Orange shoots for £8/month unlimited data

April 26, 2007

TimesOnline is reporting that Orange in UK is planning to take 3G headon this time around and get itself some more customers. Orange new plan would it’s users unlimited anytime browsing for just  £8/month. Not sure how long we need to pay for $45 for Blackberry network.

Useamap – Tinyurl for Google Maps

April 26, 2007

Useamap offers yet another small piece of functionality that can make you life tiny bit easier. Instead of sending in the extra longish map permalink from Google Maps, you can now use Useamap to give your location a name. Just click on your desired location on the map and assign the location a name like – MyHome to get your easy to remember and share URL – http://Useamap.com/MyHome. Cool! Of course if MyHome is already taken, you need to look for alternative name. Useamap does few more things than just click and save. You can add detailed driving direction, embed the map on your blog, enable commenting on your maps, and search for maps created by users with a particular description that gets more onto the social side of things. Now let’s see how long it takes for Google to get the feature in their repository.

Links:
Useamap

Can you trust Compete.com stats?

April 26, 2007

With Hitwise getting acquired for millions and comScore going for an IPO, every company in the web stats area has that million dollar twinkle in the eye. This includes Compete.com, Quantcast, and the awful Alexa. While Quantcast and Alexa don’t really try to push and pull companies, Compete has been on the free research reports roll for the past few months. Publish some juicy social networking or Google comparisons and they get everyone watching. Well there is nothing wrong about that but only only problem is that their stats are way off the mark. Every webmaster would agree with the fact that Compete’s stats are 20-100 times off the actual. Now I don’t want to go case by case basis since it is all so obvious. Even Compete would agree with this fact.

My point here is that Compete is dishing out these comparison reports day-in-day-out for which an ordinary or occasional user has no real way to corroborate the facts. Consider the case when user hit the Google Checkout vs Paypal report published yesterday by Compete.com. All that visitor would learn from the report is – “oh well, Google is loosing”. But are those numbers really accurate as Compete wants it’s visitors to believe. What about all the transactions coming through the Checkout API, where the complete checkout happens on the merchant site itself. I know there are not many merchants who have gone for the advanced integration, but did Compete even include that in it’s cals?

In my opinion Compete should be putting up a disclaimer at the bottom of each report it publishes stating that data in fact might not be as accurate as it looks. Or at least give expected variance from the actual.  I think they owe this to the visitors and to the companies they profile. If publishing reports gets Compete employees a paycheck, building apps gets someone a paycheck. Trying to influence public opinion based on no so accurate stats can ’cause someone to loose his/her job somewhere in the world. 

Can we have Garlik for US?

April 26, 2007

UK based Garlik is a very smart idea – it monitors your identity online. And the monitoring, named DataPatrol, is pretty comprehensive that spans webpages, public records, commercial databases, and geo-demographic data delivering you monthly reports all for just £29.99/year. Garlik today announced that has raised another £6 million in Series B round of funding to keep up with expansion this service in UK and beyond. The funding round was led by 3i and Doughty Hanson who had previously invested £3 million in the startup in January 2006.

Even though I knew about Garlik since last year I haven’t looked at the reports generated ’cause the service is only for UK based users. Still assuming that Garlik gets you the monthly report with details about where your personal information is showing up online, I am no sure what exactly you can do about that. Just look at content piracy for comparison purposes . If someone is really stealing your content all you can do is file a DMCA takedown notice. After that it is up to the webmaster to either ignore or comply with your notice. You can’t do much unless you have big bucks to back you up. In my experience there will always be sites that don’t comply with your request. And in case of identify scam all you need is 1 site where your complete history shows up to seal your fate. Still knowing is better than being dark and would very much be interested in subscribing to such a service in US.

Future direction for Garlik – Expansion beyond UK and a version targeted at business users.

Update: Time to learn something new. As Nikolay pointed out ReputationDefender.com is doing Garlik in US.

Links:
Garlik

TheStreet picks Stockpickr

April 26, 2007

TheStreet.com has gone ahead with 100% ownership of Stockpickr.com by acquiring the remaining 50.1% stake. Stockpickr brings the Last.fm kind of recommendation concept to the finance side of things by enabling a system that sends you automated stock recommendations based on matching your portfolio. Any recommendation you get will result from comparisons against thousands of portfolios, both professional and amateur, with a similar make-up to yours. In essence, the idea at Stockpickr is to follow the portfolio of the leaders in the market, like Warren Buffett and George Soros, instead of making safe investment in market tracker S&P500 or for that matter any index fund.

To make life bit simpler for people starting off at Stockpickr gives out the list for top/most viewed/ActiveTrader portfolios. Besides this Stockpickr had some editorial content which would get a boost after the TheStreet buyout.

