TWiST #202 News Anything
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TWiST #202 News

News stories we're covering for This Week in Startups Episode #202, airing on Friday, November 4th, 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 shoutout 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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    Google Changes Search Algorithm

    Google has announced another upcoming change to its search algorithm, expected to impact 35% of all web searches. The change builds on top of the previous "Caffeine" update to deliver more relevant, current, up-to-date results, specifically in areas like news where "freshness" matters. (This would also include current product reviews and "buzzy" topics.)

    Google says that the new algorithm will be able to determine the importance of freshness based on the keywords entered and then weigh more recent or more updated links accordingly. For example, a search for a favorite recipe posted a few years ago may remain unchanged, whereas a search for gadget reviews would likely yield fresher, more current results first.

    QUESTIONS: What kind of impact will an algorithm change this large have on publishers? Do they deserve any kind of a "heads-up" from Google when drastic changes like this are coming? Is building great quality content enough to ensure continued growth and success for companies reliant on search traffic?

    SOURCE: TechCrunch
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    Largest Google Hangout to Discuss AI

    Stanford University's "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" class held the largest Google+ hangout to date on Friday morning at 8 am PT. The class' two professors - Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun - will use the broadcast to hold "office answers" and answer popular questions from students.

    Because the class has tens of thousands of "followers," there was no real way to collect everyone in one place for office hours, making a Hangout the next best option. To participate, all students needed to do was add Norvig to their Google+ circle and ask a question on YouTube.

    QUESTION: Think we're seeing the f*ture of education? Is the old notion of having to travel/live at a campus to really get the university experience going to last?

    SOURCE: ReadWriteWeb
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    Yahoo Debuts New Products, Including Livestand

    Yahoo on Wednesday unveiled its latest line of new and upcoming products. Most discussed was Livestand, an iPad app that pulls content and video from newspapers, magazines and blogs to create a personalized reading experience for users. The app is drawing immediate comparisons to Flipboard and AOL's "Editions." Other new products included another iPad app called IntoNow, which automatically identifies TV shows you're watching and provides related content, along with Yahoo weather and mail apps for Android and iPads.

    Chief Product Officer Blake Irving introduced the suite of new products, and referred to Yahoo as "the premier digital media company."

    QUESTION: Thoughts on these announcements? Does Yahoo have a shot at pulling users away from more established apps like Flipboard and Editions? What do you think of Irving's statement of direction moving forward?

    SOURCE: Mashable
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    Kevin Rose's Oink Debuts in the App Store

    Milk is, of course, Kevin Rose's startup lab for mobile apps. The company's first product, Oink, hit the iTunes App Store on Thursday. The Oink app allows you to rate things wherever you are, then aggregates these reviews using social reputation to let people decide if they should trust your particular judgment. So instead of checking in at or ranking a particular restaurant, you'll talk about specific dishes you liked or disliked there. Instead of checking in at a museum, you'd give an opinion on a certain piece in their collection.

    Everything is centered around topic hashtags (such as "#tea"), then organized by distance (1 mile, 5 miles, 25 miles, etc.)

    QUESTION: Played with Oink? How do you predict they will deal with the chicken/egg problem... the service will get much much better if it gets a ton of participation and reviews, but it will only get those if it is already fun/compelling to use.

    SOURCE: TechCrunch
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    The Verge Launches

    The new tech news site The Verge launched on Tuesday, the brainchild of former Engadget writers - including former editor Josh Topolsky - and sports site SB Nation (which has now renamed itself Vox Media.) Topolsky has referred to the new site as an "app" rather than a finished site, and said it will be an evolving, growing piece of technology. He noted in the "welcome" post that version 1.1 and 1.2 were already just around the corner.

    The new site includes both tech news and features, as well as numerous community features for super-fans, and clearly resembles more of a magazine feel than the standard look of other tech blogs.

    Topolsky and other Engadget writers, of course, left Engadget in March following AOL's takeover of the company. Since then, he and his staff have been writing at a temporary home called "This is My Next," which was already becoming a minor hit in the tech blogosphere itself.

    QUESTION: Checked out The Verge? Thoughts? How can they set themselves apart from Engadget, Gizmodo and all the other sites in the overcrowded tech/gadget space?

    SOURCE: AdWeek
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    Jobs Biography Sells 379,000 Copies in One Week

    Walter Isaacson's biography of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs sold 379,000 copies in the US alone in its first six days on the market. It outsold the second-placing bestseller - John Grisham's "The Litigators" - 3 to 1, and outdid the second-most-popular non-fiction work - Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Lincoln" - 8 to 1. That's good enough to make it the 18th bestselling book of the year already. The 656 page exclusive Jobs bio had the single biggest week for book sales since last November, when both the new "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" edition and George W. Bush's memoir did 430,000 copies a piece.

    The UK edition of the book is also one of the fastest-selling non-fiction titles on record, moving 37,244 copies in one week of release.

    QUESTION: What was so captivating about Jobs specifically that caused this sudden, overwhelming interest in a dense tome about his life? Is this attributable to the media attention lavished on his death, or something about the man himself?

    SOURCE: The Bookseller
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