SAN FRANCISCO--At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference today, the first product announcement came from Gowalla CEO Josh Williams. The new version of Gowalla will be bringing city guides to the service, leveraging the company's large database of places and updates from users.
The new version will launch shortly with more than 60 city guides using, of course, user content. But the service has new editorial partners, including Disney, National Geographic, and several universities.
With Gowalla, you can now create "stories" around events. Anyone you tag in a location and time becomes a full authoring partner of the post, and the presentation of these stories is quite good.
The question is: by focusing on the traveler instead of the resident, does Gowalla give up the nice deal-based transactional business that Foursquare and Facebook can run with? Perhaps, but the travel business is in many ways a much sweeter place to be. The advertising money is national more than regional, bigger, and more stable. You can still use Gowalla to check in at locations, so this is a bigger--and smarter--change than it may appear at first.
Mobile app store GetJar has unveiled a new program that serves up certain premium Android apps for free.
Looking to grab business from other app stores, GetJar's new Gold service specifically offers several Android apps for free that would cost some dough at Google's Android Market and Amazon's Appstore. The current crop of apps include some that can run as much as $4.99 elsewhere.
Right now, only about 40 such apps are available, but GetJar said that it's been introducing new apps every day in addition to the ones currently on the site. The company … Read more
Several free Microsoft apps will be hopping aboard Nokia's Symbian phones by the end of the year.
As described in a blog yesterday, Microsoft and Nokia will deliver the apps in the form of free updates sometime during the fourth quarter. The updates will only be available to owners of phones running Symbian Belle, the latest update to the Symbian OS, or to those who upgrade from Symbian Anna to Belle.
The mobile apps and updates scheduled to roll out this year include:
China-based Alibaba Group is planning to launch an English version of its Aliyun mobile operating system, Reuters reports.
The English version of Aliyun will be available later this month, according to the news service, which was on-hand during an Alibaba press conference earlier today in Hangzhou, China. The company also told reporters that it's currently in negotiations with hardware vendors to bundle its operating system with their devices.
Yahoo, in the throes of a CEO transition after yesterday's ouster of Carol Bartz, has a central priority: fix advertising.
A company like Yahoo has two major constituencies, its audience and its advertisers. When it comes to making money, though, Yahoo has problems with both. People in the audience are spending more of their online lives on social networks and mobile devices, and the advertising market is shifting accordingly.
Compounding the problem is Yahoo's weak search-ad revenue, supplied through a Microsoft partnership after the rival took over Yahoo's search technology for its Bing site.
The team at Skype recently published an infographic that shows the vast usage numbers associated with its free calling services.
According to the infographic, based on daily stats gathered in July, Skype usage represents more than 255 billion minutes (or 4.25 billion hours) of calls annually, which is roughly four times more than the service saw in 2008.
Despite the tremendous growth in usage, Skype may have as many detractors as it does proponents. Its services have suffered from a number of hiccups over the last few years, including a serious bout of downtime in December 2010.
The Financial Times has removed its iOS apps from Apple's App store in response to a policy that gives the latter a 30 percent cut of sales.
To replace its dedicated iOS apps, London-based FT has rolled out its own mobile Web-based app designed for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and accessible through Safari and other mobile iOS browsers. The mobile Web app has actually been online since May while FT prepped itself for a possible exit from the App Store. But now the mobile site is the only option for subscribers who want access to the Financial … Read more
Verizon Wireless is once again the most reliable carrier throughout the U.S., according to a study out yesterday from J.D. Power and Associates.
Based on a customer survey, J.D. Power's "U.S. 2011 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study--Volume 2" ranked Verizon as the top carrier in the Northeast for the 14th time in a row. Compared with other carriers, Verizon saw the least number of customers complaining of dropped calls, transmission failures, initial connection issues, and delayed text messages.
Beyond the Northeast, Verizon grabbed the lead in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, and Western regions … Read more
Windows Phone has officially reached 30,000 apps in its marketplace, according to a Microsoft blog.
Dropping the news yesterday in the Windows Phone developer blog, Todd Brix, senior director of Windows Phone Marketplace, added that the "nearly 30,000 Windows Phone app and game titles available today will also run on Mango."