Damian Radcliffe

Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links: mid-May 2011 to mid-June 2011

In Monthly round up: Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links on June 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Stats

Cisco forecast the global online population will reach almost 3bn over the next four years, with the number of connected devices growing to 15bn, or double the world’s population, by 2015.

ComScore figures for newspaper websites beyond home and work computers revealed Mail Online had 10.9m unique visitors in April, ahead of guardian.co.uk (8.98m) and Mirror Online (4.4m). The figures cover outlets including apps, mobile and tablet browsers, and PCs in shared locations.
 

Owners of ‘social magazine’ app Flipboard, which renders feeds from social networking sites alongside traditional news content in a magazine format, said downloads of its iPad app have passed the 2.5m milestone.

Homes with 3D TV sets will pass the 300m mark in 2015, according to new research.

Analysis by Kantar Media indicated the first episode of BBC One’s new series of Doctor Who was the most recorded programme on UK TV to date, with the Barb overnight viewing figure of 4.11m growing to 8.9m when time-shifted viewing was taken into account.
 

Stock Market Developments

An IPO by LinkedIn has valued the networking website at $4.25bn as demand from investors saw shares priced at $45 – raising $351m. The FT reports that 7.8m LinkedIn shares were sold, with Goldman Sachs making $39m after selling its entire stake, and that the new pricing has increased the value of the business by nearly a third in just a week.

Online coupon seller Groupon began its process of going public by filing for an IPO it  aims to raise at least $750m from the IPO. In 2010 Groupon, which claims to have 83m subscribers in 43 countries, made a $413m loss on revenues of $713m.

Russian internet group Yandex, which controls 65% of its domestic search market, raised $1.3bn in an IPO in New York, almost a fifth more than forecast.

US internet radio company Pandora raised $235m in an IPO which valued the group at $2.6bn.
 

Mobile

Virgin has announced plans to launch a Virgin Mobile-branded mobiles service across Latin America in a tie-up with wireless communications group Tribe Mobile, acting as mobile virtual network operators in markets which currently have few providers.

Facebook’s EMEA head of mobile partnerships Fergal Walker told a London conference that 70% of UK users access the site from mobiles as well as online, with the social network accounting for 50% of mobile internet minutes in this country.

Google unveiled its Google Wallet app for Android devices. The service will be offered in a tie-up with partners including Citi, MasterCard, First Data and telco Sprint Nextel, and will be preconfigured with the Google Offers daily coupon service.  Forrester analyst Charles Govlin said: “(We) expect NFC is going to increasingly become a default feature of every smartphone that is sold over the next couple of years.”

Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere announced plans to establish a mobile payments joint venture which will seek to kick-start the mobile commerce sector by establishing a cross-platform solution for banks, retailers and advertisers.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said it is his mission to see 70% of the world owning a smartphone as he predicted devices which only offer call and text services will disappear within three to four years.

Virgin Media screened its first live 3D event, in a deal with Eurosport to offer subscribers 3D coverage of the French Open tennis tournament.
 

Nomura analysts said they expect Samsung to overhaul Nokia to become the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer during the current quarter, with Apple pushing the Finnish group into third place during Q3.
 

A US study by IPG Media Lab and YuMe found 94% of TV viewers polled use ‘companion media’ such as smartphones and laptops while watching programmes, saying distraction poses a greater threat to ad engagement than fast-forwarding via DVRs.

EU officials said the Article 29 Working Party, an alliance of domestic regulators, has argued location data should be considered as private, along with other customer information such as names and birth dates.

Apple

Apple’s iCloud digital entertainment service, which is due to go live in the US in September, is unlikely to launch in the UK before Q1 2012 due to rights issues. The free service, which will go live in the autumn, will allow users to store music, photos and documents across all of the group’s devices, while users will be able to pay a supplementary annual fee of $25 to access Apple’s 18m-track music catalogue, with record labels taking a cut of revenues. Jobs said: “We’re going to move the digital hub, the centre of your digital life, into the cloud.”
 

Apple has become a top-five UK PC vendor for the first time, according to Gartner, growing sales 15.9% year-on-year to leapfrog Samsung. The top four sellers remained Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell and Toshiba.

An Imano Digital Agency survey found almost 70% of UK iPad owners said they use the tablet to read newspapers and magazines, with 98% using it for web browsing and 94% for email. The study also found the Apple device is regarded as domestic rather than mobile technology, with 95% of respondents using it in their living rooms and 89% in bed.
 

