Filed under: ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA | Tags: Google, Google search, Googlers, Netflix, News and Media, Search Engines, Searching, Web search engine
Search engine Cuil launched earlier this evening, claiming a bigger index size (120 billion web pages) than Google or any other search engine. The pedigree of the founders and execs, which includes three ex senior Googlers, means the service will be compared to Google from day one. And the way they will be compared is index size and, more importantly, relevance/ranking of results. Techcrunch has been testing the engine for the last hour. Based on their test queries Cuil is an excellent search engine, particularly since it is all of an hour old. But it doesn’t appear to have the depth of results that Google has, despite their claims. And the results are not nearly as relevant. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/27/google-beats-cuil-hands-down-in-size-and-relevance-but-that-isnt-the-whole-story 7/27)
In my own search tests, I also found the results less than Google-relevant in three attempts. I’m also not quite a fan of the visual search results. Perhaps, I’m just too used to the Google search results or perhaps Google search results are easier to scan through.
Netflix, which attracted 168,000 new customers during the second quarter, plans to stick with its current subscription models for movie rentals. “We don’t plan to enter the pay-per-view segment, where Apple, Amazon, Sony and others focus, or the ad-supported segment, where Hulu, YouTube and others compete,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said. “Both of those segments will likely be substantial, but our subscription segment will also be large and will provide Netflix plenty of room for growth.” (The Hollywood Reporter 7/25, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press 7/26)
Emboldened by Optimedia’s new Power Ratings survey that combines TV, streaming, iTunes purchases, and mobile viewing, The CW has changed its mind and decided to once again stream episodes of Gossip Girl on its web site. Gossip Girl ranks as the #15 on TV when factoring in multiple platforms and other intangibles. (Cynopsis 7/28)
Someone still needs to do something about the completely intolerable CW site but for this above, I am thankful. Now seriously, can someone work on making the site intuitive and simple in use. I think it’s a testament to how obsessed fans are with this show (present company included) that they would be willing to inflict CW.com on themselves.
CBS Interactive unveiled a new CBS HD Gallery on CBS.com containing clips and a few full episodes from a dozen of its prime time shows. You can check out clips from 6 new fall shows: The Mentalist, Eleventh Hour, Worst Week, Harper’s Island, The Ex List and Gary Unmarried there as well. Intel is sponsoring the offering to promote its Centrino mobile technology. (Cynopsis 7/28)
Jimmy Fallon, who will take Conan O’Brien’s place on NBC’s Late Night next year after Jay Leno leaves The Tonight Show, will hone his skills online in 5-10 minute segments beginning in the fall, reported the New York Times. (Cynopsis 7/28)
To promote the latest collection of short stories by Stephen King CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster is introducing a series of daily animated shorts on iTunes and Amazon.com today produced by Marvel Entertainment. A season pass for the Stephen King’s N, one of the stories in the Just After Sunset anthology, can be had for the economical price of $3.99 for 25 episodes. Click here to download an embeddable widget that will automatically deliver an ad-supported version of each episode for free. (Cynopsis 7/28)
Click the image below for the first episode. It’s like a cheesy version of The Ring but the artwork is amazing. And to try to redeem my snarkiness, here lies one very well coordinated widget strategy.
