MediaFile

Google sprinkles search results with social networking, but leaves out Facebook

GOOGSocSearch1Google is turning up the volume on social networking content within its Internet search results.

The company unveiled some changes to its search engine on Thursday that will infuse search results with more social elements, such as links and information shared by your friends on services like Twitter, Quora and Flickr.

It’s easy to see how this improves search: If you’re looking for an accountant for instance, instead of simply getting a list of accountants’ Web sites, Google might include a snippet showing that your friend has posted a Twitter message lauding a particular accountant, and rank that accountant near the top of your search results.

There’s one conspicuous absence from Google’s social search though: Facebook, the world’s No.1 social networking service.

Google says the lack of Facebook content is due to the fact that most Facebook content is behind closed walls and can’t be indexed by its search engine. Google product management director Mike Cassidy said he could not comment on whether or not Google was in any discussions with Facebook about getting access to its trove of social data.

Sports Illustrated unveils another digital app subscription plan

sports illustratedTime Inc’s Sports Illustrated unveiled the details of another subscription plan for the Samsung Galaxy tablet computer and Android based smartphones — the print version of its  parent Time Warner Inc’s “TV everywhere” idea currently touted by Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes.  Like TV Everywhere, magazines everywhere charges one price for access to content across print and digital platforms.

The SI digital and print subscription plan comes on the heels of  a Time Inc announcement about a similar subscription plan for SI and People for  Hewlett-Packard’s forthcoming tablet device the TouchPad.

“The key to the media business is habituation,” said Time Inc EVP and Chief Digital Officer Randall Rothenberg.

HP’s TouchPad: an Apple iPad killer?

The Palm TouchPad is shown on a screen during a media presentation at the Herbst Pavilion at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, February 9, 2011.REUTERS/Beck Deifenbach

HP unveiled its touchscreen entrant in the tablet race to try to steal momentum from Apple Inc’s popular iPad. The “TouchPad” will be available this summer — but there was no word, yet, on how much it will cost.

Here are some early impressions from the blogoshpere:

Engadget’s Darren Murph speculates that iPad users looking for something lighter will be disappointed by the TouchPad’s 1.6 pound-heft. While Sean Hollister’s first impression is that the TouchPad’s slim black profile highlights its brilliant screen.

Gizmodo’s Jason Chen thinks the TouchPad’s four different keyboard sizes are cool.

Motorola Atrix: works well on Wi-Fi

atrix

Motorola Atrix is an Android phone that runs on AT&T’s network. The phone itself is a powerful device, the first U.S. smartphone to run on a dual-core processor. It can also be paired with an unusual accessory called a laptop dock – it’s like a laptop in appearance but doesn’t work unless the Atrix is attached.

Once the phone is attached then the dock works like a netbook, a scaled down laptop intended mostly for websurfing.  The dock’s 11.6 inch screen was  designed for easier websurfing than on the Atrix phone’s smaller 4 inch screen and it sports a Qwerty keyboard that is aimed at making tasks like emailing much easier than on the phone’s touchscreen.

So how well does it work?

With barely a day to play with both devices,  our tests were pretty limited but they lasted long enough for us to form a strong first impression: The phone and lapdoc worked very well when  connected to a network but, that was the stumbling block.

Online customer service reviews get personal with Tello

Remember the flight attendant who imperiously cut you off after the second cocktail on your trans-Atlantic flight? Or how about that tech-support guy who heroically spent hours on the phone with you and solved the mysterious problem plaguing your PC?

Tello1A new Internet service unveiled on Wednesday is hoping to catch-on with consumers by providing an easy way to give kudos to the best customer service experiences and to flag the most egregious.

Online reviews are not exactly new, of course – the Web has proved a popular medium for consumers to rate businesses and vent about service for years through sites such as Yelp and Facebook.

The Daily, news by the numbers

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By John Abell
The opinions expressed are his own.

It isn’t every day that a new “mainstream” news publication launches, so hurrah for News Corp and deep pockets and experimentation. The Daily is not only a new brand, but a brand new approach to publishing, tied to a specific device — just as ink + newsprint equalled a newspaper. The really radical notion is that people are going to have to pay to get it, making content the deciding factor over style, speed and even convenience.

The Daily is up against a number of things, not the least of which is the web and a link economy Rupert Murdoch has argued undermines the economics of news gathering. As an avowedly for-profit undertaking which burns through $500,000 a week, it has quite a bit to achieve.

Putting aside content for the moment, here is what The Daily does have going for it.

TodayInMusic: Rdio gets $17.5 mln funding, Warner exec on board

Niklas Zennstrom Skype

Rdio, the social media music service backed by the founders of KaZaa and Skype, has raised another $17.5 million in its latest round of funding.

Its latest backer is Mangrove Capital Partners, who inadvertently broke this story over the weekend via Twitter. The start-up’s earlier funding was provided by Rdio co-founder Janus Friis through his investment entities as well as Atomico  and Skype. Atomico is the VC firm from Niklas Zennstrom (pictured) who was Janus’ partner in Skype and KaZaa, the music file sharing service. Currently available only in US North America., it’s going to use the new funds to expand its footprint to new platforms and countries this year.

Rdio’s service allows you to automatically share the music you’re listening to and discover new music through people you follow. It’s kind of what iTunes and Ping are trying to do but few think they’ve achieved.

AP to spin out its News Registry

Tom Curley APThe Associated Press is planning to spin off its registry that tracks and licenses digital text as a stand-alone entity.

Launched last summer, the News Registry tags, tracks and measures the use of online content. The AP board of directors approved a plan today to create a new establishment called the News Licensing Group that will be supported by the news industry.

“We are a content company and we think the efforts would be best done elsewhere,” said AP Chief Executive Tom Curley (pictured).

Friending you soon on Facebook: Your insurance agent

Corporate America has gradually warmed up to social networking this past year, as companies have discovered the benefits of advertising on popular online services like Facebook.

But Hearsay, a start-up co-founded by ex-Google/Salesforce.com alumni Clara Shih, thinks companies can also benefit by making their employees interact more on social networks.

Hearsay helps corporations that have multiple local outlets, from coffee chains to insurance firms, communicate with customers on Facebook, LinkedIin and Twitter — a company can distribute pre-approved marketing promotions to local store managers or agents, who can then customize it and broadcast it to their networks of friends, for example.

Social networking’s next frontier: the Boob Tube

IntoNowScreenYou already tell your friends which bars and restaurants you’re hanging out at, thanks to social networking tools like Facebook Places and Foursquare.

A new company called IntoNow, led by a former Google and MTV executive, thinks television is the next frontier.

The company has developed a technology that scans the audio waves emanating from your television set and identifies the program you’re watching, similar to how the popular iPhone app Shazam magically informs you of what song is playing on the radio.