Yahoo keeps grimly churning through acquisitions; buying and shutting down small tech firms with mechanical fervor. Facebook is buying far bigger, far more expensive companies and with fairly stunning results. Instagram is the most dazzling example. More →
Google wanted to acquire WhatsApp but it couldn’t get the deal done. Now, Google is apparently venting some frustrations that Facebook beat it to the punch. While speaking at the Morgan Stanley technology conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Google’s chief business officer Nikesh Arora voiced his opinion that the huge $19 billion sum Facebook is paying to acquire WhatsApp is exorbitant. More →
For obvious, ad-related reasons, both Google and Facebook are interested in bringing more people online, with each company having its own initiatives to offer affordable Internet connections to developing markets. One Google effort includes blanketing the sky with balloons that would create a wireless network, and Facebook may soon have a response to that. But instead of relying on balloons, Facebook may use drones for its Internet.org-related interests, TechCrunch reports. More →
Facebook on Friday announced a new privacy change that will affect the accounts of users who pass away. Instead of only letting deceased users’ friends access their accounts as it did before, Facebook will now keep those accounts’ default privacy settings unchanged. In other words, a dead person who had a public profile will have their profile stay public even after death, Facebook revealed. More →
Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp does a good job of showing just how much the wireless carriers failed to capitalize on messaging. It was their game to lose, with SMS built in as the default messaging client on just about every phone. If they had drastically lowered their prices, they could be where WhatsApp is today. Instead, a new report from Ovum Ltd. shows just how much carriers are losing each year to alternative messaging clients. More →
The popular WhatsApp messaging app got even more attention following the unexpected $19 billion Facebook purchase, with various reports revealing even more details about the company. Interestingly, Brian Acton’s tweets from previous years reveal some of the factors that led to the creation of WhatsApp. Before starting the venture with Jan Koum, Acton applied for jobs with both Twitter and Facebook… and both companies shot him down.
WhatsApp’s global success has been nothing short of epic, of course, By now, the app is hitting 450 million monthly active users. It’s a reach that nobody thought a sleek and simple text messaging app could ever achieve. But there is a problem with the messaging app market in general and all leading apps share the same core weakness. Consumers are really, really fickle in this particular product segment. This is not a market where one behemoth like Facebook can waltz in and simply displace its rivals. This is a market where even an 80% share of smartphone users offers no protection. More →
When WhatsApp launched in 2009, no one predicted that it would grow to be a multibillion-dollar company. However, Facebook on Wednesday said that it planned to buy the hugely popular social messaging app for a stunning $16 billion. In its official announcement, Facebook says that it will pay $4 billion in cash for WhatsApp plus $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. Facebook also says that “the agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.”
There are times when we think that Google and Facebook really want to be Santa Claus, i.e., they see you when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake, they know when you’ve been bad or good, etc. Facebook data scientist Carlos Diuk late last week revealed that Facebook has come up with a way to predict when you’re about to get into a relationship with someone based just on the number of interactions with them leading up to the time when you change your status from “single” to “in a relationship.” More →
Everyone hates spoilers, but now that Netflix is releasing entire seasons of shows overnight, it’s harder than ever to avoid them. Thankfully, Business Insider has drawn our attention to one mobile solution to the barrage of spoilers you can’t escape online. Spoiler Shield syncs with your Facebook and Twitter feeds and then gives you the option to decide which spoilers you want filtered from view. The app already has a relatively comprehensive list of shows and sports teams, so you won’t have to do any additional legwork. Posts that mention those shows or games will then be covered with a shield, but you can double tap a shielded tweet or Facebook post to reveal the message. The app is free for Android and iOS, so if you’re preparing for a weekend full of House of Cards, it might be safest to give Spoiler Shield a try.
New evidence that not everyone is cut out to be a parent emerged recently when a couple in Mexico named their newborn baby “Facebook.” The poor child, which will someday be the target of endless ridicule, is also now the target of a new federal law in Mexico that has banned parents from using any one of a collection of 61 different names when naming their children. The law banning the names went into effect on Monday after officials scoured baby registries across the country for the best of the worst. Among the banned names are “Facebook,” “Rambo,” ”Juan Panties,” “Lady Di” and ”Circuncision,” which translates to “Circumcision.” The Associated Press reports that the goal of the law is to help protect children from being ridiculed and bullied, and the very fact that such a law has to exist should frighten us all.