IE9 Responds To Safari 5 With A Side-By-Side Hardware Acceleration Video

Yesterday, Apple released the latest version of its web browser, Safari 5. In their release notes, they highlight not only new features, but also the fact that it’s faster than the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox. One competitor they didn’t mention was the most-used web browser in the world: Internet Explorer. Today, Microsoft has responded to that.

In a post on their Blogging Windows blog, the IE team has posted a video showing the latest version of IE, IE9 (still in beta testing), running against Safari 5. The result? IE smokes Safari. It’s not even close.

So case-closed? No quite. In the post, Microsoft doesn’t directly mention it but this is showcasing IE9′s use of hardware acceleration vs. Safari’s use. In its release yesterday, Apple was talking about pure JavaScript performance tests, which are different (and again, didn’t mention Microsoft — though judging from their own posted results, Safari 5 would win pretty easily). In other words, for web apps in the future that rely heavily on hardware acceleration (such as games), IE clearly has a leg up right now (at least on Windows machines). But for web apps that are JavaScript heavy (such as Gmail), Safari likely does.

But Apple does highlight hardware acceleration for Windows as a key new feature of Safari:

Tap into the graphics processing power of your PC while browsing the web. Safari 5 adds hardware acceleration support for Windows, so rich media and interactive graphics execute smoothly and speedily in the browser.

I also ran some of the IE9 Test Drive speed demos on the latest release of Chrome (6.0+), and IE9′s results killed it as well (about 60 FPS vs. 6 FPS). But again, as these demos note, they “full advantage of your hardware with background compiled JavaScript.”


JackRabbit Systems Raises $1.3 Million For Online Travel Software

JackRabbit Systems, a developer of a white-label online travel bookings software, has raised $1.33 million in funding from Kickstart Seed Fund and Sun Mountain Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to $3.7 million

JackRabbit’s main software, BookDirect, allows any website to embed a direct hotel booking system on their sites. Similar to Expedia, BookDirect gathers rates and availability information from lodging properties, and displays that information to consumers looking to book rooms. Consumers can then click from the search engine to the lodging property website to complete the booking.

The most common use cases for the company’s software have been for state and city travel sites, says founder Andrew Van Luchene, who was formerly the sixth employee at Priceline. For example, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority integrated JackRabbit’s software into its site. Since 2007, BookDirect has originated four million leads to hotels.

Of course, the online travel space is crowded, and full of worthy competitors, including Kayak, Expedia and even Bing and now Google. But JackRabbit’s platform seems to have a loyal following, so perhaps it will be able to compete in the space.


Costolo: Twitter Now Has 190 Million Users Tweeting 65 Million Times A Day

Twitter COO Dick Costolo offered some updated stats at the Conversational Media Summit today in New York City. Twitter is now attracting 190 million visitors per month and generating 65 million Tweets a day. “We’re laying down track as fast as we can in front of the train,” says Costolo. These numbers are up slightly from 180 million self-reported unique visitors per month back in April, and 50 million Tweets per day in February.

The number of visitors to Twitter.com is not the same as the number of registered users. (ComScore, in contrast, estimated 83.6 million worldwide unique visitors to Twitter.com in April and 23.8 million U.S. visitors in May, see chart below). Most users, says Costolo, don’t Tweet at all, but rather use Twitter as a consumption media. How many of those 65 million Tweets are automated spam is not clear.

Once again, Costolo reiterated Twitter’s stance that “we will not allow third parties to inject ads into the stream.” When Twitter rolls out its Promoted Tweets, it will control them 100 percent. Some brands doing early beta testing with Promoted Tweets are seeing, on average, 2.5 percent “engagement rates,” as measured by replies, retweets, clicks and so on. He also mentioned that Twitter soon will be rolling out an analytics dashboard for commercial customers and brands. Advertisers will be able to target messages by interest and topics, but not by individual users. And on Twitter’s privacy policy, he says, “Our privacy policy is very simple: You can have a protected account, or not. If not, everything is public.” Nobody seems to be having fits over the fact that everything on Twitter is public, but then they knew that going in.


Microsoft Tackles Security And Privacy In New IE8 TV Ads

Yesterday, Microsoft launched a new wave of commercials aimed at educating consumers of their risks online. The ads, which debuted on FOX last night, can be watched here.

