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Archive for the ‘Search Engine’ Category

Whether they’re being groomed for acquisition or poised for long-term profit as standalone entities, Web 2.0 startups continue gorging on investors’ millions, according to a new report today from Internet Evolution. Despite the confusion of the current economic climate, “Web 2.0’s Biggest $inkholes” highlights key areas where VCs and angel investors think big Web 2.0 payoffs await:

  • Targeted advertising: JellyCloud couldn’t hack it and $11.5 million later went belly up; Lotame is staying afloat with its $28 million purse.
  • Social networking: All-purpose inbox company Xoopit is working on a $6 million round, while Orgoo is on indefinite hiatus; AOL’s $850 million for Bebo ended up being largely a write-off for the company.
  • Video: Lots of money’s chasing the desire to be the next YouTube – too bad most of the hosted content is porn; Trooker and others are betting there’s a market for video search.
  • Search: Cuil ($33 million) and SearchMe ($43.6 million) might imagine themselves Google killers, or at least viable alternatives. For investors, imagination makes for a crummy investment strategy.
  • Self-publishing/social-publishing: Uber.com and Bricabox litter this landscape, having shuttered themselves as things got rocky. It’s unclear whether ShareNow.com can thrive here.

“These startups are gambling that they’ll be acquired by the dominant players in each of these Web 2.0 sectors – Google, Facebook, YouTube, MSN, and Yahoo,” says Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief of Internet Evolution. “As if today’s market wasn’t enough of a hindrance, many of these startups also suffer from fuzzy business plans, poor execution, and even crummy company names. Incredibly, that’s not stopping the flow of investment in some below-average companies.”

About Internet Evolution: Internet Evolution hosts more than 100 world-famous Internet experts – such as Kevin Mitnick, once the most-wanted computer hacker in the world; Dr. Lawrence Roberts, inventor of packet switching, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on telecom network architectures; Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google; Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.com; Paul Mockapetris, inventor of the Domain Name System (DNS); Howard Schmidt, former White House cybersecurity adviser; and Andrew Keen, author of Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is killing our culture — all of whom are addressing today’s critical socio-economic issues within its ThinkerNet blogosphere. Internet Evolution also offers broadcast-quality broadband video documentaries and interviews; investigative reports; and user-generated content facilitated via the latest Web 2.0 technology.

About TechWeb: TechWeb, the global leader in business technology media, is an innovative business focused on serving the needs of technology decision-makers and marketers worldwide. TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed media brands in the business technology market. Today, more than 13.3 million* business technology professionals actively engage in our communities created around our global face-to-face events, Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat, and VoiceCon; online resources such as the TechWeb Network, Light Reading, Intelligent Enterprise, InformationWeek.com, bMighty.com, and The Financial Technology Network; and the market leading, award-winning InformationWeek, TechNet Magazine, MSDN Magazine, and Wall Street & Technology magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services including next-generation performance marketing, integrated media, research, and analyst services. TechWeb is a division of United Business Media, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

About United Business Media Limited: United Business Media Limited (UBM) is a global media and marketing services company that informs markets and brings the world’s buyers and sellers together at events, online, in print, and with the information they need to do business successfully. UBM serves professional and commercial communities, from IT professionals to doctors, from journalists to jewelry dealers, from farmers to pharmacists around the world. UBM employs more than 6,500 people in more than 30 countries. UBM’s businesses operating in the US include CMPMedica, Commonwealth Business Media, Everything Channel, PR Newswire, RISI, TechInsights, TechWeb and Think Services. UBM is listed on the London Stock Exchange (UBM.L) and has a market capitalization of $2.5 billion.

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The French Trade Office in San Francisco has announced the beginning of the French Tech Tour (FTT). The week long mission will introduce 11 French technology startups to the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. The 11 finalists were selected from over 24 applicants by 9 supporting companies including AT&T, Cisco, Ebay, Google, HP, Intel Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Symantec. Backed by UBIFRANCE, the FTT focuses on bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Paris. The week of workshops and one-on-one interviews will also include a mini-conference on May 21st called Valley Talk: Make It or Break It where both French and U.S. startups will learn strategies for business success.

In its second year, the FTT has quickly gained recognition in both the U.S. and France. Referred to as the home of some of the best high tech clusters in Europe, French companies continue to raise the technology bar for their U.S. counterparts. Participation in this tour furthers the collaboration between the two countries. This year’s startup companies include:

Bobex – a leading B2B e-marketplace, active in 6 countries, makes markets more transparent by matching local buyers and suppliers for non strategic products & services.

Exaprotect – a provider of regulatory and audit compliance log monitoring, event management for threat detection, and change management to allow business policy based network configuration change.