A new website called GoAnimate.com launched at Comic-Con enabling novice users to create their own cartoons using a simple menu-based interface. A new deal will also allow users to create reels with characters under the Entertainment Rights umbrella of licenses including Underdog, Richie Rich and Mr. Magoo. To kick things off (and attract talented animators) GoAnimate is hosting a contest looking for original creations, dangling $5,000 for the top-judged entry and $2,500 for the most popular entry. (Cynopsis 7/28)
Hulu is attacking that sizeable segment of the market that’s never heard of the service by unveiling a new Widget Gallery to help spread the word and remind loyal users to check back often for new shows. A selection of embeddable players allow users to queue and track featured, recently added or most popular videos from a number of environments including Facebook, Netvibes and Piczo. Hulu.com also began streaming its first soap opera – Guiding Light – on July 25 and will debut two other TeleNext Media shows As The World Turns today and Another World on July 29. (Cynopsis 7/28)
Microsoft is working with producer Peter Safran (Scary Movie, Meet The Spartans) to create a series of comedic shorts for free distribution on the 12 million member Xbox Live platform, directed by leading horror film directors including James Wan (Saw) and Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre.) The 10-minute shorts, which will also be available on MSN and Zune, are actually pilots that could be developed into full blown online series, according to Microsoft. (Cynopsis 7/28)
NBCU’s Sci Fi Network announced a slate of new online programming (including another series of ten Battlestar Galactica webisodes) as well as a new stand-alone entertainment site based on the entertainment news section SCI FI WIRE, expected to launch during Q4. Sci Fi also plans to launch a new social network in the fall based around Ghost Hunters where users can share their favorite ghost stories and gear. The recently redesigned SciFi.com just finished its best quarter ever in terms of uniques (3.4MM), visits (5.7MM), page views (36.8MM) and video streams (5.2MM). (Cynopsis 7/28)
From the indefatigable vertical women’s online network Glam Media comes the Glam Application Platform, aka “Atako,” designed to allow developers to build apps and share in revenue generated when their apps are used by Glam’s 77 million monthly readers. For instance the GlamTV app lets publishers embed video accompanied by brand advertising, revenue from which is shared between publisher, video provider and content owner. The open source platform, currently in private beta, even has its own embeddable Glam Apps Store. (Cynopsis 7/28)
Short form videos still dominate online viewing, according to a new study conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates & Metacafe. The online survey, which looked at the habits of 2,000 users aged 12-64, identified Comedy (37%), music videos (36%), UGC (33%), news (31%) and movie trailers (28%) as the top 5 short form categories. Other findings include:
- 50% of respondents watch online video weekly
- 11% watch online video daily
- 28% of those who watch online videos report watching less TV as a result
- 19% of online video users report regularly sharing a link to a video with someone else
Facebook, LinkedIn and Imeem were the big gainers in Nielsen Online’s latest social networking rankings. Facebook added over 12 million new users during the last year, but it still trails industry leader MySpace by 20 million users, whose growth was almost perfectly flat. (Cynopsis 7/28)
Top 10 Social Networking Sites – June 2008
Site June-08 UA (000) June-07 UA (000) YOY Growth
Myspace.com 59,482 59,722 0%
Facebook 29,226 16,547 77%
Classmates Online 15,451 11,589 33%
LinkedIn 9,566 3,335 187%
Windows Live Spaces 8,546 7,825 9%
Reunion.com 7,481 4,098 83%
AOL Hometown 5,539 6,847 -19%
Club Penguin 4,347 4,218 3%
Flixster 3,662 2,626 39%
Imeem 3,558 1,603 122%
Source: Nielsen Online
Filed under: Feature | Tags: App Store, Handhelds, iPhone, iTunes, News and Media, Postal Service, Smartphones, Wi-Fi
THE ITUNES APP STORE: 5 DAILY MARAUDER FAVORITES
No, I did not run out and buy the 3G Apple iPhone on Friday. I did, however, upgrade my software to 2.0 and immediately fell in love with my shiny new applications. Above is a screenshot from the applications screen of my iPhone. All of the screenshots below were taken from my iPhone in use with the exception of the remote app (since I wasn’t at home at the time).
Here’s the favorites:
One of the simplest, yet most mesmerizing experiences. The application connects via Wi-Fi to your laptop’s iTunes library and controls the music from anywhere in the house. . .or apt as the case may be. In the kitchen and feeling some Muse? Click. In the bathroom and really need to hear Kanye? Click. In the hallway and strangely testing the distance limits of your Wi-Fi network with a particular desire to hear The Postal Service? Click.
