What you need to know - Monday 9/27/10

Katie Gatto · September 27, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1211

Sharp to launch an e-book, wiretapping the Internet, Chegg raises $75M, Face.com raises $4.3M

It's Monday, and you know what that means. A whole weekends worth of news to catch up on, in order to start your week well informed.

Sharp announced that they are releasing an e-book reader in December. The device, which sharp has named named Galapagos is designed excursively for the Japanese market. The reader will be available in two screen sizes: a 5.5-inch LCD, and a 10.8-inch high-resolution HD LCD. The device should have roughly 30,000 newspapers, magazines, and books at launch.

Researchers at Northwester University found that celebrity tweets just don't matter that much. As it turns out, the number of followers you have does not have a serious impact on how influential you are on Twitter. The research was preformed by Professor Alok Choudhary and Ramanathan Narayanan.

Netflix adds NBC to its line up. The deal, stuck with NBC over the weekend, will allow subscribers, to watch previous seasons of television shows, like Law and Order, and Saturday Night Live. It will also allow for day-after broadcast viewing of the content.

Rumors are swirling around that Windows 7 phone will launch in Novemberr. The proposed date was October 21st. Nothing official has been stated at this time.

iTunes released an update to Ping, its new social networking site. The update allows users to Like a song from their library, in a manner similar to the Facebook 'like' button. The update also includes a sidebar, which allows you to see Ping update from your library.

Law enforcement professionals want to wiretap the Web, and you're mobile devices. The bill, which is expected to be proposed next year, wants to mandate that any and all services that enable communications be technically able to comply with a wiretap order. This would include sites like Facebook, and tools like Skype, in addition to mobile carriers, with email functionality.

Face.com got $4.3 million in series B funding. The round was lead by Rhodium. The company makes facial recognition software.

XING reached 10 million members. The site, which is a European based rival to LinkedIn has shows a rapid member growth in the last 15 months. Nations with the largest amount of member growth include German, Spain and Turkey.

Chegg raised $75 million from Ace Limited in its series E, round of funding. Chegg is text book rental service. Act Limited is a a Hong Kong based investment firm.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.