TWiST #190 News Roundtable Websites
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TWiST #190 News Roundtable

News stories we're covering for This Week in Startups Episode #190, airing on Friday, September 23rd, will be posted here. This is an open list, so in addition to voting for the stories you want to hear about, now you can go to the bottom of the page and suggest your own! The big startup and tech industry stories from the week that get the most votes will be featured on the show, and if you suggested them, we may even give you a shout-out on the air! And don't forget to click through to Page 2 to see all the stories we're working on!

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    Facebook's Big Changes

    This week was Facebook's F8 Developers conference, and the company took the opportunity to massively alter the site's basic interface, as well as introducing a bevy of new or reconfigured features. Most significantly, perhaps, were the alterations to the classic Facebook "Wall," which has now become a news feed functioning as something of a "personal newspaper," presenting the most interesting news that has been published since the last time a user signed in.

    Accompanying each top story will be the option to unmark an update as a top story; doing so will mean that Facebook will stop prioritizing similar posts in the f*ture. Facebook also rolled out larger News Feed photos and a new feature called Ticker that shows the latest updates from all a user’s friends in real time in the right-hand column.

    During his F8 keynote, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also gave the world a first look at Timeline, essentially a curated "story" recounting all of the time you've spent on Facebook. New events and "stories" are featured at the top of the page, and scrolling down takes you on something of a tour of Facebook days-gone-by. (The algorithm condenses events more and more as you travel back through history.) The Timeline is also where 3rd party Facebook apps will live.

    Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also appeared at the event. Ekl announced that the Spotify music streaming service will be deeply integrated into Facebook, allowing. Facebook users to stream Spotify tracks directly from the news feed or from one's own profile, where their top tracks will be listed. Facebook will launch a music dashboard, which will display music-specific notifications and updates, and also show which songs are currently popular within one's network of friends.

    QUESTION: Facebook's massive changes initially caused some degree of controversy among users, who complained in particular about losing tighter control on what updates they would see upon logging in. Is this just the usual fear of the unknown, or is Facebook changing to much too fast and risking alienating its hundreds of millions of fans? What do you think generally of the new Facebook? Too busy and overdeveloped, or bold and innovative?

    SOURCE: The Internet (but specifically Washington Post and Forbes
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    The New Gowalla Added by: Lons

    After 2.5 years, check-in app Gowalla is re-launching its mobile apps and website. The new pivot is built around "Social Guides" - 'best of' collections for various locations highlighting recommendations on what to do from your friends as well as experts.

    Gowalla's launching Guides for 60 cities this week as well as individual attractions like national parks, teaming with partners like National Geographic and Disney. Their goal is to hit 100 Guides quickly, with help from the community creating highlights and lists for places that aren't yet in the system. Gowalla's calling the new system "a social atlas of the world."

    QUESTION: What held back Gowalla from hitting the success of, say, FourSquare? Thoughts on the new Social Guides system?

    SOURCE: Gowalla Blog
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    Political Ads Hit Twitter

    Twitter announced that it will begin accepting political advertising as part of its Promoted Products suite, although it will distinguish them from other ads with a "special icon." Mitt Romney’s campaign was the first to buy one and those familiar FEC disclaimers will be a included in the hover overlay.

    This project is being led by Peter Greenberger, who previously ran political sales for Google. Twitter says that it "has become a more mainstream presence in politics, both domestically and around the world," making these advertisements a natural platform fit.

    QUESTION: Figure political advertising will be a huge nuisance for users, more than traditional ads, considering how ever-present they have become on television?

    SOURCE: TechCrunch
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    iTunes Experiences an In-App Purchasing Fail

    In-app purchases via iTunes have apparently been failing in a big way for the last ten hours and app creators who depend on this heavily taxed income are getting antsy

    It’s unconfirmed, but possible that the problem may be connected to fake purchase receipts getting into the system

    Whatever the cause, one developer told Engadget that the failure is "losing lots of sales" for apps that use receipt verification and is "threatening to more-or-less take down the entire IAP ecosystem"

    Some developers haven't been able to process any in-app payments for 10+ hours, and it’s been confirmed that Zynga is included in that group

    SOURCE: Engadget
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    Living Social May Pick Funding Over IPO Added by: Lons

    According to Bloomberg, LivingSocial may be considering raising $200 million more in funding at a valuation of $6 billion, rather than proceeding towards an initial public offering.

    The proposed funding round could include both equity and debt. JP Morgan Chase is currently serving as an adviser. The daily deal giant was in talks earlier this year about raising $1 billion in an IPO, but the declining stock market has apparently given them second thoughts. The funding round would most likely include some existing LivingSocial investors as well as some newcomers. LivingSocial raised $400 million back in April at a $3.5 billion valuation, bringing the total private investment to $627 million.

    QUESTION: If you were running LivingSocial, which way would you go with it? How many tech companies do you think are hesitating to go IPO because of the slumping market?

    SOURCE: Bloomberg
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