Google

Precious Google+ invitation on eBay 99 Cents

I am sure that Google+ is the next coming of, well, at least Facebook.

Should I get an invitation, I will definitely invite Sen. Harry Reid, Dick Cheney, Col. Ghaddafi, and Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers) to my Solving the World’s Problems Circle.

However, I am still feeling a touch skeptical about Google’s claim that demand for an invitation to the network is so “insane” that it has had to close it off to newcomers.

You see, fine economists believe that when demand is vast, this vastness is immediately reflected in the market. And what greater market is there than eBay?

(credit screenshot Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

So I sauntered over there to see what vast, inflated prices were being demanded by those who had been lucky enough to have been graced with a Google+ invitation.

Just a cursory look at the prices suggest that the insanity of the demand might have received some excellent and swift Freudian therapy. For it is perfectly possible to gain access to this incredible, extraordinary, new, new thing for a mere 99 cents. (I’m assuming everything on eBay is genuine. Generous, perhaps)

Indeed, as I write one seller, wilco_eba from the Netherlands, is offering his or her invitation for less than the price of a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle. This is not the only seller who is offering access to Google+ for this meager figure. (Wilco_eba is even offering “free shipping”.)

The highest price I can find on eBay is the curious $17.97, which goes to suggest that perhaps the world isn’t yet tearing down doors and out its own hair in order to gain access to, um, the Hangout facility.

Perhaps, in time, being one of Google+’s in-crowd will be more precious than, say, tickets to Lady Gaga or, um, Jethro Tull.

all credit: news.cnet.com

Angry Birds Comes to Google Chrome (FREE/GAME)

Angry Birds

Angry Birds (Credit: Rovio)


The most popular mobile game in history has officially made the move from mobile platforms to the personal computer thanks to some help from . The new version of can now be downloaded for the app store of the .

Millions of users who enjoy the addicting birds vs. pigs game can now take their addition to the next level with a version of the game specifically developed for the chrome browser. Rovio, Angry Birds’ mother company was quoted on its blog as saying:
This is only a beta release of the game, and so far we have 63 levels of the original game available, with an additional 7 special Chrome levels. We are working on bringing more levels to Chrome, and planning on making the Mighty Eagle available as an in-app purchase option.

At the recent Google I/O developer conference the head of Rovio Peter Vesterbacka demonstrated the game on the Google Chrome browser. The company used the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) to develop the Web-based app which is hosted on the Google App store. According to Versterbacka developing a web based version of the game was impossible until now because of the graphics requirement of the game, but the latest version of Chrome and the new app store gives them just the right tools for the job. There are hoping to create more levels (some of them unique to chrome) and take the game out of beta as soon as possible. In the future players will be able to purchase premium levels using Google’s in-app payment system but the basic version will most probably stay free of charge.

Downloading the game is simple. Open the following link using Google Chrome. Install the Angry Birds app and enjoy some Birds vs. Pigs action.

Skype’s purchase by Microsoft signals strong spell for dotcom sales

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates seal the deal. Photograph: Susana Bates/Reuters

Little more than a decade after the dotcom bubble burst, the internet business is once again partying like it is 1999. The frenzy of deal-making in Silicon Valley, which is turning social media entrepreneurs into multibillionaires, moved up another notch when splashed out $8.5bn for the loss-making internet telephone service .

Tuesday’s buy is a record for the software giant and takes the total value of worldwide tech-related deals so far this year to $85.5bn (£52bn) – the strongest spell since the months before the dotcom bubble burst on 10 March 2000.

Analysts said the deal would give a boost in its increasingly bitter battle with and . Skype boasts about 170 million users every month and is adding 600,000 a day. But most calls are free and the service has struggled to make a profit. Last year it lost $7m.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said that with Microsoft’s backing Skype would be able to build a future where “talking to friends and colleagues around the world will be as seamless as talking to them across a kitchen table or a conference room“.

Buying Skype gives Microsoft a recognised brand name on the internet at a time when Google and Apple are both building up their internet phone and video services. “Google has Google Voice, Apple is building up Facetime, Skype is a great brand,” said Colin Gillis, an internet analyst at New York-based BGC Partners.

Gillis said Microsoft was likely to add Skype to its Xbox video games system, Office software and its mobile and tablet software. “Skype addresses some major holes for Microsoft,” he said. “If they don’t screw it up.

Skype was founded in 2003 by Swedish tech entrepreneur Niklas Zennström and the Dane Janus Friis. The service has grown far beyond its techie roots and is already a mainstream product. The retail giant WalMart started selling Skype hardware in 2007. At peak times there are more than 23 million Skype users online.

This is the second time it has been sold to a big tech firm. In 2005 eBay, the online auction company, bought it for $2.5bn. But eBay struggled to integrate Skype and argued with its founders and management, eventually selling it for $2.75bn to a private equity investor, Silver Lake, in 2009 but keeping a 30% stake.

Friis and Zennström also backed the sale as part of a consortium that bought 14% of Skype. Just a year and a half later eBay has made its money back and the founders are sharing a $1.2bn payday. The Skype deal ranks as the biggest in Microsoft’s 36-year history and follows multibillion-dollar strategic purchases by other tech giants including Intel, which bought the virus software specialist McAfee, and Hewlett Packard, which bought the handheld devices firm Palm.

Investors are also fighting over the new generation of tech firms including Facebook, Groupon and Twitter. Google is believed to have made multibillion-dollar offers for both Groupon and Twitter.

Private investors have fought to get a stake in Facebook, which is lining up a share sale next year that could value the firm at more than $70bn.

April Fools’ Day roundup: Google overload edition

April Fools' Day roundup: Google overload edition

April 1st. It’s that time of the year again when the internet is rife with odd news and pranks. As before, news sites like us end up with a healthy stream of tips throughout April Fools’ Day (thanks, by the way), so let us round up some of the best findings for your comedic appetite. Contenders include the usual suspects like Google and ThinkGeek, the former of which dominating the gigglesphere this year with some new “features.” We also have some interesting submissions from Hulu, a font company, and probably plenty more to come as the day progresses, so keep watching this space as we add new entries to this post. Right, let the fun commence after the break.

First up, we have several new features from Google, starting with Gmail Motion and Docs Motion which offer “intuitive, ergonomic” gesture control to replace your outdated keyboard-and-mouse combo. But if you’re more of a Google Voice person, then you might find the Voice-alyzer handy — it’s simply an anti-drunk calling or texting tool for those special nights out. Come on, we’ve all been there.

Also from Mountain View is a new job listing for a Google Autocompleter. That’s right, turns out every single search on Google is actively monitored by human staffers, who are able to provide instant suggestions for your incomplete entries. Have a look at what autocomplete veteran Michael Taylor has to say about his exciting duty.

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