Yahoo jumps into the local deals game, partners with Groupon

YAHOO-MICROSOFT/Rumors continue to swirl that Yahoo would like to buy Groupon, the fast-growing group-buying service.

But Yahoo’s heart seems to be in partnerships these days, and the company announced on Tuesday that it had struck a deal to offer Groupon deals in its new local offers program.

Groupon is one of 20 partners in Yahoo’s local offers program, including Goldstar, ScoopSt and ValPak.

Yahoo executives, who briefed reporters about the new program at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, were tight-lipped when it came to describing what its local offers service would actually look like or when it would officially be introduced, noting that different iterations of the service were currently being “bucket tested” to users in the U.S.

The general idea of the program is to offer coupons from local merchants that are specially targeted to Yahoo users based on the users’ location and other data Yahoo has about the user (similar to the way Yahoo targets online ads to Web surfers).

Facebook wants your help in killing off e-mail

By Kevin Kelleher. Kevin Kelleher is a guest contributor to, and opinions expressed are his own.

As expected, Zuckerberg unveiled on Monday Facebook’s answer to email in the age of Facebook. The answer is not so much a Facebook webmail account intended to lure users from Gmail or Yahoo Mail, but something much more encompassing: a “social inbox” that interweaves the most common forms of online communications – not just email but text messages, chat and Facebook messages. Social inbox does it all. What it doesn’t do, Zuckerberg insists, is kill email.

“A lot of press leading up to this announcement said this would be an email killer,” Zuckerberg said, looking for once at ease holding a microphone. “This is not an email killer. We don’t expect anyone to wake up tomorrow and say, “I am going to close down my yahoo account and switch to Facebook’.”

Is Facebook building a Gmail killer?

By Kevin Kelleher

Facebook is hosting one of its increasingly common “events” Monday to announce a new feature for its site. Along with Apple, Facebook is probably the only company at this point that could collect a large audience on short notice with only the vaguest of descriptions.

The invitation only said that the announcement would reveal what CEO Mark Zuckerberg would talk about on Tuesday at the annual Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco – in other words, it was an event to discuss a conversation that would happen somewhere else on a later day. But there were tantalizing hints in it that suggested Facebook would announce an e-mail service along the lines of Gmail and Yahoo Mail: The invitation had the red-and-blue stripes along the border that were once commonly seen on envelopes, and it bore Facebook’s email inbox icon from its iPhone app.

That gave blogs the weekend to speculate on what a Facebook email service would mean to the web. The most common analysis was that this could be a Gmail killer, a shot across the bow of one of Google’s most popular services. But I don’t see that happening—at least right away.

RockMelt’s secret social Web browser makes debut

The Web has evolved drastically during the past two decades. But the Web browser remains much as it has since it was first created.RockMeltScreen

That’s the premise behind RockMelt, a new browser that bills itself as having been built from the ground-up for the realities of today’s Web 2.0 world, in which interacting across social networks is as important as viewing Web pages.

The new browser has been under development in “stealth” mode for two years and has been the subject of much speculation, particularly since one of the company’s main investors is Marc Andreessen, the man credited with creating the first mass-market graphical Web browser.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg on mobile ads: What’s the hurry?

Apple and Google may be battling for a piece of the nascent mobile ad market, but Facebook is happy to sit on the sidelines.FACEBOOK/

Despite the fact that more than one-third of Facebook’s 500 million users sometimes access the social networking service from a cell phone, Facebook does not currently show any ads to its mobile users.

And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’s not in any hurry to begin generating mobile advertising revenue.

Facebook Mobile Event on Nov 3: Is this the secret Facebook Phone?

Here’s something to keep the rumor mills churning through the weekend.FBFone

Facebook has just sent out an invite to the media for a “mobile event” at its Palo Alto, California headquarters on Wednesday November 3.

Could this be the unveiling of the much-speculated about Facebook phone? You may recall that technology blog TechCrunch reported last month that Facebook was secretly developing a special smartphone.

Facebook then issued a carefully-worded response that said the company was not “building” a phone, but that it had projects focused on “deeper integrations with some manufacturers.”

Yahoo revamps email with social sheen

Social networking services like Facebook have become a key form of communication, but Yahoo believes there’s plenty of room left to improve good old email.

On Tuesday, Yahoo Inc <YHOO.O> began to roll out a new version of its Web-based Yahoo mail product that boasts faster performance, new capabilities, and yes, even more social networking features.

Yahoo had provided a sneak peek at its improved email product at the company’s “Product Runway” event last month. Beginning on Tuesday, you can try out a beta YHOOMailNewtest version of the new Yahoo Mail for yourself.

Yahoo unfurls accordion to revamp search

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz once played in an accordion band, so perhaps it’s fitting that the ole squeezebox has figured in to Yahoo’s products as the central motif in a revamped Internet search experience.

Yahoo has unveiled a snazzy new search interface that lets users flip between a stack of vertical tabs to view different types of results. Search on the rapper Lil Wayne for example, and you can quickly tab between groups of results like albums, videos and Twitter messages.

YahooAccordion1The new search interface, which the tech blogs have nicknamed ‘the accordion’, represents Yahoo’s first big overhaul of its search product since partnering with Microsoft.

When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg met Zuckerman: A New Jersey story

Give a guy $100 million, and the least he could do is get your name right.

But such decorum was not to be for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who saw his $100 million donation to Newark New Jersey’s public school system repaid by Mayor Cory Booker clumsily referring to him as “Zuckerman.”

SUNVALLEY/The gaffe occurred during a conference call with the media on Friday to trumpet the 26-year-old Facebook CEO’s largesse (ahead of  a not-quite-so-flattering depiction of Zuckerberg in the new Sorkin/Fincher movie The Social Network). Booker tried to make a joke about the conference call’s participants speaking in reverse alphabetical order so that “Zuckerman” could go first…before quickly correcting himself.

It’s possible that the good Mayor had Zuckerberg confused with another famous figure of Newark lore.

Nielsen Says – In: social networking; Out: email

INTERNET-SOCIALMEDIA/PRIVACYAnyone with a Facebook account knows how addictive social networking can be. But a new report by analytics firm Nielsen illustrates just how central social networking has become in the Average Joe’s day-to-day life.

Nearly a quarter of Americans’ online time is now spent on social networks, according to Nielsen. And all that time spent on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter is coming at the expense of traditionally popular Web activities, particularly email.

Email accounted for 8.3 percent of Americans’ online time in June, down from 11.5 percent a year earlier.