Google — With Help From YouTube — Hits One Billion Visitors Before Facebook

Google & Facebook, Sitting In A Logo We continue to hear about Facebook's 700 million users, on the way to a billion worldwide. According to comScore Google is already there, at least looking across all its websites. Google: The Biggest Network Of Sites The chart below, provided to us from comScore, shows the number of unique visitors that went to each company's network of web sites over the past year: comScore gets its data from a global panel of roughly two million internet users from which it extrapolates findings to the entire online population. This sampling methodology has been much criticized but remains the stand [...]


Google Preparing To Launch Social “Circles” — Or Maybe Not

There's lots of buzzing and posting this morning based on a couple of tweets from Tim O'Reilly and Steve Case. They state that "Google Circles" (which is "awesome") is going to launch "possibly today." (See updates below.) ReadWriteWeb has a lengthy discussion of the reportedly impending product launch. It's based largely on hearsay but here are the main bullets from that post: The service will offer photo, video and status message sharing Everything shared on Circles is shared "only with the most appropriate circle of social contacts in their lives, not with all your contacts [...]


Google Me: Is It Really Named Emerald Sea Or Google +1?

The subject of "Google Me" has been discussed and debated and picked apart at length already. It's already tired and the "product" hasn't even launched. A new round of rumor and speculation has emerged from Quora (and TechCrunch). The supposed internal-testing name for Google Me was reported to be "Emerald City" but is now actually, supposedly, "Emerald Sea." But wait, it could also be called "Google + 1" and be a toolbar or browser extension that will try and duplicate the function of Facebook's Like. It's a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma -- or rather that was Russia. H [...]


Angstro Buy, Shopping, Gaming Investments Point To Multi-Pronged Google Social Strategy

Last week Google acquired Angstro. The site has been described as a way to discover and organize information about individuals across various professional networks. Here's how Angstro describes itself: Ångströ represents the ability to hone in on highly focused, relevant news across professional networks. Where search engines such as Google and other news aggregator services have immense infrastructures that return a huge array of random results, Ångströ analyses a wide breadth of information from multiple data sources to deliver very few, yet very intelligent results. The pundit consens [...]


Would Gaming Fuel A Google Social Network?

Based on unnamed "sources," yesterday TechCrunch reported that Google had "secretly" invested more than $100 million in social gaming platform Zynga and is launching "Google Games," built partly on Zynga. Let's establish all the usual qualifiers; this is an unconfirmed story and so on. And there are plenty of times when these TechCrunch-surfaced rumors turn out to be wrong. But this one seems to be supported by a job posting ("Product Management Leader, Games – Mountain View"). Given that, here are the main elements of the TechCrunch story beyond the headline itself: The Google inv [...]


Will “Google Me” Be A Worthy Facebook Challenger Or Will It Be DOA?

Let's take "Google Me" seriously as a social networking site, successor to Orkut and overall Facebook challenger. As everyone by now knows Digg's Kevin Rose started a wave of coverage when he asserted over the weekend, in a Twitter post now removed, that Google was working on a Facebook competitor. Yesterday I asked Google for a comment and received a friendly but anonymous response: "We do not comment on rumor or speculation." Of course not. That almost certainly means that something is coming. I told several people yesterday that it was probably a beefed up version of Google Profil [...]


Google Fined In Brazillian “Pedophile” Defamation Case Tied To Orkut

For the second time in the past few months Google has been punished by a court outside the US for content posted by users on one of its owned and operated sites. In February an Italian court imposed a criminal privacy conviction on Google executives for the appearance of a video, showing the bullying of a boy with Down’s syndrome, on YouTube. Google is currently appealing that verdict. And now, in Brazil, a civil fine of just over $9,000 has been imposed by a court for libel against Google. Google was held to have defamed a priest by allowing an anonymous Internet user's post on Orkut, wh [...]


India (Hearts) Google … Brazil (Hearts) It, Too

No one reading Search Engine Land should be surprised to hear stories about Google's dominance of the search landscape. But the degree to which Google dominates in some areas is sure to make you raise an eyebrow. Consider India and Brazil, two growing Internet markets. ComScore released some stunning numbers about what's happening in those two countries and how Google owns a lot of the online experience there. In Brazil, for example, about 30% of a person's online time is spent on a Google property. In India, it's about 29% of online time. For perspective, comScore says that the worldwid [...]


Marissa Mayer On iGoogle’s New “Social Gadgets”

This morning Google is rolling out a program in Australia enabling developers to create "social gadgets" that permit sharing, collaboration and groups on the iGoogle homepage. The social gadgets will come to the US and other markets in the future, but the timing is undetermined. I spoke yesterday with Google's Marissa Mayer about the new initiative, built on the Open Social platform. At the outset there are apparently 12 social gadgets, eight of which were created by third party developers. For example, there's a chess gadget and other casual game gadgets -- casual games have become huge on [...]


Google’s New Wave Of Ambition

I'm in the Google Wave press conference, following a dizzying keynote -- dizzying, at least, after a night of little sleep. As he did yesterday Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined the discussion and similarly apologized for arriving late. Danny live blogged the keynote earlier this morning. He jokingly compared Wave to Lotus Notes. In some respects that's not an entirely inappropriate comparison, given the scope of the product and the emphasis on collaboration -- though the Google folks would probably disagree. Wave seems to be conceived as a total communication and collaboration to [...]


