What you need to know - Thursday 12/16/10

Katie Gatto · December 16, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/14e9

Twitter raises $200M; SpotXchange $12M; eBay bought Critical Path Software; AOL bought Pictela

Apple announced the release date for the Mac App Store. The store, which will open on Thursday, January 6, will feature apps in a wide variety of categories, including Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities. As on the iOS App Store, both paid and free apps will be available.

MapQuest announced the launch of a U.S. site built on OpenStreetMap data. The project, which is open source, plans to encourage community participation in map building.

Research from the mobile ad network provider InMobi found that iOS is the most popular mobile ad market in European markets, with a 31.9 percent share. Nokia has a 19.7 percent share and the Android OS has a 12.9 percent share.

AOL bought Pictela, an New York-based branded media startup with a focus on bringing video, photos and apps-based ads into online advertising and social media. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hosting company Rackspace bought Cloudkick, a Y Combinator-backed startup which focuses on providing a server management system to businesses. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Twitter raised $200 million at a valuation of $3.7 billion in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins.

eBay bought Critical Path Software. Critical Path Software. is a Portland-based mobile app developer, that will most likely help eBay with its mobile apps. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Facebook is adding face recognition to its photo tagging feature. The software will attempt to match new photos to existing photos a user is tagged in. Users can disable suggested tags in thier Privacy Settings.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life project released the findings of a study on age and technology use. It found that younger users are more likely to regularly visit social media sites and adopt new technologies. (Wow!)

SpotXchange, a video advertising network, has raised $12 million from H.I.G. Growth Partners. The company had previously raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding in 2008.

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Rackspace

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Rackspace is a recognized leader in the IT hosting market. We deliver enterprise-level managed services to businesses of all sizes and kinds around the world. Serving more than 14,000 customers in eight data centers worldwide, Rackspace integrates the industry's best technologies and practices for each customer's specific need and delivers it as a service via the company's promise of Fanatical SupportĀ®. We serve as an extension of our customers' IT departments, enabling them to focus on their core business. We got started in 1998 and since then Rackspace has grown more than 50 percent a year. There are currently 2,000 Rackers around the world serving our customers.

Twitter

Startup/Business

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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.