Mobile Ad Network Greystripe Rolls Out New Rich Media Banner Formats

Greystripe, an ad network that has been known for its full screen rich media ad formats that bring Flash-like technologies in their iPhone advertisements, is expanding its library of ad formats today. The ad network now offers advertisers a full range of in-application banner ads in a variety of formats, including including static, animated and expandable-to-full screen rich media ads for the iPhone.

Banner ads tend to take up a smaller portion of the app real estate and some developers actually prefer the banners to full screen. In the case of the banners, Greystripe is launching two versions. One is a static (non moving banner) and the second is a rich media version that when you click on it, starts to animate and roll down into a full screen experience. Like all Greystripe ad formats, the new banner ads provide a variety of click-to-options that do not require the user to leave the application, including click-to-web, click-to-buy, click-to-map and more. Following this release of iPhone banners, the Company also plans to roll out its banner ad formats across all major mobile platforms, with Android support in the next few months.

Greytripe has been known for its full screen rich media ads that essentially bring Flash ads to the iPhone, claiming to currently hold 75 percent of the full screen rich media mobile market, serving over one billion of these impressions so far this year. And over the past month, Greystripe has seen a 200% month of month increase in campaign bookings for its full screen rich media ads. According to the ad network, full screen iFlash custom ads produce 2-5% CTRs on average, with 15-30 seconds of user engagement. The company expects the same levels of interaction with its click-to-full screen rich media banner ad format.

So why the the addition of new formats for Greystripe? Perhaps the ad network is anticipating competition from Apple’s iAd advertisements and is looking to expand its advertising offerings. Greystripe claims that its expandable-to-full screen format has some similarities to Apple’s iAd format but will use Greystripe’s proprietary iFlash technology deliver ads to the iPhone as HTML5.

Despite the threat from competitor AdMob and now Apple, Greystripe has continued to make its rich media ad offerings more appealing and attractive to both developers and advertisers by extending support to various devices and even launching a guaranteed CPM program. And the ad network just announced an iPad SDK.

Advertisers who develop Flash advertising campaigns using Adobe tools and workflowswill now be able to develop their own creatives for a fraction of the cost it would take to code ads in HTML5. According to Adobe, over 90 percent of creative professionals have Adobe software on their desktops. Greystripe also offers a full range of creative services.

Banner formats are a complement to Greystripe’s full range of full screen ad formats. The company holds 75% market share of the full screen rich media mobile market, serving over one billion of these impressions so far this year. comScore Inc. reports Greystripe’s full screen iFlash custom ads produce 2-5% CTRs on average, with 15-30+ seconds of user engagement. The company expects the same high levels of interaction with its click-to-full screen rich media banner ad format.

Google Previews Chrome Web Store — An App Store For The Web (If You’re Using Chrome)

Today at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Google showed off a preview of a major new product: the Chrome Web Store. Yes, this is an app store for the web.

As you can see in the images below, those big icons are all web apps. This is where the apps you choose in the store with reside. In the store itself, you will see a gallery full of these icons (much like the Chrome Extension gallery, or the Chrome Theme gallery). You can see ratings for the apps, as well as reviews. But perhaps most importantly, developers will be able to charge for these apps.

Developers care about monetization. But they need more than just advertising,” Google VP Product Sundar Pichai said on stage. With the Chrome Web Store, Google has simplified the process of buying apps on the web. Once you sign in to your Google account, apps are just one click away (presumably using Google Checkout). From there you can say, buy Plants & Zombies, the very popular game in Apple’s App Store. But this runs all on the web in Chrome, thanks to Flash. You can run the game full-screen as well.

Another game is Lego Star Wars. This game is run through Chrome’s use of native client (so developers can use native code to develop for the web). This is a full 3D game, built using rich HTML5 APIs.

There will also be apps in this store based around content. This means that magazines and periodicals will be coming to the store — and they’ll be able to charge for them. Sports Illustrated showed off its web app on stage.

As an example of pricing, Google showed that MugTug Darkroom (shown below) will be $4.99.