DELCREA – the inspirer in resolving the challenges of email from both diagnostic to efficiency solutions for individuals to large companies. Their software brings an innovative approach to control, organize and secure email faster and easier while reducing time building knowledge bases from existing content, and eliminating all risk of compromising internal and external business sensitive data.

myERP.com – a complete web-based ERP solution using Google technology (GWT & Google Apps) and covering all functional fields of company management around a single database: CRM, Commercial Management, Logistics, Points of sale, Finance & Accounting, Purchases, Production, Quality.

Maeglin – a mobile phone software company specialized in peer-to-peer exchanges. At Maeglin, we free people’s mobile, with Pleex a Mobile social networking software that allows content back up & sharing.

Momindum – the technology leader in the creation of rich media presentation. Our software generates, from recorded speech, professional presentations using synchronized documents and indexed video; our rich media are capitalized in a base with deep-tagging technology.

Newscape Technology – the top innovator in software graphical engines on mobile devices to enable the development of new applications using massive 2D / 3D vector data, textures, Content / Advertising and topography.

Sinequa – a search specialist created with the vision that corporate information is complex, heterogeneous and poorly organized. Sinequa has built a corporate search solution that can access to all sources and applications, managing security, using linguistic and semantic algorithms to add context to information and to offer intuitive navigation combined with efficient search.

STG Interactive – has invented a way for everybody on the planet to create their own secure and user-friendly mini-site, called a “frogans,” located on the Internet via its frogans address. STG Interactive provides developers and Internet users with free standard technology for authoring and browsing frogans, and is the directory provider of frogans addresses.

TellMeWhere – the first local search engine where relevancy of results are guided by recommendations of people you can choose and where content can be enriched and corrected by end-users, provides a better alternative to current local search engines or directories.

Twinsoft – an actor in Enterprise Mashups whose flagship product, Convertigo Enterprise Mashup Server helps companies reuse their existing assets to build new and exciting WEB 2.0 composite applications for a fraction of the cost and time needed to complete software rewrites or traditional development.

Each company will hold one-on-one meetings with supporting companies’ corporate development teams, as well as interviews with media, training for presenting and demoing at conferences in the U.S. and introductions with some of the valley’s fast-growing startups.

The Valley Talk mini-conference will host keynote speaker Eric Benhamou CEO of Benhamou Global Ventures, Chairman of 3Com and former CEO of Palm. The show will include an in-depth talk with leading editor’s and analyst from CNET, Fortune, GuideWire Group and VentureBeat. Along with demonstrations from each company the event will conclude with a panel of leading executive in business development from sponsoring companies outlining what they are looking for in partnerships as well as potential acquisitions.

“Our goal is to build deeper relationships between the tech communities here in Silicon Valley and in France,” said Aymeril Hoang, Director, Information & Communications Technology, Embassy of France in the U.S. Trade Office. “By bridging this gap we can open the door to new opportunities for both countries. It’s as much about introducing Silicon Valley to the technology leadership in France as vice versa. Hopefully we are fostering and growing the big companies and partnerships of the future.”

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The Internet Content Syndication Council (ICSC) issued a white paper entitled “Content Creation and Distribution in an Expanding Internet Universe” last week at the headquarters of the AAAA (American Association of Advertising Agencies). It was presented during the joint meeting of the AAAA’s Digital Marketing Committee and Search Engine Marketing Committee.

The 12-page study details the benefits of Internet Content Syndication to the four main constituents of the media industry: content creators, publishers, advertisers and users. The paper defines “Internet Content Syndication” as “The controlled placement of the same content on multiple partnering Internet destinations.” One the of paper’s main conclusions is that Internet Content Syndication offers a powerful solution to online audience fragmentation, a daunting problem facing online advertisers today.

The white paper was prepared by a working committee selected by the ICSC Board of Advisors and distributed to its membership for comment. The organization is comprised of market leaders in the rapidly expanding areas of Internet content creation, distribution, licensing, measurement and advertising sales.

Andrew Susman, chairman and founding member of the ICSC and CEO of Studio One Networks said, “The purpose of the ‘White Paper’ is to present in a clear and concise way the principles of Internet Content Syndication and the opportunities it offers those involved in today’s burgeoning online marketplace. Our heartfelt thanks to the council members for their valuable contributions.”

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Yahoo! India, a leading global Internet company, today announced the launch of a new concept for Yahoo! India Search called Glue Pages Beta, available exclusively at www.yahoo.in. This new search experience collates and integrates the most relevant information from across the Web onto a single ‘visual’ search results page. Glue Pages Beta, which aggregates text, images, and video content, is available for select search terms across categories such as health, sports, entertainment, travel, technology, and finance.

Designed to save time by offering a new way to find answers quickly, Glue Pages Beta is ideal for topics with broad coverage across a variety of information sources. For example, a search for ‘diabetes’ combines results from HowStuffWorks, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Health, Yahoo! Answers, and blogs. A search for ‘Aishwarya Rai’ would include biographical quick-facts, videos, music tracks, photos, and content from Yahoo! Answers.