As Brandon LeBlanc writes on the Windows blog,

To prove just how vulnerable your personal information is, Internet Explorer 8 re-recreated notorious internet scams–live, off the web– in the most street-smart city in world: New York. We used hidden cameras to film reactions of real people. In the first spot we asked people to provide very personal information in order to open a new bank account which would give them a cash reward of $500. We learned that, just as it is online, it can be hard to tell the difference between the scammer and the real thing. We filmed a lot of people and nearly all of them were convinced our “bank” was the real deal.

And of course Microsoft is touting its security filters along with the campaign. For example, the ad states that IE8 block 3 million online threats a day via the browser’s SmartScreen feature, which automatically blocks web pages which look suspicious or have been reported as suspicious and also warns you of the risks.

Microsoft is also pushing the privacy options in IE8, with InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering that aim to protect user privacy by preventing information about the Web sites that you visit from automatically being shared with other sites.

With privacy and security at the forefront of consumers’ minds with the Facebook debacle, the commercials are timely. And Microsoft is using the topic to push users to upgrade to a more modern, secure browser. The ads definitely take on a more serious tone than the past commercials for Microsoft, which have included Jerry Seinfeld (which was quickly scrapped), and been more lighthearted. Maybe the company is finally leaving the comedy to Apple.

Information provided by CrunchBase


OnStar Gets Directions From Google Maps

OnStar has struck a deal with Google to integrate Google Maps into all of its navigation systems. OnStar users can now use Google Maps to get directions to a destination and then send those destinations to OnStar’s Turn-by-Turn Navigation Service in their vehicles.

The Google Maps option will be available on all current Turn-by-Turn capable GM vehicles starting with the 2006 model year and also will integrate with OnStar Destination Download to send destinations directly to the vehicle’s screen-based navigation system.

The partnership isn’t surprising as Google and GM’s OnStar have an established relationship. Last month, OnStar and Google unveiled the mapping and navigation capibilities of the Android-powered platform in the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle. And it is rumored that OnStar will link Android phones with the navigation system’s platform. The Android system is appealing to OnStar because of its compelling navigation capabilities. Last year, the search giant launched a new version of Google Maps Navigation for Android phones which surpasses the functionality of many in-car nav systems.

GM is not the only car manufacturer to adopt Google Maps; Ford just announced today that it would be integrating Google Maps in its Sync system, which is ironically powered by Microsoft software.


Invites to Let’s Annotate – Real-Time Annotation On The iPad

Let’s annotate just released their iPad version for real-time collaboration for PDFs. The service is still in alpha and takes full advantage of the iPad’s HTML5 capabilities. The app practially runs within the iPads browser and also let’s you make use of native iPad elements such as multi-touch.

The iPad version was built upon their existing Web application, that comes in three different pricing models depending on the number of collaborators and storage space. It’s also fully built with HTML5 and aims to take out the hassle of sending large junks of PDFs over the web. Sounds familiar? Indeed there are various apps out there, most notably Scribd, Issuu or Google Docs.


TurnHere And Its Network Of 8,000 Filmmakers To Flood Yelp With Videos

Online video production startup TurnHere is now the exclusive provider of video creation services for Yelp, the popular local search and business review site.

TurnHere, through its network of over 8,000 professional filmmakers, will be providing local video production for businesses that advertise on Yelp, as well as a slate of video-related services, including expanded distribution of their video(s) across the Web.

John McWeeny, COO of TurnHere, claims online businesses that have videos included in their listings experience higher numbers of clicks, calls and leads. TurnHere henceforth enables Yelp to provide their advertisers with two video options:

– Standard Video: Advertisers receive a 30-second video slideshow made from a series of photos provided by the business with music and custom voice-over narration.
– Premium Video: Advertisers receive a 30-60 second custom video shot at their place of business by a professional filmmaker from the TurnHere network.

Additionally, advertisers can choose to increase the visibility of their video through TurnHere’s video promotion package, which includes distribution to YouTube, Google Places, Facebook, Yahoo! Video and more.

You can see some samples on Yelp here and here.

All in all, it’s a big score for TurnHere, a San Francisco startup founded in 2005 that has raised $8.6 million in venture capital since its inception. The company competes with StudioNow, which was picked up by AOL earlier this year.