US publisher Bonnier said analysis indicates that about 95% of iPad subscribers to its Popular Science magazine are new customers, with spokesman Gregg Hano saying the device has given them access to a “totally new audience”.
Google

Google unveiled its ‘Music Beta by Google’ service. When fully rolled-out the ‘online music locker service’ will allow users to upload up to 20,000 songs which will be stored and accessible via an online library and not on their hard drive. The service will be free for a limited time to US applicants.

Google said its AdMob network doubled the number of video ads it placed on partner sites over the past year.

YouTube said global video views are up 50% in the last six months, at more than 3bn per day, attributing the spike to its decision to secure long-form content from broadcasters including Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Facebook

Privacy regulators in a number of European countries are probing Facebook after it rolled out facial recognition software to the site without first seeking user permission.
 

Facebook accounts for almost a third of all online display advertising in the US.
 

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the educational benefits of using the social network were so great that young children should be able to join, adding it would challenge the current 13-and-over age limit “at some point”. The limit is enforced by US law, while in the UK it forms part of Facebook’s terms and conditions.

Facebook is recruiting a cadre of ‘ambassadors’ to represent the group’s interests outside the US, focusing on countries where attitudes and regulations covering privacy and personal communications contrast to its home market.
 

The number of people using Facebook in the US and UK reportedly fell in May for the second month running, a move the Guardian said could suggest the social networking site has ‘hit the limits of expansion in the countries where it was first successful’. User numbers in Canada, Norway and Russia were also down, according to figures from monitoring site Inside Facebook. But globally the site is still climbing towards 700m users. In the US Inside Facebook said the site lost 6m users, to 149.4m by the end of the month. In the UK, more than 100,000 Facebook users were lost. Inside Facebook’s Eric Eldon said the key to further expansion lay in China.

Facebook moved quickly to dismiss Inside Facebook’s findings, throwing doubt on the monitoring site’s metrics tool. “From time to time, we see stories about Facebook losing users in some regions… Some of these reports use data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn’t designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook. We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook. More than 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day.”
 

Attorney General Dominic Grieve has begun contempt proceedings against a juror who allegedly contacted a defendant on Facebook, prompting the collapse of a multimillion-pound drugs trial. Criminal Bar Association chairman Christopher Kinch QC said: “The situation is a potential timebomb for the jury system. Left unchecked, we could move towards trial by X-factor-type online polling; or jurors might find themselves put under pressure by correspondents online.”
 

Twitter

Groups including the Telegraph, CNN and MTV have partnered with Twitter to add a ‘follow’ button to their websites, allowing users to monitor accounts on the micro-blogging site without having to return to Twitter’s home page.
 

Twitter has acquired UK third-party software provider TweetDeck in a deal believed to be worth about $40m.

Gaming

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told the FT he believes the group’s Wii U console, which it showed off at last week’s E3 trade show, can “fundamentally change the structure of entertainment” by blurring the distinction between TV and gaming.
 

Entertainment Software Association research showed that the average age of UK video game players is 37, with the average game buyer aged 41.
 

UK child-facing social network Moshi Monsters announced it has passed the 50m user milestone three years after launch.

Piracy

WPP-owned agency GroupM has ‘blacklisted’ more than 2,000 US websites to prevent its clients’ advertisements appearing on those carrying pirated content.  GroupM’s US arm spends $3.5bn annually buying up ad space on sites on behalf of clients such as AT&T, IBM, Ford and Unilever.
 

Google’s Eric Schmidt has spoken out against anti-online piracy laws, warning that government legislation to block access to illegal filesharing sites would set a “disastrous precedent” for free speech.
 

Culture minister Jeremy Hunt used the same platform to say government plans to ban access to illicit filesharing websites remained on schedule. But he did concede that deciding which specific sites would be blocked remained a “challenge”.
 

Other stuff

AOL is moving into what Reuters called a ‘crowded space’ with its launch of AOL Industry, a division designed for business professionals.

Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5bn cash from the consortium of investors who bought the VoIP provider from eBay in 2007.

BBC Global iPlayer is to begin its international roll-out, launching as an iPad app in a number of western European territories charging users about £6 per month for an “editorially curated” service.

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