Here’s a morning roundup of latest action:
JotSpot to relaunch as Google Wiki? — Jotspot, a wiki company purchased by Google last year, is rumored to be relaunching soon as Google Wiki, and to be integrated with other Google Apps. This way, Google account holders could soon have a free Wiki application alongside Gmail, Docs and Spreadsheets and others.
Mobile payments standardizing in UK — The largest mobile phone companies in the United Kingdom are offering a standardized mobile-based payment service. The service is designed for day-to-day fees like ringtones, parking meters — and more interestingly “as a payment system on web shops and sites,” according to the BBC. You can spend up to £10 (slightly more than $20), with charges going to your mobile bill.
While other payment services have already been available through SMS-based text messaging and other methods, mobile users had trouble holding payment service providers accountable for honestly recording and billing transactions. Initial companies using the service include Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and Electronic Arts and other mobile gaming companies. Separately, Google reportedly filed a patent in early 2006 for an SMS-based payment service.
Google’s Gphone continued — The latest Google “GPay” story added fuel to the ever-raging, wide-ranging rumors about Google’s “Gphone” and the hardware and software that may come with it. A number of people have seen or used phone prototypes being developed by Google’s Boston office — which is heavily staffed with mobile specialists, according to a Boston Globe article. Om has more details of possible Gphone specs.
Microsoft’s new Windows Live software — The suite includes an updated electronic mail program, a photo-sharing application and a writing tool designed for people who keep Web logs. The first full release of Windows Live is intended to produce a “relatively seamless” experience between the different services and applications, according to the NYT. It will include new versions of the company’s Hotmail and Messenger communications services as well as Internet storage features. It will also have Windows Live Photo Gallery, the Live Writer blogging application and Windows Live OneCare Family Safety, a computer security program. However, it won’t feature Word and Excel, leaving it somewhat toothless.
Rocketon, latest game developer to raise cash — The San Francisco multi-player game developer, has raised $500,000 of a planned $800,000 first round from Bertram Ventures, according to PE Hub. The company’s website uses pseudonyms for its executives: Captain Hoff, chief executive, is Steve Hoffman (vice chairman of the San Francisco Chapter of the Producers Guild of America). Gnome, chief operating officer, is Naomi Kotubo, a former development director with Electronic Arts. Tarzan, a board member and lead investor, is Jeff Drazen, who runs Bertram.
Kango, to offer information about kid-friendly trips — The Palo Alto, Calif. company will offer family vacation, hotel review and other travel planning information that focuses on those with babies, kids or even teenagers, providing information such as the ratio of kids to care-givers, how many kids on average are in a group, activities, hours. It has yet to launch, but is backed by Elliot Ng, of NG Ventures, according to Alarm:Clock.
Media Machines raises cash for 3D Web tools — The San Francisco company specializes in allowing people to create 3D worlds and animations on the Web, and has raised $9.4M in a first round of funding to exploit the trend toward more 3D usage online. The round was led by Mohr Davidow Ventures, according to PEHub. The four-year old company was founded by Tony Parisi, who claims to have co-invented 3D on the Web. The company provides a download for your browser that lets you see the Web in 3D (called the Flux Player 2.1), and Flux Studio, which it licenses to others to build 3D worlds and animation for the Web (it imports Google Earth 3D content, among other things).
Stardoll, the site for little girls, continues traction — The site, where girls can create and dress up celebrity dolls of themselves or others (see our coverage), has surpassed 10 million registered users (announcement at its site) and is now the No. 1 site for girls aged 9 to 17, according to Comscore (via Mashable).