Here’s the action that you missed over Thanksgiving break:
1. Silicon Valley becoming mobile innovation hub
2. Why Google bought Jaiku
3. LinkedIn drawing suitors?
4. IAC to spend $100M in China
5. NeoEdge launches ad network for casual games
6. Feds may subsidize broadband access
Silicon Valley becoming mobile innovation hub — Despite the U.S. being the laughing stock of the world for its backward mobile networks, Silicon Valley is becoming a center for mobile innovation anyway. Nokia, the large Finnish mobile phone maker, is boosting its activities in Silicon Valley, because of the action here. Nokia’s head of research here, Bob Iannucci, has even been promoted to Nokia’s chief technology officer. The Mercury News has a good story about the emergence of the valley’s strength in mobile, from Apple’s iPhone phenom to Google’s launch of its Android platform, to the surprising number of Finnish companies — BBS, Codenomicon, EB, Navicron and Tracker — that have established offices in the region. After its move to the valley, Nokia bought an intriguing company called Pixto, which lets consumers point a camera phone at an object — a building, an automobile, or a product in a store window — and with a single click call up Web data linked to the image. It uses GPS and image-matching algorithms to recognize the subject. The Mercury News argues Silicon Valley has become more important with globalization, not less.
Why Google bought Jaiku — Speaking of cool Finnish companies getting sucked by Silicon Valley, you’ll recall the Jaiku was recently bought by Google. Jaiku is like Twitter, in that it lets people post short messages about what they are doing. So why did Google chose Jaiku, instead of the homegrown San Francisco company, Twitter. Jonathan Mulholland says its because Jaiku offers location awareness, and that this fits in with its designs for its Android platform:
…when posting status updates Jaiku has the ability to capture and share the location information (neighbourhood, city, country) of the poster in real time. So in addition to a message post Jaiku can provide real time location awareness of users… And how does Jaiku do this? An integral part of the service is a client application for Symbian S60 platform mobile phones. The client uses location APIs within S60 devices to triangulate the handset (and the users) location based on nearby cellular network towers. The Jaiku client was in fact originally conceived as a ’status aware address book’, and as such integrates into compatible S60 phones to the extent that it also shares the phones (and again the users) status availability (General, In Meeting, Outdoor etc). So in addition to a message post AND location awareness you also have deep mobile integration sufficient to identify the status of a user as well…Jaiku potentially gives Google the Holy Grail – time relevant, location based targeting of information, personalised to a very high degree. Google + Jaiku is not a million miles away from being able to push appropriate advertising to individuals based on their profile, their location and their availability.
LinkedIn growing quickly, attracting suitors — LinkedIn is growing quickly, seeing 189 percent growth over the year through October, faster than the other top ten social networks, according to Nielsen. Now there are rumors that News Corp is looking at buying LinkedIn. Both parties told us “no comment,” though LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman’s response to Techcurnch was one of the most bizarre “no comments” we’ve ever seen.
IAC to create a new business in China — IAC CEO Barry Diller said Saturday that he’ll spend $100 million on a new business in China, and he’ll also take its search engine, Ask to the fast-growing country. It’s little wonder such initiatives are being taken now that U.S. economy may be slipping into zero growth, or even recession. Diller admits that IAC screwed up eLong, a travel site in China. The initiative will raise IAC’s China investments to $300 million. Details in Wall Street Journal.
NeoEdge launches ad network for casual games –Mountain View, Calif.-based startup NeoEdge, officially launches its ad network for casual games this week, according to GigaOm, but the company doesn’t make clear how its offerings are any different from competitors. We mentioned the company raised $3 million back in June.
Feds may subsidize broadband access — Policy makers overseeing the federal Universal Service Fund have recommended that it be used to offset costs of deploying broadband Internet services in rural areas of the U.S., according to the WSJ. This is something Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign also supports (see our coverage here ).
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