But this exciting new store comes with another cost: you have to be using Chrome to use this store. It will be built right into the Chrome browser starting soon — and yes, into Chrome OS when that is launches later this year. But these web apps will be able to work on other browsers, Google says. It’s just that you have to get them through the Chrome Web Store, apparently.

This store just made Chrome OS a lot more interesting — to be developers and users. Google is attempting to take the currently popular idea of one-click app purchasing and translated it to the web. This is a direct shot at both Apple and Microsoft.

Here’s some more info from Google:

Are applications in the Chrome Web Store different from other web apps?

No. Web apps listed in the Chrome Web Store are regular web applications that are built with standard web tools and technologies. The same web applications will run in other modern browsers that support these technologies.

What’s the advantage of “installing” an app from Chrome Web Store?

When Google Chrome users “install” a web application from the store, a convenient shortcut is added for quickly accessing the app. Installed web apps can also request advanced HTML5 permissions. For more information, read the preliminary documentation about installable web applications in Chrome.

How will I add my web application to the store?

We will invite developers to start adding their web apps later this year before the Chrome Web Store opens. To find out how to prepare your web app for the store, read our preliminary documentation and join our developer discussion group.

When is the Chrome Web Store opening?

The Chrome Web Store will be available for users and developers later this year. Subscribe to our developer discussion groupand the Chromium blog for updates.

Here’s the app page for installed apps in Chrome:

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch Demos HTML5 Tools At Google I/O

Today at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch was invited on stage to show off some of what Adobe is working on — with HTML5.

Yes, that may be somewhat surprising considering Adobe’s position with Flash (and their heated debate with Apple), but Lynch said Adobe is all about enabling people to do what they want, no matter the technology. “HTML5 is great. It’s a great move forward for video on the web,” Lynch said.

On stage, Lynch showed off HTML5 support in the new Dreamweave CS5. Included here (through a software extension) is:

  • HTML5 starter layouts, making it easier for users to adopt the latest in emerging web standards
  • Code hinting for HTML5 and CSS3 capabilities to enable Dreamweaver users to easily make use of new HTML5 tags
  • WebKit engine updates and improvements to support video and audio in Dreamweaver CS5’s Live View.

Lynch then announced that Adobe was going to support VP8 (Google’s new open-source video codec) going forward in its Flash player. This will help the codec be distributed to a billion people in less than a year, Lynch says.

Lynch also teased there will be more talk specifically about what Adobe is doing with video and the web tomorrow at I/O. That should be interesting given his penchant to speak his mind and cause some controversy.

Revision3 Lands Penn Jillette For New Web Video Show, Penn Point

Revision3 might have finally found a star bigger than its own founder Kevin Rose (who co-hosts Revsion3′s flagship show Diggnation). The Web video production house just signed magician/comedian Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller for a new show called Penn Point. The first episode will go up on May 24.

The format will be a 3 to 7 minute rant by Penn on politics, news, pop culture, or whatever he wants to rant about. Maybe he’ll throw a magic trick in every now and then. Or he can show off the iPhone app he launched at TechCrunch50. Really, whatever he wants to do. Revision3 will edit the video to make him look good. (I’m in the wrong line of work, should have been a magician).

While you are waiting for the first episode, here is a backstage camera-phone interview Paul Carr and Sarah Lacy shot of Penn at TC50 (Penn is such a large man, it took two of them to interview him):

Information provided by CrunchBase

Too Cool for School: What the Valley Is Missing in Online Education

I always tell entrepreneurs outside of the Valley—whether they are in the middle of my country or a developing one—if they want to build the next great social media darling aimed at a Western audience, they’re probably better off moving to the Valley.

It’s not that you can’t do it elsewhere: The right entrepreneur at the right time with the right opportunity can largely build a great company anywhere. But in the Valley it’s easier to get funded, find the right talent and get acquired—which are three things most high-growth startups are going to need. In this new media game, connections matter at least as much as the best features and technology.

