Google Reader quietly launches a "What's hot" area. Where's the "most shared" area?

Given the number of people who use Google Reader’s “Starred items” and “Shared items” features, you’d think Google would have some very good data for creating a killer “best of” area for stories across the web. In the past, people have talked about how such a feature could be a “Digg killer,” but Google has passed on such an opportunity — thus far. A new feature quietly rolled out this week may indicate that it is coming.

Loopt unifies location-based services across all the major mobile networks

Most people have probably heard about the location-based social network Loopt thanks to its nifty, but crippled (more on that below), iPhone application. But the service is available most of the other major networks, on a wide variety of phones. Actually, make that all of the major networks, because starting today it’s launching a beta version of its service on the AT&T network.

Sprint unboxes free Pandora across its network

Us iPhone users are spoiled: We get to listen to Pandora’s streaming web music for free thanks to its brilliant application (the top downloaded app for all of 2008 in the App Store). Owners of other devices, on other networks, haven’t been so lucky, as many have to pay a monthly fee to access Pandora. But that’s not the case with Sprint subscribers anymore as Pandora will now be free on phones that support it.

FriendFeed says 'SUP to some new services

We first wrote about FriendFeed working a new Really Simple Syndication (RSS) supplement that it was calling Simple Update Protocol (SUP) earlier this year. The idea was to speed up the way new content is pulled into the social aggregator. Today, FriendFeed has announced several updates to its SUP support.

12seconds prods the iPhone with a non-video video app

Up there on the list of complaints about the iPhone is that its camera doesn’t support video capture. Well, it can (more on that later), but Apple won’t turn it on or allow any applications in the App Store that use the camera for video. That’s a problem for a startup like 12seconds, an online video application. So it came up with a new way to post to 12seconds with its iPhone app.

Rolando launches. The first truly great iPhone game?

There have been a lot of good games released for the iPhone and iPod touch since the the App Store launched this past July. And now, with more experienced developers like EA, that have plenty of money to throw at game development, coming to the platform, they’re getting even better. Tonight, one company that’s had some success with an iPhone-only gaming approach, Ngmoco, rolled out its newest game — the first one it thinks enough of to price at $9.99: Rolando.

Amazon adds some Box Office Mojo to IMDb

As someone who studied film in college and worked in Hollywood for a few years, I don’t get to incorporate that old life into my new one as a tech writer as much as I’d like. So it brings me joy when I get to report that two of my favorite movie web sites are combining forces: The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Box Office Mojo.

Deloitte survey shows we're living in a "media democracy"

We’re living in a media democracy, where no single form of media dominates the attention of Americans. It’s also an age where everyone contributes to the media, not just traditional media companies. That’s a conclusion of the third annual Deloitte survey on the state of media, which asked respondents how they spent time with media.

iPhone developers finally starting to dictate what day their apps goes live in the App Store

When iPhone development house Ngmoco announced that its new game Rolando would be released Dec. 18 (tomorrow), I wondered how on Earth they knew that? After all, all we’ve been hearing from developers is how sporadic Apple’s application approval process is, with many having no idea when their apps will actually go live in the App Store (and this being an even bigger problem given the recent delays). But it seems that developers have finally started dictating when their apps come out.

Your friends don't hate you, Twitter is just cleaning house again

If you see a sudden surge downward in the number of Twitter followers you have this afternoon, rest assured, it’s probably not something you did or said after a few drinks last night — it’s just Twitter. The micro-messaging service says it will be removing deleted and suspended accounts from users’ lists of followers at some point this afternoon.

Anatomy of a $99 Walmart iPhone rumor

Maybe you’ve heard: Apple’s iPhone is going on sale at Walmart stores across the United States on December 28th. Maybe you had previously heard it would be $99, but it won’t. The entry version will be $197. Yes, a whopping $2 off the price Apple and AT&T sell it for.So what gives? Where’d the $99 — the number being reported by some mainstream media publications — come from?

Steve Jobs' health not behind the keynote snub, says the one story with an actual source

It feels kind of silly to do a whole post about just this, but as anticipated, speculation about Apple chief executive Steve Jobs’ health is once again spiraling out of control following the announcement that he would not give the Macworld keynote address this year. But the reason for Jobs’ no-show at Macworld is purely political, sources inside Apple tell CNBC’s Jim Goldman.

iTunes adds 3-movie rental for $0.99

Apple’s $0.99 movie rental of the week on iTunes has always been a great idea. At such a low price point, it spurs activity and undoubtedly showcases just how easy it is to rent a movie through iTunes. And now Apple is sweetening the pot even more by offering not one, but three $0.99 rentals of the week.

Palm launches an app store that's already half the size of the iPhone's and ten times Android's, but…

When Apple launched the App Store this past summer it became, if nothing else, the thought leader in mobile innovation. Now everyone’s playing follow the leader. BlackBerry, Symbian, Microsoft and Google Android have all built, announced or are at work on their own “app stores.” And today, another big name joins them: Palm.

MySpace announces Top 8 of 2008 awards, vampires win

Hold onto your trendy fedora hats, MySpace just released its “Top 8 of 2008″ awards, presumably because Top 10 lists are just so 2007. The lists include the top eight site searches in the categories of music, film, comedy, technology and video. Things I didn’t want to learn? Dane Cook remains the top comedian on MySpace (though his detractors have their own MySpace profile).