Google finds panacea to the ill-advised email

How many times have you smacked your forehead in frustration after sending a bawdy e-mail to your boss that had been meant for a friend?

Until now, there had been no way to retrieve the missive. Even if the person’s on vacation, it’s only a matter of time before – as the saying goes – your nether region is grass. Enter Google’s Gmail Labs and “Undo Send”. If you enable the feature, every time you hit ‘send’, a button allowing you to ‘undo’ the send will pop up along with confirmation that the e-mail has been sent. You have five seconds to decide.

Etiquette hounds coach you to leave the “to” blank while you write an e-mail (especially if it’s a subject you feel strongly about) and not forward an e-mail without permission. As author and business consultant Tim Sanders says, “you never need to send an e-mail that’s regrettable.” But it happens all the time.

With Google’s snazzy new tool, if you click “undo”, the message is brought back to the first, “compose” screen. But it hasn’t won over everyone.

“That’s a really small window,” said Sanders, who was part of a May 2006 study on how people use e-mail. The study, which included 16,000 people, in part examined which e-mail messages were regrettable and why. “We make a lot of mistakes over e-mail that sabotage our lives,” Sanders said. “You’d need [the waiting period to be] a day to really prevent yourself from making mistakes.”

iPhone Apps mean money for game publisher ngmoco

Given the popularity of downloadable apps for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, many folks — namely some prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalists — are confident there’s plenty of money to be made from app developers as well.******Ngmoco, which makes games exclusively for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, said Monday it has closed $10 million in Series B financing led by Norwest Venture Partners. The company’s previous investors –- Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Maples Investments — also participated in the funding. Ngmoco received $5.6 million in its first round of financing.******Ngmoco — which stands for “next generation mobile company” — was born last year along with Apple’s App Store, and the company’s profile has risen in tandem with the store’s popularity. Users have downloaded more than 800 million apps in total and the store now features more than 25,000 offerings.******Ngmoco’s games have been installed more than 7 million times. The company currently has seven titles –- its most popular is the $9.95 “Rolando Orlando” -– and 12 in development.******Neil Young, ngmoco’s chief executive and one of its co-founders, said in an interview that he was surprised by the “voracious” appetite for games on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Although he wouldn’t rule out making games for other platforms, he said the devices provide a unique opportunity for game makers.***

It’s just a blend of amazing capability with this awesome usability. And its clearly those two things that are enabling this new type of usage patterns both in terms of how people are consuming games and how much they’re consuming. And also the ease at which they’re able to get them. Until there are any other platforms that come close to that I think we’ll certainly remain focused on these devices.

******Young, who left game publishing giant Electronics Arts to launch ngmoco, declined to disclose a revenue figure for the company, which has 26 employees.******The App Store is estimated to offer some 6,000 games. Many see the iPhone and iPod Touch as legitimate competitors to Nintendo’s DS and Sony’s PSP handheld gaming consoles, and that battle should play out over the coming months and years. IPhone games are expected to be much on display at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.******Keep an eye on:***

    *** EBay’s Skype plans to announce on Monday a version of its Internet calling software for small and medium-sized businesses (WSJ)



    *** Former Yahoo Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig will take over Activision Blizzard’s Guitar Hero franchise (All Things Digital)


Note to Yahoo’s Bartz: Ma company, Ma way

 Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has earned a reputation as a strong-willed, no-nonsense executive.

But she may have her met match in Jack Ma, the founder and CEO of Alibaba, which owns and operates Yahoo China.

 “Personally I have a management philosophy: when you see someone in the kitchen, don’t give them directions. Let them do it,” Ma told Reuters during a visit to New York on Thursday. “I do it my own way. I don’t listen to Yahoo.”

Yahoo Big as Ever in Japan

Yahoo’s island of strength in Japan looks as impregnable as ever.

In January, Yahoo increased the number of searches performed on its Japanese sites by 13 percent year-over-year, and continued to hold the top spot with a 51.3 percent share of searches conducted in Japan, according to market research firm comScore.

