These are pictures of European semi-trucks whose trailers are decorated to look like the sides are missing. The products they are hauling are painted on the sides and back.
Curse, another online company that offers social networking around multi-player online games, has received a $5 million in a first round of venture capital funding.
Curse offers gamers the standard social networking features around their games, from image and video uploading, to blogging, social bookmarking, wikis, databases, forums and guild website hosting.
The funding, which comes from France’s AGF Private Equity and other individual investors, follows more than $800,000 in angel money, the company said in a statement. It also comes as venture capitalists are pumping money into a other companies doing similar things, from Multiverse, which provides a way for developers to produce their own games, to Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning’s Rupture, a more direct competitor that also builds social networking around existing games.
Gaming remains hot. Silicon Valley angel investor Jeff Clavier recently told us he’d resumed investing in Internet companies again after a brief hiatus at the end of last year, in part because of the promise of online gaming.
Synthasite is a new web-based design tool that enables you and your team to collaboratively work on your website design. Synthasite is currently in limited beta.
With South Africa-based Synthasite, you can work with the tools available within its service, which easily arrange text, images, badges and buttons to create a professional-looking site. There are a few items available by default, such as a YouTube video or a Flickr photo search, which can be added into your design as well. The offerings are currently rather basic, and mimic the templates and design offerings of programs like WordPress. The functionality is very easy to maneuver, though, and could prove helpful for those teams wanting to create templates and other items such as a welcome page or a blog.
While Synthasite is currently in beta and has some useful tools, it has plans to add more in the coming months. Up next for Synthasite is file management, publishing, deployment and hosting, collaborative site building, chat, SEO, graphic design, blogging, wikis, developer resources, site analytics, and a whole set of features designed to build a community around Synthasite features and users. In the direction Synthasite is looking to go, it will be in the same realm as services like WetPaint and SiteKreator, with more functionality and customization, in some ways.
In the U.S., the promise of the future in accessing mobile information via WAP or a rich client application casts a shadow on SMS, better known as text messaging or “texting”.
According to conventional wisdom, WAP and downloaded client applications are the holy grails of mobile, with their ability to deliver splashy, colorful landing pages, images and videos to consumers on their mobile phones. Companies like AOL are snapping up WAP advertising startups like Third Screen Media with the belief that, as devices and networks improve, increased consumer adoption will follow.
But SMS is no underdog. It has huge adoption now, is very versatile and useful and is going to persist, even if the handsets and networks catch up to the hype being created around WAP and clients. It’s not like the industry is slamming text messaging, most just ignore it for the razzle-dazzle of newer technology. But some are realizing where the real volume is. Maybe more importantly, SMS has the highest overall usage rates in the US (37%) compared to WAP (14%) or rich clients (6%).
Why are people going to keep using SMS?
1. My mother can use SMS
SMS is simple. My mom can text message, but she doesn’t have a clue how to go to a website on her cell phone or download a client application. As much as people think they want the cutting edge technology, when you want information right now, you’re going to go straight to the quick and easy feature that you know how to use, which is text. Answers come quick, efficiently, and on any device, not just the newest and hottest.
2. People (including my mother) are using it NOW
I think the market’s default assumption is that it will eventually be able to replicate the web or a desktop experience on a cell phone. That assumption overlooks the widespread adoption of what’s already in most people’s hands. Unlike the new, and more expensive technologies, text messaging works for almost everybody, right now. People don’t change when they have a tool that already works. Eighty-eight percent of US Internet users said they used text messaging; WAP and clients didn’t even make this list.
3. SMS is asynchronous
That’s fancy talk for being able to do the following (not possible with WAP or a client): You can send an SMS, then turn off or put away your phone and get the response later. You don’t need to keep your phone open to wait for a page to download. You can also store the information from an SMS permanently in your inbox
4. Check out Europe and Asia
Take a look at how SMS has taken off in Europe and Asia. In the UK, you can get local election results via SMS. You can order a pizza or a taxi via SMS. Despite access to faster networks and more advanced handsets, in Asia as much as 72% of mobile revenue comes from text messaging.
5. Pushing the Possibilities
The fact that SMS is the only true “push” mechanism for mobile information makes it quite powerful. Want sports updates or traffic information sent to you automatically? The only mobile medium for this type of service is SMS. Although users can visit WAP sites or receive email on their phones, SMS has both the simplicity and the immediacy to encourage ongoing usage and wide adoption. Also, anyone can receive a text message alert. They can set it up on the web and still get the value of staying in the know on the go. They don’t even have to know how to send a text message!
Today, SMS accounts for approximately 75 to 80 percent of non-voice service revenues worldwide. Despite all the noise around WAP and the latest technologies, most of the action is in SMS. Traditional media companies (online, print, TV) and advertisers are taking notice. I’m not saying that browsing the web on your phone isn’t going to become better and that new handsets won’t continue to offer great experiences. You absolutely need to be able to browse for some things. Just don’t overlook SMS: this technology isn’t going away.
I suppose you’ll be wanting a point now? Discuss here
Yahoo Widgets 4 is live NOW! In Yahoo’s latest round of widgetry, there will be an improved widget dock that can be attached to any corner of your monitor, and offer a nice view of your widgets and offer easy access for more.
Most useful for the consumer is the Flickr desktop widget, where you are able to drag-and-drop images into the widget for automatic upload into your Flickr account. While other services such as Cellblock or Pickle offer desktop drag-and-drop applications that function in similar ways, none have offered such direct access to Yahoo’s own Flickr (although upcoming Apollo contender Dekoh may eventually do the trick).
Other anticipated features that will be useful for developers are better authoring tools, and less memory usage for widgets built on Yahoo’s platform. As widgets reign in 2007, these new tools will be key for the further deployment of widgets. Considering the current status of widgets and the power of Yahoo, it is only right to expect their widgets to be highly integrated with desktop functions, and minimize the need for a single browser application.
Widgets Lab wrote a good summary of the features ahead of launch.