The latest round-up from tech-land:
Second Life hype continues — Sun holds a conference in the virtual world, and pisses off a journalist, who has a point. Why make it so tough for people to get to your message? But that hasn’t deterred others from joining the trend. Dell did something similar. And now Second Life has launched a business plan competition for “resident” entrepreneurs. The prize is a little less than US$2k, but it does include help from real marketers (Edelman) and panel of real judges (including Charles River’s Susan Wu, who told us several weeks ago she is a big fan of Second Life; update: She responds with comment below).
Snap provides link previews — This is a pretty cool feature. Snap is offering Web site owners a short snippet of code they can place in their Web site, which gives users a preview of pages linked to, without them having to click. We’ve written about the Pasadena company before. (Similar to Browster and Cooliris which let you download
a tool so that you can get previews of search result pages — but they serve the user, not the Web site owner.
Zoo supposed to be safe for kids— Launched by Infospace, zoo.com is a search engine that removes adult and unsafe wording and phrasing, but John Battelle makes a single search, and finds it wanting. Still, it looks like a great start.
Motorola bought Good for $500M — At least that’s what the Deal is reporting. That’s a decent outcome for investors, who’d pumped in about $200. We heard that investors Crosslink and BA Ventures doubled their money, but haven’t confirmed this with a second source.
Quintura, visual search engine, is first Russian investment by a Western VC? — That’s the claim of this story in Read/Write Web. [Update: This claim seemed bizarre to us, and we should have been more skeptical. Turns out, Intel Capital alone has made three investments in Russia: Akella (aka Digital Storm), Electro-Com (a power-line telecom company), and Infinet Wireless. See this page, and scroll down. There are no doubt many more. Update II: Quintura Chief exec Yakov Sadchikov points out we misread the Read/Write Web story, which says it’s the first Western VC investment into a Russian Internet company (see original release). Intel’s Akella publishes games online, but isn’t Internet driven at its core, so we stand corrected once again…]
Update on RockYou — We updated our earlier post about the lawsuit against Rockyou founders charging intellectual property theft. In case you missed it, here’s the complaint, the IM conversation, and the order, thanks to Venkat. Finally advice by attorney Todd Rumberger about how to not get sued when leaving your company. Lots of people think you can move freely in California, but not always.
Lots of executive changes lately — First, there was the Live shakeup. Next, Jason Calacanis, co-founder of Weblogs and head of the new version of Netscape resigns from AOL in the wake of the departure of AOL CEO Jon Miller, who some say was pushed out. Some say it is strange that he is replaced by president of NBC Universal, Randy Falco, an old media guy — but others suggest Miller hadn’t made any progress, so who knows. Finally, Fox Interactive chief Ross Levinsohn, architect of News corps’ purchase of Myspace, resigned to pursue “other opportunities.” Peter Levinsohn, his cousin, take his place.
AboutUs is a wiki site, and we don’t get it — The traffic of AboutUs has risen steadily, prompting various articles, including recently one on Techcrunch. Some people are skeptical, though, including Jeff Nolan. Jeff notes the local “puff” piece coverage of AboutUS from the local paper (blow). Now the site appears down (but here’s a cache)
Ray King hasn’t had a home run yet. But investors in his newest venture, AboutUs Inc., think King could be building the next Google.
King’s Portland company has just closed a $1 million initial financing round for its wiki, or collaboratively created Web site, listing the names of Web sites and information about them.
….While freely admitting he doesn’t use wikis, and doesn’t really understand them, “Ray is a very intelligent guy, and people are finding the site,” [investor] Holce said.
Nokia hasn’t bought Ryze — For the record, Nokia has not bought the social contact company, Ryze, a competitor to LinkedIn, chief executive Adrian Scott assured VentureBeat. (We mention this since it was making the rounds.)
O’Reilly forms venture fund — It is true that O’Reilly has formed a venture fund called AlphaTech Ventures. The effort began late last year. However, the two partners of the fund, Bryce Roberts and Mark Jacobsen, aren’t willing to talk until all the paperwork is done.
Will Hansen Medical save the valley’s long-time venture firm, Vanguard Ventures? — Hansen, one of Vanguard’s companies has finally gone public, which could give the struggling Vanguard what it needs to stay alive. The firm desperately needs some results, especially after one of its other hopes, Asthmatx recently withdrew its IPO offering.
Two widely covered stories:
–Tivo DVRs to allow Internet video programming — Story here.
–Microsoft’s music player, the Zune, has been slammed universally. One example. Next we find out it isn’t even compatible with Vista.