Articles of the Day


Google Releases OpenSocial Specs — Google on Wednesday released new information about OpenSocial, the search giant’s social networking alliance, touting its reach of more than 300 million users, more than 4,500 applications and 150 million installations. Facebook, which is not part of OpenSocial, has more than 30,000 applications and 700 million installations, by comparison. “We expect to reach 500 million OpenSocial users by the end of the quarter. It’s also very international, as social networking is a global phenomenon,” said Joe Kraus, Google’s director of product management. Google obviously plays a major part in the evolution of the social networking alliance, which includes MySpace, Friendster and Hi5, but Kraus noted that just 10% of its major developers come from Google. In all, OpenSocial’s main developer community is about 350.

With New Launch, Microsoft Breaks With Past — Microsoft spends more than $8 billion per year on research and development — much of which is devoted to competing with Google — yet despite this, the software giant has a steady reputation of being an also-ran in the Web business. The Financial Times reports that Microsoft is tweaking its R&D unit by appointing Gary Flake, the former head of research at Yahoo, as head of the company’s new research group, Live Labs. The unit’s task is to experiment with moneymaking ideas that break the traditional molds of doing business. Its latest product, Photosynth, is set to be released today. Photosynth allows users to create 3D collages of their digital images using high-performance recognition technology that matches similar pictures. The technology identifies patterns in images and then matches them with related photos to produce collages that users can navigate inside a browser.

Facebook To Enhance Social Ads — Facebook apparently isn’t done trying to get friends to shill products to one another. In an interview with AllFacebook, Tim Kendall, Facebook director of monetization, reveals that, “Marketers will be able to pay to accelerate usage they find valuable, to dial up and down actions that people take on applications,” as part of a new social ad scheme set to be unveiled in the next 6 to 12 months. News Feed already uses an algorithm to calculate who would find a friend’s update most interesting, but marketers will now be able to pay for distribution above and beyond what News Feed already provides. This means that if one of your friends loved “Dark Knight” and you get a message about it, Warner Bros. probably paid to have it sent to you.

ESPN-MLBAM Extend Digital Rights Deal Through 2013; Live Game Streaming, International — It’s been in limbo for months but ESPN and MLBAM finally have extended their digital rights deal through 2013. The just-announced agreement covers a plethora of digital platforms, including the right to live stream games and other events like the Home Run Derby when ESPN has TV rights. No financial terms yet but MLBAM doesn’t come cheap. Some details: Platforms include ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN’s mobile initiatives (ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Mobile Publishing, ESPN MVP), and emerging platforms including video game consoles, interactive television, interactive online (ESPN Game Cast) and portable devices (examples: iTunes/iPod, Zune, XBox Live). This includes “all new platforms ESPN creates or develops relationships with through the end of the agreement.” It also covers syndication of ESPN-licensed content.

Xoova Inc. (f.k.a. DoctorsDirect.com) Has Shut Down — Santa Monica, Calif.-based social networking site that let consumers research physicians and book appointments, has shut down, according to VentureWire. The company had raised a $2.5 million Series A round in late 2006 led by Spark Capital.

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