Archive for January, 2007

Share2me – Social sharing done easier

January 31, 2007

Share2me launching at DEMO wants to make it way easier and fun to share information on web. Share2me idea is pretty straight forward. Import contacts into your Share2me account from your address books located on Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook…., install Share2me IE/Firefox button, and you are ready to share the web with your contacts.

For any webpage you share through Share2me, your friends on the other end receive an email or IM with the URL of the webpage you sent or in case you sent Youtube video, link to the Share2me site where they can view the video. Share2me also works with social networks and currently you can post information directly to your MySpace profile. All the information you send gets added to your Share2me account so that you can reference it at anytime.

Kaboodle, Google Toolbar, and plain email are just some of the other options you have, but none them are a comprehensive enough solution to be suggested for full-time use. Consider the case of Send-to-Gmail context menu button that you get as part of the toolbar install – You can’t send emails using your Google Apps account. Only Gmail account will work. In case of Kaboodle, they want to get you to their site. Personally I don’t want to add another site to my daily list.

What I would like to see is the ability to select multiple images from a webpage without text and send them over IM networks that enable file transfers like GTalk/YahooIM. Also it would prove to be much more useful to the ability to annotate around selected text/images/videos instead of sending just the webpage.

With an initial round of funding from Blue Chip Venture Company and Illinois Ventures, Nextumi(parent company of Share2me) is looking to target more towards the MySpace and Facebook crowd. As part of future plans Share2me is developing mobile based sharing application and expanding its social networking site coverage. Personally I would still like to see a clearer picture of the application pack lineage towards the target market.



Google Revenues – further up and higher

January 31, 2007

Few highlights from the last quarter for Google-

Revenue – Revenues for 4th quarter – $3.21 billion. Revenue Increased by 67% compared to the fourth quarter of 2005 and by 19% compared to the third quarter of 2006.
Cash – As of December 31, 2006, cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities were $11.2 billion.
People – Google employed 10,674 full-time employees as of December 31, 2006, up from 9,378 full time employees as of September 30, 2006


Fring launches Wi-Fi connectivity

January 31, 2007

Fring has  finally launched its new release that enables connectivity over the Wi-Fi networks. Also comes as part of the new release is support for Symbian 9 devices. Fring device list now looks pretty impressive that includes Nokia 6630, 6680, 6681, 6682, N70, N72, N80, N80i, N90.  Application is in preview phase for Nokia N71, N73, N75, N91, N92, N93, E60, E61 and E70, where features may operate partially.

With 3G, Wi-Fi, and GPRS connectivity all covered, Fring team is working on some really interesting features to watch-out for.

Fring WiFi on Nokia screenshots


Nuvoiz readies softphone for enterprise

January 31, 2007

Bringing softphone based VoIP to corporates has never really gotten off the ground due to the obvious lack of a standards-based application that gives IT teams ease of management. Unofficially Skype gets the most traffic mainly from SMBs while larger companies are looking for block out Skype for obvious lack of management controls. Mountain View, CA based Nuvoiz(simply put — New Voice) will be looking to fill this important gap in the enterprise VoIP when it launches its comprehensive Enterprise Softphone System at DEMO. With $3 million in funding from Yozan Inc. of Japan, and more than a year under development, Nuvoiz does sound prepared for the target market.

Features IT departments will love – Integration with PBX systems, SIP and XMPP compliance making it easier to integration with other services, NAT and firewall traversal with Nuvoiz VoIP Network Controller, tools for management at the back-end, and integration with company LDAP. Nuvoiz is planning ahead times in terms of platforms it will support. Initial planned support include softphone for Windows XP/2K as well as Windows Mobile 5.0 and 2003 with development for Symbian client underway. From mobile standpoint, Nuvoiz is targeting dual mode handsets which will enable wider coverage of service. Nuvoiz has also developed a smart way in which it will work with regular telecom infrastructure. Companies can enable Nuvoiz to use the office phone extensions on the softphone located on either the PC or on mobile. So any call people receive, they will be able to access it from any of the 3 locations – phone, PC, mobile. Alternatively the softphone can be assigned a separate phone extension and can be configured to ring in case the call on the regular phone goes unanswered. And in case a user with Windows Mobile based phone is out of office, but has access to WiFi, he/she can still make calls to his/her colleagues on their office network due to the superior Nuvoiz NAT and firewall traversal technology.

According to Jim Koh, CEO Nuvoiz, they have already signed up 6 corporate customers for the service in US and Japan. Nuvoiz also has some other interesting products they are working on like the Fast Access Point Handover for Mobile VoIP over Wi-Fi. Should be an interesting company to watch out for when all Skype is doing is making noise about enterprise VoIP without any concrete solution at hand.


