook saying it wanted a CFO with public company experience. Now it has one: former Genentech CFO David Ebersman.

Googler Prashant Fuloria joins Facebook, working on monetization

Google product management director Prashant Fuloria quietly slipped across Highway 101 last month, from the Googleplex in Mountain View to Facebook’s new headquarters in Palo Alto, as Inside Facebook first reported today. He’s keeping the same title, and a somewhat similar focus.

WordSmyte: Find the right word to expose bad things

A single clever word or phrase can reshape how people think about an issue. A just-launched site called WordSmyte intends to take advantage of this phenomenon — and it’s focused on things that people hate.

Facebook gets an experienced European lobbyist

It was inevitable, given Facebook’s rapid growth around the world and especially in countries around Europe. The company has hired an experienced lobbyist, Richard Allen, to represent it to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, according to The Guardian.

Twitter’s long-term traffic still growing

Twitter users, most of whom signed up for the site and then apparently stopped visiting, are actually coming back, new data from comScore suggests. There’s been a lot of evidence that Twitter’s growth is tapering off by several measurements: monthly unique visitors, searches, and mentions in the media. But as VentureBeat guest columnist Jesse Farmer postulated in May after crunching a lot of Twitter data, the mass of people who aren’t early adopters could just be taking a while to warm up to using the service.

Grou.ps comes together with funding, business models

There are a wide variety of create-your-own social networking companies out there, with the most prominent one being Ning. But a relatively young — and very scrappy — new competitor called Grou.ps is one the rise. It is seeing 25 percent growth in unique visitors per month; some one million registered users have created 40,000 groups. And, the San Francisco-Istanbul company has finished raising its first round of funding, adding $1 million from Golden Horn Ventures to a previous $1.1 million from the firm.

Facebook to offer better sharing filters

Facebook wants people to share more information, because more sharing means more data to use in targeting ads, and more chances to serve up those ads. So today, it’s making sharing a little bit easier by allowing people to limit the information they want to share to specific groups of friends on the site.

Facebook looks for more international ad revenue

Facebook Ads, the social network’s advertising system, could start making more money soon. The company is letting people buy ads in 14 more currencies, including major ones like the euro — this is a big expansion from just having people purchase ads in US dollar units.

With big cuts, what’s next for MySpace’s international efforts?

MySpace plans to lay off around 300 of its 450 international employees, and close at least four of its 15 international offices as the it tries to figure out how to survive falling traffic and revenue numbers. It laid off about the same number of people last week in its US offices, leaving around 1,000 employees as of today.

Conduit toolbars to get more content

For those of you who love browser toolbars, expect more options soon. Conduit, a company that lets web sites make their own, customized toolbars is letting its clients add a couple more features now. Sites can both syndicate their content to other sites that have Conduit toolbars, or include content from those sites.

Super Rewards’ advertising offers come to Twitter games

As inevitable as spammy invites, advertising offers are now coming to games that use Twitter. Super Rewards, a leading provider of offers for games on Facebook and other social networks, is launching its service with 140 Mafia, a mafia-style Twitter role playing game.