MediaFile

Google sees ad revenue in images

Google has turned its flagship Internet search engine into a key advertising channel for businesses over the past decade.

But Google has a variety of other online properties that it believes are also well-suited for advertising, and on Tuesday the company began to effort that appears intended to ramp-up advertising on its specialized search engine for images.

GoogImageAdsGoogle executives told reporters at a briefing in San Francisco that its Image Search product, which has cataloged more than 10 billion images of everything from celebrity photos to impressionist paintings, generates more than 1 billion page views everyday – a rare nugget of information about Web traffic from the search giant.

And Google unveiled a new ad format for Image Search that allows marketers to combine images with the text that appear in the ads above regular image search results.

Until now, search ads that appeared in Google Images were for the most part all text (in some cases, the ads had product-specific images). But the new ad formats will allow marketers to include visual images for anything they want: a picture of an alluring beach for a travel agent selling Hawaiian vacation packages, for instance.

Google buys into Zynga – report

zynga-pokerGoogle has invested as much as $200 million in social gaming company Zynga, as it looks to bolster its presence in the world of online gaming, according to technology blog TechCrunch.

According to TechCrunch, the investment may have been in conjunction with Softbank Capital’s deal to purchase a stake in Zynga, which makes games for social networks including Facebook and MySpace and profits by selling virtual goods.  In June, Nikkei reported that Softbank bought a stake in Zynga for about 13.5 billion yen ($147.4 million) through a private placement.

The site said that The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures and that Zynga will be “the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year.” Zynga’s revenues for the first half of 2010 will be $350 million, half of which is operating profit, and is projecting at least $1.0 billion in revenue in 2011, according to the site.

Sun Valley – Google’s Larry Page: Stop stressing about search data privacy

LarryPage at SunValley 2010Hey you Mr. Privacy Nut,

Google co-founder Larry Page has a message for you: Stop worrying about how data about your Web searching habits might be abused. Your search data is there to serve a greater good.

“It’s always easy to be fearful of a hypothetical bad thing that could happen in the future, and yet the data of these kinds of (search) logs and so on are actually very, very useful,” Page told reporters at a briefing in Sun Valley on Thursday.

He cited the company’s recent work using search data to figure out which regions in the US were experiencing flu outbreaks. Google was able to detect the flu more accurately than the government, Page said, and probably could save it tens of millions of dollars in the process.

Sun Valley: Jane Goodall and the primary primates

John MaloneIt’s day three of the Sun Valley media conference and the event has started to feel like a Jane Goodall documentary, in which we’re Jane and the moguls are the apes who have become comfortable letting us observe and record their movements. Several media executives groggily making their way to the morning’s first session (scheduled to kick off at 7:30), stopped to chat with the throng of press waiting to greet them.

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone voiced concerns about the economy for nearly 10 minutes while NBC’s Jeff Zucker, who once warned of the risks to media companies of trading analog dollars for digital pennies and later upped the exchange rate to dimes, posited the idea that the media industry was now within reach of collecting digital quarters. It’s change we can believe in.

Later on Thursday, Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt (who for reasons unknown has been toting a camera with a beefy zoom lens throughout the event, even after-hours at the bar on Wednesday evening) will hold his traditional Sun Valley press roundtable, possibly with co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who are here.

Sun Valley: Sling Media co-founder has questions about Google TV

(Updates to reflect correct name of Slingbox product)

Google is a few months away from releasing Google TV, its new service that blends television with Internet capabilities.

But at the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, where the masters of media, entertainment and technology congregate every July to schmooze and talk shop, one attendee with experience mixing TV with the Web noted the challenges facing Google as it tries to conquer the living room.

The “entertainment experience is not just about having a search box and some great algorithms. We all want that and we all enjoy that part of the experience” but it’s only one part of the experience, said Blake Krikorian.

from DealZone:

Google’s buying binge

GOOGLE/One small acquisition a month, Google chief Eric Schmidt projected last fall when announcing the internet giant was back on the hunt for privately owned firms after a short recession-induced break from buying.

"There may be larger acquisitions, but they really are unpredictable," he told Reuters at the time.

Google has mostly stuck to its plan and even made of few of those riskier big buys. Since Schmidt's revelations, the Web search giant has scooped up everything from small start-ups to much-larger industry rivals such as mobile advertising firm AdMob, a $750 million acquisition that many thought would land Google in an antitrust court battle. Indeed, the company has outpaced itself, buying more than just one firm a month in a few instances.

from DealZone:

Facebook is more than just a pretty face

The social networking website of Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) is now worth $23 billion, close to the value of online shopping website Ebay, based on the price of a recent stock purchase by private equity firm Elevation Partners. Elevation purchased $120 million in Facebook stock from private shareholders, valuing the company at $23 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

A valuation of that amount makes Facebook larger than Yahoo, which has a market capitalisation of $20 billion, and edging closer to the size of Ebay, at $27 billion. Still, it is a fraction the size of Google ($150 billion). Facebook's backers include Digital Sky Technologies, Microsoft Corp Corp, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and venture capital firms Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.

Google wins game that already played out

Google’s victory in the closely-watched lawsuit launched by Viacom alleging the Internet giant let users upload copyrighted videos including “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” to YouTube represents a win in a game that played out long ago.

The impact of the three-year old case,  some legal experts reckon,  occurred well before a U.S. District Court in Manhattan threw out Viacom’s $1 billion suit.   (Viacom said it is appealing the case.)

As these things tend to go, the case exhibits how technology outpaces the legal system by miles.

DoubleClick’s Rosenblatt in group shopping start-up

DoubleClick’s former CEO has resurfaced…in the red-hot “group-buying” space.

It’s been just over a year since David Rosenblatt punched his last time card out at Google (which bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in 2008).

GroupCommNow, a sparsely populated site called Group Commerce lists Rosenblatt as the Chairman of the company. Andrew Glenn, another DoubleClick-Google alumni, is listed as the CTO, while Jonty Kelt, an entrepreneur that worked for a company acquired by DoubleClick, is the Group Commerce Chief Executive.

Is Apple preparing a counter-attack to Google’s TV move?

Apple is keen on describing its Apple TV business as a “hobby.”

But one week after Google barged into the living room with its high-profile Google TV announcement, Apple suddenly looks like it’s taking its hobby a lot more seriously.

According to technology blog engadget, which cites an anonymous source “very close to Apple,” the Cupertino, California company has a new version of its Apple TV in the works that completely overhauls the original product.

The price of the Apple TV will drop from $229 to $99 (read: priced to move), and the device will be based on the iPhone operating system and pack Apple’s home-grown A4 processor under the hood.