This application “listens” to music from any source responding with song name, artist, and album name along with a list of relevant media including say, a YouTube music video of the song or a link to buy the song on iTunes. Brilliance. I put Shazam to the test with some truly random music and the application proved 100% success.
#3: Pandora Radio
Who needs satellite radio when you have a personalized radio station in your pocket? If you’re not familiar with Pandora, let me break it down for you. You start the service by telling Papa Bear Pandora some music you like. The program then tests you with some additional songs it thinks you might like. You rate the songs as they come up and diss the ones that just don’t do it for you. Over time, the program learns your particular taste and adds in new music continuously. Take all of that, put it in your pocket, and you have this app.
#4: Urban Spoon
This nifty app calculates your location and offers up nearby restaurant suggestions. Step one: The app recognizes your location. Step 2: Shake phone. Step 3: Intelligently recommend a restaurant right around the corner to your friend. Success.
#5: Tap Tap Revenge
I wanted to get down with Super Monkey Ball but after several minutes of play, I was bored. Maybe it’s because I’m just not a gamer at heart and maybe I was looking for something more Guitar Hero. With this app, I’ve found it. With better music, I’d say this was 5 stars but right now it’s still pretty fun.
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Filed under: Feature | Tags: 3G, 3G iPhone, 5th Avenue, Apple, Apple Store, Handhelds, iPhones, News and Media, NYC, Smartphones, Soho, The Who Farm
3G LAUNCH DAY: THE PIMP IS BACK
This morning, I found a MUCH improved situation when I visited the 5th Avenue and Soho Apple stores in NYC. Both lines wrapped around the block and the media was out in true feeding frenzy form. Here are some pics from this morning’s adventures.
5th Avenue Store NYC: The Line
See mom, cool kids like iPhones too! Check out the man on the left and admire the shoes. . .as they so obviously compliment his friend’s pants.
I swear I didn’t stage this. All three men don’t know each other and all three men are completely engaged in their iPhones. Ah, love. . .
In my morning conversations with folks in line, I found that 75% of the people I spoke to (extremely limited obviously) had a 1st generation iPhone and were upgrading to the 3G.
#1 in Line: The Who Farm Guy
As Engadget covered earlier in the week, Thewhofarm have been waiting since the weekend for the 3G iPhone. OK, they’re not really so much waiting for the iPhone as much as they’re trying to drum up press for their organization. The group supports organic farming and hopes to plant an organic farm on the lawn of the White House. When asked who they support for President, they claim to be non-partisan even though several of the members voiced support for Obama (shocker).
Minutes before 8AM when the iPhone went on sale, Daniel Simon from the group evangelized in front of the store walking back and forth carrying a Macbook much to the chagrin of nervous security guards.
Here’s my favorite pic of the group taken earlier in the week. . .proving that yoga truly can be done anywhere.
As the first members in line walk through the doors to the store, they are greeted by clapping and cheers from Apple Geniuses in orange shirts. Nice touch.
The Soho Store NYC: The Line
Despite some frustration given the store’s server going down, all in line were in high spirits.
Will I upgrade to the 3G?
- I value my cheap monthly plan.
- I think the mapping functionality on my current phone, while lacking GPS, is adequate.
- The new 3G, while faster, doesn’t have pix messaging, a video camera, longer battery life or a removable battery, and cut/paste features. I’m not sayin. . .I’m just sayin.
- Apple = innovation. This product just doesn’t rise too far above their last game-changer. Oh, and that white plastic back reminds me of white disco boots from the seventies. . .and not in a good way.
Here’s my favorite piece of video from the day. Captured at the 5th Avenue NYC store, a man tells the line they are going to hell if they purchase an iPhone. I’m fairly certain that my God wants me to have an iPhone. Otherwise, I’m switching gods.
Many thanks to Elavia (pictured with groovy van below) and Eileen from IZZE for allowing me to roll with them and drink tons of free product.
