Social news site Propeller (formerly known as Netscape) has relaunched today with not only an entirely new look and feel, but a new method for determining the buzz-worthiness of news. Gone is the straight-up voting style that main rival Digg made popular, in its place is a rating-scale more akin to Yahoo Buzz.
Getting a vision from an artist’s head to the physical world isn’t always easy. But Shapeways, a spinoff of Dutch electronics giant Philips Electronics, has figured out a way for artists and ordinary consumers to print 3-D models of their creations for a mere $50 to $150.
What does a Facebook just for women look like?
Spleak Media Network, a content aggregation platform, has added new themes to its portfolio of content communities on the web in partnership with major content publishers.
Mobile billing and metrics company Bango is announcing the third version of its mobile metrics suite today, which includes a redesign of its dashboard and sharpening its ability to track unique visitors.
Here’s the latest action:
When Adobe launched the Adobe Media Player (AMP) back in April we were skeptical that users would flock to use a stand-alone video player when so many browser-based options are available. We’re still skeptical, but at least it’s getting better content.
Television advertising isn’t interactive, typically — unless you like dialing up 1-800 infomercial numbers to purchase things like bona fide omelette toasters, commemorative Indian nickel plaques, and large, dull-proof knife sets. TiVo, the company that made a name for itself by letting users record TV for later viewing (and skip commercials), is working on a next-generation form of TV advertising, that promises to be far more interactive. It is partnering with Amazon to offer product ads that appear alongside regular TV ads and programming. These ads will let viewers go and purchase those products directly from Amazon.
Apple’s stock plummeted in after-hours trading tonight after the company gave a weak guidance for its upcoming fourth quarter. The stock price has fallen over 10 percent, close to 17 points, and as such has wiped out nearly $15 billion from Apple’s market cap.
While VentureBeat writer Eric Eldon is rather skeptical about how the new Facebook redesign will appeal to most users, I quite like it. Of course, I also live in the Bay Area and am a “minimalist snob about decor,” as Eric so eloquently put it.
There are so many posts going up about who loved or hated E3 that the discussion over the show format is overshadowing coverage of the video games previewed in Los Angeles last week. The elegies for E3 are flowing throughout the Internet.
Over the last five years, we’ve seen a staggering creation of wealth by two companies with mobile device strategies: Apple (which owns the iPod and iPhone) and RIM (which owns the blackberry).
Apple easily beat estimates for its third quarter results today. It had the best June quarter for both revenue and earnings in the company’s history and the best quarter ever in terms of Mac shipments. Great news right?
Strauss Zelnick is chairman of Take-Two Interactive, the hottest video game company on the planet thanks to its popular Grand Theft Auto IV, which sold more than 6 million copies in the first week alone. He is CEO of entertainment investment company ZelnickMedia and was previously CEO of music and entertainment company BMG Entertainment (now Sony BMG). Prior to joining BMG in 1994, he was CEO of video game developer Crystal Dynamics and president of 20th Century Fox. Take-Two had a warm reception to new titles at E3 such as “Borderlands” and is basking in the glory of GTA IV and last year’s sleeper hit, “BioShock,” which was my favorite game last year. But the company has been under the microscope since Electronic Arts made a hostile $2 billion takeover offer. EA extended its offer today and Take-Two promptly rejected it. Zelnick talks about being the manager of rock stars, such as the Rockstar Games team that made GTA IV. VB: If you were inside a video game, and you saw Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello (see our interview) walking up to you, what would you do? SZ: (Laughs). You mean I’m not a character in a game already?
PlaySpan offers an application that video game players can download and use to trade, buy or sell virtual goods and other products. It has purchased a complementary company, PayByCash, that lets gamers purchase products using cash, checks, PayPal and other payment methods. PayByCash has clients including Electronic Arts, Sony Online Entertainment and Mythic Entertainment.
Eatlime, a video uploading and sharing service, says its application delivers video uploading speeds one hundred times faster than its competitors, including Yousendit, which just raised another round of funding.Eatlime has raised more than $400,000 in its first round of funding, with $300,000 from Tim Draper at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and the rest from Amidzad, Rajeev Motwani, and a trio of ex-googlers: Aydin Senkut, XG ventures, and Georges Harik.
Women-focused blog network, blogging community site and conference organizer company BlogHer has raised $5 million in a second round led by General Electric and NBC Universal-backed Peacock Equity Fund with participation from existing investor Venrock. As part of the deal, NBCU-owned iVillage will get access to BlogHer content, and the ability to promote itself on Blogher. Oxygen.com and BravoTV.com will both also get access to BlogHer content.
WordPress for the iPhone is done and has been uploaded to the iTunes App Store for approval, according to the WordPress for iPhone blog. While there is no set time for release, it could be as early as tonight. (Update: It is live now, see the bottom of the post.)
Daily newspapers are fighting to stay relevant in the age of online news, and many have made some smart changes. But they’re also struggling because the revenue model is still unclear, according to a new study on “The Changing Newsroom” from The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
There will be no fireworks on display at the Yahoo shareholder meeting on August 1. Or at least, they won’t be as bright. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has reached an agreement with Yahoo to drop his pursuit of a hostile takeover of the company. In return, Icahn will get a seat of his own on Yahoo’s board of directors as well as the potential for two other seats for the board replacement members he had chosen.
