Google have acquired reCAPTCHA, the CAPTCHA spam stopping service that gives you a visual presentation of words scanned out of public domained books. You know the kind, that nasty image where you have to struggle to read the letters you have to input in a field to validate that you aren’t a spam bot. I like reCAPTCHA and use them when CAPTCHA functionality is needed, a necessary evil sometimes, but no universal solution nonetheless.
Maybe Google can make it work even better? After all, they have a huge amount of content to pull from thanks to Google Books, maybe that can help? Personally I doubt it, Google hints to why they are in fact buying reCAPTCHA in the announcement post (bold added by yours truly):
So we’ll be applying the technology within Google not only to increase fraud and spam protection for Google products but also to improve our books and newspaper scanning process.
That being said, I remain slightly optimistic that Google can make reCAPTCHA a better solution when a CAPTCHA is needed.
The FriendFeed team is extremely excited to become a part of the talented Facebook team. We’ve always been great admirers of Facebook, and our companies share a common vision. Now we have the opportunity to bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world and to work alongside Facebook’s passionate engineers to create even more ways for you to easily share with your friends online.
They seem happy enough, and while no immediate changes are planned, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that we’ll see new features roll out on Facebook. Question is if FriendFeed will live on as a separate identity or not. My guess is no, but we’ll see.
The UK-based Sportingo sports network has been acquired by entertainment ticket listing service Tixdaq.com.
Sportingo includes the Caught Offside football blog and the Get Sport video portal, and receives a reported one million visitors each month. It’s written exclusively by sports fans rather than journalists. read more
While many of us were eating, drinking and “Auld Lang Syne-ing” over the past week or so, Consumers Union has been busy securing a deal with Gawker Media to acquire Consumerist.com.
The non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports is bringing its independent, unbiased publishing policy to the site; from today, Consumerist.com will no longer carry ads.
President and CEO of Consumers Union, Jim Guest, spoke of his delight in adding such a vibrant site to its portfolio of information products. It’s most definitely a case of well-established traditional media taking on hugely popular new media – over 70 years of publishing buying out a three-year-old boasting around ten million monthly page views. read more
The latest item on Automattic’s shopping list is PollDaddy, the hosted poll solution that apparently have served 195 million votes over some 1 million polls to date. The two man operation have joined Automattic, and PollDaddy polls are now hosted in the new owner’s powerful datacenter. Good for the stability of the service.
As we started to look at building out our own service for this, it became more obvious that, while on the surface it’s a very simple problem, there’s a lot of hidden complexity and opportunities for some really powerful features under the hood. There are probably a dozen companies addressing this space right now, but as we started to survey the space I was struck by how often I’d see this “PollDaddy” thing pop up.
Automattic has announced that it has acquired IntenseDebate for an undisclosed sum. This should ensure that, in time, the free blog commenting service has the potential to find its way onto both hosted and self-managed WordPress blogs – over four million at present.
According to a CNet article, Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg has said that IntenseDebate software could become the default commenting option on both WordPress.org and WordPress.com, citing email replies and comment rating system as the two of the main reasons for taking on the service. read more
Giga Omni Media recently bought jkOnTheRun, and now they’re spending some more money in the blogosphere, adding none other than The Apple Blog to their network. This is another great call, in my opinion, since The Apple Blog has a nice voice and is a great source of Apple news. In fact, it has been in my feed reader since before I even got my Mac, and that says a lot. Owner Josh Pigford says this in an announcement post:
I’m honored for The Apple Blog to be a part of such a solid group of publications, and really look forward to where The Apple Blog will go in the coming months and years. I’ll be staying on board with the transition as will a number of our great contributors.
He also promises that there won’t be any radical changes, just more of everything, which is nice. read more
It appears as if Google have bought TNC (site in Korean), short for Tatter and Company, which is a Korean company focusing on blogs. VentureBeat reports that TNC is providing professional blogging software and services to more to 400,000 users, and also says that the sum Google paid for the company is undisclosed. No official word from Google yet.