MySpace Taps The RIM: Record Breaking Blackberry App

Designed to help Blackberry users stay connected to the MySpace social network, a new app from the Fox Interactive company has been downloaded 400,000 times in its first week. This goes a long way towards dispelling the unhipster Blackberry myth.

A Facebook app, which launched in 2007, has been downloaded 2.5 million times.

Android Followed iPhone, But Wait (There May) Be More: The MicroPhone

The Inquirer reportedly has knowledge of a Microsoft Phone, which we are dubbing the MicroPhone.

Thanks to MG Siegler for bringing this to our attention. The veracity of this report is pegged as “highly dubious”.

Either way as I see it at the moment the two key platforms to focus on for native, mobile Internet-focused apps are the iPhone and Android, given that there are already millions of iPhones out there in the wild and it is anticipated that there will be millions of Android-enabled phones out there next year.

iPhone Image Recognition: Snap And Tell

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a picture of a book someone is reading in your local coffee shop and before the sugar sinks into your cappucino you have all the data on it and where you can buy it.

Or similarly, what if you could snap a billboard as you hurtle down the 101 (preferably with someone else driving) and before you reach your destination you’ve already pulled up more details on the concert being advertized and bought tickets.

Palo Alto-based SnapTell has the solution. Their image matching technology handles real life photos snapped on the majority of cell phones and parses these against a growing database of products. They are also able to extract text from pictures and use this to drive search.

The company has recently launched an iPhone app – read Jason Kincaid’s review.

How To Price Your iPhone Apps

This evening I got a hold of Google’s Voice Search App for the iPhone. Something struck me as it was downloading – I had not even checked to see the price. In fact, up to a certain price point I doubt I would’ve balked at downloading it even had I checked.

I am perceiving, as are others, that there are certain price thresholds for iPhone, and in time – other mobile, apps.

Let me run through them:

* Blind at price
The combination of a trusted source and high anticipation results in a “blind at price” threshold. As with the Google app – I would not have hesitated, but see later for the upper ceiling. The caveat here is that subconsciously I may have anticipated the app would be free given it is Google’s modus to give apps away for free and make money off ads.

*Buy to try
$2 seems to be the common wisdom of a price point at which most people are prepared to front up with the cash simply to try out an app. It is also a price point at which you are not likely to make much noise if you don’t get sufficient value for money. Adam Ostrow, in reviewing PhotoArtist, agrees as do a number of the people who commented on his story.

In contrast, when I downloaded CameraBag for $3.99 I was disappointed with the initial functionality and seriously considered creating a stink. Thankfully the app has since wobbled straight and I am loving it. In fact it is the primary photography app for me on the iPhone, which I am experimenting with as my primary photography device at present.

* Excellent marketing
Between $2 and $5 an app needs to both satisfy an immediate need and promise sufficient value. This translates into having excellent marketing of the app – a great picture, brand and blurb about the app and most of us will download it. This is what hooked me on CameraBag for example. It took about three “look sees” before I decided to take the plunge, but their story eventually thresholded me.

* Trusted name, compelling app

Between $5 and $15 there aren’t many apps that get me interested. However, with Will Wright’s Spore app I had no hesitation in putting the cash. The combination of his name, the corporate behind him and the actual app’s reputation had me hooked.

How To Dominate The Newsfeed: Friendtag Photospamming

Photos give good newsfeed. No doubt about it.

But tagging them with friends who are not featured in the photo purely as a way to disseminate the photo and whatever you’re pushing through it – that’s spam, baby! Dont do it – you are violating the principles of social media in so many ways it’s just not funny.

Sam Lessin explains the how and gives his opinion:

…people have begun to upload a photo of something they wish to promote (perhaps a candidate or event) and then “tag” the photo with the names of as many influential friends as they can. The tagged photo then shows up in the news feeds of the friends of those influentials as if the photo was of them. After people click on it they find out that, in fact, it is a message in support of some cause.

To be clear, the key here is that the people that the cause promoter has “tagged” in the image are not actually in the image and have not actively lent their support to the message. Rather, the individual supporting the given cause is hijacking a friend’s name to broadcast a message to the friends of their friend. Follow?

This is a really terrific idea for someone looking to broadly push a message. If you tag 20 people into a given photo with something you are promoting you can easily reach thousands of people directly in their news feed with a big splashy image that appears highly relevant.

Sam – this idea sucks. I’m with Sarah Perez on this.

Yahoo Dips Into Single Digit Territory

This morning YHOO dipped to 9.83. This is a major inflection point for a company that could’ve sold itself to Microsoft a few weeks ago for at least three times that price per share.

Kara Swisher has weighed in asking questions regarding the company’s board. After Jerry Yang’s deer in the headlights performance at the Web 2.0 Summit last week, you’ve gotta wonder – where to from here guys?

Microsoft Is (A)Live With Photo Sharing, Social Roll Out While Apple Searches

Microsoft has rearchitected its Live.com portal to be more of a social network on which users can pull in data from various sources and interact with their friends. TechCrunch has more coverage:

Users are automatically connected with any friends they have on Windows Live Messenger, which is by far the most popular instant messaging service worldwide (Comscore: Microsoft Messenger has 268 million worldwide users, compared to 116 million for Yahoo and 6 million for Google Talk).

