Roundup of a busy week:
Instant messaging and email are merging, Yahoo kicks it off — Yahoo will be integrating IM through its email, Yahoo executive Brad Garlinghouse revealed during the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. In retrospect, we’re wondering why this trend hasn’t happened earlier.
Email is limiting, providing no way to see whether the person on the other end is present or not (that person may not want to show you they are present, but email doesn’t even give them the option). It piles up, and it’s clunky — not letting you switch to conversation immediately, if you want to. Instant messaging, meanwhile, can be distracting, isn’t ideal for careful phrasing, isn’t as easy to archive or forward to other people. So what’s needed is a bridge, and now people are building it. We’ve heard ideas bubbling up from entrepreneurs here in the valley, but Yahoo’s move steal the initiative. Techcrunch has a screenshot of what it looks like. There’s also a Chicago company offering something similar, called Parlano, with its product called Mindalign, though its design isn’t that great. (Via Jeff Nolan).
A Web 2.0 University? — One is being created in Alexandria, VA of all places — Details here, and it’s open for registration for its AJAX and Web 2.0 “boot camp” courses.
From Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s talk — Google is working to allow users to export their search histories to other locations, such as Yahoo. Meanwhile, he rejects rumors that Google had set aside money to bail out YouTube from copyright lawsuits — though it is true that Google Video itself has been sued.
Microsoft-Google fight to be greener — Microsoft execs are bragging about building what appears to be the first carbon-neutral data center, taking care of 400 customers for the same energy it “takes to light one 60-watt light bulb.” (Via Mercury News). We reported earlier how Google aims to be carbon neutral, that is save as much fossil fuels as it burns in energy at the Googleplex and from corporate jet trips.
Google executive Marissa Mayer says Google is like a VC firm — Fortune has a noteworthy conversation between Huffington and Mayer:
HUFFINGTON: Whatever products Google (Charts) is developing, they are incorporating a 60 Percent to 70 percent failure rate. I find that utterly fascinating. Talk about that culture and how that translates into our lives.
MAYER: As we’ve grown, one of our challenges has been, How can we continue to innovate? We have a theory around failing fast. If you assume that one in five things you do will turn out to be really successful, and maybe two of five will be moderately successful, and the other two will languish, you want to do a lot of things. It’s all about being agile. Most of the teams at Google are three to ten people. Five people launched Google News. About five people launched Google Toolbar. They operate like small companies inside the large company. Google is a lot like managing a VC firm, because you’re placing bets on different teams.
Video companies Brightcove and Reality Digital are looking to raise VC rounds — Start-up Brightcove, which hosts video for companies and lets them insert advertising into the video, is looking to raise a round of more than $55 million, GigaOM first reported, with a post-money valuation well north of $225 million range. It has already raised $21 million in two rounds from General Catalyst Partners and Accel, and several others.
San Francisco’s Reality Digital, which does something similar, but in some ways is more ambitious (it hosts video for its clients, but also blogging and forums) is also looking to raise another round. It raised $2 million in a first round in November last year. It has ten employees, and has several customers. One is SPARQ training, which lets high school athletes promote themselves to recruiters — via Reality Digital’s video/blog platform. The athletes can have their coaches chime with their own blogs, too, for example.