Home Weekly Wrapup: State of the Smartphone, Google Me, Oprah on Twitter, And More…

Weekly Wrapup: State of the Smartphone, Google Me, Oprah on Twitter, And More…

In this edition of the Weekly Wrapup, our newsletter summarizing the top stories of the week, we look at the state of the smartphone industry, study new stats showing Facebook’s international market penetration, review ‘The Oprah Effect’ on Twitter, check out a new product called Google Me, analyze the closure of Web 1.0 icon GeoCities, and more. Also, we look at featured stories from ReadWriteHire, our new product which tracks hires in tech and new media.

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Web Trends

The State of the Smartphone: iPhone is Way, Way Ahead

A new industry report from mobile analytics firm Flurry reveals some unique insights into the smartphone industry as of right now. Because their firm focuses not just on iPhone, but also on Android, RIM Blackberry, and JavaME, they have the ability to see platform-spanning trends, instead of just those tied to Apple. So what can we learn from their deep dive into their company’s data? Anything surprising? Actually, what the report confirms is what we’ve been hearing for some time now: the iPhone is king, smartphones are the new laptops, and iPhone applications can and do make money.

Facebook Goes International: Sees Impressive Growth Rates in Africa and Asia

According to data compiled by O’Reilly’s Ben Lorica, Facebook is currently seeing some very impressive growth outside of the United States. In Africa and Asia, for example, Facebook’s active user base grew over 70% in the last 12 weeks, and in Indonesia, Facebook has finally displaced Friendster as the most popular social network. With regards to the basic demographics on Facebook, women still represent the majority of users (51% vs. 45%), and while younger users still represent the majority of active users on the service, users over 55 are driving most of Facebook’s current growth.

Nobody is Making Money Online from Susan Boyle Video (Yet)

Unless you lived in an exceptionally dark cave in the last two weeks, you probably weren’t able to escape the Susan Boyle phenomenon. According to some metrics, over 100 million people have watched the immaculately edited video of the ‘frumpy’ 47-year-old’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) by now. While this is most definitely an interesting cultural phenomenon, the Times this week also reports that neither ITV, the network that shows BGT, nor YouTube have really been able to directly profit from this huge hit because the network and YouTube have been arguing about the terms of their advertising agreement.

Jimmy Wales: Social Web Marketing – Good for Some, Not for All

According to Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, there are too many Indians and not enough Chiefs in the world of Web 2.0 marketing. “There is a lot of advice about how brands should be interacting [online],” he said in a keynote presentation at Ad:Tech San Francisco this week. “But, unless your brand is information dense, this highly interactive marketing is both expensive and useless.” The good news however, is that communities offer the best bang for your buck in this miserable economy and Wales sees return on investment (ROI) as an “incredible steal right now,” when it comes to consumer generated media.

Make Your Home Tweet Its Energy Use (Earth Day Project!)

Peter Troast, founder of Energy Circle, a company that sells energy-saving products, has created a new energy-monitoring system that sends his home’s energy usage stats to Twitter. Inspired by the open source power monitoring kit from Tweet-a-Watt, Troast’s system also sends his home’s energy data to the web, but it’s not in the form of once-a-day tweets like Tweet-a-Watt provides. Instead, his system uses a monitoring device called TED (The Energy Dectective) to create charts which are annotated by family members then tweeted for everyone to see. If you want to do the same for your home, we’ve got the info.


A Word from Our Sponsors

We’d like to thank ReadWriteWeb’s sponsors, without whom we couldn’t bring you all these stories every week!

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Who’s Getting Hired in Tech? Q1 Numbers from ReadWriteHire

Rapleaf’s Auren Hoffman says that hiring is harder in a downturn because the noise goes up but the quality stays the same. That’s a pretty strong statement to make, but if it’s true then it’s all the more remarkable to see which companies are making hires now.

Our site ReadWriteHire covers new hires in tech and new media. We’ve just published our aggregate numbers for the first 3 months of 2009. Who’s hiring? Software and IT companies, social media and social networking companies and marketing and advertising firms.


Web Products

Now You Can Change What Google Says About You

Google me? I’ll Google you! Google has become the de facto public record these days but most people remain in relative obscurity there and/or fear of what past indiscretions Google will expose to people who search for them. This week Google released a product, called Google Me, that aims to change all of that. For a price – though not a monetary one.

GeoCities Closure Signals End of an Era – Will Others Survive on Freemium Model?

Yahoo has announced that its website creation service GeoCities, which it acquired for $4.5 billion in 1999, will close later this year. Existing customers are being encouraged to “upgrade” to Yahoo! Web Hosting, which offers a site-building service and a personalized web address. The closing of GeoCities is the end of an era. Last June, we profiled the rise of “GeoCities 2.0” services, i.e. website creation tools for the Social Web. Many of them will attempt to pick up GeoCities’ customers. Although, as Yahoo! itself indicated in its closure message, website building is mostly a ‘feature’ nowadays rather than a separate product. So, is this a viable business now for the likes of Weebly and Yola?

No Doubt About It – Oprah Brought Lots of New Users to Twitter

Oprah’s well publicizedfirst tweet last Friday was definitely a boon for Twitter. According to Hitwise, 37% of all visits to Twitter last Friday were from new visitors, and Twitter’s overall share of U.S. Internet visits increased 24% on Friday. It is important to note, though, that Twitter, being the new and growing service that it is, usually gets about 32% new visitors every day, which definitely puts these numbers into perspective. Hitwise, however, also notes that Facebook’s ratio of new visitors was only 8% in March.

Sunlight Foundation Funds Six “Apps for America”

Chips, dip and government data are everyone’s three favorite things to take to a party, right? Ok, so government data is actually quite boring on its own, but in these exciting times of democratized programming, government data can be turned into some pretty exciting mashups. That’s just what the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation is aiming to make more possible with its work to make government and related data more available with its new Apps for America contest. More than 40 open source applications and websites making use of that data entered the contest and this week the six fabulous winners were announced. We’ve got a five minute screencast tour of the winners below.



IT Consolidation Blues: CHOI Does Not Spell Choice

Oracle is buying Sun, and bankers are looking forward to the next wave of consolidation. To somebody who remembers the innovation and excitement of earlier enterprise hardware and software start-ups, this is a bit gloomy. CHOI (Cisco, HP, Oracle, IBM) does not spell “choice” for buyers, employees, or investors. Choose your behemoth. If consolidation means lower prices — and it will — buyers will be happy. But, it all sounds like cost-cutting, layoffs, and less innovation to me.

Email us if you’re interested in writing for ReadWriteWeb’s Enterprise Channel, which will soon be getting a re-design.


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

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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