Users are asked to build out their profile, and can also bring in content they create on blogs (or any RSS feeds, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, iLike, Twitter, WordPress and Yelp. When you do something new on those sites, the information flows into Live.com for your friends to see (in a very similar way as FriendFeed, Plaxo and others do today). Eventually, says Microsoft, more than 50 partners will be supported. When users add photos, write reviews, and update their profiles directly on Live.com, that content will be put into the activity stream as well.

The hope, of course, is to get people to hang out a lot more at Live.com. At least those people who use Messenger, since they already have their contacts established. Like Yahoo, Microsoft is going with its strengths, which in their case is instant messaging.

Microsoft’s software plus services strategy has clearly infiltrated Live.com as well as their approach with Office. Live.com users can now access a variety of online services like mail, calendar, photos, online storage, etc., as well as downloaded services that include a mail client, instant messaging, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, the Toolbar and other services. And now it’s also one big social network.

Included in this new roll out is a photo sharing site call Live Photos. ReadWriteWeb has a solid review.

They point out that the slideshow background changes color depending on the dominant color in the photo being displayed at any given time – this is an interesting feature and points to photo sharing services growing their intelligence of what is taking place inphoto as it were.

Furthermore:

You can share your albums with very granular permissions, and also share individual photos. Every photo can be tagged and your visitors can also leave comments.

On the other side of the spectrum, Apple is reported to be working on a search engine. This one’s more of a rumor than substantiated Valley lore at the moment. Again from TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.

Do You Really Want An Efficient Venture Capital Model?

There is a meme out there at the moment that the venture capital model is broken.

For the most part it’s an old, but recurring argument – one that’s rolled out whenever there is a shift in the markets, and usually by successive generations (who may not have seen the previous shift).

Could venture capital be done better. Hell yeah. Could it be done more efficiently – I doubt it. Much of the game is played on experience-based gut feel and, unlike in other asset classes, cold-hearted algorithms will not replace this.

Fred Wilson sums things up brilliantly: venture capital is dead, long live venture capital.

Is Nick Denton Gawked

I’ve always had a lot of time for Nick, ever since the days we crazily grew First Tuesday through the roof. His latest post regarding the web ad market arena seems to make so much sense that I did a double take when I read some of the comments from his staff:

* here

* here , and

* here.

What gives Nick? Have you gawked things up, or left a few vocal chords out in the cold as you shutter up for your incoming nuclear storm?

World 2.0: Al Gore’s Purpose-Driven Web And Rupert Murdoch’s Maelstrom

There’s a new puppy headed to the White House. Unites States President-Elect, Barack Obama has promised his children this.

Al Gore, made reference to Barack’s promise in his closing keynote at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco yesterday. He reflected upon his earlier days as a reporter and how he had been in the process of choosing a puppy for his kids.

He brought in someone to help him and his wife choose the type of puppy and the first question he was asked was, “What’s the purpose of the puppy?”

“You see”, said former US Vice President, Al Gore, “a puppy’s got to have a purpose.”

And so it is with our current puppy – the Internet. I was both fortunate enough to be around when this puppy was born, and to have been at the Palace Hotel yesterday and a part of the crowd that gave Al two standing ovations as he made it crystal clear to all of us: the Internet puppy now needs to be given a purpose.

Gone are the endless summer days when you could tweet about your innermost whimsies. Gone are the halycon days when you could simply garner a user base for the sake of doing so.

This puppy needs to be harnessed and made the most of.

As Barack proved with his campaign – a clear purpose, a driven determination and the power of the network can achieve what may appear unachievable at the outset.

Al has predictably urged us all to use the web for the higher purpose of setting the balance right with mother nature. I agree, but I also think this is not enough.

I believe if we keep the status quo, our silo’d nation states based on geographical boundaries and our us/them ideologies and try to solve our environmental problems then we will fail.

We need to change how we view our relationships with one another and with the planet as a whole. We need a true World 2.0.

Al used another analogy in his talk. He spoke about the retrofitting of factories during the industrial age with dynamos. Because these factories had been set up to work optimally based on an outmoded technology these upgrades had minimal impact. It was only when the factories were replaced with more modern ones specifically fashioned to work with dynamos that there was an order of magnitude improvement.

Similarly, while there have been some benefits since the launch of the Internet we have not seen an order of magnitude improvement to date. Instead we have numerous countries censoring web traffic, while others create monopolies for their own benefit to the detriment of the rest of the world.

What we need is to move beyond our current retrofit and architect a whole new way of operating as one world. If we truly want to move beyond, what Elon Musk called yesterday at the Summit, the “market armageddon”, if we truly want to tackle our pressing environmental issues then we need World 2.0.

How can we rely on nationalistic governments to get us out of the mess we are in? Many would argue they got us there in the first place. But this is not a blame game. We don’t have time for that.

We need to recognize that the current systems are an anachronism and that we need a step change now or we will truly be plunged into a time of true darkness.

In a talk he is giving tomorrow, Rupert Murdoch will point out that “we are in an era of unprecedented creative destruction”. He will call on all of us to embrace new technologies. His take is that “technology is ushering in a new golden age for humankind”.

I agree with him. We are at a critical point in our history as a planet. A point when we have but one true path ahead of us, a path that will require us to coalesce into one world and collectively tackle the hugely destructive forces that are all around us.

It is time for World 2.0 – how will you play a part? Will you sit back on your couch and wait to read about it in the New York Times? Or will you seize the moment and drive this forward?

Look at the change that “recovering politician” Al Gore has been able to achieve in a limited time and on a limited budget.

Isn’t it time we took this one giant step further! Let’s give this puppy a real purpose.