Grouper creates way to leave videos as portable comments — Grouper, the video sharing site based north of San Francisco is releasing a new feature that lets you post videos as comments, and then lets you post that video, along with the video comments, at other sites — including MySpace. Grouper’s Josh Felser told us about the feature a couple of days ago, and said it is the first of its kind. He took us through a few examples, including this one: Go here, and then look at the comments below. You will see the videos as comments. You record a comment simply by pressing a button at the bottom of the player. Felser says he wants to make money by embedding advertising within them, down the road — perhaps later this year.
“No one has this,” said Felser. “No one has built out and added rich functionality within the embedded player — they’re just leveraging Flash.” If a person goes to Grouper and finds a video they like, they can click on a single button, and take that video to their WordPress, MySpace, Blogger or Friendster account.
Where the hell did Kazaa get that cash? — The file-sharing company settled lawsuits by paying more than $100 million, as we noted. We too were silently wondering where the cash came from. Turns out, part of it came from the Skype founders Zennstrom and Friis, who had been on the run — or at least avoiding the U.S. — ever since their affiliation with that legally troubled company in a former life. Looks like they’re trying to clear their name as they launch their new venture, The Venice Project (scroll down).
Make Skype calls from Microsoft Outlook — Skype has released a new toolbar that lets you place calls and send files you are currently working on, via Skype — but without leaving Microsoft Outlook. The toolbar recognizes phone numbers within your document and lets you call them using SkypeOut or send SMS messages.
Yesterday it was SayNow, today it is Snapvine — All these new start-ups want to serve the MySpace ecosystem, with recent entrants setting up ways to leave voice messages at MySpace. The latest is Seattle’s Snapvine (Via Alarm:clock) The company has apparently raised $2 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson and First Round Capital. (Update: Looks like John Cook, up in Seattle, had this story first, and it has some nice color.)
Boingo gets $26M more for WiFi service — Boingo wants to be a one-stop-shop for your WiFi needs out of the house. It lets you subscribe for a set $21.95 per month, or $9.95 per day, to access any of the hotspots that it contracts with, which is quite a few. A useful service to consider if you are on the go. However, it doesn’t have any partnership with Starbucks, which is too bad since Starbucks is a place many people associate with WiFi. Still, at $9.95, that’s about the same price as Starbucks for a day, so you can basically choose which one to use depending on where you are. Another problem, though, is that in many airports and other places, there’s an additional service charge of 12 cents a minute — not great. Now Boingo has raised $26M, according to VentureWire.com, which cites a regulatory filing, and investors are undisclosed.
Google helps FBI track people down — This is a notable story about how federal agents got information about someone’s Google account, and triangulated that with the person’s Yahoo registration records, and then moved into arrest him.
Google opens a hosting repository for open source projects — Looks like it will compete with projects like SourceForge.net, even if the search engine company says that is not its intention. It will be available through Google Code.
Korean social networking company CyWorld comes to U.S. — CyWorld is the MySpace equivalent in Korea, according to reports that say up to 90 percent of Koreans under 20 use the site. Katie Fehrenbacher reports CyWorld’s parent SK Communications has opened a 30 person office in San Francisco, and has earmarked at least $10 million for its US version.
“Zillow” your date’s home — We mentioned how home price estimate company Zillow had opened up its application interfaces to outside developers. Well, if your date invites you to do dinner, and you’re curious how valuable his home is, check it out on Zillow Mobile: Send an email (or text message) to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a property’s address in the subject or body, so if you are digging for gold, you know whether to dump him.