An Android User’s Take On Yesterday’s iPhone News

Yesterday’s Apple keynote was, I think more than ever, a testament to Steve Jobs’s presentation skills. Faced with an audience that had already seen the grand finale, he still had no trouble evoking plenty of gleeful gasps and applause. He even managed to make the now-infamous Wifi glitch amusing and entertaining (if a bit odd), rather than painfully awkward. But despite all of his showmanship and a very impressive new product, the keynote wasn’t quite the game changer that I expected. I don’t mean to say I found the iPhone 4 to be disappointing — it will be incredibly successful, and many of my friends are champing at the bit to get one. But I expected to walk out of San Francisco’s Moscone Center yesterday longing for the next iPhone despite my current allegiance to Android. That didn’t happen.

A few weeks ago, an Apple zealot emailed Steve Jobs asking him if Apple had any WWDC announcements that would “blow [Google] out of the water”.  Jobs responded, “you won’t be disappointed.”  To me, it sounded like Jobs was hinting at something major — a feature or service or device that was simply so much better than Android that it would feel like the G1 vs. iPhone 3G days all over again, when the iPhone was vastly superior.  But instead of launching a nuke, Apple’s announcements were a strong but survivable offensive against Android; a retaliation for the recent attacks at Google I/O. Apple has taken the lead once again, but I don’t think Android will be playing catchup for long.

Before I go any further, I think I should explain where I’m coming from so as to cast aside (or perhaps, affirm) any suspicion that I’m simply an Android fanboy. I used an iPhone full-time for two years, first with the original iPhone, and then the iPhone 3G. I loved both of them, and for a long time held a rather naive view that Apple couldn’t do much wrong. Then, in mid-2009, Apple started blocking Google’s applications and I began to have serious misgivings about the App Store. A few months later I switched to a Droid, and then to a Nexus One, which I’ve been using for around five months now. Despite my issues with the App Store, I bought an iPad the day it came out and was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying it was “changing the paradigm of how we will use computers” (a ridiculously clichéd choice of words, but I still agree with them). Of course, my decision to buy an iPad may indicate that I’m a huge hypocrite, but I like to tell myself that I just have a nuanced perspective.

All of that said, let’s get down to business.

The Device

It’s been said many times already, but it’s worth repeating: this thing is gorgeous. It unapologetically abandons the older iPhone’s curves in favor of more defined edges that make the device just look inherently powerful. And, perhaps more important, it feels rock solid.

One of the first questions I posed to the Apple sentry stationed next to my demo unit was how resistant the new model was to scratches and falls. His response: “the screen is stronger than sapphire”. A quizzical expression later (I know nothing about gemstones), he explained that this meant it was really strong and would be very difficult to crack. After holding the satisfyingly weighty device for a few minutes, I honestly got the impression that I could throw it against the wall and that it would survive intact (the sentry did not like this idea). I really haven’t seen an Android phone that felt this sturdy or looked this good.

Aside from the build quality, the most striking feature of the iPhone 4 is undoubtedly its screen. It’s sharper than your computer monitor. Reading text on it feels a little surreal, like it is almost too crisp because you’re not used to seeing this kind of display on a phone (a nice problem to have). Again, this blows the screens I’ve seen on Android phones out of the water. If I had to guess, I’d say the Motorola Droid comes closest, but doesn’t match it.

One related note on this: switching between the iPhone 4 and original iPhone screen is a little jarring — as Steve Jobs said on stage, once you’ve tried the “Retina Display”, you can’t really go back. Unfortunately, the iPad features a display that is most decidedly not the Retina Display (in fact, it has a lower pixel density than the older iPhone models). In other words, your shiny new iPhone 4 is going to make your 2 month old iPad feel obsolete real fast.

iOS 4

Amid all of the announcements yesterday, I think I was most surprised by the lack of news around iOS 4, which made its debut in April and will be released later this month. Granted, this is a huge update, bringing multitasking, threaded conversations in mail, folders, and plenty of other goodies to the iPhone. Thing is, Android already does most of this — I had expected a major feature or two that we hadn’t heard about yet.

Multitasking is clearly the big news here, and yes, there is an argument that the iPhone may be able to get better battery life than Android in this regard. But my Nexus One typically makes it all day without having battery issues, and the ‘rogue application’ phenomenon simply hasn’t been a major problem for me (I think it’s affected me twice). And the iPhone still has a a lousy notification system, which I don’t think is as usable as Android’s slide-down tray.  In short, this just seems like a matter of preference.

FaceTime

This is the wildcard for me. Apple’s execution here is good — you don’t need to deal with user accounts or setup of any kind, which is very nice. But it’s not perfect. The biggest issue here is that it’s Wifi only, which is going to be pretty restrictive. Apple’s marketing videos around this feature are truly touching, but ensuring that those heartwarming moments happen within Wifi range is going to be tough (not to mention that you’ll need to make sure your loved ones are all equipped with the newest iPhone).