Vizu’s market research polls get $2.9 million

January 31, 2007

Vizu, provider market research through web polls network, has raised $2.9 million in the Series B round of funding. The funding round was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson who contributed $1.5 million. Vizu has been aggressively building up its premier service Vizu Answers which enables market research through web polls distributed around the Vizu site network. As a publisher or blogger you can sign up for the service, run a site characterization polls, and than Vizu will start running contextual polls on your site. Pay rates work on CPM basis, minimum for which can be set by you as a publisher for the various poll zones on your site. Haven’t come across any numbers for how much people are really earning from the service.

As the Vizu service catches up, we will for sure miss the Web0.0 quiz. Who is in the photo: George Bush, Osama, Bill Gates……… 🙂

Vizu Answers

IT Managers: Buy yourself a 6thSense

January 31, 2007

Yeah you are reading it right. As an IT Manager, you might always wonder – How much time your development team is actually spending on developing the product? What is the actual usage of the development tools/IDEs so that you can cut down on the non-essentials? How your development team compares to others in the community? And many more questions related to performance and usage metrics. So while the really insightful managers, with the so called 6thSense, can glean the right information from what they are being reported, others are left out to play the guessing game by looking at hurriedly filled Friday timesheets. With increased level of outsourcing it adds another dimension to judge how many hours are actually spent by your outsourcing partners.

Research Triangle, North Carolina based 6thSenseAnalytics takes out this guessing and approximation game and presents you with the real usage stats. The hosted solution from 6thSense plugs-in data collectors into most of the major IDEs like Eclipse and Visual Studio to enable On-Demand tracking. Co-founded in November of 2005 by Greg Burnell, and Todd Olson, 6thSense has till date received $5 million in Series A round of funding from Core Capital, and $1.7 million in seed funding from Intersouth Partners for their SaaS solution.

With the new release of 6thSense coming this week they will be introducing around 5000 pre-built reports making much easier for managers to track activity from the account dashboards. Some of broad domains touched by these reports provide aggregated times spent per project, team, activity, and technology. The data collected can be used from micro to macro analysis. On the micro-side managers can track activity of their developers. Reports at 6thSense makes use of the “Active Time” concept, which shows exactly how much time an individual contributor spends interacting with software development tools to design, develop, test or debug each specific project. These reports from 6thSense should prove to be very effective in understanding contributions and efforts of an individual towards key organizational initiatives.

On the macro-scale, managers can track the complete development effort for a project which can make future estimations and comparisons to initial estimates easier. Using the 6thSense reports, CTO can present exact reports to his CEO at their level of investment in each of the primary systems that comprise their application portfolio.

6thSense also has application on the licensing compliance end. Number of the enterprise software licensing based on per seat basis. Sooner or later there are most installations floating around than the company is licensed for. Not each of these installs might be under active use. 6thSense data collectors can aid companies in tracking down this activity and getting rid redundant installs of costly softwares. 6thSense also has an community side to the service. The service provides completely anonymous data(all community date is “de-identified” and cannot be associated back to any specific 6th Sense customer) from the community of all 6th Sense users. This makes it very easy to compare your development effort data and perform comparative analytics.

6thSense service is priced very competitively at $960/user/year with no extra charges for the number of data-collectors used. With no server side product to install and availability of SDK to build data collectors for specialized products, 6thSense can provide real value at a tiny price.


Farecast goes for Series C

January 30, 2007

Farecast, one of the best and my favorite search travel search engine, has stomped home with another round of funding. According to PEHub, Farecast raised $12.1 million in the Series C round of funding led by Sutter Hill Ventures, and joined by existing investors Madrona Venture Group and Greylock Partners. This takes the total funding for Farecast to $20.6 million from its 3 rounds. 

Farecast searches seem to much more effective compared to its competitors ’cause of the ticket price guidance it provides based on historical price data analysis. This feature combined with delivery of persistent search results for ticket prices via RSS can save you time and precious dollars.

Kayak is another startup giving price guidance but without RSS feeds.  


Worklight delivers RSS for Corporates

January 30, 2007

Israel based Serendipity Technologies will be launching it’s server-based software at DEMO that enables corporate customers to syndicate their application data via RSS. Instead of trying to implement costly BI solutions for each and every simple data feed that is needed by corporate users, server side product Worklight from Serendipity can extract data and securely serves it to authorized subscribers in real-time. The Enterprise20 facing startup was co-founded by Shahar Kaminitz, CEO, and Yuval Tarsi, and had received $5.1 million in funding last September from Genesis Partners, Index Ventures, and private investor Shlomo Kramer.

