Here’s the latest action:
Google’s fireworks — This has been an impressive week for Google, and it shows in the 4 percent-plus jump in Google’s stock price earlier this morning (though it has tapered in the past hour). The main driver was its stellar earnings report. But here are the side-shows:
Video: It announced a video-conferencing product acquisition this morning (see our story).
StumbleUpon lookalike: Google also released a tool that looks a lot of like StumbleUpon, the site that delivers Web sites for you based on what you’ve told it you find interesting. Google’s tool centers on a recommendation button on its Toolbar that looks like a pair of dice:
Google explains: “Click on the dice, and we’ll take you to a site that may be interesting to you based on your past searches. If you want another, just click the dice again and we’ll show you a new one. We’ll give you up to 50 new sites per day that might be of interest. If you prefer to get your information at a glance, we’ve added a recommendations tab that you can add to your personalized homepage….We’ll give you a page of recommendations that are updated daily.”
Froogle tossed — Google has relaunched its shopping engine, changing its name to the bland Google Product Search. (We think Froogle is a cool name, and should be kept for a discount version of Product Search.) Google didn’t do much marketing of Froogle. With the relaunch, they’ve changed that: In your main search results, Google will sometimes feature an item from its Product Search if it matches your search query exactly (contained atop the regular results in a so-called “onebox” area). Notably, however, there’s no change from the prior policy of using only products submitted to Googlebase. So Google is forcing merchants to play in its system — unfortunately, not trawling the Web for items objectively, the way that made Google so popular in the first place. (See our story here on this). Google is also prioritizing merchants using Google Checkout, thereby penalizing those relying on PayPal. This is another Big Company move that undercuts its image of impartiality. Too bad. (See more thorough analysis at CNET and SearchEngineLand), which obviously got previews before it was released.
Google phones will be out by the end of this year — Apparently, they’re launching with Orange and HTC, featuring Google search and email built in. They’ll sport the Texas Instruments 3G platform and EDGE, but not GPS. (Details here)
There is, however, some non-Google news:
Twitter spun out — Evan Williams, who runs Obvious, the parent of Twitter, they messaging company that is all the rage lately, says Twitter is being spun out into its own company, Twitter Inc, with a CEO in Jack Dorsey.
Mitt Romney gets private equity support — The former Bain Capital chief, Mitt Romney has raised about $257,525 from buyout professionals in the first quarter, way more than anyone else, according to PEHub.
Web 2.0 Pyramid Watch — Cambrian House, a Canadian company creating a place for people to sell their business online, is moving to Mountain View, Calif., and its latest scheme is to give a share of stock in the company to anyone who signs up for his service, according to the SF Chron. He plans to ultimately sell the company or have a public stock offering. “We really are built to flip,” he said. “I’m the only guy who says that out loud. I don’t know why everyone lies.”
Digg releases API, an answer to MySpace News — News-ranking site Digg has released its API, which gives developers tools to build other products around Digg’s data, and also to integrate it into existing sites. You can use the API to request very specific information about news stories and videos submitted to Digg, digging activity, comments, and users. This comes just as MySpace has unveiled its own Digg-like news service (see our previous coverage), built after acquiring Newroo.