So with that in mind, I get excited when I see other countries exploiting holes that the Valley just isn’t going to tackle. One of those is mobile apps for non-smart-phones, as I’ve written about at length. Another is online education.

Online education was tried and mostly failed in the Valley in the late 1990s, with University of Phoenix a rare billion-dollar-plus win. Rosetta Stone is one of a few examples that’s made it big since, and despite some awesome software that approaches language learning in a new way, the company has still floundered since going public in 2009. Its stock is off its lows, but hardly soaring.

I’ve spoken to many venture capitalists who say they’d love to use technology to change education, but few think they can make money at it. So when I started reporting in other countries and kept meeting entrepreneurs starting e-learning companies, my first thought was “Keep walking, nothing to see here.” But recently, I’ve started to wonder if this might be the next great online market to be disrupted – and, lucky for emerging markets, it’s one the Valley is mostly not paying attention to.

The Valley’s lack of interest is partially because, comparatively, we don’t really have an education problem in the United States. Yes, it could be better, but compared to other countries, our educational system teaches people how to think instead of just how to memorize, and most everyone has access to some level of education—including, frequently, higher education. (What they chose to do with that access is another matter.) We do have some real problems when it comes to education, but let’s be honest—they are first world problems. If you are reading this and getting outraged, you haven’t traveled enough. Our education system is the envy of a lot of the world.

Another reason this might be a better opportunity elsewhere is a word I keep writing in relation to emerging markets: It’s a Greenfield opportunity. In the US, education is too far along as a full, societal and political system to be a Greenfield opportunity, just like our railway or telecom infrastructure is.

But in emerging markets, modern education is still developing on an elementary, collegiate and vocational level. Burgeoning populations who want better opportunities are struggling under the confines of what young democracies can provide, giving a huge opportunity for private, for-profit education systems to play a bigger role than they’ve played in the West historically. And obviously, the Web and mobile is a big part of this. It’s not just about access, it’s about breaking learning down into affordable, consumable chunks—the same way the Web has broken music and media down into sell-able, bite-sized pieces of the song and the blog post. Some of this is happening inside the classroom and some is redefining what a “classroom” is.

I am writing this post from Indonesia where I was stunned to read the country has an 80%-plus literacy rate for people over 15 years of age. Many moguls have their own colleges, the way they may have their own magazine or reality show in the West. And while many are motivated by a sense of responsibility, my understanding is that most are for-profit ventures.

In India, there are already large companies like NIIT, which is known mostly for vocational education and is reaching down into slums and upwards in the economic pyramid with new e-learning courses. Also in India, I came across a division within a large finance company called IL&FS that was delivering English lessons over mobile phones, using voice, SMS and numerical dialing to answer multiple choice quiz questions. The lessons are highly affordable—especially when a group of village kids gather around a mobile phone set on speaker on a hot Indian night.

Rio-based ezLearn is aiming to become the largest skill-based learning site in Brazil, the first product being an English language-learning site, which tries to make learning fun. It has 4,000 paying customers in less than six months in business and is started by Ana Gabriela Pessoa, who got a graduate degree in education from Harvard then went back home to make a difference. (And hopefully build a successful company.)

Similarly, last week in Cape Town, I met a company called GetSmater that also aims to use the Web to market accessible, vocational, skill-based learning, although languages are one of the only areas it isn’t going after. While ezLearn focuses on fun, video, social media and game-play to learn, GetSmarter is more rigorous, requiring six-to-15 hours per week of work by its students and partnering with the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. The company spun out of a family services business, and has trained just 4,000 students in two years, but has upped its growth dramatically in 2010 and is on track to almost double that this year, says founder Sam Paddock.

Lastly, I haven’t met them, but Israel’s Time to Know is an ambitious effort that focuses on bringing technology into classrooms in a substantial way. (Our coverage is here.)

There’s something else interesting about this market: If successful, it could help bridge the “laptop divide.” The “digital divide” has already been well bridged by mobile phones, but not everything can be done over mobile. Top quality, locally-designed education software could be a good reason for people or well-meaning NGOs and nonprofits—to pay up to give underprivileged laptops or netbooks.

