Archive for the ‘Corporate News’ Category

Google Buys YouTube

09 Oct 2006

Says MarketWatch: “after reports of talks with YouTube surfaced last Friday, many analysts said that they believe Google’s competitors will now seek to buy imitators of YouTube to keep pace. On Monday, the boards of both Google and YouTube approved the terms of the deal, which was announced after the market closed.

Over the last two days, Google and YouTube executives have compiled an extensive list of ways to integrate the two features. There’s now plans to soon incorporate YouTube videos into Google search results, and to make YouTube part of Google’s AdSense advertising feature, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.”

Says Coolz0r: Good, at least the videos will start loading now and no longer slow down the blog. Oh no, wait…

“YouTube founder Chad Hurley, during the same call, said that it was Google’s “revolutionary ad program that inspired us.” Plus, he added, “we wanted to remain independent. By working with Google, that’s still the case.”

Says Coolz0r: Damn. At least make Google host the videos… for the love of blogs and loading time…

Google to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock.

Says Coolz0r: stock isn’t going to put butter on the bread, but okay. Let’s hope the AdSense brings in enough. Oh wait. There are hundreds of videos that violate the terms… hmm. A round of user-banning is coming up. The delete button is going to need replacement. Anybody knows a factory that produces ‘delete’ buttons? Major client coming up… :)

Is Google now responsible for all the illegal content? If so: lawyers, aim your arrows!

$1.65 billion. $1.65 billion. (I had to type it twice to fully comprehend.)

I thought YouTube was estimated on $1 billion. Did Battelle know? Even he thought $1 billion was way too much. Now it’s 65% more. Looks like the GOOG guys are trying to get rid of their stock. How much is there left to give away anyway?

Ah well. Good luck, YouTube, and congrats Google.

*continues living*


More About Live Writer

14 Aug 2006

As announced yesterday, here’s some more thoughts about Live Writer. I’ve tested the publishing phase, for which I didn’t had time on Sunday and I’ve been walking around in the interface some more. My general opinion about this tool remains that it has a lot of potential, but that there’s still some work to be done.

First of all, there’s the images. I always center my images with a simple <div> tag, and align them so that they kind of fill up the space. With the Live Writer tool, I can’t seem to have the image centered. The ‘inline’ function lets me slide the image between words, but that’s not what I’m looking for. So I’m hoping the Live Writer team will provide some simple align tools in the next update, just like they do in Word (left, center, right – easy as that). I don’t really want to work with the custom margins either, although it’s really cool that you can customize the position manually. But for me: plain and simple, and automated, thank you.

Of course it’s great that you can have your images with some nice effects, but here too I have some desires. I normally upload everything to the subdomain slash images folder (, and it’s great that the Live Writer tool allows me to set up a custom FTP job. Awesome. But. Apparently, as I’ve experienced with the previous post, the source pad of the image is no longer /images. It’s been changed to /images/BerlitzBabel_E4DD/image.jpg.

As far as I can tell, a new folder is created with the title of the post. So instead of uploading it straight to the images folder and adding it to the existing images, I now get an entire new structure (tree) in the images folder. Hmm. I ran through the setup settings again, and I clearly pointed it to the right folder, and I can’t seem to find the settings where it says it will create a new archive for every individual image, so I can’t turn it ‘off’ either. 

Then there’s the cool ‘Insert Map’ tool. Superfine, no doubt, but I don’t seem to get it to work right. I can browse to my house, find it on the map, but when I insert a pin and add a picture from Flickr to it I get a link like this:

Then when I don’t attach a picture it looks like this:

Weird. Must be something I’m overlooking, I can’t figure it out. I always end up somewhere in the middle of Flanders, even though I pinpoint my exact location. I’ve removed the pushpin because that also got totally misplaced and the Flickr image I attached didn’t load, even though it’s a valid image URL. Some work needs to be done here, guys!

As far as the complaints from others about the tabbed interface: I like it the way it is now. In WordPress, I don’t have tabs either. You can write, save, publish. I’ve never been editing multiple posts at once, and I’m not planning to do so in the near future. So it’s fine when that a new post pops up when I’m finished with the old one. Maybe a small detail: When I click new, instead of discarding the post I just published the Writer tool opens a brand new window, but the old post needs to be closed manually. Perhaps it can be fixed to open a new post in the same window and discarding the old post at the same time?

Other things I came across that I like:

  • The extra editing options when inserting an image in the ‘effects’ tab when you click the ‘+’
  • The option to add a watermark to the picture
  • The fact that you can customize the image size, with constrained proportions
  • The built-in spelling checker (don’t know if it’s multi-language) and the ease of adding words to it

That’s about it for this review I guess. If anything shocking comes up, I’ll post it, but for now, all I can say is you’ve just got to try this for yourself and enjoy!

