Google acquires photo-sharing site Panoramio

panoramio photo sharing Google acquires photo sharing site PanoramioGoogle is acquiring Panoramio, a photo-sharing site where users can “map their photos” by linking them to the exact location on the Google Earth maps where the photos were taken.

Based in Spain, Panoramio has been using the Google Earth technology for months to provide digital photographers a unique photo-sharing experience by linking photos with places. Each user can store up to 2GB worth of images (about 2000 photos with a 4MP camera) and “pin” them anywhere in the map.

“Those of you already using Google Earth have no doubt noticed Panoramio’s striking images documenting settings from all over the world, like moonscapes in Croatia; dramatic sunsets in Australia, and innovative architecture in the United Arab Emirates,” Google Earth director John Hanke said. “Panoramio has been working with Google to incorporate Panoramio photos into Google Earth for some time. We believed a deeper relationship would add value to the Panoramio experience for our users.”

Panoramio’s site announcement says the acquisition is to be closed sometime mid-June. Financial terms and conditions of the deal were not disclosed.

eHarmony sued for discriminating gays

eharmony eHarmony sued for discriminating gaysPopular online dating site eHarmony was sued for alleged discrimination based on sexual orientation in Los Angeles Superior Court, Thursday. This came about when a certain Linda Carlson was denied access to the social network because she is gay.

The first lawsuit of its kind against eHarmony, Carlson’s lawyers accuse them for refusing to provide “men seeking men” or women seeking women” options since it was founded in 2000.

“The research that eHarmony has developed, through years of research, to match couples has been based on traits and personality patterns of successful heterosexual marriages,” eHarmony said, denying the allegations of discriminations against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. “Nothing precludes us from providing same-sex matching in the future. It’s just not a service we offer now based upon the research we have conducted,” they added.

Established by an evangelical Christian, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, who’s involved with religious conservative groups, eHarmony has currently about 12 million registered users. With its share of the market and television ads, eHarmony is among the biggest Internet dating sites in the country.

RealNetworks introduces new RealPlayer

real1 RealNetworks introduces new RealPlayer

RealNetworks unveiled the new RealPlayer, the first media player to make it one-click simple to download online videos from thousands of web sites. The new RealPlayer makes it easy for consumers to watch videos whenever and wherever they want, burn them to DVD and CD, and share video links with friends. Most major formats are supported, including Real, Windows Media, Flash, and Quicktime. The new RealPlayer will be available for free beginning next month at RealPlayer.com.

“The new RealPlayer gives consumers more control of Internet video than was ever possible before,” said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of Real. “By floating a “download this video” button next to video seen on thousands of web sites, RealPlayer makes it one-click simple. The new RealPlayer is a major step towards realizing our vision of bringing great digital entertainment to more people on more screens around the world.”

YouTube, EMI signs deal

emi YouTube, EMI signs dealYouTube has agreed to a deal with major music label EMI Group to give users of the video-sharing site broad access to music videos by EMI artists.

YouTube users would be allowed not only to watch and play authorized videos and recordings from EMI artists including Coldplay, Norah Jones and David Bowie, but also to incorporate elements of the videos in YouTube users’ own “user generated content.”

“With this deal, all four of the world’s major music companies are now official YouTube partners,” said Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-founder of YouTube. “EMI is a proven leader in the emerging digital music landscape and one of the world’s largest and most respected music companies. We’re excited to add EMI Music’s stellar roster of artists’ content to our site and make it available to our community.”

Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, said: “Working with YouTube under this agreement meets EMI’s objectives to offer consumers the best possible entertainment experiences, to create new ways to connect our artists to fans and to enter into innovative business models that will generate revenues for our business and our creators. Through this agreement EMI Music and its artists will be fairly compensated for their work.”

Last year, Warner Music Group Corp., Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Entertainment each signed a content deal with YouTube. As part of the agreements each music company took a small stake in YouTube, prior to it being bought by Google, according to sources familiar with the talks.

BBC to broadcast in Second Life

secondlife BBC to broadcast in Second LifeThe BBC is set to broadcast its first ever full program in a virtual world this Friday. Virtual World, Real Millions will be shown simultaneously on BBC2 and at the Rivers Run Red Cinema in Second Life on June 1 at 7pm GMT.