Results will be displayed alongside classic Yahoo! India Search results. Consumers will also find links for other Glue Pages on topics related to their query.

Gopal Krishna, Head of Audience, Yahoo! India.

“Searching on Glue Pages Beta will result in an experience that promises more than just web links. Users will receive more relevant, visually appealing search results from across the Web in one topical page. The new Glue Pages Beta feature for Yahoo! India Search supports our strategy to make Yahoo! the leading starting point on the Internet and demonstrates our commitment to provide a compelling online search experience,” said Gopal Krishna, Head of Audience, Yahoo! India.

“Glue Pages Beta limits guesswork for the user by providing the best of web, all onto one ‘at-a-glance’ page. Over time, Glue Pages Beta will be made available to more categories that are relevant to users in India. We are excited to open this up further and work with a wider ecosystem of consumers, publishers, developers and advertisers in the future,” said Sandeep Shrivastava, Director Search, Yahoo! India.

Yahoo! Glue Pages Beta.

With a focus on providing a compelling and intuitive online search experience, the new Glue Pages Beta helps enable users in India to derive maximum value from their search efforts. As this beta evolves, Yahoo! India Search will explore various ways to supplement algorithmically generated Glue Pages with topical pages built and maintained by local subject-matter experts from the Internet community.

Key benefits of Glue Pages Beta

  • Collates and integrates the best information from across the Web onto a single topical page.
  • Uses intuitive search technology to identify the most relevant combination of text, images and video content for select popular search queries, alongside classic Yahoo! India Search results.
  • Saves time and helps eliminate guess work involved in clicking on multiple web links.
  • Initially available across categories like health, sports, entertainment, travel, technology and finance.

What are Glue Pages?
Glue Pages unite your Classic Search Results with visual information from the best sites anywhere on the Web.

Glue Pages unite your Classic Search Results with visual information from the best sites anywhere on the Web.

How are they different?
In one click, browse through images, videos, articles, and more all on one page! With Glue Pages, you spend more time learning and less time searching.

In one click, browse through images, videos, articles, and more all on one page! With Glue Pages, you spend more time learning and less time searching.

What are Related Pages?
These are Glue Pages that we think you might be interested in based on the topic of your search. Example:

These are Glue Pages that we think you might be interested in based on the topic of your search.

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Microsoft Corp. has announced that it has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc.

“We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

Microsoft Yahoo logos.“Despite our best efforts, including raising our bid by roughly $5 billion, Yahoo! has not moved toward accepting our offer. After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo! do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal,” said Ballmer.

“We have a talented team in place and a compelling plan to grow our business through innovative new services and strategic transactions with other business partners. While Yahoo! would have accelerated our strategy, I am confident that we can continue to move forward toward our goals,” Ballmer said.

“We are investing heavily in new tools and Web experiences, we have dramatically improved our search performance and advertiser satisfaction, and we will continue to build our scale through organic growth and partnerships,” said Kevin Johnson, Microsoft president for platforms and services.

Below is the text of the letter from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang.

May 3, 2008

Mr. Jerry Yang
CEO and Chief Yahoo
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Jerry:

After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo!’s Board of Directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

I am disappointed that Yahoo! has not moved towards accepting our offer. I first called you with our offer on January 31 because I believed that a combination of our two companies would have created real value for our respective shareholders and would have provided consumers, publishers, and advertisers with greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. Our decision to offer a 62 percent premium at that time reflected the strength of these convictions.

In our conversations this week, we conveyed our willingness to raise our offer to $33.00 per share, reflecting again our belief in this collective opportunity. This increase would have added approximately another $5 billion of value to your shareholders, compared to the current value of our initial offer. It also would have reflected a premium of over 70 percent compared to the price at which your stock closed on January 31. Yet it has proven insufficient, as your final position insisted on Microsoft paying yet another $5 billion or more, or at least another $4 per share above our $33.00 offer.

Also, after giving this week’s conversations further thought, it is clear to me that it is not sensible for Microsoft to take our offer directly to your shareholders. This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer. Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo! undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

  • First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo!’s own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system.  This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them.  This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.
  • Given this, it would impair Yahoo’s ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.
  • In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit.  Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace.
  • This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo.  In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.
  • It could foreclose any chance of a combination with any other search provider that is not already relying on Google’s search services.

Accordingly, your apparent plan to pursue such an arrangement in the event of a proxy contest or exchange offer leads me to the firm decision not to pursue such a path. Instead, I hereby formally withdraw Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo!.

We will move forward and will continue to innovate and grow our business at Microsoft with the talented team we have in place and potentially through strategic transactions with other business partners.

