Plaxo Goes Back to Its Roots as Address Book

plaxo

Remember Plaxo, the web’s address book that attempted to become a social network play? The company announced that it is relaunching as an address book.

Yup, Plaxo is returning to its roots as part of its repositioning.

As part of going back to its roots, the company is unveiling its address book-related services including the Plaxo Personal Assistant, a new service that makes automatic updates to its address book so that contacts remain relevant. Users of Plaxo can unify their contacts, eliminate duplicates and synchronize across different platforms and devices.

Looks promising? Well, that was the reason in the first place why Plaxo was born in 2002.

The Plaxo Personal Assistant ensures that a user’s personal address book contains contact information that is always accurate and complete as possible. This can be done as Plaxo compares contact information from public sources and if it thinks that there is something new and more accurate, the Personal Assistant would recommend a change information.

Seems like a pretty neat idea as long as Plaxo stays on the address book game. We don’t know for how long.

Biz Stone Joins Huffington Post, AOL

biz

The Huffington Post Media Group, now part of AOL Inc., announced that Biz Stone, Twitter’s co-founder, is joining the company to serve as Strategic Adviser for Social Impact. Stone will be advising both Huffington Post and AOL on cause-based initiatives and on developing a platform to facilitate people doing service in their communities. He is also expected to rally other companies to invest in and deploy best corporate practices, as well as create and develop a video series spotlighting leading companies and executives at the forefront of philanthropy and corporate responsibility.

Meanwhile, Huffington Post and AOL’s is intensifying its commitment to give back to the community, starting with encouraging its employees to volunteer in their communities, from preparing food for families and individuals in need at the LA Food Bank to dancing with elderly residents of nursing homes in New York City. As for Arianna Huffington (President of Huffington Post) and Tim Armstrong CEO of AOL), the duo is teaching a class at the Urban Academy of Arts and Letters in Brooklyn. They will also donate $50,000 to provide after-school activities for middle-school children in undeserved communities.

Any efforts like this from organizations that are doing well, is a welcome development. Besides, it seems that anywhere we look at now, including recent developments from all over, is a call for all of us to give back.

Newmark Launches craigconnects to Make a Difference

craigconnects

Craig Newmark, best known for founding craigslist, has launched craigconnects, a web-based initiative to help people work together for the common good using the Internet.

The project, dubbed by Newmark as the biggest thing in his life, will identify, connect and protect organizations engaged in work that is socially responsible, self-perpetuating and replicable. The initial list of organizations includes dozens working in the areas of community building, social media for social progress, journalism integrity, open and accountable government, service and volunteering, veterans’ issues, and peace in the Middle East. The public is invited to submit recommendations for others to be added to the list via the craigconnects website. [Read more…]

Demand Media acquires CoveritLive

coveritlive

Content and social media company Demand Media, Inc. has acquired CoveritLive, a provider of real-time commentary, instant reader polling and question and answer capabilities to companies like ESPN, Ford, News Corp. and BBC. Terms of agreement of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Demand Media has a minority interest in CoveritLive since 2009. Today’s announcement of the acquisition will position CoveritLive as one of Demand Media’s portfolio of social solutions, along with Pluck.

Events hosted on CoveritLive attracts an audience of over 60 million people every month, 60% of which comes from outside the United States. Just recently, the company powered conversations during the Academy Awards for People, TMZ, Entertainment Weekly, Variety and the Daily Beast.

CoveritLive’s reach, coupled with the more than 100 million monthly visitors from Demand Media’s vertical web properties, is expected to strengthen the company’s original content offerings.

As expected, Apple introduces iPad 2

ipad2

My pity goes to those who bought iPad yesterday.

As we were expecting, Apple has introduced iPad 2 with an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the original. While maintaining its 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen, iPad 2 boasts of having Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor for faster performance. It now has two cameras for FaceTime and Photo Booth and for capturing 720p HD video. Despite all the new features, battery life remains at 10 hours. The new tablet also runs on both AT&T and Verizon’s 3G networks. Black or white? They have both colors. The new iPad 2 Smart Cover with self-aligning magnetic hinge is also an innovative piece of product by itself. Prices stay the same.