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Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: 3G iPhone, Apple Inc, Customer service, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Handhelds, iPhone, News and Media, Smartphones
Apple store drones, PR agents and customer service reps are being as tight-lipped as can be regarding details of the 3G iPhone leading up to the July 11 launch. Apple has actually distributed a 3-page document to sales personnel instructing employees not to gossip about features or, under any circumstances, hold an iPhone for a customer, according to Apple Insider. A report issued yesterday from FBR Capital claims Apple has already upped its chip orders for the iPhone to more than 15 million units. (Cynopsis 6/27)
Filed under: ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA | Tags: Calif, Facebook, Google, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft, News and Media, Yahoo
Microsoft is said to be in talks again with Yahoo, but “no big deal” is in the works — contradicting a report on the tech blog TechCrunch that said the software giant is discussing a full buyout of the No. 2 Web search engine. The blog report sent Yahoo’s shares up 11%. (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://techland.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/06/24/yahoomsft-talks-on-but-no-big-deal-in-works 6/24)
Twitter, the free microblogging service, is closing on another round of financing, this time led by Spark Capital, along with Jeff Bezos‘s investment entity, Bezos Expeditions. Twitter vows that one day it “will become a sustainable business supported by a revenue model.” (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://news.cnet.com/8301-10787_3-9976578-60.html 6/24)
A long-running legal battle over whether Mark Zuckerberg ripped off Harvard classmates in launching Facebook is moving to a courtroom in San Jose, Calif., for a fight that could end up “catastrophic” for the social-networking site, observers say. “This could be a fight for Facebook’s life.” (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://www.mercurynews.com/businessheadlines/ci_9682260?nclick_check=1 6/24)
AT&T aims to expand its services to help companies deliver digital media to consumers’ computers and mobile phones, moving into competition with outfits like Akamai. AT&T, which already has customers like Forbes.com, will spend $70 million to bolster its network infrastructure. (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN2434215220080624 6/24)
New content recognition software may spark more copyright-related battles online like the recent Associated Press-blogger flap. Publishers will know which sites attract the most traffic using their articles, and may demand a cut on the associated advertising revenue. (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2008/tc20080625_325222.htm 6/25)
CBS Television Stations’ digital media group is rolling out a widget-advertising-revenue-sharing program with local bloggers at more than a dozen network-owned stations across the country. The program launched at New York’s WCBS last week and was “making money from day one.” (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://www.observer.com/2008/cbs-news-becomes-widget-factory 6/24)
Internet advertising spending will surpass radio this year, forecasts Steve King, head of Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia. “Internet has already overtaken cinema and outdoors. In a couple of years it’s going to overtake magazines.” Also, Publicis is forming a unit to boost Internet sales. (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=aeJ2MQBDVzKA 6/25)
Charter Communications, the fourth-largest U.S. cable operator, is backing off a plan to monitor customers’ Internet surfing data. The company was planning to harvest the data for clues to customer interests and then make money from advertisers who would use it to target pitches. (Iwantmedia 6/25, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/24/AR2008062401033.html 6/25)
Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: ESPN.com, Google, Google Trends For Websites, Michael Beasley, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA Draft, News and Media
MLB.com continues to set the standard for live online streaming delivering between 1 and 1.5 million games over the internet each day and racking up between 50-60 million unique visitors a month during baseball season, per Variety. More than a third of all MLB tickets sold online, more than any other sport. (Cynopsis 6/23)
