Here’s the latest action:
Barack Obama gets big Silicon Valley names behind him — Obama has picked up checks from Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz, Google backer Ram Shriram, YouTube founder Chad Hurley and many more, making him an early valley favorite, at least among the area’s power players. Thanks to Eric Savitz, of Barrons, who has sifted through Federal Election Committee filings.
MySpace.com launches Mexico site — It is here.
TomTom, the Dutch maker of navigation devices, plans to buy Tele Atlas, its supplier of digital road maps, for $2.77 billion — WSJ has details.
Big search engines dash to ensure more data privacy — It’s no coincidence they’re all moving at the same time. Google’s privacy practices are under scrutiny by regulators assessing Google’s planned purchase of DoubleClick, so the others are scrambling to win points. At least on the surface, Google is dusted by the latest moves from Microsoft, Yahoo and Ask. Yahoo, for example, rolls out a policy to make all of a user’s search data anonymous within 13 months of receiving it, compared to Google’s 18 months. Ask, in particular, wins privacy kudos. Its Ask Eraser program lets you delete your history entirely. See Microsoft’s press release.
Google News’ strange story of the President having his “Butt”checked out — Google may want to reconsider the sources it is selecting from.
Europe’s odd search-engine technology subsidies — The European Union authorized Germany to give $165 million for research on European search-engine technology projects in an effort to challenge Google. We say odd, because subsidies to produce these sorts of technologies, already developed by private companies, is a waste of tax dollars. The French and Germans have already squabbled about the direction to take the European Theseus/Quaero search project. This latest money will go to Siemens, SAP, Deutsche Thomson and EMPOLIS, owned by Bertelsmann AG. Later, it will go to smaller businesses. (Details)
SocialText, the wiki company, looking for a new CEO — Ross Mayfield, founder of the Palo Alto, Calif. company, writes a post on his blog saying the company is looking to “take it to the next level.”
SimplyHired’s questionable relationship with WhenU — The job search engine SimplyHired is rumored to have bought “pop-under” advertisements WhenU that artificially boost its traffic, according to Techcrunch. We contacted SimplyHired chief executive Dion Lim for comment. Interestingly, he did not deny it: “Our traffic has actually been growing from a variety of sources (user experience improvements, Job-a-matic, SEO, SEM, major partners),” he responded in an email. “Also, our online marketing team is always exploring different options but can’t dive deeper into it since we don’t want to tip our hand for obvious reasons. It’s certainly in Simply Hired’s best interest, however, to preserve user experience…” The practice also raises questions about the traffic measuring technology of Compete, Alexa and other tracking services that appear to count WhenU-produced traffic. ComScore doesn’t, one more reason you’re seeing VentureBeat increasingly relying on Comscore data.
Ron Conway, Google’s angel investor, backs Event Robot — The company provides social networks for large businesses. EventRobot is a nine-person two-year-old startup that says it is profitable, and has just moved to San Francisco from Irvine, Calif. The first network is for Ozzy Osbourne’s OZFest (AlarmClock)
Bebo opening up its platform to developers? — The move would follow Facebook’s radical move to open its platform to developers to allow them to make money. Story is here. Separately, check out Dave McClure’s wild rant about Facebook being the Web equivalent of Microsoft’s Visual Basic. McClure is a valley brass-knuckled marketing type, having worked for several Silicon Valley companies to evangelize their product. This post’s emotional tone overcame annoying graphics to place it on top of Techmeme over the weekend.
Twitter is about to announce a VC round — We reported the company was raising money. Now we hear that Charles River Ventures has invested, and that the round is about done. That CRV is backing Evan Williams (owner of Obvious, which controls Twitter) shows the split between Williams and CRV over his last company, Obvious, was amicable.
The Segway film sponsored by Segway — The marketers of the movie 10 MPH sent us an email pitch about the film, calling it a story of “day to day courage” as two men, Hunter Weeks and Josh Caldwell, journey across America on their high-tech Segway scooters. They beat “incredible odds, risking everything they have, cashing in retirement and maxing out credit cards to carve out this new path in life,” the email continued. Hunter Weeks, also a director of the film, is quoted: “This film transcends the audience and its message needs to be heard.” Somehow, with Segway a sponsor, we have difficulty believing this was that selfless. More details here. [Update: The marketing firm tells us Segway became a sponsor only after the trip]
Zonbu, the energy efficient PC company — The Mercury News has the scoop on the Menlo Park, Calif. based company that is charging only $99 for a basic computer and $12.95 a month for data storage that uses 20 times less power than standard computers.