Valley companies like Intel pushing for there to be such a catalyst, should do whatever they can to prop this movement up. If they’re concerned about emerging worlds skipping the computer revolution, opting instead for cheap, Android-enabled smart phones produced in China, education could be a killer app. I’m not saying it’s time for a Valley resurgence in e-learning, but maybe Valley investors should be investing in the resurgence already happening around the world. Whether they agree or not, there’s something big brewing here.

Google I/O: The Web Is Killing Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, And TV

Today at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Google’s Vic Gundotra put up an interesting slide early on in his keynote. As you can see in the image above, over the past 5 years, the web is kicking ass.

From 2004 to 2009, stats from Forrester say that use of the web is up 117% in terms of how people spend their time in a day. That may not be too surprising, but what’s interesting is that all of the other major forms of media consumption are down or flat during the same period. Listening to the radio is down 18%, reading newspapers is down 17%, reading magazines is down 6%, and watching TV has seen 0% growth.

Obviously, this is all good news for Google, which is all-in on the web. Well, at least until their TV solution launches (maybe later today).

Information provided by CrunchBase

Live From The Google I/O Keynote

Google’s biggest developer conference is kicking off, and it’s starting with a 90 minute keynote that’s sure to bring some major news. My live notes from the event are below. Note that Google is live streaming the event — we can’t embed the video, but you can get to it by clicking on the photo above, or by going here.

-Google VP Vic Gundotra has taken the stage. He says that this is the third I/O and it sold out faster than either of the events before it

-The web is the most important platform of our generation. And it is the only one that belongs to all of us. It was at this conference. HTML 5 is taking off. The first spike is YouTube adoption. The second was Apple’s adoption — he jokes “I think it was a late night Steve Jobs email or something”.

VP Product Sundar Pichai has taken the stage. Web applications, since 2004 have been replacing native apps except for browsers/games. We need to work so that web applications can do everything native applications can. Web applications need to access multi-core, cameras, etc.

About 24 months ago this effort had just gotten under way. By the end of this year all of these will be present in all modern browsers (room laughs because IE isn’t going to have implemented all of them by then). HTML5-capable mobile browsers are far outpacing other browsers (change happened around July 2009).

Now showing a demo of Gmail, used drag-and-drop (File API) to drag an image into a new message. Also showing use of notification API, with a popup tab.

-Charles Pritchard of MugTug has taken the stage. Has come here to preview latest software development, called Darkroom. Has disconnected his wifi to show that it still works. It’s a browser-based image editor, uses HTML5. Rotated the image, used red-eye effect. Is using Google Chrome. Application itself is using JavaScript and Canvas.

-Jim Lanzone of Clicker, which launched at TC50 has taken the stage. Is showing off how you can browse through available shows, with the page using HTML5. Can just start typing, and it will look for your query.

Pichai is back on the stage. Video is one of the most important forms of content on the web. We think video should have a great, free, and open option as well. We’ve been thinking hard about this problem. We’ve invested over $120 million in applyig On2 tech to accomplishing this vision.

On2 — We got to know this team last year. 2B+ installs. Optimized fort hew eb. Were impressed by VP8 quality. We serve over 2 billion video views a day on YouTUbe so we care about bandwidth. Overall we are really impressed with VP8. Today we are fully sourcing VP8 under a completely royalty free license. WebM = VP8 + Vorbis. Dev preview at

Mike Shaver, VP Engineering at Mozilla is on stage – Thanks Google for this huge investment in open web, open video. Now showing a ‘very small demo from the future’. As of today YouTube will be showing video as part of WebM beta. Started converting entire library. Mozilla has been interested in open video for a long time. We’ve seen what happens when the terms of a platform change at the whims of one organization and the web needs to be above that (the room starts clapping). We’re working at Mozilla to make sure every part of the stack is fast. VP8 codec takes advantage of multiple cores and low power devices. Will scale with us. Open video is now here in high quality. Now showing a neat demo called ‘Project London’. It’s a dynamic comic page — has video, moving text, scaling panels. Very nice looking, all in HTML.

Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie has taken the stage. Three years ago we published a proposal for a video element on the web. Also published a manifesto. Syntax was easy (). Hard part was to find high quality open freely usable format. . has joined the list. We need for there to be an open and freely usable format for the web. I think webm is it. Demos opera running WebM. Can download WebM-enabled version now at We think that video being a first class citizen will join other content types. My prediction is that if we use these techniques we can get rid of half the images (use canvas, SVG, etc). To web community, I’d like to say, “start using this”. To Google, I’d like to say thank you. It’s very vicil of you to spend time and money getting WebM off the ground. I look forward to working with Google in the future to ensure web remains open to be used with all sorts of content. We believe that web access is going to be one of the human rights of this century.

Pichai back on stage – Says they’re getting lots of industry support. We’ve had software support. Also getting lots of support for hardware acceleration.

Kevin Lynch, CTO of Adobe is now on stage – HTML5 is great, it’s great to see what’s possible. At Adobe for over 25 years now been enabling people to express themselves. We’re really excited to work on that tech. Today I want to focus on HTML5 and what we’re doing in support of that. Showing Dreamweaver. Working with HTML5 and a new capability adding to dreamweaver CS5 called multiscreen preview, so you can see how it will look across different devices. Can quickly optimize one site for multiple screen sizes. Code completion for new attributions in CSS. Supports new transition effects. Can have graphic effects (make an image ‘fly in’ to a page).

One more thing is support for video. A lot of great work done in video on the web. We’re really excited to see VP8 work. We’re putting VP8 inside of Flash player. Going to distribute to a billion people in less than a year of its release. We’re going to really help push out the VP8 codec. We’re excited to see what people are going to do.

Pichai back on stage. A couple problems on the web. It’s very hard for users to find web applications. In early days users could just go grab them off the shelves. There were sites like for downloadable apps. Turns out it is very hard to find web apps. Let’s try to find a great chess game on the web. There are many great ones on the web. But hard to find one. But you can’t see ratings, reviews. It’s much easier to find a chess game on a mobiel phone.

Second problem. Developers need discovery, reach, monetization. Today advertising is the primary form to monteize. We want to create other alternatives. It should be easy to create and sell a premium app on the web. Early preview of Chrome web store.

Early preview — from Chromium nightly buids.

New tab page of Chrome- icons for web apps. Click it, go to Tweetdeck (which has a completely HTML5 version of web apps). Notification API. All done using HTML5 in the browser. Back at tab page.

The Chrome Web Store

Takes you to a gallery full of web applications. See ratings, reviews. Add comments. Darkroom costs $4.99. We work hard to simplify process to buy a web app (looks like one click after entering account info). Plants vs Zombies, now in Chrome web store. Full immersive full screen experience. Right in Browser. RIght in Flash. Will be supported in CHrome Web Store.

Another game — Lego Star Wars. Worked with Unity Technolgies. Showing Lego Star Wars. Working demo in their sandbox of porting this game on top of NativeClient. Most game engines are written in Native Code, but now you can use something like NativeClient to run directly in the browser. Full 3D game, very rich. A lot of HTML5 APIs.

Another important class of applications is around content. Newspapers, magazines. Terry McDonnell of Sports Illustrated now on stage. My brand, SI is a monster traditional brand. Not just SI, every one of iconic brands, People, Fortune, Time, are changing. Showing a demo from the Chrome Store — it’s a version of SI taking important things in the magazine and translating so they’re even more enjoyable. Photographs in a nice slideshow. Tightly edited, curated free open social searchable take on sports. That you can customize for yourself by rearranging it. Will have live video feeds. Live news, live scores. All built on foundation of strong journalism, informed opinion. And additional content that will pull you in further. Showing a boxing article with embedded video. At bottom you can drag, drop items to a video playlist. At bottom of page can use a slider to jump between articles. Can open a contextual menu to dive deeper. Advertising — it can be so useful it can be content in itself. It’s not a new idea, but it would be new to actually deliver it.