The only downside is the compressed source code, which makes editing afterwards in WordPress a real pain, because it’s so unstructured. There’s also quite a lot of &-nbsp stuff that I usually avoid, which I can’t stop from being used. But those are minor details.

Download it here


Windows Live Writer

13 Aug 2006

Microsoft came up with this really cool blog tool that allows you to blog offline and send it to the server whenever you feel like it (or whenever you get to connect to the internet). The Live Writer is actually pretty decent and setting it up takes only a few seconds. It offers a plugin for the Live Toolbar, which allows you to blog (about) a webpage you’re visiting. The Writer tool can be used for Live Spaces, and offers to create an account, but if you already have a blog, you can enter your settings really easy and use your existing platform. I’m on WordPress, and it immediately recognized it, including all the categories. Good start.

Let’s have a quick run through the setup screens:

LiveWriter Setup 1

LiveWriter Setup 2

LiveWriter Setup 3

LiveWriter Setup 4

LiveWriter Setup 5

So, after the setup you’re all ready to to start blogging. One thing I noticed is that the installer file didn’t put a shortcut on my desktop or in the quickstart, so you’ll have to create a shortcut manually from within your ‘all programs’ folder. The interface looks like this:

Live Writer Interface

Although you’re presented with a WYSIWYG editor, Live Writer also includes other views including HTML source-code editing and web preview mode. There’s also something really cool you can do with the images:

Writer makes inserting, customizing, and uploading photos to your blog a snap. You can insert a photo into your post by browsing image thumbnails through the “Insert Picture” dialog or by copying and pasting from a web page.

Once you’ve inserted the picture, Writer provides contextual editing tools to modify size, text wrapping, borders, and apply graphic effects. Writer also allows you specify a smaller thumbnail to that will link to a larger image for detailed viewing.

Photos can be either uploaded directly to your weblog provider (if they support the newMediaObject API) or to an FTP server.

I really like the effects and I’ll be testing it in the next posts on this blog. Another superfly feature is that you can enter a Map from Windows Live Local, all you need to do is enter an address, and it’ll put a nice integrated map in your post. Saves you a lot of time and makes it really accessible. I’ll be testing that as well really soon.

Overall feeling: as far as I’ve tested it (I’ve done about everything except publishing) the look and feel is really good. I think I’ll ask the admin in the agency I work at to install it on my laptop so I can play with this tool on the train while commuting. It kind of looks like ‘Word 2007′ and makes you feel at home. I like that.

Nathan did an extended ‘first-impressions’ review as well, so you might want to read that too. We’ll write more about it tonight or tomorrow morning. Stay tuned!

Normally everything was under embargo, and I would have had enough time to test it all, but apparently some moron at ‘Inside Live’ decided to go live already, causing all the other bloggers that were included in the list to drop everything they had in their hands to go live as well. Thanks a lot, f*cker.

Live Writer Team Blog + Links

UPDATE: Jason has a review up as well. Check it out.


Google Talk Super Updates

29 Jul 2006

I was about to go to bed when GoogleTalk suddenly logged me off and displayed an update note. I went to check it out and boy oh boy, this seems to be really nice. They’re actually trying to make it a full IM client. I was waiting for this to happen, and it’s a good thing it did.

File Transfer

File Transfer

With this top requested new feature, you can send unlimited files and folders to your friends through Google Talk. There is no restriction on the file type or size and the peer-to-peer transfer is fast and reliable. Learn more



If a friend isn’t around to answer your call, now you can leave a voicemail. You can even leave voicemail messages for your friends who don’t use Google Talk–they’ll receive an email with the message attached as an audio file. Learn more

Music Status

Music Status

Listening to music while on Google Talk? Now you can let your friends see what you’re listening to by selecting “Show current music track” in your status menu. Your status message will change when your song does! Learn more

Nice :) Really nice!


Team 67 Has Left The Building

14 Jul 2006

Yey, this week I’ve been working on a cool project and it just went live! The past days I’ve been busy writing an ‘on the road manual’ for Frank Klemann, helped setting up a cool blog for the journey and I even drove to The Netherlands to hand over the brand new Nokia N90 and a laptop. My first real ‘consulting’ job ;) Nice. Here’s what it’s all about:

Team 67 is the team of Henry Wissing, a dentist from Eersel (The Netherlands) and Frank Klemann,’s General Manager. Both enthusiasts are experienced classic car rally drivers. The car they’ll use on their way to fame is a 1972 Toyota Celica.


The Amsterdam – Beijing Classic Car Endurance Rally 2006 is going to be one of the most spectacular rallies you’ve ever seen.

From July 14th until August 13th, one hundred teams will travel a distance of 17.500 kilometers (10.874 miles) with their classic cars and old-timers. The rally kicks off at The Dam in Amsterdam and is going to span 14 countries and 2 continents, ending gracefully on the Tienanmen Square in Beijing.