Of course, this will change in time — carriers will eventually be able to accomodate the increased video traffic, and obviously the market penetration of the iPhone 4 will be increasing quickly. But that will also give Android plenty of time to catch up, especially given that Apple is making FaceTime an open standard (though the logistics of this haven’t been publicized yet).

My hunch is that FaceTime will be a major marketing win for Apple and that it will keep going strong with those heartstring-tugging ads. But I’m less sure that people will actually be using the feature regularly in the immediate future.

Other Software

A significant amount of time during yesterday’s keynote was dedicated to showing off iPhone applications. I don’t think any of these will have a major impact on the success of either platform, but they’re worth going over.

Zynga’s Farmville

  • This is going to be an absolutely huge draw for millions of Farmville addicts. That said, my hunch is that the demographics for Zynga games are more in line with the iPhone than with Android to begin with. If you really wanted to, you can likely get Farmville working using Android’s Flash support.

iMovie for iPhone

  • This is the kind of application that Android simply doesn’t have yet (or at least, I can’t find): polished and powerful. Given how terrible the stock Android media player is I don’t have high hopes for this sort of thing coming from Google, so we’ll probably have to wait for third parties to develop something comparable.

iBooks

  • Jobs spent a lot of time talking about iBooks, namely its ability to now read PDFs and to sync between multiple devices. Note that Amazon’s Kindle app is coming to Android this summer and will feature similar syncing capabilities. This isn’t a new feature for the iOS platform, either — Kindle’s application for the iPhone and iPad already offer the same syncing (and work with Kindle devices as well).

Outlook

After handling the new iPhone, there’s little doubt in my mind that my Nexus One is no longer the state of the art. The screen isn’t nearly as sharp as the iPhone 4, the build quality isn’t as good, and I don’t have a front facing camera for video chat. Most of these shortcomings hold true for other popular Android devices like the Incredible and Evo 4G (though the latter does have the front camera).

But despite the fact that my phone doesn’t quite match up to the iPhone 4, at no point yesterday did I consider jumping back onto the iPhone bandwagon. My Nexus One doesn’t feel much slower than the iPhone (especially since upgrading to Froyo). I can’t see myself using the phone video chat in the immediate future, especially given the Wifi limitation and the fact that I’d only be able to use it with other technophiles initially. And while the iPhone 4′s screen is pretty damn amazing, it isn’t nearly sharp enough to overcome my disdain for AT&T.

What’s more, I’ll be surprised if Android devices don’t surpass the iPhone’s hardware capabilities within the next four months or so. We’ll probably be seeing sharper screens, faster processors, and even integrated gyroscopes (another feature launching with the iPhone 4) on the next wave of devices. And from a software perspective, Android actually seems poised to start beating Apple on some fronts, namely its connection with cloud services. Despite rumors leading up to WWDC, Steve Jobs didn’t once bring up Apple’s MobileMe cloud service during his keynote. During his interview at the D8 conference he said that Apple was working on wireless tethering/sync features, but it seems like Google has a head start.

In short, more than ever it looks like Android and Apple are in a dead heat. And that’s a great thing for all of us. Even you fanboys who didn’t read this far.


IAB Sets Up Tablet Task Force, Praises The iPad And HTML5, Badmouths Flash

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today announced that it has formed the Tablet Task Force, a group comprised of publishing and interactive industry executives, in order to “help create an infrastructure that would support a variety of rich new advertising opportunities for the emerging technologies of tablets and e-readers”.

In reality, it’s all about the iPad, as evidenced by the focus on Apple’s device in this industry report on ‘tabvertising’ (PDF).

Also noteworthy: the IAB actively tries to kill the “myth” that lack of Flash support on the iPad is going to be a problem for advertisers, saying it “incredibly intensive on any computer to run, burning through batteries faster”.

Its advice?

“The programming language HTML5 used by most new browsers, can do almost as much as Flash without the power drain. Advertisers simply need to start creating ads in HTML5, rather than Flash.”

Adobe will be pleased.

The announcement of the new Task Force and industry report was made at IAB Innovation Days, a two-day event that coincides with Internet Week, the annual week-long series of events spotlighting New York City’s role as a leader in the digital and media industries.

The preliminary objectives of the Tablet Task Force, according to the press release, are to explore and define comprehensive best practices in the area, build an infrastructure for ongoing growth and provide guidance on the development of ad standards that enhance the “lush consumer experiences” that these devices promise.