What was more stunning was the presence of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently on medical leave, to present the new product. The obviously ill head of Apple received a standing ovation from the throng of press people who witnessed the event.

“With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices,” jobs said. “While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again.”

Would I buy iPad 2? I doubt. I’ll wait for iPad 3 which we expect to be better than iPad 2.

SeniorNet launches virtual campus on tech for seniors

seniornet

There is a large segment of the adult population, those above 50, who for different reasons cannot or will not attend classes in a classroom. With this new offering from SeniorNet, a nonprofit organization, seniors who are homebound or have limited mobility now have the opportunity to access 200 online courses on computer skills at affordable prices.

The SeniorNet Online Learning Center is an addition brought forth by feedback from prospective and existing members. The new offering is expected to push ahead SeniorNet’s mission which is to provide older adults education for and acces to computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom.

Mimi Witcher, a tech savvy senior instructor and former Teacher of the Year at Richland College in Dallas, TX designed the curriculum. It is a virtual campus, available at any time of the day, divided into three sections.

In the Computer section, students can choose from 200-plus senior-friendly computer and Internet lesson plans written specifically for them that have been taught in a college classroom or SeniorNet Classroom Learning Center. The Get Connected section teaches students how to share their love, thoughts or photos. The Explore the World section has numerous departments containing hundreds of faculty recommended websites for students to visit.

Groupon enters UAE; gearing for world domination

groupon

Deal-of-the-day website Groupon has officially entered the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Operating under the website www.groupon.ae. The company will initially serve Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and slowly into other cities in the coming months. With UAE, the company now brings its presence into 43 countries around the globe and savings of about $1.8 billion for its members.

Despite competition from other daily-deal sites, including its ex-suitor Google, Groupon has managed to cement its foothold in different countries, using the principles of collective buying that delivers new revenue streams to local businesses. Its massive membership, coupled with thirst for daily deals, is a natural come-on for all kinds of businesses to offer deals.

“Groupon’s expansion to United Arab Emirates is another step in our development as a global Internet brand,” said Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Groupon. “Groupon UAE will change the face of the local collective buying market, leveraging the best practices Groupon has pioneered in more than 40 countries around the globe.”

The entry to UAE came right after announcing its entry to China by launching Gaopeng.com, a collaboration with local-based Tencent.com. What is important here is the potential to tap into the world’s biggest Internet population with more than 457 million users.

The company just recently announced that it has raised an additional $16.12 million in funding led by Ted Leonsis, vice-chairman emeritus of AOL.

Can Twitter predict the Academy Award winners?

theoscars

If Twitter can aid a revolution, how much in predicting winners for the upcoming 83rd Annual Academy Awards?

If suppressed people of dictators can find Twitter as an avenue of expression, how much more for passionate discussions among movie fans. Are these discussions in any way an indication of an actor’s or movie’s popularity? Again, the question is: can it predict the winners of the Academy Awards? [Read more…]

Australians spending more time with social networks

australia

Social networking now accounts for the largest amount of total time spent online by Australians.

In a report released by comScore on The State of the Internet in Australia, Australians consumed about 22 percent of their time online in December 2010, up by 5.3 percentage points compared to the same month the previous year. This explains why Facebook is the top site by total minutes spent in Australia. Different sources place the total number of Australians using Facebook at 8 to 10 million active users.

Portals came in second at 19.7 percent and Instant Messengers accounted for 11.6 percent. Both shed points to social networking. Entertainment rose to 11.1 percent from 9.1 percent in 2009.

The report also revealed that group-buying continued to gain traction over the past year. Cudo of MSN leads the space with 418,000 unique visitors in December 2010. This landscape is expected to change with the entry of Groupon, known as Stardeals, in Australia.

Social site Shizzlr launches with funding from state of Connecticut

shizzlr

Facebook is way ahead of the competition. Most of the social networks are now forgotten (though some people will disagree).

So, why would Nick Jaensch and Keith Besette set to develop Shizzlr.com, a site dedicated to college students and 20-somethings. Isn’t it that kind of exclusivity that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, took during its early stage? Is Shzzlr.com just a copycat?

“Facebook is for every person you’ve met or have come across,” Jaensch said. “Shizzlr is for your actual 20 friends and the people you hang out with.” [Read more…]