GumGum is raising $1.2 million in a first round so that it can expand its business of licensing and distributing online content. The Santa Monica, Calif. company has developed a platform to monetize media, starting with photos, that are often pirated online.
Facebook announced today it’s rolling out the redesigned version of its site. Over the past few months, the social networking site has been adding features and functionality to the profile pages available at the www.new.facebook.com test site, and now the redesign is finalized. Apparently, users will be able to “opt-in” to the redesign by clicking on a link at the main site; the link will gradually become available to more users over the next few days.
John Riccitiello has been driving a lot of change at Electronic Arts. He was president and chief operating officer of the big independent video game publisher from 1997 to 2004. Then he left to co-found Elevation Partners. He engineered a deal to invest $400 million in acquiring a majority stake in the game development firms, BioWare and Pandemic. While he was gone, EA suffered lackluster financial performance and its games were often mocked as dull and uninspired. Riccitiello rejoined EA as CEO in May 2007, and reorganized EA so that it could operate its game studios as a bunch of city-states. EA acquired BioWare/Pandemic for $800 million. The aim is to get the game maker out of its funk and to produce original content that hardcore gamers won’t sneer at and nongamers will try out. EA’s games are indeed looking better; I put three of them on my list of the top 10 games of E3. But it may be some time before anyone can declare that Riccitiello has engineered a turnaround.
Despite the occasional late night hiccup, micro-messaging service Twitter has been largely stable for the past few weeks. It’s been refreshing to have the service working, some would say downright boring (as indicated by the calls for the Fail Whale) — so what’s next?
Comedian Jimmy Fallon is taking over NBC’s “Late Night” show next year when current host Conan O’Brien moves up to replace Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show.” Producer Lorne Michaels, apparently unsure if Fallon is ready to make the jump to nightly television, has a novel idea: Work out his kinks on the web first.
Live video-streaming site Qik has garnered a lot of buzz for its alpha release. This is no doubt thanks to prominent bloggers and tech elites that use the service including Robert Scoble, Jason Calacanis and Kevin Rose. But now comes the first big test for the service: the masses. Qik launches the public beta version of its site today and with it comes several improvements.
As promised, I’ve followed up on my most anticipated games of E3 with an actual list of the top ten games of the show. I spent four days checking out games and interviewing executives at the Los Angeles media and game business summit. Clearly, I didn’t see everything. I didn’t even get to some of the games on the previous list. These games reflect my own tastes. I didn’t hold myself to any rules, like limiting the list to games that are coming out this year or ones that were actually playable. It’s just a list of what I can’t wait to play myself.
LOS ANGELES—With the influx of fresh new gamers, thanks in large part to the popularity of mass-market game machines, the DS and the Wii, more game companies than ever are jumping on the girl gamer bandwagon. Practically every booth at this year’s E3 Media and Business Summit this year had something to offer for female gamers of various demographics.
We’ve added a special pre-event session to MobileBeat next Thursday, July 24.
Here’s the latest action:
While it’s hardly a surprise that games are popular in Apple’s new App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it is surprising how good many of them are. Unfortunately, many of the good ones will also cost you anywhere from $5 to $15. There is one game that I’ve been playing the past two days that stands out above all others: Aurora Feint The Beginning. And get this: It’s free.
GenArts provides software to help video producers create high-quality special effects. The company today announced that Insight Venture Partners provided it with an undisclosed amount of funding earlier this year.
Earlier this week, New York tech-business blog Silicon Alley Insider said it raised a $1 million round that valued the company at $7 million, post-money. Bloggers love hearing valuation numbers like this, because we can use them to guess the value of other blogs. So let’s play the connect-the-dots game of blog valuations.
While it’s still not entirely clear whose fault last week’s iPhone 3G launch debacle was, a new screw-up by AT&T today certainly doesn’t give them any more customer credibility.
After another night of downtime there is some good news coming out of Twitter land this morning. The micro-messaging service will open up its XMPP data — known by some as the “firehose” because of the massive amount of service data is sent through it — to new startup Gnip, according to TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington.
It looks like Google is preparing to make a push for serious growth in Russia — the search giant announced today that it’s acquiring ZAO Begun, a Russian contextual advertising service, for $140 million.
Microsoft misses earnings targets: Microsoft narrowly missed its targets for earnings as it reported results for the fourth-fiscal quarter ended June 30. Windows Vista has sold more than 180 million copies since its launch, but other parts of the business, such as online ads, are weak. The company said that high-cost enterprise consulting services and higher Xbox 360 sales, which are both costly parts of the business, were higher than expected.
The big video games of the E3 Media and Business Summit have been blasted across magazine covers and websites for the past few months, but the show still offers a large selection of lesser-known games that are worth a look—even if they lack the marketing muscle of the blockbusters. The following list contains solid sleepers, some of which have received positive buzz and press coverage, but none of which made Dean Takahashi’s “most anticipated” games of E3 list.