Powerset, a natural language search engine, has been aquired by Microsoft for just over $100M. The amazing thing is, Powerset never got past searching Wikipedia! For a company that didn’t undertake indexing the web in general, $100M is a pretty nice pricetag, in my opinion.
If only I was an artist – I’d draw Ask.com attacking Google with a pea-shooter. But is it an attack, or just a company gaining some extra exposure through a simple, yet smart adjustment to their homepage? I vote the latter…
Microsoft gained it’s own headlines by announcing a partnership with YuMe and and acquisition of Navic. Navic is a TV advertising company and YuMe is the largest provider of online video ads. Will Microsoft’s effort in the world of video advertising sway Google? Regardless, it looks like Microsoft has some buying power now that the Yahoo! deal has lost steam.
Of course, Yahoo! and Google have their paid search placement scheme, a setup that will benefit both companies, which is commented on further on Google’s blog.
Speaking of Yahoo!, is anybody keeping a tally of how many major players have left the company recently?
Mobile social networking sites have been gaining momentum, in both usability and hence, adoption. Loopt has put together a service incorporating what I consider to be the most important element for a mobile social network – location-based technologies. Straight from Loopt’s website, “Using location-based technologies, Loopt lets you know where your friends are by automatically updating maps on your mobile handset. Loopt even lets you send messages to nearby friends or receive automatic alerts when they’re nearby so that you never miss an opportunity to meet. Loopt also lets you journal your life so that your friends can see what you’re up to. With Loopt, mobile subscribers put themselves on the map.
For technology, networking and the always-connected mentality, this is a great step forward. But what happens if the wrong people can learn too much about your schedule? While Facebook has taken a lot of heat about how it handles user privacy, everyone had better be learning from their mistakes. As information becomes more readily available, services like Loopt need to take a close look at what Facebook and other social media sites are going through and proactively take steps to ensure security and privacy. Sure, it’s cool to know my friend is in the same movie theatre at the same time I am. What isn’t cool is when my car is stolen because the car thieves know I’m halfway across town. Loopt may only display where I am to my friends, but stolen phones or hacked services are going to become more of a threat than ever.