I still believe even today that our offer remains the only alternative put forward that provides your stockholders full and fair value for their shares. By failing to reach an agreement with us, you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.

But clearly a deal is not to be.

Thank you again for the time we have spent together discussing this.

Sincerely yours,
/s/ Steven A. Ballmer

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corporation

About Microsoft

Microsoft LogoFounded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

This release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval. This material is not a substitute for the prospectus/proxy statement Microsoft Corporation would file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) if an agreement between Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo! Inc. is reached or any other documents which Microsoft Corporation may file with the SEC and send to Yahoo! stockholders in connection with the proposed transaction. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF YAHOO! INC. ARE URGED TO READ ANY SUCH DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.

Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of any documents filed with the SEC by Microsoft Corporation through the web site maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. Free copies of any such documents can also be obtained by directing a request to Investor Relations Department, Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399.

Microsoft Corporation and its directors and executive officers and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the proposed transaction. Information regarding Microsoft Corporation’s directors and executive officers is available in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2007, which was filed with the SEC on August 3, 2007, and its proxy statement for its 2007 annual meeting of stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on September 21, 2007. Other information regarding the participants in a proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in any proxy statement filed in connection with the proposed transaction.

Statements in this release that are “forward-looking statements” are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors such as Microsoft Corporation’s ability to achieve the synergies and value creation contemplated by the proposed transaction, Microsoft Corporation’s ability to promptly and effectively integrate the businesses of Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corporation, the timing to consummate the proposed transaction and any necessary actions to obtain required regulatory approvals, and the diversion of management time on transaction-related issues. For further information regarding risks and uncertainties associated with Microsoft Corporation’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of Microsoft Corporation’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, copies of which may be obtained by contacting Microsoft Corporation’s Investor Relations department at (800) 285-7772 or at Microsoft Corporation’s website at http://www.microsoft.com/msft.

All information in this release is as of May 3, 2008. Microsoft Corporation undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the company’s expectations.

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StumbleUpon, one of the most popular ways to discover new Web sites and videos on the Internet, announced that it has reached a major milestone of five million registered users and almost five billion ‘stumbles’ since its debut in the fall of 2001 – with over one billion ‘stumbles’ to-date in 2008 alone. A ‘stumble’ equates to a Web site delivered to a user when they press the Stumble button on the StumbleUpon toolbar.

“Reaching these incredible milestones is evidence that people need and want a personalized way to discover great content on the Web,” said Michael Buhr, general manager, StumbleUpon. “People are looking beyond traditional search for better ways to sift through the vast amounts of content online and discover what is interesting, useful and relevant to them.”

Online content is growing exponentially year-over-year and, according to a recent IDC study, individuals are now spending more time on the Internet than they do watching television. This combination has created huge demand for solutions that help people quickly and easily discover personally relevant Web sites, online videos, photos, blogs and other online content. With StumbleUpon, people are tapping the wisdom of crowds to get personal recommendations of great Web sites and Web content that matches their needs and interests and, more importantly, content they would not have found via a traditional search engine.

As traditional search continues to move at a steady pace, StumbleUpon’s growth is skyrocketing. While a recent comScore report found a 48% growth in U.S. online searches from March 2007 to March 2008, StumbleUpon saw an impressive 134% increase during the same period. Additionally, if stumbles would have been counted on comScore’s most recent U.S. Search Engine Rankings study, StumbleUpon would have placed ahead of Facebook and Amazon. These findings, coupled with StumbleUpon’s rapid momentum, further prove the need for tools that help users cut through the clutter of the Web in order to discover what’s personally interesting and relevant to them.

To get started discovering great Web sites and videos, visit StumbleUpon.

About StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon discovers Web sites based on your interests, learns what you like, and brings you more. With over 5 million users and approximately 10 million stumbles daily, StumbleUpon is one of the most popular ways to discover great content on the Internet. The company was founded in 2001 and is based in San Francisco. eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) acquired StumbleUpon in May 2007.

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WASHINGTON: NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has launched a new Web site that provides enhanced and engaging information about NASA’s vast scope of scientific endeavors and achievements.

The site will provide in-depth coverage of NASA’s past, present and future science missions with features that include:

  • Interactive tables and searches for Earth, heliophysics, planetary and astrophysics missions.
  • Insight into dark matter and dark energy, planets around other stars, climate change, Mars and space weather.
  • Resources for researchers including links to upcoming science solicitations and opportunities.
  • A mapping of science questions for NASA science missions and thedata they produce.
  • A citizen-scientist page with access to resources that equip the public to engage in scientific investigation.
  • Expanded “For Educators” and “For Kids” pages to provide access to a broader range of resources for learning the science behind NASA missions.
  • Easy-to-navigate design and an improved search engine to help find information.

Visit the new NASA science Web site at: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/

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