Social Media & Mobile Post Turkey Round-up

December 12, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media

I took a blogging break for Turkey, so this social media and mobile round-up includes the most interesting news in mobile and social media since November 21:


  • Apple is changing the App store to show a broader range of top apps in each category and separated free from paid apps.  Hopefully this will discourage developers from arbitrarily lowering prices of their apps to make them turn up closer to the top of the listings.
  • Apple gives developers the ability to deliver promo codes for their iPhone apps.
  • iTunes App store results, 5 months in.


  • Bebo launched “Social Inbox” on December 10.  It “combines e-mail, social networking and media recommendations in one easy-to-use interface. “


  • Facebook is reportedly running A/B tests on its sign-up process. I think this is great. Testing is a very important part of improving customer experience, and more companies should test UI regularly. Here’s more on the test.
  • Facebook announced the 5 grand prize recipients of its fbFund of $225,000 each: GroupCard, Kontagent, Mousehunt, by HitGrab, WedSnap created the Weddingbook application, and  Wildfire
  • TechCrunch interviewed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg here.
  • Facebook Connect is now generally available.  TechCrunch reports “Now any third party website that wants to pull personal data about visitors from Facebook – and send back activity reports to their news feeds – can do so by first filling out a self-service application.”
    • Good article from NY Times. Facebook Connect attempts 2 turn around dismal performance of social media ads.
  • Oodle will power the Facebook Market (classifieds)


  • MySpace launched its new MySpace Toolbar for Firefox and Internet Explorer.  It enables: auto login, alerts, updates, Myspace Search by Google, quick links and user links from your browser.
  • MySpace announced DataPortability Project with new data portability standards.
  • MySpace launches streaming mobile video.


  • Mobile / Android:
    • The Open Handset Alliance announced that the following 14 companies joined the Alliance: AKM Semiconductor Inc., ARM, ASUSTek Computer Inc., Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International Inc., Huawei Technologies, Omron Software Co. Ltd, Softbank Mobile Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Teleca AB, Toshiba Corporation and Vodafone.
    • “Google’s Android Open Handset Alliance Project unveiled the Android Dev Phone 1. The Android Dev Phone 1 is hardware and sim unlocked G1 in black with a special skin aimed at developers.  The Android Dev Phone 1 sells for $399 in 18 international markets. “
    • The Phandroid blog speculates that Google will soon introduce Ringtones and Wallpapers to the Android Market.
    • Google advertisers can now “show [their] desktop text and image ads on the iPhone, the T-Mobile G1, and other mobile devices with full (HTML) Internet browsers.”
    • The Kogan Agora is the latest Android phone. It’s now available for pre-order and will be released Jan 29, 2009.
    • Here’s an interesting summary of Android Market performance from MediaLets.
    • HTC raised G1 sales forecasts for 2008 to 1 million devices.
  • Chrome:
    • Google’s new browser, Chrome, exited beta on December 11.
  • Gmail:
    • Gmail adds to-do list management (“tasks”) to its list of features.
    • You can now SMS through Gmail’s new task manager. You can activate it here.
  • Search:
    • Google released zeitgeist 2008, a summary of the “big events, memorable moments and emerging trends that captivated us in 2008”.  The fastest rising global search terms? That’s right folks, it’s the ever frightening, “Sarah Palin” at #1 and “Jonas Brothers” at #10.  Obama falls in at #6.  In the UK, Google reports: “From BBC’s iPlayer to Facebook to YouTube, many of the top searches in Britain this year have been for our favourite websites. We also see three web-savvy politicians come tops in searches”.  Check out all the stats here.  Very cool stuff.
    • FriendConnect is now open for all websites.  As TechCrunch reports “Google Friend Connect is OpenSocial’s answer to Facebook Connect. It lets other websites accept a member’s OpenSocial OpenID username and password to log into their sites. More importantly, it also lets websites access users’ social data, which includes friend lists, profile information, feed messages, reviews, ratings and the like.”
  • YouTube:


  • CrunchGear speculates that Microsoft may announce a Zune Phone at CES 2009.


  • MOTODEV’s Widget Developer Challenge underway. Be one of the first 100 unique submissions received by December 18, 2008, and win a $250 gift card to  Click here to learn more.
  • Motorola introduces Rokr EM35 with WebUI widgets & Windows Media support & music player with virtual surround sound.


  • Nokia announced the N97, which looks like a very cool phone.
  • Nokia announces “Point and Find” mobile image recognition technology. It allows users to point their camera phones at poster or billboard and get more information on what’s being advertised on their phones. I’ve seen technology like this before from companies like Pongr and Kooaba.  It’s great to see a big mobile OEM embrace it.  Check out a demo of Point and Find here.
  • Nokia released a new email platform for Ovi. Check out the beta here.



  • Recent Layoffs:
    • CBS Interactive: CBS Interactive laid off workers at LastFM, but rumor has it that CBS Interactive isn’t reporting the extent of layoffs across CBS Interactive.  CBS isn’t confirming the extent of the layoffs, but TechCrunch is speculating: “According to a source inside Cnet, the buzz is that the total number of employees asked to leave today was “275-ish.” A CBS spokesperson wouldn’t confirm that number. So take it as a rough estimate.”
    • Microblogging platform, Pownce, closes doors & founders including Digg’s Kevin Rose join Six Apart
  • Industry News:
    • Mobile ad rates drop as inventory increases. Experts say mobile CPMs are ~$15 compared w/ ~$23 earlier this year.
    • Blogging platform, Tumblr received $4.5M in series B investment from its Series A investors in a new round of funding this week.  They also announced that they’ll be releasing premium services.
    • VC firm, Accel Partners, announced two funds worth $1Billion.
  • Industry Events:
    • LeWeb08 took place in Paris December 9-10.
      • While I couldn’t make it to Paris, I enjoyed watching some of it on UStream.
      • The interview with Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Search Product, was particularly good.
      • In particular, the closing session on the main stage with the Gillmor Gang was entertaining.  I don’t see it up on the Gillmor Gang site yet, but fingers crossed they’ll post it when they’re back from Europe.
      • Seesmic founder and organizer of Le Web, Loic LeMeur apologizes for “organizational issues” at LeWeb08.
  • Technology announcements:
    • Hi5: Announced virtual gifts on December 10.
    • Opera: The alpha of the Opera 10 browser is now available for free download.
    • TechCrunch reports that “Netvibes Founder Building iPhone-Like Operating System For Netbooks” called Joliweb.
    • TechCrunch reports that UStream is entering the race to dominate the live mobile broadcasting market (other players include Qik, Kyte,FlixWagon).  See a video and analysis here.
    • New Start-up, “Give Real” encourages people to forget about giving virtual gifts in favor of giving “real drinks redeemable at any bar or restaurant.”  Check it out here and as an app on Facebook.
  • Misc.
    • Itsmy released a mobile social networking study of 15,000 active users. Results here.
    • In her November 21 BoomTown blog Kara Swisher summarized the Astia Awards Dinner, which celebrated venture capital firms that support women-led companies. I’m not a fan of awards dinners so I wouldn’t normally mention one, except that for this one, Venture Capitalist, Tim Draper, who couldn’t make it to the event in person, sent in a very funny video of himself taking off a piece of clothing for every woman-led company he’s invested in.
    • Vodafone buys European mobile location and navigation services company, Wayfinder.
    •, which, like Hulu, allows you to watch TV shows online, launched in beta.
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  • [this is good] This is great information. Thank you for pulling it all together.



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