Lets quickly take a look at some of the features I think make Worklight a very effective solution from my PoV – native connectivity and authentication to enterprise products like Oracle, SQL Server……, pre-built adaptors for most of these major back-end systems and web-services, Linux based product with Windows release coming up soon, support for secure feeds to protect corporate data, and an API to enable companies to build their own adaptors. All this at a very low cost of $10/user/month which can also go down to as low as $1 per user/month depending upon the number of licenses a company needs.

Some of the other platforms users can take their data to include widgets, personalized homepages, social bookmarks, application mashups, instant messaging and more. Serendipity is working on developing range of data mashups like being able to visualize impact of a news release on customer portfolio. Again lot of room to play around once customers can extract the data easily.

From the technical side J2EE based server side application includes a Java application server (Jboss) and a web server (Apache/Tomcat).  WorkLight also works with LDAP based authentication, and also supports single sign-on and access control, which should go down well with corporate customers.

Sounds interesting? Sure does to me. Still a lot will depend on the back-end interface from where feeds can be created, published, and controlled, and the ability of the server to scale up to thousands of users hitting with multiple requests simultaneously.

Knownow is another well funded startup that enables enterprise data delivery and syndication.



Nexo: Groups with personalization, widgets & more

January 30, 2007

Nexo is taking the idea of social networking, and personalization and applying them to a very basic form of interaction which was always the target – Groups. Instead of having your own page, painstakingly customizing it, and than connecting with your friends on the site to form a network, at Nexo you start off with groups itself. Being able to create a sharing and collaboration platform easily with the ability to customize the look and feel is what was missing from most of the social networking or group based platforms. Launched last year, Nexo was co-founded by Craig Jorasch, CEO, Nexo, who has previously the co-founder and Chairman of Octopus Software, an internet mash-ups and interactivity platform. Octopus was bought by in 2001. He was also the co-founder and CEO of Metropolis Software, one of the first developers of sales force automation software. Metropolis Software was sold to Clarify Software in 1996.

Feature list at Nexo is pretty exhaustive that provides a wide range of group functionality including shared calendars, forums, tasks, blogs, and much more. You can startup quickly by choosing one of the standard site templates for your group that range from sports, family, . Content that you can add to your group pages can include Images, Videos, Widgets, Polls, Widgets…. Among the couple of things that I really like about Nexo is the security built around the content. You can have add privacy and access control into every lots of aspects and determine precisely who can view and change content at any level.

Other aspect of Nexo, which I really liked, is related to widgets which we all know if going to greatly impact the way larger social networking sites monetize their operations. Nexo has an open architecture allows users to add their own widgets and themes to completely customize their online group’s function and style. As compared to this, larger players including MySpace and Bebo are planning to go slow and be secretive about their widget plans while selectively shutting off few of them. Personally I feel that open platforms like Nexo can sound to very attractive to users who want to avoid all the hassles of their widgets being shut down without notice.

Coming back to Nexo, I think within a few minutes of playing around with the site you would feel that Nexo is the right place to organize group based activity. As part of future plans Nexo will enable local photo uploads, release number of more templates, and open up its API pretty early to go in for content mashups that makes it a much more attractive destination. We should definitely see some activity from the Google Groups team who have been pretty active lately on adding new features.


Textdigger to launch semantic search engine

January 30, 2007

TextDigger will be launching its semantic search engine at DEMO today. TextDigger is not another one in the series of startups that are launched every now and then claiming Google is pretty bad at what it does and they will make sure that the injustice is stopped. TextDigger does something important which adds gives an interesting dimension to search space- Search engine being able to find similar words in context to the keywords your searched for. And these are not the keywords taken out of thesaurus we are talking about. Take the case when you are search for “hotel with a view”. The keyword has various dimensions to it – View as in “point of view”, View as used in engineering drawing, and more. However what a user is looking for is pointers in the direction of “vista”, “panorama”, “landscape”……, which a user might not recall and needs at that point of time.

When you search at TextDigger for any string, it will come up with all regular search results, and on the top of the page gives you the semantic results that can help you refining your search results. TextDigger will be initially opening up the search engine to a select group of beta testers. Semantic part of the search results will operate in a social search fashion with the users having the ability to edit and add to the semantic search index. In case you are wondering about the how they going about building their search and semantic index – TextDigger has built the semantic search engine ground up, while partnering with Gigablast to deliver the regular search results.

Coming to the short history of TextDigger – based out of San Jose, CA, TextDigger was officially started off early last year by 3 lead CNET engineers. Till date TextDigger has received funding from CNET and several angel investors but haven’t done a VC round of funding. Currently TextDigger has 6 people onboard, with varied background in CS, linguistics, and philosophy which gives it a balanced outlook at how users perceive search to be.

Powerset, and Phrasetrain have been working similar problem with slightly different focus in each case. TextDigger team works a lot around linguistics while other might try to solve them the perspective of grammar.