OK, lot’s of rumors lately about Google buying up the face recognition technology start-up (that hasn’t even launched) Riya. The deal is dead now it seems.
You know what? I feel relieved, and will tell you why in a minute.
I have no clue why there was no deal, but here are some possible explanations:
$30m was too high a price tag: hardly. if their technology is revolutionary, then any % change in Google’s stock price would have paid for it.
maybe their tehnology (after due diligence) is not that revolutionary, or is not stable, robust, whatever.
maybe their technology can easily be copied, or is not patentable, so no barrier to entry here, and it’s just buying air.
maybe a people conflict
maybe a PR problem: Google buying up 10–people companies with no revenues, no yet launcehd product, etc. creates bad image.
And that’s exacly why I’m relieved. All this stuff about creating a company, raising money or selling it in 3 months is non-sense. Look at Meebo, a GREAT little tool to have all of your IM chats on one single AJAX page. The guys (3 of them) have just closed a round with Sequoia Capital for $9–10m pre, and we guess for a 25–30% stake. What?
My questions on the Meebo deal:
– I know fir instance that AOL has been fighting forever with all “rogue” clients of AIM. If you want to interconnect to their service, if you ever become big, you need to pay. At any case they can block you. Hardly a sustainable business without serious written deals (OZ got them though).
– if the team built the whole service in 3 months with 3 guys, than probably the next team can too. Is this just speed to market and a winner-takes-all strategy ? Sure the service is a very nice to have, but where’s the business model? Advertising on the page? licensing the technology to someone else ? Creating the web 2.0 interface for the IM giants out there ?
Hitchhiker’s guide to 650 has an interesting insight: “ I suspect the key metric that got the partners over there excited wasnt their incredible week over week user growth but the average duration of the visits. Because IM is the stickiest of all apps, Meebo has essentially created a persistent connection/relationship with their users . . . the first requirement for becoming the third “desktop” . . . (windows and the browser were the 1st and 2nd). ”
“MSN sniffer is a handy network utility to capture MSN chat on network. It records MSN conversations automatically. All intercepted messages can be saved as HTML files for later processing and analyzing.
It is very easy to make it to work. Just run the MSN sniffer on any computer on your network, and start to capture. It will record any conversation from any PC on the network. No additional program installation is needed on the monitoring target computers. Everything will be recorded without being detected. It is especially useful for administrators or parents, who need to monitor what their employees or kids are talking about with others.”
Yuck! haven’t tried it, because I know what I type… but you might.
I should be very excited about this piece of news: Festoon (the company formerly called vSkype that released the 2nd plugin for Skype on the market) has just released a video plugin for GoogleTalk.
But, a while ago I decided I didn’t need to be connected to *all* IM networks out there, in particular when all my contacts started asking for a connection on all networks again: it didn’t make sense; so I’ll stick to MSN and Skype for the time being. Should I give GoogleTalk a try again ?
Google Talk is a downloadable Windows application that offers: - Free calls over your computer anytime, from anywhere, and for as long as you want - A simple and intuitive user interface for sending instant messages or making calls--no clutter, pop-ups or ads - Superior voice quality through just a microphone and computer speaker - A shared Gmail contacts list that updates automatically with the people you communicate with most often
Once you download Google Talk, just sign in with your Gmail username and password. You can then begin inviting anyone you want to talk to for free. Google Talk lets you email your contacts directly using Gmail and you can even receive new Gmail message notifications.
Google Talk works with any computer speaker and microphone, such as the ones built-in to many PC laptops today, as well as with wired and wireless headsets and USB phones. Google Talk also works across all firewalls.
Google Talk is still in beta. Just like with Gmail, we're working hard to add features and make improvements, so we might also ask for your comments and suggestions periodically. We appreciate your help in making it even better!
Jeff pinged me a couple of weeks ago with a new piece of software he's working on from a company called Userplane. It's an Instant Messenger application with full audio/video features, built it Flash I believe, that requires no client download on your computer. Hence I suppose close to 100% portable. And of course it supports multi-chat rooms. It's now free... Check it out.
... and I just noticed Jason is playing with it as well...
Top model Anina points us to a new service from Conectotel, allowing any GSM user to send an SMS to a Skype user. Cool, but useful ?
There is no presence information in the SMS world, which is why we all like IM so much. In addition, how do they interface to skype's address book ? I guess you'd have to enter all contacts one by one.
So the big question is: who's launching Skype-to-SMS now ? Actually a number of people have already tried this (just google://"skype SMS"): - conectotel run a test for 3 days in February 2005; but the service is no longer available. why?
Who's bridging the IM community and the SMS community ? (many have
tried on Y!IM, AIM, MSN... Mobile operators still have a closed-fence
approch to interconnecting both these worlds: a quick math should show
that the cannibalization threat is rather small, and a first-mover
advantage from mobile operators should help drive the market. Olivier had a good analysis a while ago.
Actually, googling myself on this blog: - in october 2004: "I wouldn't be surprised at all, if a SkypeIM to SMS were made available on the market real quick..." - in august 2004: "I have already warned that Skype is getting into this space. I really wouldn't be surprised at all it they offered IM-to-SMS functionnality in the VERY short term!"
Jean-Michel reports on his blog that very serious discussions are being held between the 2 companies. I feel it's too early an exit for Skype founders & investors. A commercial partnership would make sense at this stage as a great service brought to Yahoo! users.
Of course there is some overlap on the IM side, and in the community management side. But hey... Yahoo! phagocyted Flickr before it had even the chance to come out of beta ...
Just got my latest phone bill. Waow! I had expected it to be higher this month, but not this high! I usually pay aroung 50€/month for normal phone conversations. I have decreased it a lot since I tend to use Skype quite a lot now.
This month's bill is 181,52€ incl. VAT. (ie. 151,77 without VAT). That is an astronomical price! I did get a 5€/month (excl. VAT) GPRS option for 5Mb. But I guess that - testing Kzeo on the Nokia7710 (video on demand of small clips), - enabling for a while a query of my email every 30 min (I stopped doing that 2 weeks ago), - launching Agile Messenger every now and then (stopped doing that as well), - and moblogging everything all the time (I'll keep doing that)... there you go, over 100€ of GPRS traffic. These guys at Orange are insane.
What a stupid way to kill a market, as I am indeed going to refrain from using the service as much as possible, instead of letting everyone know how cool it is...
I wish we could get an as much as you can eat for about 29,99€/month max. I do get 20Mb/s at home from Free Telecom for that price! and at about 30Kb/s, GPRS is nowhere near that speed, but I'm willing to pay a small premium for the mobility. Not an insane premium.
What do you think? how do your latest phone bills look like ?