Tag Archives: techcrunch

Twitterfone launches

Twitterfone

Twitterfone launched last night to a spectacular response. Mike Arrington gave it a glowing report on TechCrunch and the feedback has been very positive.

What does Twitterfone do? Not much! It does one thing and it does it well. It allows you to dial a local number, leave a short message, the message is then transcribed and posted to your Twitter account along with a link to the audio file in case the transcription doesn’t quite come out.

The best use case for this is in your car when you shouldn’t can’t browse!

I have no idea how well it works if you are outside your own country but Pat being the king of roaming, I imagine he is all over that.

Just how good is it? Well I just left a message saying “@patphelan looks like everyone is looking for a twitterfone invite” and got the following Tweet posted:

ask Pat Phelan looks like everyone is lookig for a twitterfone invoice

It obviously had issues with my enunciation (although listening back, the quality of the line left a lot to be desired).

A couple of things Pat will need to add to improve it (and I assume Pat has already thought of these):

  • Support for Twitter commands – @, and d particularly and
  • OpenID support – it still amazes me that people build their own proprietary login systems when they can leverage OpenID and facilitate single sign-on for their users

Well done to Pat and the rest of the team for getting this up. I look forward to watching its evolution.

OpenSocial signs up MySpace and SixApart too!

I mentioned earlier in the week that Google was about to launch OpenSocial, a Social Network API platform. Since then Mike Arrington in TechCrunch is reporting that not only is it happenning but MySpace, Bebo and SixApart are on board too!

The OpenSocial site is now live and confirmed participants so far are:

Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING

Why OpenSocial?

The web is more interesting when you can build apps that easily interact with your friends and colleagues. But with the trend towards more social applications also comes a growing list of site-specific APIs that developers must learn.

OpenSocial provides a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple websites. With standard JavaScript and HTML, developers can create apps that access a social network’s friends and update feeds.

Many sites, one API

Whither FaceBook, the current social network colossus in this? They and Microsoft (their recent investor) have got to be wondering how to meet this challenge to their dominant position. Probably the best approach would be to jump in too – that way they have all the advantages of the open platform without the development costs. Google are saying it is an open platform and they wouldn’t see that one coming!

The chances are though that they won’t jump on board and there will be two social network standards, Google’s OpenSocial standard and FaceBook’s.

Cork-based telecoms firm raises â‚¬5m

Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom have released details of €5m worth of investment they have received. Cubic Telecom is the parent company of the Roam4free and Yak4ever brands.

From the release Cubic has raised a

EUR3.5M investment from private backers in order to develop a suite of innovative global mobile and home phone products under the Cubic Telecom brand, together with its own international virtual carrier network. A further EUR1.5M has been raised to fund a series of international launches of products and services in the coming six months.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, Cubic Telecom are also the only Irish company to make it to the final 100 of the uber prestigious TechCrunch 20.

Congrats Pat

Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom company has been selected to be one of the finalists in TechCrunch 20 for their Roam4free product. What is TechCrunch 20? From the site:

Twenty of the hottest new startups from around the world will announce and demo their products over a two day period at TechCrunch20. And they don’t pay a cent to do this. They will be selected to participate based on merit alone. In fact, we’re even offering a $50,000 cash award and lining up other in-kind services and awards from a generous group of corporate sponsors.

There were over 700 submissions from 26 countries so making it to the last 100 finalists was a considerable achievement. In fact, as far as I know Pat’s is the only Irish company in the final 100. Well done Pat – go for it boy!

I have spoken to Pat at length about their new Roam4free product set due out in the coming weeks and if they deliver half of what Pat is promising, it will set the mobile world on its head.

Foxmarks to launch next great search engine?

Google had a great idea. Order your search results based on the number of times a site is linked to. Brilliant! A link to a site is counted as a vote of confidence in the site’s quality/veracity. And it works because people generally only link to interesting sites.

Foxmarks is a nifty little Firefox plugin which uploads your Firefox bookmarks to a central server, so you can synchronise your bookmarks across machines. Again brilliant – if you typically use more than one computer (one at home and one at work, for example).

I read today on TechCrunch that FoxMarks is going to use the bookmark information which users of the plugin have uploaded, to create a new search engine. Privacy concerns aside, I love it!

This is the 1,157th blog post on this site. I don’t have any numbers on the amount of outward links I have created in those posts but I imagine two per post would be a conservative estimate. So I have created, in the order of 2,300 links on this blog. And I write in and contribute to other blogs as well. Let’s say I have created (again conservatively) a total of 2,500 links.

Now how many sites have I bookmarked? About 160. Therefore, any site I go to the trouble of bookmarking, must be significantly more important than one I simply link to.

Foxmarks are taking the Google model of a link as a vote of confidence and replacing it with the bookmark as a vote of confidence. Will it work? Well, according to Mike Arrington, who got a demo recently:

it definitely has a “wow” factor. Searches for most things ended up with incredible results.

Foxmarks also shows if the results appear on Google and Yahoo, and on what page in the results they appear. For many of the queries, the top result on Foxmarks was quite obviously the perfect result – but it appeared, if at all, deep on the result set for Google and Yahoo. Terms that are likely to have a lot of SEO pollution (ecommerce in particular), the results were strikingly better on Foxmarks v. Google.

Having said all that, Google have their Google Browser Sync application which has similar functionality to Foxmarks currently, so fine tuning their search results with bookmark info should be trivial for them.

I hope they do because getting 1,210,000 results for the search term “Microsoft Hotmail deletes email” is just ridiculous, even considering how bad Hotmail is!

Ad supported Office in the works?

I see Microsoft are following Google into the Advertising business with their announced purchase of aQuantive for $6bn.

Advertising definitely seems to be where the money is at right now – as Michael Arrington put it earlier on TechCrunch:

Google bought Doubleclick for $3.1 billion in April. Later that same month, Yahoo acquired competitor RightMedia for $680 million. Just yesterday, WPP Group acquired yet another company in this space, 24/7 Real Media, for $649 million.

Just as an indicator of how seriously Microsoft is taking advertising as a revenue stream, this is Microsoft’s largest acquisition to-date. Look to Microsoft to start generating more and more income from advertising and less and less from the traditional software licencing model.

I suspect that we will see an online version of Office, developed in Silverlight, free to use and ad supported in the next 12 months.