Here’s the latest action (updated):
Airborne mash-up: lawn chair travels 193 miles –Oregon resident Kent Couch tried to fly to Idaho last weekend — in an apparatus made out of his lawn chair carried by 105 large helium balloons. He carried instruments to measure altitude and speed, and also a parachute. He didn’t make it, though. (Image courtesy of AP)
More adult supervision at Facebook — Chamath Palihapitiya, a former AOL executive turned venture capital investor at the Mayfield Fund, will be joining the company as VP of product marketing and operations. Known for helping to turn around AOL’s instant-messaging division, his job now will include helping the company to figure out how to make more money.
Rumors have emerged that Facebook wants to public, and so filling out senior ranks is important. Facebook now says it has 30 million active users. It is reportedly making $30 million annually from $150 in revenue. We’ve heard a big portion of this comes from Microsoft payments for banner ads on the site. Palihapitiya caused controversy earlier this year, when he commented in a French video about a “white male circle of insiders” running Silicon Valley (our coverage here). Facebook also recently hired a new chief financial officer, Mike Sheridan, formerly CFO of video game publisher IGN Entertainment Inc.
MSN search engine market share actually grows — After steady decline, it has grown of late, driven by online games like Chicktionary, Compete reports; analyst Steve Willis has the full explanation:
A good portion of the additional Live searches are coming from the Live Search Club, where you can apparently play games for points which you can redeem for fine Microsoft products. All of the games involve using Live’s search engine – to get the points, you have to search with Live.
Google brings Map mashups to its platform — Tomorrow, Google brings Map mashups of data from external sites like Zvents and ChicagoCrime.org to its own platform, Mashable reports.
Index Ventures and 3i launch Seedcamp in Europe — Details are here. Entrepreneurs apply with their “big ideas” before August 12 and the top 20 will be chosen to spend a week in London with industry professionals (VCs, lawyers, marketers, HR people, etc), and from there, the top 5 winners will be announced and they’ll receive 50,000 euros in funding and continued mentorship to get their businesses started.
Nielsen/NetRatings, a leading online-measurement service, scraps rankings based on page views — Instead, it will begin tracking how long visitors spend on Web sites. The move comes as page views lose their value in expressing a site’s importance. Many sites, such as Friendster, have boosted page views with simple networking features. Others, such as those using online video and new technologies such as Ajax, reduce page views.
AOL releases new test version of myAOL — It offers new personalized tools such as myPage, a personal dashboard offering access to content and applications from AOL and other sites; Mgnet, which lets users find new sites and information based on personal preferences; and Favorites, a feed reader that combines user feeds and bookmarks in one place.
Users of TiVo can order movies from Amazon.com directly from their TVs — Details here.
Intel Corp. invests $218.5 million in virtualization software maker VMware — The investment will give Intel ownership of about 2.5 percent of VMware’s outstanding shares after VMware completes its initial public offering. Details here.
Will the video start-ups ever stop coming? — United Talent Agency and advertising start-up Spot Runner have jointly created a company called 60Frames Entertainment to finance and distribute original professional videos online. 60Frames, of Los Angeles, has raised $3.5 million in funding from investors including Tudor Investment Corp. and the Pilot Group, and says it wants to provide higher quality videos than YouTube. Its videos will run a few minutes and cost “in the thousands, not hundreds of thousands” of dollars to produce, the NYT reports.
Talking of video sites, Revision3, another one, finally gets CEO — Recently departed PC World editor Jim Louderback will become CEO at video site Revision3, replacing interim chief exec, Jay Adelson NewTeeVee’s Liz Gannes reports.
Sequoia Capital, which recently invested in video site, Funny Or Die, now says there’s too much content — Roelof Botha, the Sequoia Capital partner who also invested in YouTube and Joost — video companies that only help to propagate more content — now says there’s so much information out there that it is overwhelming, and so you need humans to help (thus Sequoia has invested in Jason Calacanis’ human-assisted search engine, Mahalo). See video below, conducted by WSJ’s Kara Swisher (RSS readers will have to go to site):
Ning’s ridiculously large venture capital round — Ning, the company that provides tools for people to create their own social networks, co-founded by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, has raised a whopping $44 million, on a reported $170 million pre-money valuation. That values the company at a mighty $214 million. Andreessen says on his blog the round was “orchestrated” by the wealthy family firm Allen & Co, of New York, and was led by Legg Mason of Baltimore, with a number of others participating. Andreessen is smart. Large East Coast firms are flush with cash, and are also somewhat removed from the valley, and so won’t realize just how competitive this market is. If you’re curious to know more about Allen & Co., here’s an impossibly long story in Fortune about the firm.
Digg released an application for the iPhone — The news ranking site’s founder Kevin Rosen announces it here.
A link-exchange network for Facebook apps — Developers of applications on Facebook’s platform can exchange links in order to get more attention and traffic, by using FbExchange. More details at GigaOm.
Hey!Spread, a video uploading service that delivers your videos to multiple sites — Upload your video to YouTube, MySpace, Google Video, Yahoo Videos, Dailymotion and Blip.tv all at the same time. (Techcrunch).