What you need to know - Friday 11/26/10

Katie Gatto · November 26, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1426

Kurani Interactive raised $275,000; Advent Venture Partners announced a $118 million VC fund

U.S. Apple store is, after a brief online outage last night, offering up a Black Friday sale, which includes the iPad. Other products are discounted, with most sales staying in the 10% range. According to an email, sent to Apple customers, the iPad can now be bought for $458.

Twitter had a fake tsunami warning posted. The account Andi Arief, the disaster management adviser President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, had his account hacked and the fake message, Jakarta tsunami tomorrow posted.

Google Checkout is offering Black Friday deals. An email sent to consumers shows discounts of $5, $10, or $20 for Google checkout users shopping at sites like Buy.com and BlueNile.

Foursquare has a variety of bonus deals going on for Black Friday shoppers. They have partnered with retailers such as American Eagle, H&M, Payless Shoesource, RadioShack and Zales to offer special discouts to users that check into the store.

Kurani Interactive, makers of the  Opinionaided iPhone application, raised $275,000 in funding. The round was led by  Chuck Chesler and Al Angrisani. The Opinionaided app allows users to post questions and crowdsourced answers.

A 15-year-old girl was arrested in England after burning a copy of the Koran while at school, and posting the video on Facebook. Currently the student has been released on bail.

FarmVille released a special game feature for the holiday. The game, collectively called “Thanksgiving Feast.” allowed users to gift each other Thanksgiving day dishes. When you table was full, the food could be traded in for limited edition items.

Advent Venture Partners, a London Based VC firm, announced the close of a $118 million life science VC fund. The fund, which will be known as Advent Life Sciences will focus on life sciences companies in the UK, Europe, and the US, including medical technology companies.

Vator's very own Faith Merino shows shoppers how to use their technology to best Black Friday. From finding the best deals, to beating the crowds, she has your strategy for getting in and out alive.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.



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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.



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Thumb, formerly known as Opinionaided, is an addictive free app that allows consumers to use their iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android device to give and receive advice and opinions in real-time. Based in New York City, the company provides one of the most addictive experiences on mobile. Users can also experience Thumb at http://thumb-it.com.

"A user can post a question and receive a deluge of responses instantly, in real-time.” - Vator

"It is not like the myriad of questions and answers apps and websites that have popped in the last year requiring you to carefully craft content out of fear of being rejected or ridiculed (*cough* Quora *cough*). It’s simple, and I love simple." - IntoMobile

"... Angry Birds-like addictive quality to the application. The app works fast.”  - Portfolio

- Get opinions & advice fast from tons of people
- Vote & comment on questions to help others
- Review responses instantly in results
- Meet people who like the same stuff as you

Download Thumb for free from the iTunes App Store or Android Market:

Download from the iTunes App Store:  http://thumb-it.com/itunes

Or get it on your Android device: http://thumb-it.com/android 


Faith Merino

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