News In Brief, or 'The Dredge' 8/10/07

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FAA sez no chatting on the plane anytime soon

The first of a regular ‘dredge’ of items of interest, in no particular order…

• UK-based Dopplr has launched its blog badges, previously announced at the FOWA conference last week. The badge shows your future trips on your webpages in as much or as little detail as you’re comfortable with. You can change what’s shown using privacy settings. You can also just have the badge show on your site to those you’re already sharing information with on Dopplr. Neat, but no news yet on whether you’ll be able to win Dopplr ‘brownie points’ by NOT doing any overseas trips, thus cutting your carbon output and helping to save the planet. Admittedly this would make for a pretty boring Dopplr community (“This week: staying at home”) but what price the environment, eh?

• In less enlightened times the Japanese were often branded as being “copycats” – copying every good idea to happen around the globe. With some justification. The Tokyo subway system is based on the London Underground, for instance. But perhaps this is a charge one could more easily level at the German Web startup business at the moment. Not content with producing no less than six (6) micro-blogging copies of Twitter (count’em: Frazr, Wamadu, Faybl, 1you, Sloggen, and Partnr), we now have Founder Thomas Frütel says the site is a human powered directory of search results for popular search queries which displays either its own human-filtered page or a Google results page if no Yaggs page exists. Sound familiar? That’s because it is. US-based Mahalo launched exactly the same concept four months ago. However, I doubt the 35 pages so far created will be troubling CEO Jason Calacanis much yet, since Mahalo is currently on several thousand entries. Better get typing guys.

• From the pen of the UK’s Crowdstorm CEO Phil Wilkinson comes analysis of the Yahoo sale of Kelkoo. As a former European Kelkoo UK chieftain, Phil was once intimately acquainted with Kelkoo, so his post is interesting. Namely, he charges Yahoo! with sucking the innovation life out of Kelkoo: “The friends I know who are still there have kind of been indoctrinated and speak the corporate lingo fluently! Bottom line – innovation has given way to trying to satisfy headcount and strict revenue goals.” He also says Yahoo broke up the best teams, losing its lead in SEO and not keeping pace with Google. Oh and add to that list, missing out on the financial comparison marketplace which MoneySupermarket capitalised on. Let’s hope Phil’s friends keep talking to him, despite being turned into corporate drones, poor things.

• Some news you already know, but here’s a link anyway:, the Microsoft/NBC joint venture, has acquired social news site Newsvine for an undisclosed sum, the first acquisition in the firm’s 11 year history. Queue screams from thousands of unpaid Newsvine editors.

• And finally… Is new? It looks like it might be. I guess I better check…

  • Jonathan Street

    “Neat, but no news yet on whether you’ll be able to win Dopplr ‘brownie points’ by NOT doing any overseas trips”

    It’s not where you travel that matters but how you get there. Overland to Beijing ’08 anyone?

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  • Simon Willison

    Matt Jones (Dopplr’s designer) addressed the environmental impact of the site in a presentation at Reboot:

    The basic argument is that services like Dopplr can help make travel more efficient (you end up moving a meeting with someone to another city because Dopplr reveals that you’re both coincidentally there at the same time) and hence help people travel less.

  • Oliver Wagner

    Mike, I agree on your view of the german market – a lot of copycats, beeing the newest one. But, in terms of, you are wrong. is far from beeing a Twitter clone. We offer a free social service platform for couples to communicate about their wishes, discover ideas from others and enhance their relationship with it. Wishes can be send by Mail, SMS or via RSS, and can be rated after completion. Based on a couples topics or demograpic (location, children etc) new matching wishes are offered – and can be copied with a single click.

    See more details in this feature on Blognation.

    We are right now in the process of preparing the international version.

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