Links:
Stockpickr.com

vFlyer goes mobile

April 26, 2007

One of the more aggressive and fast moving startups, vFlyer, has gone through yet another major software release to get most of the core functionality onto mobile phones with the launch of vFlyer Mobile. I think they might be the first classifieds related service to launch a full featured mobile application.

As you might expect from the Oliver and Aaron @ vFlyer, the solution takes care of both sides of mobile users – SMS and WAP enabled. So while you are on the move, you can easily access and distribute your flyers via SMS or the mobile browser. Besides that vFlyer mobile gives reporting capabilities like ability to track flyer page views, visits and prospective buyers. For the SMS junkies, no shortcode for now. Should be out soon though.

Mobile play from vFlyer fits well with it’s customers since majority of them are pushing real estate flyers and are very much mobile+data enabled. vFlyer did some research on the dollar amount spent by realtors and it turns out that 56% of REALTORS® spent >$1,000 on technology while 30% of REALTORS® spent >$2,000 on technology. Going by those figures, I would say vFlyer Mobile should have come earlier than the Widgets release. Still, no worries as the startup is only 6 months old and has covered lot of ground in the short amount of time for us to not to complain about.

Stay tuned for big release from vFlyer next month.

Links:
vFlyer Mobile

Google Apps free offer gets 1 month extension. Why?

April 25, 2007

While we are at talking about Office20, let’s look at a small change. When Google had announced pricing for Google Apps Premier earlier this year in February, companies were free to try out the Google Apps Premier till April 30th, 2007. Well, as it seems right now, that date got pushed to May 31st. Not really sure what is the reason behind the change. Is Google having issues with meeting it’s growth targets for the paid edition? Or Google was expecting way too many companies to jump the ship that never happened for real.

Either way Google Apps has tough times ahead with BungeeLabs offering super-cheap pay-as-you-go pricing of $1/interaction-hour for it’s hosted apps platform that among other things can easily have the mail/doc/spreadsheet built through it in no time. Not sure how the $50/user/year pricing from Google would matchup to Bungee’s offer. More on Bungee soon.

Office20 big mashup next month

April 25, 2007

Did you think Google Apps had the Office20 market all wrapped up for itself? Or are you one of those who thought SuiteTwo will do the magic in collaboration space but is taking too long to take off? Or are you one of those just team leads building a competing product to Google and wary of storing all your information on Google’s servers? Or are you like me, looking for a enterprise grade content management system that takes care of all your documents while also letting you view them via the best-of-breed online office apps? Which ever category you might fall under, stay tuned for the big mashup in the Office20 space coming early next month. Now you might ask, who all are part of the mashup. As I said, “best-of-breed ” Office20 apps 🙂

Betabug: Bug Tracking gets social

April 25, 2007

Eventually social aspect of things had to merge with developer tools. Betabug is taking few smart steps towards that with it’s web-based bug tracking tool that makes bug filing that much more fun.

To start with Betabug comes with the typical set of functionality where you can create bugs, assign severity, priority, severity, dates, and the related. Nice part of the service is that you can create as many bugs and bugboards projects you want. Now that was the basic stuff. Things get interesting at Betabug in case you want to show your bug list to people in pubic. Just make the bug public and everyone outside your team gets visibility to that. This feature can come handy when you want to share top user-requested fixes.

Betabug has also gotten the other side of communication taken care off via it’s widget. Put the Betabug widget on your site or company blog and it generates a form that allows users to submit bugs directly into your Bugboard. Some other smart features – tagging, custom search, export bugs to excel/…. Last but not the least, if you have too much time at hand, you can go for public bug hunting at Betabug.

Feel like trying out the app? Well, as of now Betabug is in private beta launching sometime soon. Till that time company make plans around your social bug tracking.

Links:
Betabug

Fastscale: drop a datacenter in seconds

April 25, 2007

Fastscale, which had been operating in stealth mode till earlier this month, is now disclosing more details about it’s technology that potentially will have big impact on the speed and cost at which servers are deployed at datacenters. The startup has come out with it’s first product, FastScale Composer, that creates an application blueprint that consists of OS components an application requires at execution time. Fastscale takes this Application Blueprint to automatically build a small, full-featured software environment including only the precise software components required. And these application bundles, which are created on-demand, take on average only one percent the size of traditional server images and are small enough to run in memory. ‘Cause of the small footprint provisioning takes few seconds as compared to couple of hours spent deploying an OS. Pricing starts at $30,000 that includes licensing for DB2, which is used for the software repository, plus 25 server node provisions, which sell for $500 each if a company buys 250 server nodes.

Earlier in the month Fastscale had announced closing of it’s Series A round of funding in which it raised $6.5 million. The investment was led by ATA Ventures and joined by Leapfrog Ventures and Hunt Ventures.

Links:
Fastscale