MediaFile

Tech wrap: A page from Larry’s book

Google co-founder Larry Page is seen at the Sun Valley Inn in Sun Valley, Idaho in this July 8, 2010 file photograph. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/FilesGoogle’s Larry Page took the reins after a decade of “adult supervision” for Google under Eric Schmidt, as the outgoing CEO called it. The switch comes as mobile gadgets are redefining the way people use the Internet and Google’s main ad business is under threat from fast-growing upstarts such as Facebook and Groupon. Page has yet to make his battle plan public, but industry insiders and analysts expect he will try to shore up Google’s strength in search and mobile while breaking into a red-hot social networking market that has eluded his company.

Google bid $900 million in a “stalking horse” auction for the acquisition of bankrupt Nortel Network’s patent portfolio, in an effort to fight a growing wireless patent war against well-armed mobile superpowers. The company has pushed its Android mobile phone software to the top of the wireless heap, attracting litigation in the process.

Hackers fully cracked Apple’s latest iPhone OS update, according to Redmond Pie. The iOS 4.3.1 jailbreak supports all iOS devices except the iPad 2. Jailbreaking allows users to run apps unsanctioned by Apple and tweak their iPhones, but voids the devices’ warranty.

Online radio service Pandora said it had been subpoenaed by a Federal grand jury investigating the use of customer data by certain popular applications that run on mobile platforms of Apple and Google.

With about 19 months to go until the 2012 presidential election, President Obama launched his reelection campaign with a YouTube video, an email blast and targeted texts, writes Mashable’s Todd Wasserman.

Tech wrap: Amazon’s storm cloud

People sit in Washington Square Park at New York University in New York, October 21, 2009.Amazon.com faced a backlash from the music industry after it introduced Cloud Drive, an online “music locker” that lets customers store music files on the company’s Web servers instead of their own hard drives and play them over an Internet connection directly from browsers and on phones running Google’s Android OS. Sony Music was upset by Amazon’s decision to launch the service without new licenses for music streaming.

Amazon’s Cloud Drive “is an amazing value and pretty easy to use”, but won’t kill rival Dropbox just yet, Business Insider’s Steve Kooch wrote. The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Kafka thinks Amazon’s cloud move isn’t earth shattering and “if you’re a music lover looking for a paradigm shift in the way you consume tunes, this won’t be it”.

Mozilla released its Firefox 4 Internet browser for Android phones, which allows desktop users to synchronize their history, bookmarks, tabs and passwords, according to Mozilla.

Tech wrap: Amazon vs eBay…fight!

A photograph of a computer screen showing the website eBay is shown in Encinitas, California April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mike BlakeEBay said it will buy e-commerce service provider GSI Commerce for $1.96 billion in cash to build up its online marketplaces, as it ramps up its battle with Amazon.com. GSI is attractive to eBay because of its expertise in taking customer orders, managing them and filling them, which also happens to be an area of strength for Amazon. GSI, which owns Web businesses such as Rue La La and ShopRunner, also provides retailers such as Aeropostale and TJX’s Marshalls chains with technology, payment processing and customer care services for their e-commerce sites.

There will be no iPhone 5 announcement at Apple’s 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, according to The Wall Street Journal’s John Paczkowski. Instead, we should expect a software event, Paczkowski writes, quoting an Apple’s WWDC press release: “If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss.” He goes on to speculate that the delay may be due to Apple timing the release of  a 4G LTE-compatible iPhone 5 with AT&T’s expected roll-out of its 4G LTE networks mid year.

Apple “piled another brick onto the ramparts of its walled garden,” only considering apps that are sold through the Mac App Store for this year’s Apple Design Awards, The Register’s Rik Myslewski writes. “This move makes it clear that Apple is enforcing a two-tiered status for Mac OS X apps: those it allows into the store, and those that remain outside it,” Myslewski adds.

Tech wrap: Facebook friends Google exec

The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry RogeFacebook signaled an increased interest in deals, poaching a member of Google’s corporate development team to lead its fledgling merger and acquisition efforts and underscoring the rivalry between the social networking company and the search engine giant.

AOL hired Twitter co-founder Biz Stone as a strategic adviser for social impact. Its newest addition, The Huffington Post, also announced several hires. AOL announced last week that it was firing 20 percent of its global workforce and editor in chief for AOL’s Engadget Joshua Topolsky quit over the weekend. Still unclear was the fate of AOL freelancers.

Sales of Apple’s iPad 2 eclipsed that of its predecessor on its debut weekend, with around 1 million units being gobbled up. One analyst sees the iPad 2′s early success as a warning sign of a global tablet bubble, where supply could outpace demand for tablets by about 36 percent. While a glut might not make tablet makers happy, consumers aren’t likely to complain about the price drops that could result.

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.

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.

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.

Aretha Franklin is alive, and Twitter is growing up.

USA/First Charlie Sheen died a tragic if imaginary death in a snowboarding accident. Now poor Aretha Franklin is being mourned on Twitter for a demise that has yet to happen.

It’s all such sad news – not so much for the celebrities in question (after all, no publicity is bad publicity, even if it’s a press release announcing you are alive). But for Twitter and its credibility as a 21st Century news platform.

Twitter, like any web technology, is a double-edged blade. Early on, it drew praise by allowing people to jointly cover breaking news such as the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 and violent protests in Iran in the summer of 2009.

Five backward-compatible forecasts for 2011

Innovation doesn’t know what day it is. It’s also true that we never seem to predict the most interesting things which actually do happen. Oh sure — years of speculation preceded Apple’s iPad announcement last January. But did anyone actually figure on the iPad?

With trepidation, then, I’ve committed to a forecast at years’ end, a moment of no moment for either tech or media. Sadly, there is no fiscal year option in the pontification game that could postpone this to a more sensible time in Q2.

So, in the spirit of tradition, I offer my First Annual Backward Compatible Tech Forecast.

An open letter to CEOs: Why so Twitter averse?

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Dear CEO of [Your Name Here]: Why aren’t you on Twitter?

In retrospect, I have come to understand your relative lack of interest in blogging, when blogging was the thing to do. It’s time consuming. It’s easy to overthink (and underthink). A blog requires readers to find you, and return — embarrassing if they don’t. You always have to feed the beast (darn you, pesky time stamps).

All this changed with the advent of Twitter, a haiku melting pot where you don’t have to be more pithy or verbose than you might be when making polite conversation at a cocktail party that nobody minds you crashed, and the right name or title or station virtually guarantees a large following (even if nobody is actually paying attention to anything you say).

But you don’t seem to be participating in micro-blogging any more than you participated in blogging. Oh sure, lots of companies hire social media marketing experts — you probably signed off on that without even realizing it.