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The Find: $15million

By - July 12, 2007

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From a release sent to me:

TheFind.com (www.thefind.com), a leading product discovery search engine known for delivering a compelling shopping experience for lifestyle goods, today announced that it has secured $15 million in Series C financing led by Bain Capital Ventures. The new financing round, which includes additional participation from existing investors Redpoint Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners, will be used to continue product development, accelerate TheFind.com’s traffic and revenue growth, and further expand the company’s business development efforts.

I use TheFind from time to time. I like the thumbnail interface.

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The Web in 1994

By - July 11, 2007

Thanks to Philipp!

“In the future, you’ll be forced to compete with companies you’ve never heard of before!” YUP!

Hey, Digital, er Alta Vista, er… (maker of this video, and the first .com in the world, far as I can tell), where are ya now? Damn….

WHOA. That was Fast

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You may recall that I posted on Google’s implorations with regard to the 700MhZ spectrum yesterday. Well, check this out, folks (USA Today):

Coming soon could be a wireless broadband world in which consumers get to pick any smartphone or other device and load any software on it — not have to take what the wireless carrier wants to sell.

That’s the goal of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, who will propose sweeping new rules for wireless airwaves the government is auctioning early next year. The 700 MHz spectrum, being vacated by TV stations as they go digital, is coveted for its ability to penetrate walls and other obstacles.

Under Martin’s proposal, to be circulated in the agency as early as Tuesday, mobile services in these airwaves would have to allow consumer choice.

“Whoever wins this spectrum has to provide … truly open broadband network — one that will open the door to a lot of innovative services for consumers,” Martin said in an interview Monday.

This could mean we get the Internet in the air. I mean, the real Internet. Wow.

Ask: We Got Your Data Center Right Here

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Ask-LogoAsk announces today that it’s opening a data center in Washington state. From the release:

OAKLAND, Calif. and MOSES LAKE, Wash., July 11, 2007 – Ask.com®, a leading search engine and wholly-owned business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI), and Moses Lake Mayor Ron C. Covey today announced that Ask.com will house a new data center in Moses Lake, located in Eastern Washington. The eco-friendly server facility will enable Ask.com to support its growing query volume and provide additional computing power for processor-intensive search services, including the new Ask3D. Ask3D combines rich media like images, video and music as well as traditional Web links on a single search results page, helping people find what they are looking for faster.

With the new facility, Ask.com will provide an enhanced search experience for users, while furthering its commitment to environmental responsibility. The data center will be located within the TITAN complex, an efficient, highly secure data storage and telecommunications hub. The TITAN facility has zero carbon emissions, and it utilizes renewable hydropower and a low-energy cooling design.

It’s cool that the center is zero carbon emissions. I pinged Ask CEO Jim Lanzone and asked what he thought was significant about this new data center. In short, he said it’s a sign of growth, of a willingness to make big investments, and a sign of preparations for new things to come (Edison, I’d warrant).

Facebook: $6 Billion? Nah.

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200Px-Zuckerberg CroppedLook. If you’re Facebook, why on earth would you sell to Microsoft for $6 billion if you didn’t sell to Yahoo for $1 Billion last year? You just wouldn’t. You don’t NEED anyone right now. Do you? Mark and his senior team has probably already been “de-risked” by the last round of investment, meaning they’ve taken money off the table and are not lured by possible riches (this is pure speculation, mind you, not personal knowledge). It must drive everyone who is trying to buy them crazy.

Facebook has a tiger by the tail. Today I turned down a chance to discuss “if Facebook is the next Google” on CNBC. It’s the current fascination. Why Facebook, why now, when there are dozens of other social networks out there? I’ve heard valuations for the company that put it at past $12 billion. On $30 million in estimated earnings this year.

Wow. Get me that multiple, please! Even $6 billion is what – 200 times earnings?

It got me thinking. After all, in 2002, tons of folks were asking the same question. Why Google, why now, when there were dozens of other search engines out there?

Last time, there was an easy answer: PageRank.

Is there an easy answer this time?

I don’t see one. Do you?

Yapta Gets Funding

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Yapta-Logo-BetaRemember FareChase? Yeah, me too. Gary notes that Yapta, another airfare search service, just got funded. His post also has a roundup of similar search services.

Google On Wireless Auctions and Spectrum Use: Worth Reading

By - July 10, 2007

Google just posted a lengthy explanation of its position with regard to an upcoming government auction in the 700mHz spectrum. It’s fascinating reading, and one of the reasons I’m having Reed Hundt, of the Google-supported Frontline Wireless, coming to Web 2 to speak this Fall.

In short, Google claims that it’s most likely that the incumbent telcos and cable companies will win the auction, simply to insure they don’t have any competition.

From the post:

Over the last several weeks, we’ve been taking a closer look at whether and how Google might participate meaningfully in the auction. As part of that look, we’ve consulted with spectrum auction experts and conducted various game theory scenarios. Our analysis has confirmed that, under the originally proposed rules, the existing national wireless carriers are likely to prevail in the bidding process against a potential new entrant like Google. While we remain interested in the possibility of participating in the auction, it’s clear that the incumbent carriers have built-in advantages that will prove difficult to overcome (particularly the economic and operational barriers to entry for a company like ours, and the relatively greater value and usefulness that spectrum brings to existing carriers).

What would happen if one or some of the existing national wireless carriers win this valuable spectrum at auction? They would probably use it to protect their existing business models and thwart the entry of new competitors — both understandable actions from a rational business perspective. Beyond the loss of a valuable public resource, however, that outcome would not bring us any closer to fostering much-needed competition in the broadband market, or providing innovative new web applications and service offerings.

Google is now lobbying the government asking that whoever wins be regulated to insure openness:



Late yesterday, we filed a letter urging the FCC to take concrete steps to make sure that regardless of who wins the spectrum at auction, consumers’ interests are best served. We believe that the winning bidders should be required to adhere to enforceable rules that require the adoption of four types of “open” platforms:

Open applications: consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;

Open devices: consumers should be able to utilize a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;

Open services: third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and

Open networks: third parties (like internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at a technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee’s wireless network.

It’s interesting to note that while Google seems to be strike fear in nearly every player in the media and technology business, the same does not apparently hold true for telecom.

Google Can Even Help Two Dumb*sses Steal $12k

By - July 09, 2007

I just love this. Love, love love this.

The burglary at Bigg City, formerly Mr. Bigg’s Family Fun Center, turned into a comedy of errors early June 10. The burglars tried to disable a security camera by repeatedly spraying it with WD-40 — it only cleaned the lens — and spent an hour and 15 minutes trying to open three safes — apparently unaware that some types require the dial to be turned two or three times around.

They finally did a Google search for “how to open a safe” and “how to crack a safe” on a computer in the next room.

“They’re not professional safe people,” said Colorado Springs police detective Chuck Ackerman. “No, they’re not.”

On the other hand, the Google query apparently worked; they haven’t been caught, and they did get about $12,000.