Skype might still be in a holding pattern from Microsoft's May announcement that it was acquiring the company for $8.5 billion, but that hasn't stopped Skype from picking up a brand-new purchase of its own. The company announced today that it is planning to acquire GroupMe, a group text messaging and conference calling service that's just a year and change into its existence.
The actual cost of the acquisition and other terms of the transaction won't be disclosed, according to Skype's announcement.
"The acquisition of GroupMe complements Skype's leadership in voice and video communications by providing best in class text-based communications and innovative features that enable users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their closest tie," reads Skype's statement.
Facebook is right in the middle of announcing three new changes that are happening today. The first is multi-person group chat, which has been one of the most requested features. Second, a redesign of chat that makes it easier to get to the people you chat with most, better see the avatars of yours friends, etc. Lastly, and this is the big one, instant video chat through a partnership with Skype. Just choose a friend and initiate a video call, and if they don't have the plugin installed, it takes 10 seconds to download, and you are chatting. No need for a Skype username, or Skype software, it all happens through Facebook. Hit the link below now to see the announcement happening live, with demos.
Read More | Facebook Live
Google on Tuesday took another leap into the social space with Google+, which aims to connect people via specific friendship circles, interests, location, and more.
Google+, which is currently operating via a "field trial," has four main components: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, and Mobile.
"We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project," Google said in a blog post.
Google+ begins with Circles, which helps compartmentalize all the people in your life. Google took a swipe at Facebook, arguing that putting everyone under the "friends" label hurts the ability to share. It becomes sloppy, scary, and insensitive, the search giant said.
"From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks. So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software," Google said. "Just make a circle, add your people, and share what's new—just like any other day."
Here at Gear Live, we love us some Slacker. If you don’t know, Slacker is a fantastic streaming music service. It has millions of songs in its catalogue, and real DJs actually control their channels, which means you get a great mix of songs that go well together, rather than something put together by an algorithm. While Slacker is free, they also have a couple of upgraded services - Slacker Radio Plus, and the newly released Slacker Premium Radio. This typically costs $10 a month:
- Play songs, artists, albums on-demand
- Custom playlists
- Unlimited Skips
- Unlimited Song Requests
- No Audio or Banner Ads
- Complete Lyrics
- Over 2 Million Songs
- Cache stations to smartphones for offline listening
- ABC News and headline news updates for any station
- "Peek Ahead" artist and album previews
We said this would be big, so here’s what we're gonna do - we are going to give away 10 one-year subscriptions to Slacker Premium Radio. How do you enter? Easy:
- Follow the Gear Live Twitter account
- On Twitter, post this tweet about our contest: “Hey @gearlive hook me up with @SlackerRadio Premium! http://gear.lv/slackerpremium” (Click here to tweet this now)
Want a bonus entry? Subscribe to Gear Live on YouTube! We will select ten random entrants on July 1 - good luck!
Groupon has launched an instant, location-based mobile deal offering service called Groupon Now. The service offers various deals throughout the day via a mobile application or on the Web, rather than a single deal delivered to your inbox.
It's similar to the way services like Foursquare or Facebook Places offer discounts and deals, tapping into your device's GPS to peddle coupons in real-time. When you enter your location, Groupon Now lets you choose the type of deal you'd like, whether it's a half-price salsa lesson or a discount on a cheeseburger. Using your existing Groupon account, you can purchase the deal with one click, present a barcode for the vendor to scan, and claim your discount.
Read More | Groupon
Sohaib Athar, the man who accidentally livetweeted the raid on Osama bin Laden has been hacked, he confirmed via Twitter.
Athar, who goes by the Twitter handle @ReallyVirtual, said early this morning that his blog, which was linked via his Twitter page, had been infected with malware. Websense, for its part, said in a blog post that the poorly detected malware used a "blackhole exploit kit" to serve the malware. Not surprisingly, Websense said that its customers were protected.
"Anyone going to this page would also load content from the malicious URL above, and the Blackhole Exploit Kit would then try to use several exploits to automatically install malware on the PC," the firm wrote. "The malware that the drive-by-download attempts to install is a fake system tool named 'WindowsRecovery' that claims to have found problems on the victim's computer."
The malware then would have hidden all the files and folders in the user's hard drive and desktop - then offer to restore them for a price, which a Websense graphic indicated was $79.50.
It wasn't clear from Athar's account whether he had successfully removed the malware from his blog or taken it down.
The acquisition was confirmed by Delicious, which confirmed the deal via its blog. Yahoo will continue to operate the site until July, when it will pass to AVOS, which is being run by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.
"Today, we're pleased to announce that Delicious has been acquired by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. As creators of the largest online video platform, they have firsthand experience enabling millions of users to share their experiences with the world," Delicious said in its blog post. "They are committed to running and improving Delicious going forward."
Facebook began showing off its plans for a new data center and server design on Thursday. It will be called the "Open Compute Project," executives said.
Facebook is making the design documents and specifications public at OpenCompute.org. The company claims that the design of the new servers is 38 percent more power efficient than its older designs, and costs 24 percent less to make.
Graham Weston, the chairman of Rackspace, said that his company would use the new Open Compute servers in its own designs, and Zynga's chief technical officer said that his company would take a serious look at adding the new technology to its own cloud.
Industry executives said that the new server designs will have a positive impact not just on the IT industry, but also with emerging countries that may not have the R&D resources to design their own power-efficient servers and data centers. Instead, they said, they can leverage the collective expertise. With the cost savings that the new server designs enable, those savings can be passed along to service companies that use web hosting to drive their businesses.
"This is how Facebook kicks Google's ass," said Robert Scoble, a blogger for Rackspace, one of the companies that will use the technology. The new data center does not use a "chiller," he said. Instead, it puts fine particles of water in the air and cools the server through evaporative cooling.
It hasn't been that long since Kevin Rose left Digg, but early details of his new startup are already coming to light.
The company, a development lab focused on solving problems using the mobile Web, is called Milk. Located in San Francisco's Mission District, it has been described as an incubator, but TechCrunch notes that the philosophy behind it is much different than the approach taken by most other Silicon Valley startups.
Incubators are generally thought of as companies that take a lot of entrepreneurial ideas, fund them and help them get off the ground. Rose says that rather than launch a bunch of smaller ideas, Milk will ideally help give life to between four and six bigger, more ambitious businesses. According to TechCrunch, the Digg co-founder expects most of the ideas to fail, but ideally he hopes to see one or two "become viable companies that have a big impact."
Tumblr is facing some security issues, according to a post on the staff blog.
"A human error caused some sensitive server configuration information to be exposed this morning," read the blog post. "Our technicians took immediate measures to protect from any issues that may come as a result."
Tumblr said that it's unlikely users' personal information was compromised, but that independent auditors will be consulted to confirm this.
"We're certain that none of your personal information (passwords, etc.) was exposed, and your blog is backed up and safe as always. This was an embarrassing error, but something we were prepared for," Tumblr continued.
The company didn't give many concrete details as to what the breach actually effected and said that even though sensitive information was not compromised, "the fact that [this problem] occurred at all is still unacceptable." Tumblr pledged that its team is "seriously evaluating and adjusting our processes to ensure an error like this can never happen again."
Comments on the blog post didn't suggest that users were particularly upset by the security issue. One user said "you guys need a better coding staff." Another user applauded Tumblr's speedy response: "Deal with these things. Good job Tumblr."
Reps from Tumblr did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the problem.
In December, Tumblr suffered from an outage that it blamed on a maintenance error. After the site was restored, Tumblr admitted that it has struggled to keep up with the site's growth. The site now averages more than 500 million monthly page views.
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