For your background, the IAB is comprised of more than 375 media and technology companies, who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States.

Who knew its objectives included helping Apple sell even more iPads and advance the use of HTML5 by advertisers?


Mobile App Frenzy – GetJar Claims Second Place As Store Hits A Billion Downloads

Mobile App stores have been dominated by Apple and Android with Nokia’s Ovi a distant third, but there is an independent store out there which cuts across all except Apple. GetJar, which claims to be the the world’s second largest mobile app store, says it has just broken the 1 billion app download barrier. This is the only time a cross-platform apps store has clocked over 1 billion downloads and the second time after Apple did it a few months ago.

The message, of course, is that mobile apps, which have benefitted from the marketplace approach and the ability for developers to profit, are here to stay.


GeeksOnAPlane At echelon 2010 In Singapore: An Overview Of South East Asia’s Web Scene

Following Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul, the GeeksOnAPlane (GOAP) tour reached its fourth and penultimate stop last week: Singapore. The island nation isn’t a very big market by itself (population: 5 million), but it’s located in the center of South East Asia, home to 600 million people. Only a small fraction of the population in that region currently has access to the web. However, it’s just a question of time until places like Indonesia (240 million people, 12.5% Internet penetration), Vietnam (89 million, 25.7%), or the Philippines (98 million, 24.5%) catch up to the rest of the wired world.

There’s quite a lot happening in this region of the world already, as demonstrated by the 650 local entrepreneurs, investors and executives who attended echelon 2010, a two-day web industry event organized by Singaporean startup community e27. What follows is a summary of just a few presentations, panel discussions, and startup demos the GOAP witnessed at that event.

Needless to say, there was a lot more going on during those two days in Singapore (for the purpose of this post, I am just focusing on the Asia-related stuff; here‘s the complete agenda and here‘s the speaker list). If you want to know more, e27 itself covered much of what happened at the event on its blog and offers a slew of video recordings on its Ustream page.

Asia-related presentations and panel discussions at echelon 2010

Asia’s web industry (panel discussion)

Podcast series This Week In Asia (iTunes link) recorded its 50th episode live on stage at echelon 2010. Guests included investor and GOAP head honcho Dave McClure, Gen Kanai (Director of Asia Business Development for Mozilla), Mohan Belani (Director at e27), Rama Mamuaya (founder of Indonesian tech blog DailySocial), myself, and others.

You can listen to the podcast, which touches upon various topics around Asia’s web scene, over on This Week In Asia’s site (the sound quality improves after the first two minutes), download it on iTunes, or watch the discussion on video here.

Indonesia’s mobile industry (presentation)

Indonesia is hot right now, not only in South East Asia. One of the most interesting (Asia-related) presentations delivered at the event came from Jakarta-based Andy Zain, founder of Mobile Monday Indonesia.

Zain said that the mobile web in Indonesia is bigger than the fixed-line Internet (210 million cell phone owners), that Indonesians love browsing the web on their handsets more than anyone else (they’re consuming 661 pages monthly), and that 80% of all new handsets sold in the country are web-enabled.

Here’s Zain’s presentation:

Hit this link to view the presentation on video.

Social gaming in Asia (panel discussion)

Unfortunately, there is no video recording of the third Asia-related discussion panel (Social Gaming – How a Fast Rising Global Phenomenon is Developing in Asia) available. But e27 has summarized what the six panelists talked about in a dedicated blog post.

Startup demos at echelon 2010

Thankfully, echelon 2010 not only gave big corporations and star entrepreneurs some airtime, but also made room for South East Asian startups to show their wares (dozens of them, in fact). All of the companies offer their wares in English (and quite a few were approached by investors from Asia and elsewhere on the spot, I’ve heard.)

In TechCrunch 50 tradition, ten of the startups actually launched their products at the event. You can watch the entire launchpad on video here and here.

