Here is a summary of the week's Web Tech action on Read/WriteWeb. For those of you reading this via our website, note that you can subscribe to the Weekly Wrapups - either via the special RSS feed or by email.

Web News

Microsoft Invests in Facebook

The week was dominated by the news that Microsoft beat Google to an investment in Facebook. There was initially a rumor that Google had won the much hyped deal. But then the news hit that Microsoft had invested $240 million for a minority stake in Facebook, at a valuation of $15 billion. As part of the deal, and probably driving it, Microsoft expanded their advertising agreement with Facebook to international markets (they already had responsibility for US banner ads). Note however that this deal leaves room for Facebook to run its own advertising network, which we have been discussing on Read/WriteWeb. Facebook's ad system will likely use social profiling to target ads, given the wealth of such data that Facebook has.

There was a lot of follow-up discussion on the deal, including from our Read/WriteWeb writers. Alex Iskold wrote an intriguing article entitled Should Google Be Afraid Of Facebook?. He concluded however that Facebook isn't in the same league as Google, so the Mountain View company doesn't have a lot to fear. Josh Catone offered a contrarian view, in light of the massive influx of cash that Facebook received earlier in the week - and more importantly, who it came from.

Let us know, in the comments to the Wrapup, whose view you agreed with more - Alex's or Josh's?

Copyright Arrests

This week saw two high profile arrests in Britain, in relation to online media copyright. The founder and some staff of a directory site called TV Links was arrested last weekend and the site was shut down by British police. Tv-links.co.uk listed links to other sites where visitors could find television content, often posted without permission of copyright holders.

On the heels of that followed another copyright arrest - British and Dutch police raided the servers of invite-only public torrent tracker OiNK.cd (formerly OiNK.me.uk) and arrested the site's 24-year-old server admin. According to the IFPI, it was one of the main sources for leaked, pre-release music on the Internet, responsible for leaking 60 major albums this year.

Judging by the comments on both posts, Read/WriteWeb readers were unimpressed (to put it mildly) by the arrests and raids.

Web Products

Al Gore's Current: Re-defining TV, Using the Web

Last week while in San Francisco R/WW Editor Richard MacManus visited Current's offices, to check out the launch of their new Current.com website. He spoke to Robin Sloan (Online Product Strategist) and Joshua Katz (President of Marketing), who gave him a demo and overview of their strategy. Richard came away impressed by Current.com's stunning design - but more importantly the new Web Native functionality that Current has built into (and around) Television watching. This post explores that innovation, which may well change our television viewing habits over time.

Jango's Social Music Service Shines In a Crowded Market

Jango is a social music site that's launching formally in the middle of next month, but has decided to reach out to blogs for coverage now. Apparently a company with an enlarged sense of proportion all along, Jango says its private beta has 300,000 users. Yet it's stayed off the radar of all the leading web 2.0 review blogs to date. Read/WriteWeb readers who click through this link can access the closed beta. You'll be prompted to create an account after you enter your first artist search. According to Marshall Kirkpatrick, it's a good looking service - think Last.fm with more social features and more AJAX. Think Pandora with profiles brought to the front and more control over the playlist.

ChoiceA Takes on the Realtors of the World, 2.0 Style

ChoiceA is a new site for do it yourself, or For Sale By Owner, real estate listings. It's got a nice, simple interface that makes good use of new web technologies and it's quite pleasing to peruse the limited listings collected prelaunch. Those listings are free to post and so far are primarily based around the Pacific Northwest of the US.

Reators though, wrote Marshall Kirkpatrick, may prove to be a case study of one of those industry roles that just can't be replaced by the internet.

Instant Messaging Round-Up

There are more and more ways to get your instant messaging done, with a large number of new online and offline clients from third parties. With so many instant messaging options, it's hard to figure out which one to use. So Josh Catone created a list of online and offline instant messengers, as well the various protocols supported by each, so that you can more easily find the one that's right for you. There's really not all that much difference between each except in interface and supported protocols. The best option for you will likely be the one that supports the networks your friends connect to and has an interface that you feel comfortable using.

You can find many other product reviews and startup profiles in our Startups category.


2007 Web 2.0 Summit Review: How the Web 2.0 Conference Has Evolved Over 2 Years

Last week Richard MacManus attended the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. For some reason, wrote Richard, the 2007 Web 2.0 Summit was harder to analyze than the previous 3 events. It was difficult to identify an over-riding theme to this conference. For a start, the cutting edge was even further away from the Summit than it was in 2006. The main themes that Richard picked up during this conference were:

* Social networking (especially Facebook); and
* The iPhone - which was seemingly carried by at least 1 out of every 2 conference participants.

Two interesting trends to be sure, but not the cutting edge of web technology. Was this year's Web 2.0 Summit a case of 'Steady As She Goes'? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Google vs. Systran: Mountain View Does Their Own Translation

Google has switched to its own in house translation system for all 25 available language pairs. Previously, the site used Systran for almost all of its translation processing, turning to its in house software only for Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. AltaVista's Babelfish, one of the first and most well-known online translation services, still uses Systran for language processing.

Josh Catone put the two head-to-head to see which produced better results - also check out the comments to see what our readers thought.

TwitterWhere Tracks Tweets from Any Location, Like San Diego

There was lots of coverage around the web this week of the role that social media played in reporting about the wildfires in Southern California. Twitter and Google Maps received the most coverage but there are probably infinite permutations of those two tools and others, as well. One tool that just happened to launch this week was TwitterWhere, a service that makes tracking Tweets from any location easy to do. Marshall Kirkpatrick couldn't help but think of San Diego when he saw it.

You can find more R/WW analysis posts here.

R/WW Network Blogs


This week our Digital Lifestyle news blog last100 covered some new features from TiVo - including multi-room viewing and the ability to transfer content to a PC for DVD burning. In online music news, last100 reported that Amazon MP3 may be the No. 3 online music store in just 30 days.

For an interesting counterpoint view to the iPhone craze, check out last100 Editor Steve O'Hear's analysis of why he bought an iPod Touch and not an iPhone.

Alt Search Engines

AltSearchEngines this week took a look at the Top 3 Alternative TV Search Engines. ASE Editor Charles Knight also analyzed the future of search. As we approach 2008, wrote Charles, the “Future of Search” seems to be less and less a guessing game every day. Check out his findings here.

Also, did you know that Alternative Search Engines collectively have a 1.7% Market Share in search? Now you do. Check out this image, courtesy of Internet World Stats:

That's a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.