The program looks at the growth of virtual worlds, wth Philip Rosedale, creator of Second Life providing commentary. It also features interviews with marketing company Rivers Run Red, which has amassed a multi-million pound turnover by trading inside virtual worlds, and the team behind Reebok’s virtual stores.

Steve and Bill at the D Conference

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at the D Conference.

New search engine with a human touch

mahalo search engine1 New search engine with a human touchWhile major search engines continue to tweak their algorithms and invest on sophisticated tools and computers to provide more relevant results, a group of 40 people led by Jason Calcanis, dot-com luminary and co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., puts up what is claimed to be the “first human-powered search engine.”

Mahalo, which is Hawaiian for Thank You, is the newest search engine to grace our online experience with handpicked search results to some of the web’s most repeated requests in various categories such as travel, music, television, movies, cars, food, health, news and sports. Calacanis has powerful financial backers, including News Corp., CBS Corp., Sequoia Capital, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. The company plans to make money through online ads.

Calcanis believes that while Google and Yahoo are both successful directing their visitors to the right places, most of the results are packed with too much irrelevant sites brought about by spammers and mischief makers who manage to find their way around the robot-driven algorithms. Precisely what Mahalo hopes to address: to filter out spam and hand-craft the best search results possible.

At the moment, Jason Calcanis’ blog reads: “Mahalo.com is in ALPHA–that means not ready for users, but looking for feedback.” Now starting with just 4,000 web pages, Calcanis’ team aims to complete the web’s 10,000 most popular search terms before the year ends.

Warner Music putting video archives online for free

warner Warner Music putting video archives online for freeWarner is planning to make its vast archive of videos available for free online after signing a deal with Premium TV, the group behind premier league football websites. The online TV company will create a series of online video sites organized by artist, genre, and label.

Users will be able to log their favourite music and artists and stream video for free from Warner’s catalogue, which includes footage of the Doors, Led Zeppelin and REM as well as newer artists like Hard-Fi. The sites, which are still in development, will also offer previously unseen footage. from Warner artists which include Led Zeppelin, REM, Madonna, among others.

The US giant says the deal will make it the first of the world’s four major music companies to supply its whole video archive online under a new business model that raises money through online advertising.

Google takes web applications offline

google gears Google takes web applications offlineGoogle announces the creation of a software that allows people to run online services such as e-mail, online calendars, and news aggregators even when offline. With this latest innovation from Google, users can work offline in places with bad connections or even in locations that have no means to connect to the net.

Introduced to the market as the Google Gears, this technology bridges the gap between the desktop environment and the online world where data changes are stored in the computer’s memory so that these data can be used even when not connected. “The Web is great but it doesn’t work very well when you don’t have a Web connection,” Jeff Huber, Google’s vice president of engineering, said in an interview. “Gears addresses a functional gap on the Web.”

Available as open-source software, developers are free to manipulate Google Gears to meet individual requirements. Most of these web applications, however, make limited searches offline as data are downloaded only when connected. Full web search functions returns once reconnected to the internet.

Apple to bring Youtube on Apple TV

youtube on apple Apple to bring Youtube on Apple TVStarting mid-June, Apple TV users will be able to watch Youtube videos directly from their tube, Apple announced. Youtube members can log on to their accounts right from their televisions and enjoy this free software update that comes in a video-streaming set-up box. Along with this, users can also play videos and movies stored in their iTunes wirelessly with Apple TV.

“This is the first time users can easily browse, find and watch YouTube videos right from their living room couch, and it’s really, really fun,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “YouTube is a worldwide sensation, and Apple TV is bringing it directly from the Internet onto the widescreen TV.”

With the recent launch of the iTunes Plus, which allows people to download tracks without copy-protection, and now, this Youtube integration, Apple could have copyright issues looming in the horizon. Viacom Inc, MTV Networks owner, who once sued Youtube for “massive intentional copyright infringement” after seeing thousands of their copyrighted videos streaming in Youtube without permission, said that they would welcome the opportunity to license their content to Apple.

Apple also announced that Apple TV will soon be available with 160 gigabyte hard drive, for better viewing and storage.