Who’s Facebook going to buy next? Put your money on Foursquare

Facebook Director of Marketing Mike Hoefflinger announces a new "Premium on Facebook" service in New York City

The news Facebook is buying mobile photo app start-up Instagram has sparked off speculation that social networking giant might go on a buying spree in the run-up, and after, its expected $100 billion initial public offering in a few weeks.

Irish betting house Paddy Power, in a fairly transparent PR stunt, has sent out the odds it’s offering punters who want to bet who would be next on Facebook’s list. In a sure sign that the list of names was rustled up overnight right after the news (a bit like today’s blog actually) the list starts off with more than a modicum of respectability with solid names like location-based check-in app company Foursquare at odds of  4 to 1  and note-taking service Evernote at 9 to 2. It follows with some other interesting names like Dropbox, Spotify and Pinterest all in single digit odds.

But towards the end of its list  Paddy Powers seem to have run out of ideas and suggest odds as low as 40 to 1 of Facebook buying YouTube. Really? From Google’s cold dead hands? Even weirder it has the same odds of Facebook buying two failed social networks MySpace and British network Friends Reunited.

The odds on Facebook’s next acquisition according to PaddyPower.
4/1       Foursquare
9/2       Evernote
5/1       Dropbox
7/1       Spotify
8/1       Pinterest
16/1      Rara
16/1      Audiboo
25/1      Tumblr
25/1      Flickr
40/1      YouTube
40/1      MySpace
40/1      Friends Reunited

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.

CES: Gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Electronics Show is underway, with myriad companies announcing new devices and services. Most are cool, although many may never be seen again after this week, if the companies don’t find manufacturing partners or a consumer market that wants these cutting-edge gadgets.

Here’s a sample, as seen through the lens of Reuters photographer Mario Anzuoni.


A guest wears a Liquid Image Scuba Series HD320, which feature a 135 degree wide angle lens and the ability to shoot HD 720P video.

Microsoft’s new “Synth”-esizer stiches together photos

(Update – adds video of Photosynth demo)

If you’re snap-happy with your digital camera, Microsoft thinks it has the Web site for you. Microsoft Photosynth is a new, free photo service that stiches together pictures (preferably lots of them) of a place or a thing to create a 360-degree visual experience. You can zoom in and out smoothly, pan left and right, up and over.

Here’s the description of how Photosynth works from the Microsoft press release.

“Photosynth analyzes each photo for similarities to the others, and uses that data to estimate where a photo was taken. It then re-creates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos.”