Google, which is the No.1 search firm in the U.S. by a long shot, saw its search share in Japan slip to 38.2 percent, from 39 percent in September. Total searches on Google sites in Japan increased 5 percent year-over-year in January.

Yahoo’s star property in the land of the rising sun is actually a 34 percent stake in a joint venture with Softbank. The Japanese partnership is one of several that Yahoo has forged overseas, such as its deal with China’s Alibaba Group.

Yahoo’s Bartz hearts Google maps

Carol Bartz famously questioned the loyalty of Yahoo employees who dared leak her internal staff memos to the press.

But the CEO confessed to a lapse in loyalty of her own, on Tuesday, when it comes to one of Yahoo’s products.

“I don’t use Yahoo maps. I use Google maps. I’m just telling you,” Bartz told an audience member at the Morgan Stanley technology conference who had inquired about Google’s apparent mapping superiority.

Yahoo unveils re-org, sort of

So Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz finally unveiled on Thursday a much-anticipated management reorganization — well, kind of. She blogged about it in a post called “Getting our house in order” and she sent an internal email to employees. Another bunch of memos were also sent by various division heads, HR, etc.

But there was no official announcement for Wall Street analysts, investors or the press, except for an SEC filing announcing the departure of CFO Blake Jorgensen which didn’t mention the re-org at all. A Yahoo spokeswoman said there were no plans for a press release, calling the changes an internal matter. Hmmm.

Well, the moves were interesting enough for various analysts to weigh in. “We expect more significant restructurings and divestitures of various businesses will occur in the future as YHOO focuses on its core businesses. Also, while the timing is uncertain, we still believe a search deal with MSFT is likely,” wrote UBS’s Benjamin Schachter. He also notes that Yahoo has told him “unequivocally” that Jorgensen’s departure had nothing to do with the CFO’s comments yesterday on Yahoo being willing to sell search, which helped push Yahoo shares up 7 pct earlier.

Economy check

It’s the question of the moment in the technology world: have we hit bottom?

Tech execs appeared at a bunch of investor events this week and gave their best guess on what’s going on in this murky economy of ours. Some said things seemed a bit better, while others said visibility is as bad as ever. Here’s a collection of their comments:

Yahoo Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen, who is leaving the company, said advertisers are “in shock” at the moment because of the economy, but cited the superior return on investments that they get online compared with traditional marketing mediums.

Yahoo scraps mail ads in emerging markets

Getting rid of advertisements may not sound like a recipe to grow a Web business, but it’s one tack Yahoo is taking under new CEO Carol Bartz.

At a two-day staff powwow last week, Yahoo management decided to stop serving ads on its popular Yahoo Mail product in certain emerging markets in order to improve the experience for people with slow Internet connections.

The decision, which Bartz relayed to employees in her weekly memo last week, is intended to stem a loss of market share that Yahoo Mail believes it is experiencing in certain emerging market countries.

Looks like Yahoo’s not buying Tumblr

Gawker/Valleywag created a bit of stir on the blogosphere Monday with its report that Yahoo was in talks to buy blogging startup Tumblr for “low to mid-eight figures,” or as much as $50 million.

From the post:

We hear the talks are serious, led by Tapan Bhat, a fast-rising executive in charge of Yahoo’s homepage and other key properties — but as with any acquisition talks, they could fall apart.

We figured Yahoo’s new CEO Carol Bartz was too busy figuring out where Yahoo should seek growth and how to stem the leaky ship to pursue an acquisition. Sure enough, Silicon Alley Insider knocked down the Valleywag story by getting Tumblr founder David Karp on the record:

Yahoo’s Bartz sees growth abroad – memo

Since Carol Bartz took over as Yahoo CEO last month, analysts and investors have busily speculated about her still undefined strategy to mend the Internet company.

Bartz, the former chief executive of electronic design software firm Autodesk, has offered few clues about her thinking,

In a memo to Yahoo employees last Friday, Bartz tipped her hand about one area she is bullish about: emerging markets.