Google Kills Lively

The Google Blog announced they will be discontinuing Lively, Google's Virtual World project. In short, they said that Lively is simply "not going to pay off" and that they will be closing it down by the end of December. It is interesting that this happened just days after I reported that Google will be changing how they develop products. Is this one of the first projects to be axed by Google's Stuart Smith? Possibly. But this is not the first product to fail from Google. In any event, Google made it sound like no one at Google will be losing their jobs over the Lively massacre. Go [...]


Lively New Virtual World From Google

In a way, it's very un-Google. The new Lively 3D "virtual world" that launched today is perhaps another run at social networking after the mixed experience of Orkut (popular in Brazil and India, among a few other places). Apparently aimed at teens and even tweens cutting their virtual teeth on sites like Webkinz and Club Penguin, Lively is apparently the product of the long-rumored Google Metaverse project. It's only available for PC at the moment. I spent some time with it this afternoon and found it relatively easy to use and engaging, although there's slight a learning curve. A nice, fai [...]


Google Finally Hands Over Alleged Pedophiles’ Profiles On Orkut To Brazilian Authorities

Google hands over data on suspected pedophiles to Brazil via the AFP reports Google has finally handed over profiles of suspected pedophiles to Brazilian authorities. As expected, Google did hand over 3,261 files with information about alleged pedophilia activities in Google's Orkut communities. A member of the senate commission, Demostenes Torres, believes the data will provide enough evidence to incriminate about 200 pedophiles in Brazil. In fact, he said about 90% of pedophilia complaints in Brazil come from Orkut. In any event, this step hopefully concludes a saga that has been going [...]


“Previous Query” Refinement Coming To Hit Google Results

Yesterday (technically still today my time), I did a keynote interview with Google vice president of search products & user experience Marissa Mayer during our SMX Sydney show. We covered a wide range of topics, including how "Previous Query" refinement will soon come to natural listings on Google, plus how Australia is to get StreetView mapping, Google testing how well Yahoo monetizes, how Orkut might have to be replaced in the US, and other topics. Live blogging isn't my thing, and live blogging when you're asking the questions on stage certainly isn't either. Heck, it's toug [...]


90-Percent Of Pedophilia Complaints In Brazil Come From Google’s Orkut

Brazil Senate orders Google to identify website pedophiles via AFP reports a Brazilian Senate has ordered Google to hand over the profiles of 3,261 suspected pedophiles yesterday. However, according to The Inquirer, Google is willing to help Brazilian authorities but not hand over users' personal information. Sergio Suiama, Sao Paulo's federal prosecutor, said that over the past two years, "nearly 90 percent of the 56,000 pedophilia complaints on the Internet were related to Orkut." Suiama added, "The dissemination of Orkut in Brazil has turned the country into a distributor of child porno [...]


Inbox 2.0: Vision And Perhaps Confusion At Google And Yahoo

A much discussed blog posting this morning comes from Saul Hansell at the New York Times, who spoke to both Google and Yahoo about their plans to turn their email products into social networks, in a manner of speaking: "Inbox 2.0." The plans discussed in the post suggest some clever and creative thinking about how both companies can leverage their existing products and integrate them with other properties. But people at both companies also seem to be in a kind of frenzy, which may turn out to be unjustified in the long run, over how to compete with Facebook. Here's what Hansell says about Go [...]


OpenSocial: Led By Google, Social Networks Band To Take On Facebook

As expected, the much-discussed Google social play turns out to be an alliance with other companies to "open up" social networks and their data to developers. TechCrunch and the New York Times both have early news of an expected announcement tomorrow on how Google, along with partners like Ning, Linked In, Friendster, and others, will introduce a set of common APIs -- called OpenSocial -- to be used for getting data from and writing applications for social networks. The idea, as the New York Times explains, is to help combat the number of people who are developing for Facebook [...]


Google Phone (Or OS) Ready To Launch: Mobile ‘Maka-Maka’

In what now has become an almost weekly industry exercise in anticipation and speculation, the Wall Street Journal writes about the forthcoming unveiling of Google's plans for its (Phone/OS) mobile launch ("within the next two weeks"). The interesting new aspect of the piece is the idea of the OS/software as an open development platform for third parties (a la the iPhone). Here's the relevant discussion from the article: The Google-powered phones are expected to wrap together several Google applications -- among them, its search engine, Google Maps, YouTube, and Gmail email -- that have alr [...]


Google’s International Headache: Orkut

Google Under Fire Over a Controversial Site from the Wall Street Journal has an outstanding summary of all the controversy, politics, legalities and moral issues Google has run into due to their Brazilian favored social networking site, Orkut. The article covers how Google had to pull the ads on Orkut back in August due to them showing up next to "pictures of naked children and abused animals." From the article: The head of Google's Brazilian operation is facing criminal contempt charges for refusing to turn Orkut users' data over to police. And next month there is a hearing in a case brough [...]


Google To Pressure Facebook To “Free” Social Data & Planning Google Earth World?

Two things from the weekend suggest Google may be getting more serious about the social networking threat posed by Facebook. TechCrunch had news that Google is going to open up its social data information, while Google Operating System spotted a post that Google may have plans for a new social networking system based out of Google Earth. More about both, how I see it as Google taking what limited data is has as a pressure play on Facebook and some related developments, below. Google To "Out Open" Facebook On November 5 from TechCrunch covers information apparently leaked from a mini-summi [...]


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