Google has just introduced Google Trends For Websites, a new tool that lets users take a peek at the traffic data from sites around the web. The new feature pits Google against a number of well-established players in the traffic data space, including Compete, Comscore, Alexa, and a host of others. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/20/google-faces-off-with-compete-alexa-comscore-quantcast-brings-nothing-new 6/20)
ESPN launched its latest online exclusive series giving fans an “all access” look at Kansas State basketball star Michael Beasley, expected to be one of the top 2 picks in the NBA draft on June 26. Ten 3-5 minute webisodes will premiere on ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile TV throughout the summer. (Cynopsis 6/23)
YouTube is said to be paying creators a fee to license films for its new indie short-film destination. A YouTube spokesperson says: “We are experimenting with a variety of limited promotional sponsorship programs.” Still, YouTube is “not getting into the acquisitions business.” (Iwantmedia 6/23, http://newteevee.com/2008/06/21/youtube-paying-upfront-for-content 6/21)
Disney’s ABC is expected to announce that episodes of prime time shows like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives,” along with short clips and game highlights from ESPN, will be accessible through indie video site Veoh.com. Veoh is backed by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. (Iwantmedia 6/23, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/23/business/media/23veoh.html 6/23)
Disney is selling Movies.com to Comcast’s Fandango.com, the online ticketing service. Disney once envisioned Movies.com as a video-on-demand platform, but the joint venture with Fox never got off the ground, and the site remained an entertainment news repository. (Iwantmedia 6/23, http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117987926.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1 6/22)
While Barry Diller’s IAC plans to divide its myriad Internet outfits into five separate public business units, the company is pooling them with an advertising-sales and targeting system that will marry data from across all its assets to sell “audience cubes.” (Iwantmedia 6/23, http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=127899 6/23)
PBS announced it is streaming the entire 11-part Election Day series on the P.O.V. website, beginning at 11:30 pm ET on July 1 – the night it airs on PBS. The series, shot from dawn until the wee hours of Nov. 2, 2004, examines the political process through the eyes of group of citizens who struggle to get their voices heard. (Cynopsis 6/23)
Efforts by television networks to make their programs available for free on the Internet are “absurd,” says Liberty Media boss John Malone. NBC’s online coverage of the Beijing Olympics will be a “flop.” Expensive events won’t “have adequate underwriting through advertising.” (Iwantmedia 6/23, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/67e0a1e2-3eed-11dd-8fd9-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1 6/20)
(Below) Now, here’s an interesting theory. This is like blaming the retail store because you’re product just isn’t selling. Lame at best.
The Apple iPod is partly to blame for the collapse of the music industry, according to a report from eMarketer. The Mac maker helped set the tone for a “rat’s nest of restrictions and incompatibilities” that led to consumer confusion and stalled the growth of digital music. (Iwantmedia 6/23, http://www.redherring.com/Home/24370 6/20)
Top Visited US Broadcast Network TV Websites (Week ending June 14, 2008)
Rank Network Website Market Share of Visits
1 ABC www.abc.com 27.92%
2 FOX* www.fox.com 26.03%
3 CBS www.cbs.com 23.97%
4 NBC www.nbc.com 15.07%
5 The CW www.cwtv.com 6.73%
6 MyNetworkTV www.mynetworktv.com .27%
Source: Custom report from Hitwise, *includes traffic aggregated from stand alone websites americanidol.com, amw.com, familyguy.com, thelot.com and thesimpsons.com.
Top Visited US Broadcast Network TV Show Sites (Week ending June 14, 2008)
Rank Network Website Market Share of Visits
1 FOX American Idol 11.00%
2 NBC Deal or No Deal 8.64%
3 FOX American’s Most Wanted 7.35%
4 FOX So You Think You Can Dance? 6.54%
5 ABC The Bachelorette 5.78%
6 NBC Last Comic Standing 2.97%
7 CBS NCIS 2.87%
8 NBC The Office 2.01%
9 ABC The Mole 1.94%
10 ABC Lost 1.91%
Source: Custom report from Hitwise
Filed under: TECHNOLOGY | Tags: Bessemer Venture Partners, Business, Consumer electronics, EE Times, Home automation, News and Media, Panasonic, ZigBee
Despite slow adoption rates so far, a new study says demand for home servers will grow to 90 million units by 2015. The home automation hubs — capable of storing and forwarding pictures, video and data — will gain popularity as consumer electronics companies begin to offer more user-friendly products than today’s PC-based systems. (EE Times 6/19)