Articles of the Day


Google To Launch New Web Browser Chrome Tomorrow; Open Source — Update: Google has posted about the new browser on its official blog, and it has posted the comic-book describing the browser online here.. It will launch tomorrow in about 100 countries. From the post: “What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build…Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.” For now, this is Windows version only, and Google is working on Mac and Linux versions too.

Google Ramps Up Madison Avenue Charm Offensive; Agency Reaction Remains Mixed — At best, Google’s attempts to woo agencies and convince account teams that the search giant’s ad moves will not undercut them are getting mixed reviews, a NYT piece suggests. Of course, in some cases, almost nothing will soothe the ire of those like WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, who has only marginally softened his view of Google in recent months—that is, if you consider calling Google a “froe” instead of a “frenemy” is a sign of endearment. Over the course of a year, Google has formed a 40-person contingent charged with working some diplomatic magic with the agencies. The team’s goal is to coax agencies into getting their clients to purchase search ads, YouTube video spots, DoubleClick display ads and other Google products. And so, Google has dispatched the team in the form of a traveling agency show called Campus@, where Google demonstrates new products like its recently released Ad Planner. The presentations resemble the TV network upfronts of past years, with fr*ee food and prizes.

Eric Schmidt: Google-Yahoo Deal On For October — Various state and federal regulatory bodies are still looking into Google’s ad relationship with Yahoo, but CEO Eric Schmidt says the deal is on for October. Schmidt made the remarks in an interview with Bloomberg, while in Denver hanging out at the Democratic National Convention. That regulatory body may seek to block the deal has been a remote, but possible obstacle since it was announced in early June. The companies have always maintained the opinion that they don’t need regulatory approval to go ahead, but that they wanted to give regulators some time to voice any objections now. From the beginning, Google and Yahoo have said they’d wait 3.5 months, about 100 days, to go forward. Meanwhile, in addition to potential trip ups from domestic regulators, Canada’s Competition Bureau is looking into things as well. Fortunately, the companies don’t have to get the blessing of the EU’s hard-nosed regulators, since the agreement only applies to ads served up in the US and in Canada.

Napster: ‘We’re Open To A Sale’; Vote No On The Ice Cream Franchisee — Troubled online music retailer Napster has hired UBS (again) to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The news was made in a letter to shareholders, urging them not to vote for three outside activists, looking to get representation on the board. In the letter, the company notes that the candidates’ previous work experience—musician, nursing home executive, ice cream franchisee, middle management banking executive—is “irrelevant to a company like Napster.” It also notes that contrary to suggestions, it is open to a sale if that turns out to be the best option. If this all sounds familiar, it is. The company said exactly two years ago that it had retained UBS to explore strategic alternatives. Unfortunately for shareholders, who have seen the stock decline precipitously, that didn’t go anywhere. The difference this time: The stock has gotten so low—trading close to cash, even—that it would be a cheap pickup for many companies. In the meantime, Napster is still doing what it can to breathe some life into its business. It recently launched an ‘everything must go’ sale, temporarily slashing prices on its core service by nearly 50 percent.

Yahoo Shutters Social Net Site Mash — Yahoo is closing down its one-year-old social networking site, Yahoo Mash. The site, which has been in private beta, will shut down Sept. 29. In a post on the site, via the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Matt Warburton, Yahoo Community Manager, writes that the company may have accidentally contacted non-Mash members about the site’s demise. No word was given as to why Yahoo was abandoning the project. As for the actual users—the number of those taking part in the test was not immediately clear—all of the content on their Mash profile will be unavailable after next month. But Warburton said those who have an account with Yahoo 360, the company’s current social net portal, will not be affected. Elsewhere, Yahoo says that users’ 360 profiles will be transitioned to a new system sometime in the second half of the year.

Russian Search Firm Yandex Delays IPO Till Next Year — Yandex, the big Russian search engine, has delayed its much-anticipated IPO until next year, according to local reports. Earlier this year reports came out that Yandex was planning a US IPO and will seek to raise $1.5-$2 billion, at a total valuation of $5 billion. For 2007 Yandex’s revenue was up 130 percent to $167 million from $73 million in the year-ago period. The timeline was expected to be about late fall this year, but with the market conditions being what they are, it is now expected to be next year. All this while, the company hasn’t officially announced anything on the IPO.

Hulu Vs. YouTube — It’s no secret that Google’s YouTube is under-performing in the advertising department. Forbes estimates that YouTube’s ad revenues will reach $200 million this year and $350 million in 2009, while Citi analyst Mark Mahaney thinks the video giant can make $500 million next year if it does a better job selling display ads Even so, TechCrunch contributor Don Reisinger says the question marks continue to hang over YouTube, especially compared to Fox and NBC’s joint venture, Hulu. Hulu served about 88 million videos in May, compared to 4.2 billion for YouTube, but the old media startup has the advantage of being able to serve ads on the vast majority of its videos, whereas YouTube can only serve ads against a paltry three percent-or 126 million videos per month. This, Reisinger points out, nearly levels the playing field. In fact, according to one estimate, Hulu could rake in as much as $90 million in revenue in its first year, which roughly equals YouTube’s domestic revenue. And Hulu largely caters to an American audience, anyway.

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