Facebook Buys Instagram for $1B (and How It Helped 2 Ex-Gowallans)Of course, earlier this week, Facebook acquired the mobile photo app juggernaut Instagram for a cool $1 billion. The 13-person company - founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger - had built up an empire of over 30 million users in just two years after launch. The app was only available for iOS up until last week when it became available in the Android app store and got more than a million new users in under 12 hours. Systrom and Zuckerberg both pledged to keep Instagram alive and well inside of FB
The fact that Facebook was shelling out so much for a photo sharing service that would be relatively simple to replicate - and a company that has no revenue - fueled further "tech bubble" speculation.
All that aside, PandoDaily uncovered an interesting sidenote to the Facebook/Instagram saga. It seems that, though the team was about 30 strong at the time of its acquisition by Facebook, only 4 former Gowalla employees actually work at Facebook. Two of the ex-Gowalla team - Philip McAllister and Tim Van Damme - didn't make it to Facebook for whatever reason, and instead wound up at, of all places, Instagram after Gowalla got purchased. Now they'll end up working for Zuck anyway... but at a significantly higher pay rate.
QUESTIONS: Instagram makes no money AND most of its 30 million members probably already have Facebook accounts. It’s out of character for Facebook to make such a large acquisition. Is that a tell that they saw Instagram as a serious threat? Was it worth $1 billion? Why? Why do you think so few Gowalla team members ended up at Facebook?
SOURCE: Pando Daily
Google+ Gets Revamped NavigationThis week, Google+ got a revamped navigation with drag-and-drop elements and actions that appear when you hover over individual names or items. Also introduced were new features aimed at making it easier to find active conversations, new profile pages, a dedicated page for Google+ Hangouts and more.
The new interface moves all the navigation off to the side, and it's more customizable, allowing users to reorder the icons as they wish. As you hover over each icon, related actions will appear. For example, hover over Photos for access to a big red button to "Add Photos" from either your phone or album.
The Explore icon is also a new addition, taking you to a page showing the trending and popular content across the network. This is reminiscent in some ways of Twitter's "trending topics" feature, and hopefully improves on the "What's Hot" box that has graced the service for the past few months.
Hangouts, one of the network’s main selling points, are now more of a focus, with a dedicated featuring a list of Hangout invitations from people in your Circles. It's also easier to find and join live, public Hangouts, and there's a rotating billboard showing popular Hangouts.
In a press release, Google touted G+ as having over 170 million users--but it's worth noting that includes people who share via Search, Gmail and YouTube.
QUESTION: Why has G+ failed to take off so far? Can a new design and amped-up features draw traffic into Google+?
Yammer Acquires OneDrumYammer made its first acquisition this week when it bought OneDrum for an undisclosed sum. OneDrum is a British start-up that produces a collaborative app for use with Microsoft Office. The company is still early-stage, with just 10 employees and a combined $2M in capital raised.
Yammer users will now be able to see the contents of the folders they share with other people on the service, as well as collaborate on Office documents live. Yammer CEO David Sacks highlighted the added convenience of Yammer with OneDrum, including updates Yammer whenever documents are altered, plus the ability to text search from Yammer for any documents that are being shared.
When Yammer raised a $85M funding round last month, they signaled that they planned to use some of the money to make acquisitions. Last year, Jive, a rival service to Yammer, purchased OffiSync, another Microsoft Office collaboration tool, for $30 million.
QUESTION: Expect any more acquisitions from Yammer?
Facebook Opens Up Access to User DataFacebook announced this week that it has updated and expanded the "Download Your Information" tool, which allows users to backup and store detailed information about your account and social networking activity. More detailed information will be available, including whole new categories of data, such as previous names, friend requests you’ve made and IP addresses from which you've accessed the service.
Since 2010, the Facebook account history archive already allows users to obtain a copy of photos, posts, messages, a list of friends and chat conversations. The social network had previously come under fire over its access to private information and its use of personal data for third-party apps and advertising services. Facebook says it will roll out the update gradually, adding more data to it in the near future. The company also stressed that users will only be allowed to access this information on their own accounts, and the status updates, photos and so on uploaded by friends will not be available. Even user comments made to threads started by other users will be blocked.
QUESTION: Do you think access to this information may help users understand how much information they're sharing with Facebook? Is this a sign that Zuckerberg may be rethinking his approach to privacy, or just a PR move?
SOURCE: The Next Web
Apple Has a $600B Market CapAlthough the broader market was down, shares in Apple rose to a new 52-week high on Tuesday: $644
That jump was enough to carry Apple’s market cap across the $600B threshold. The new milestone came only a month after the company reached the $500B mark.
Apple is the second company ever with a market cap this large. The first was Microsoft, which nabbed a $604 billion market capitalization in December of 1999. Apple’s market cap is the largest in the world by a good measure, gaining ground against the former record-holder, Exxon Mobil.
QUESTION: If the $600B threshold has been broken, is it inevitable that Apple will eventually reach a trillion dollar cap? Think the loss of Steve Jobs will have any long-term negative impact on Apple's value or financial future?
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