Pichai back on stage. So who do you have in the Chrome web store? 70 million+ active Chrome users. Web store will be there in Chrome OS as well. Will support both free and paid applications, 40 languages. Will bring it to Chrome dev channel soon. We support standard web tech, so apps written for Chrome web store will work in every modern browser out there.

Lars Rasmussen of Google Wave now on stage. Wave is starting to grow up. We’re opening Wave to everyone. Just go to and log in. We’re making Wave parts of Google Apps. Wave has been invitation only for half a year. We’ve seen if you have a group of people working on a project, Wave changes the way you work. Also — if you tried Wave already, it’s faster, more stable than it used to be. You can now get email notifications when things change, it’s easier to unread pieces of wave. Can remove a participant. A few months ago we launched API. We’re adding some top-requested features. Robots no longer have to live on App Engine. Adding media attachment features. Today SAP is announcing their product SteamWork will support Wave protocol. Today open sourcing components of the project, particularly in-browser editor.

David Glazer, Google Engineering Director, has taken the stage. He says that there are a few challenges with development— it takes too long to build apps. And employees work everywhere, on all devices. And apps are trapped — you get locked in to a deployment model that you may not be ready to lock yourself into. And there are too many apps to manage.

Paul Maritz, CEO of VMWare on stage. Most of you know vmware to take existing/legacy apps, and letting them work through virtualization. Last year we acquired Spring framework. We approached Google and said wouldn’t it be great to offer Java devs a great way to write apps. Spring being integrated with Google Web Toolkit. Also combining Spring’s Insight (which tracks server speed) into Google’s Speed Tracer for GWT. More on this partnership here.

Bruce Johnson showed off some powerful GWT widgets that can handle multi-million item data sets very quickly. Also announcing GWT 2.1 Widget Libraries. “Device-proof your enterprise apps” by making them accessible from mobile devices. Has an iPad with the same application. Works as you’d expect. Finger dragging supported using almost all the same code. Android version has UI gestures you’d expect.

Kevin Gibbs of Google App Engine on stage. Google’s could had some barriers to writing enterprise software. We heard you needed something easier to manage, with better support, more reliability, key features, and a better way to pay for it. Today announcing new product: Google App Engine for Business. offers domain console, pro support, formal SLA, SSL &SQL, sensible pricing. More on this here.

Now Open To Everyone, Google Believes Wave Is Finally Ready To Roll

<It was one year ago at Google I/O that company unveiled one of its most ambitious projects to date: Google Wave. Sadly, ambition doesn’t always equal success. In fact, you might say Google Wave was too ambitious. It was promising to be too many things — it needed focus. And it needed polish. Now, all this time later, Google believes it finally has both.

Today, Google is announcing that Wave will be open to everyone. This includes not only consumers with Google accounts, but also Google Apps customers. The project is now a part of Google Labs, where it will remain as work continues on it. But much work has already been done — if you haven’t tried it in the past few months, now is probably a good time to revisit it, as is it much more stable and faster than it was in the past. And it’s full of some new features that should make it more obvious what it can be useful for.

You may recall this video from last year showcasing Google Wave on stage at Google I/O — it got over 9 million views and had people clamoring for the exclusive invites. But the video failed to answer perhaps the fundamental question, “what do we do with it right now?,” developer Lars Rasmussen tells us. ”That’s because we weren’t sure,” he admits. People would load it up and get overwhelmed or confused. “But we know that now — it’s about groups of people adopting Wave,” he says.

Over the past year of watching usage, Rasmussen’s team concluded that the “sweet spot” for Wave is group collaboration. While these days, most sexy new services are some variety of social network where people share things, Wave is about “people getting together to get work done,” he says. And that’s the market Wave now intends to go squarely after.

