Nov 21, 2008: Weekly Social Media & Mobile News Summary

November 21, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media

Apple:

  • iPhone 2.2 Firmware was released. MobileCrunch’s review is here.  Excerpted summary of the article: “Safari’s address bar/search … tweaked a bit, apps now request a rating upon deletion, over-the-air podcast downloads …, various video and audio quality tweaks, and assorted bug fixes throughout… Google Maps has been upgraded to include Street View and directions for public transit and walking – if you have an iPhone rather than an iPod Touch…According to early reports, 2.2 for the iPod Touch brings everything but the Google Maps upgrade.”

Google:

  • Google Mobile: John Gruber reports that Google seems to be using an undocumented API for the voice search feature in its recently updated Google Mobile iPhone application.  Normally doing this is against the SDK Guidelines. So, the questions are: Did Google get Apple’s permission to use this API? Did Apple not realize that that Google was using an undocumented API, or did they turn a blind eye to the usage. You can read about the saga on  John Gruber’s post here.  You can see the Google video demo of  the Google Mobile update here.
  • YouTube: A researcher is claiming that he’s discovered the key to predicting the success of YouTube videos. TechCruch’s summary is very good:  “Crane claims every time a YouTube video turns into a hit, the development takes the form of an “attention spiral”, a geometric pattern that partly follows physical laws. He discovered that a decrease of popularity with certain videos, for example, can be explained through methods usually utilized in modeling the aftershocks of earthquakes.”

Motorola:

MySpace:

  • MySpace for RIM’s Blackberry is which launched on Nov 12 has apparently been downloaded more than 400,000 times!  You can get it here.

Twitter:

  • Check out the real-time results of Guy Kawasaki’s ongoing survey that asks people how much they’d be willing to pay for Twitter.  So far, more than 662 people say they’ll be willing to pay $5 or more a month for Twitter. 1,780 say they won’t pay and would rather Twitter go away than start charging.

Yahoo!

  • Jerry Yang stepped down as Yahoo!’s CEO, and Yahoo! Is now on the lookout for a new leader.
  • Yahoo is rumored to still be thinking about buying AOL.

Misc:

  • Recent Layoffs:
    • Strands and Qik lay off 10 % of their staff.
    • Palm Inc. A friend reports that over two thirds of the business development and developer technical support teams were affected
  • Industry News:
    • Mobile advertising company AdMob’s latest Mobile Metrics Report just came out. You can download it here.  Highlights of the report include: “The iPhone is now the #1 device worldwide in the AdMob Network with 4.1% share of requests in October. Since AdMob launched its ad units for iPhone sites and applications, iPhone requests have increased from 28 million in July to 236 million in October. This month, we break out iPhone requests by country and region.”
    • Appterra, a mobile advertising company just closed a $10.5 Million round of financing and announced that former Yahoo! senior executive David Karnstedt joined its board of directors.
    • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) today announced that Internet advertising revenues reached almost $5.9 billion for the third quarter of 2008, representing an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2007. While double-digit annual growth continues, the quarter-to-quarter curve remains relatively flat compared to recent past performance.” Read more here.  This is very good news for the technology industry, which largely monetizes through advertising.  I’ve been concerned that since advertising was one of the first industries to decline in the 2000-2001 dot com fall out that the decline in internet advertising between Q4 07 and now may signal challenging times ahead for the monetization of online properties. This study is a re-assuring sign that Internet advertising is on the rise after a brief decline.
    • Videoegg extended its online advertising reach to the iPhone.
  • Technology announcements:
    • Citysearch overhauls mobile and web sites, maximizing on Yelp’s bad press. They also went social by integrating with Facebook Connect in this new beta version of Citysearch.
    • SnapTell: This is a new, free iPhone application that gets great reviews from TechCrunch: “take a photo of the cover of any CD, DVD, book, or video game, and the application will automatically identify the product and find ratings and pricing information online.“ It just launched on the iPhone.
    • Sony adds social networking to the Playstation in the form of its Home virtual world.
    • OpenTable released an iPhone app available in the iTunes store.
    • Xobni, an Outlook plug-in that helps you organize email conversations, contacts and attachments just added integrations with Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Skype, and Hoovers.
    • According to a new study, 22% of consumers are unlikely to respond to email social marketing. 12% will click on messages on social sites.
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