This Week On TechCrunch: Real-time distractions, Indian outsourcing, rumours, layoffs and Scoble's brave new world of tweets

p4040042Honestly, it’s impossible to work in these conditions. I’m writing this from the TechCrunch Real-Time CrunchUp; a one-day event in San Francisco celebrating the joys of the ‘real-time’ web. Sounds awesome, right? It is.

I’ve been on stage, heckling participants on the marketing panel, I’ve been Tweeting from the audience, I’ve been following the live-blogging of the panels. Generally I’ve been living the real time dream – which probably explains why I haven’t done any actual work all day.

And now I’m twenty minutes away from my deadline, and I still have to read a week of TechCrunch and figure out everything that’s happened this week.

Oh, and to make matters worse, Arrington has filled my work room with dogs.

Welcome, then, to a completely – and appropriately – real-time edition of This Week On TechCrunch.

From first glance, it seems that the entire site has been outsourced to India, with both Lacy and Vivek reporting from the ground. And at one point on top of a camel. On Friday evening Sarah kicked things off with a useful primer on why ecommerce has been slow to take off  in the country, and how travel sites like are acting as a gateway drug to get Indians shopping online, starting with ex-pats.

Vivek went one stage bigger, asking whether India has the potential to ‘take on’ Silicon Valley. His conclusion: yes. He’s wrong of course, but it’s a fascinating discussion. As Vivek headed back to the US, Sarah headed to Delhi, and the slums made famous by Slumdog Millionaire. But what she discovered couldn’t be more different from what we saw on the big screen: surrounded by grinning children, she met NIIT, a for-profit company that’s introducing the poorest children to computers by, well, leaving kiosks lying around and letting human curiosity take its course.

Meanwhile, back in the Valley, Arrington was starting his working week with rumours that MySpace was on the verge of buying imeem; a rumour that he gleefully confirmed two days later. A million dollars in cash, with half of imeem’s 55 employees (27.5 people) moving to MySpace – and the others looking for new jobs.

Speaking of people looking for new jobs, Robin reported on AOL’s appeal for 2,500 employees to voluntarily hand in their notice as the company heads for IPO. The alternative, according to CEO Tim Armstrong? They’ll just be fired. This just a week after the company announced 1000 involuntary layoffs. Cast aside like so many unwanted sign-up discs.

Hey, but at least Don Dodge got a new job.

What else?

In real-real time presidential news, Obama admitted that he has never used Twitter, but – as MG puts it – he’s adamant that  people in China should have the right to.

In real-time celebrity news, Shakira used UStream to stream her new album to 95,000 live viewers and a further 400,000+ watching the reruns over the next 24 hours. (Incidentally this story saw Jason narrowly missing out on the Headline Of The Week award for: “Shakira’s Stats Don’t Lie“. I mean, seriously Jason? “Stats?”. The correct title of course is “Shakira’s Hits Don’t Lie”. Better luck next time.

In real-time things that I’m already bored of even though they’re not launching until at least next year news: Google previewed their new Chrome OS and rumour has it they’re on the verge of launching a new Google phone. It’s ‘very real‘ says Mike. And it may even be VoIP-only. Splendid.

Which brings us nearly to the real-time event. It’s still going on right now, so it’s too early to say what the highlights are – tune in next week, etc – but newsworthy segments include the creator of Gmail admitting that he hasn’t used Wave, an interesting discussion on how to monetize ‘real-time’ and, of course, MG’s Headline of the Week: Google And The Amazing Technicolor Search Options.

And that’s just about it. The after-party is calling, and I’m eager to talk to Scoble more about his ‘Super Tweet‘ idea. I have no idea what it is, but it sounds like the future.

Have a great week!