Google is known for shipping projects early and letting them evolve as people test them out. But the company acknowledged from day one that Wave was being put out there early even by Google standards. The intention was to see how people would use it. While that may make it sound like everything has been going according to plan, that hasn’t been the perception. I asked Rasmussen if looking back now, he felt it was a mistake to release Wave the way they did. Rasmussen admits that Google wasn’t expecting as big of an initial reaction as they got. This was followed by a huge amount of backlash (which Rasmussen gave me props for predicting, which I appreciate). It’s been a bumpy ride.

But again, he says they’ve learned a lot from the past year. And the team believes that Wave will follow the Gartner Hype Cycle — we had the Peak of Inflated Expectations, followed by the Trough of Disillusionment. Now we’re ready for the Slope of Enlightenment, if the theory holds.

Wave has about a million active users now, Rasmussen says (not to be confused with the numbers from December when one million Wave invites had been sent out). While this compares favorably with another year-old service with a lot of hype, Foursquare, Wave had the benefit of Google backing it, so a million may seem low. But Wave also didn’t get the kind of piggyback Google Buzz did when Google launched it inside of Gmail — a service with nearly 200 million users. I asked the Wave team if they’d like to see some sort of similar placement for Wave in the future. “We’d be very happy if that happened,” Wave developer Stephanie Hannon says. She notes that Gmail Labs experiment may be perfect for something like that. It’s something Google and the Wave team is thinking about, Rasmussen confirms.

When I asked if they thought Buzz was stepping on their toes in some regard, Rasmussen said that while there is some overlap, the services are quickly proving to be two different things. Buzz is about sharing with a lot of people, while Wave is about realtime collaboration with a smaller group of people, he says.

I also asked Rasmussen about his thoughts on the state of HTML5, since Wave is one of the key big projects hoping to utilize some of the newer web features. “You’ll never hear me say I’m happy with the pace of HTML5 development,” Rasmussen says with a laugh. That said, the Wave team remains completely committed to the web, and thinks their technology needs could help push it forward even faster.

Mobile usage/development has been a weakness for Wave right now, according to Rasmussen. But he hopes that will changes soon with the launch of several new APIs — another part of Wave’s Google I/O announcement today.

It will be interesting to see how Wave fares in year two, with less hype and more functionality. If the team is able to get it into Gmail or Google Docs, they’ll get their chance to prove whether it’s the ultimate collaboration tool or not. And remember, almost all of this has been talk about Wave the product — the belief has always been that Wave the platform would be much more important. But the truth is that it’s hard to built a platform people will use without a product. So Wave better hope that this is indeed the Slope of Enlightenment.

Bubble Motion Adds Sharing And Commenting To Mobile Voice Blogging Service

We recently wrote about Sequoia-backed voice messaging company Bubble Motion’s foray into voice blogging, Bubbly. While the thought of a Twitter-like voice blogging service is a little strange, the service is picking up steam in India, where politicians, brands and actor are using Bubbly to connect with fans. Today, Bubble Motion is releasing a new, more interactive version of Bubbly, the voice-blogging phone service where people share voice updates with friends, family, fans and followers instantly via SMS alerts.

With Bubbly, you can record and broadcast messages from any mobile device. When a users records audio messages and updates, followers can listen in whenever they want. To start voice-blogging, you enter a short code onto your phone, and start recording your messages. To follow another voice-blogger, users dial the phone number for whomever they want to follow. Whenever there’s a new audio update, followers are notified via SMS with instructions on how to listen. Deployed through partnerships with mobile operators, Bubbly is an extension of BubbleTalk, a click, talk, and send’ messaging service that doesn’t require any calling.

Users can now vote on popular content, and comment on messages, allowing voice-bloggers to send a recorded voice reply. Users can also now forward compelling, funny, or inspiring blog updates to other interested parties. While Bubble Motion is seeing strong traction in India, the service will be making a big push on other countries in Asia through recent partnerships with the largest mobile operators in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

As we’ve said in the past, India seems like a perfect market for Bubbly, especially considering the success and rapid growth of the Indian Twitter-like SMS microblogging network, SMS GupShup. But it should be interesting to see if Bubbly can take off in other parts of Asia.

Bubble Motion, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., has raised a total of $35 million in funding since the company’s launch in 2003.

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