Here’s a list of all the products that were first unveiled at echelon 2010:

  • Zelrealm, a virtual items-based monetization tool for social game developers (more info on the e27 blog)
  • MyCube, a “digital life management tool” that will be built on top of existing social networks (more info)
  • scraplr, a “Yahoo Answers for tasks” that makes it possible to share tasks on Facebook and Twitter (more info)
  • TangoFX, a video platform (in alpha) that lets multiple users connect while consuming video content through widgets (more info)
  • Pandaform, a simple form builder mainly targeted at small organizations (more info)
  • foound, an LBS for the iPhone that intends to make it easier to organize “hangouts with friends” (more info)
  • FlickEvents, an event management platform (more info)
  • Maxus Contentian, a copywriting add-on for the Drupal CMS that’s targeted at small businesses (more info)
  • MoVend, an in-app payment system for Android mainly targeting South East Asian developers (more info)
  • Time Voyager, whose game engine JX2 will be marketed to makers of 3D games (more info)

foound (tag line: “Why check-in alone when you can hangout with friends?”) was widely regarded to be the top product of the echelon launchpad. The eponymous Singapore-based startup expects its iPhone app to hit the App Store within this month (the foound team – along with some members of the GOAP group – is pictured on top of this post).

Among the around 40 exhibiting startups, I found three companies to be standing out from the crowd (although there were probably more). These were Flutterscape from Japan (a unique, cross-border social commerce platform), Creately from Australia (a collaborative online diagramming tool), and insync from the Philippines (“Dropbox for Gmail and Google users”).

Many thanks from the GOAP group to the echelon 2010 organizers (especially Mohan Belani and Sneha Menon) for their hospitality.

Only a small part of the group has now moved on to Tokyo. The final stop of the GOAP tour (which formally ended after echelon) is Sapporo, where the Infinity Ventures Summit, one of Japan’s most important web industry events, will be held from Thursday.

For GOAP information in real-time, follow the #goap hash tag (the official Twitter account is here). “Official” GOAP pictures are still being uploaded over on Flickr.

Photo credit: Kris Krüg, Static Photography


Connotate Scores $5.25M, Helps Companies Collect And Understand Data

Connotate, which aims to help companies collect data and content from the Web and transform this unstructured data into actionable enterprise intelligence, this morning announced that it has raised $5.25 million in venture capital from .406 Ventures.

Based on technology developed at Rutgers University, Connotate provides customized real-time Web information extraction capabilities that help organizations transform data into actionable intelligence, in order to create new revenue streams, increase productivity and track Web sites with automated processes.

Connotate says its solution helps individual organizations detect changes, collect and organize data from more than 3 million Web pages per day. This data can then be transformed into what the company refers to as “high-value information assets”, to feed content products, grow market and business intelligence, enable mass data aggregation, migration and integration.

Connotate’s patented intelligent Agent technology empowers companies to quickly create data sets, new applications and content products, fully automated and 24/7. Content is delivered over any number of media including XML, RSS, email, text messaging, file systems and direct feeds to SQL databases and Excel.

Customers include Reuters, Dow Jones & Company, Associated Press and Ask.com.

Information provided by CrunchBase


TRUSTe Secures $12 Million To Certify Online Privacy

Online privacy certification company TRUSTe has raised $12 million led by Jafco Ventures with DAG Ventures, Accel Partners and Baseline Ventures participating in the round. This brings TRUSTe’s total funding to $22 million.

TRUSTe certifies that companies are meeting online privacy standards for consumers. Websites which are certified by the company bear a “trustmark,” indicating that the site is secure. TRUSTe says that according to a survey, more than 82 percent of consumers who recognize TRUSTe’s privacy seal use it to decide how and when to disclose personal information.


Social Networks Overtake Search Engines In UK – Should Google Be Worried?

Hitwise, the web analytics firm, has a report out today that claims that social networks now receive more UK Internet visits than search engines.

Which, if the case, would imply that Google should be considerably worried about its future battle with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, as online marketing spend will surely follow Internet foot-through. Or does it?

According to Hitwise, during May, social networks accounted for 11.88% of UK Internet visits and search engines accounted for 11.33%, representing the first ever month that social networks have been more popular than search engines in the UK.


ReputationDefender Buys Ziggs, A Social Network That Lets You Market Yourself

Online reputation and privacy management company ReputationDefender has acquired Ziggs.com, a social networking site for business professionals and people who would like to ‘market themselves on the Web’.

According to the release, ReputationDefender will introduce Ziggs users to its range of reputation and privacy management services, enabling them to better manage and maintain their online identities. The purchase price was not disclosed but likely on the low side.

Effective today, Ziggs.com customers can tap ReputationDefender’s products, in particular MyEdge, to enhance their online professional reputation management strategy. Ziggs.com customers will be able to continue enjoying the features and benefits offered by its platform.

ReputationDefender, founded in 2006, recently raised $8.65 million from Bessemer Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins. A total of $11.7 million has now been pumped into the company.