Next to the personal weblog of Team67, on Typepad, RTL7 -a Dutch TV station- and the Chinese channel CCTV2 will document the rally twice every day. IdTV, a Dutch production house, will co-produce reports extensively together with UK’s North One and CCTV. A 35-member production crew will use 12 cameras and will capture the entire event using choppers and cars. Approximately 1.000.000 Dutch viewers and a few hundred million Chinese viewers will be able to keep track of the adventures of Team 67 and the other 99 teams.

Team 67 has been given a brand new Nokia N90 by i-merge and promised to document and blog their experiences. If all goes well, you –dearest reader- will be served unique pictures and video footage from within the heat of the journey. The only thing we couldn’t do (yet) was include the smell of burning rubber and hot asphalt, but we’re working on that.

Thanks to Tanguy from TheseDays for helping with the Nokia setup, thanks to Maarten from SixApart and to de designers ‘upstairs’ who’ve made the blog look really slick.

Check out the adventures of Team67 !


YouTube Mobile

11 May 2006

YouTube is going mobile, saying you can now upload videos to YouTube from your phone or PDA. User generated mobile audiovisual content is becoming quite big, even in Belgium where there’s going to be an actual Mobile Film Festival. One thing I wonder about is how long it’s going to take, and even more: how much it will cost you to upload a video of let’s say 2 minutes. I know for sure that in Belgium you won’t have to try it because it’ll take way too much time to make a connection and keep it alive as long as the upload is going. What’s going to happen if you walk around and you’re being switched from one antenna to the other? Will it reset the data transmission or will it reconnect and continue to transmit, and what will the effect be on the video you send? We’ll see, once YouTube expands the agreements they make with mobile carriers. For now it isn’t possible for Belgium, yet.

YouTube Mobile

It’s a bit weird to actually have your users create two different profiles I think. On the one hand it’ll generate truly dedicated users, on the other hand it’s not really user-friendly. Perhaps that’ll change too in the future. It’s the first time I hear about creating a new profile for mobile content for a service you’re already using. Suppose Hotmail or Yahoo would do that too… you’ll lose your overview and the data would become unmanagable, unless you can merge the data afterwards, but that would make it needlessly complicated.

You can now upload videos directly from your phone or PDA to YouTube. All you need is a mobile device that can take video and send MMS messages, and an Internet access or data plan from your service provider. We currently support uploads from Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

To get started, click on “Create Mobile Profile.” Login, or create an account if you don’t already have one. Once you’re logged in, you’ll create a mobile profile to set up the default information for your videos, and then our system will generate the email address where you should send them. This address will be unique to you and your profile, and you can have up to two profiles.

And what about downloading videos to your mobile device? Are the videos going to be ’slimmed’? YouTube doesn’t say anything about that (yet). It would also recquire your mobile device to have a recent Flash player and I can imagine that it might take a while for some videos to be downloaded. Nice move though. If the networks can support the traffic and can offer a smooth and continuous service, I think YouTube might have another boom in content. Citizen Journalism has been taken to the next level, let’s hope it generates some usable content.

On a sidenote, a project called YouTubeTalk (not affiliated with YouTube) is gaining momentum. It looks like an ordinary community forum that adds to the comment function of YouTube. All links from their homepage go directly to YouTube. In 10 days (it launched on May 1st) they gathered 1239 Posts in 118 Topics by 132 Members. Not bad, but I don’t think it’s that useful.


Microsoft Assimilates Massive ?

26 Apr 2006

Microsoft is planning to buy Massive. That’s what a lot of news sources are publishing. If it’s true, it’s yet another great leap for the already very strong company. Massive in an in-game advertising heavyweight and has a piece of the pie in this section of the industry. In a deal worth $200 million to $400 million, Microsoft expects to acquire the 80-person North American stronghold in an effort to bring the technology behind much of the ads found in video games today in-house. Quoting from C|Net:

But by buying Massive, Microsoft is putting itself in a position to cash in both from the sale of games, and from the revenue generated by the inserted ads. This will also allow Microsoft to maintain more control over how the ads are placed and to consider new business models in which it could potentially allow the ads to subsidize lower prices on its game titles.

In-game advertising is a growing market. More and more games have links to the online world and the software can be tweaked everytime a player logs in or connects to the game servers. A lot of brands are already actively participating in this market and when Microsoft goes ahead with this plan, it’ll most certainly develop a nice cash stream. It’s an ad ad world we live in.

Closely connected to this announcement is the fact that Microsoft recently decided to incorporate the Ad-ID for it’s interactive advertisement. The Ad-ID has been developed by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA).

Ad-ID provides the foundation for advertising digital trafficking and tracking, as well as digital connectivity. It is the equivalent of the retail community’s “UPC code.” By assigning a unique system-generated identification code to all advertising assets, including television, video, online, print, radio, outdoor, wireless, etc., Ad-ID improves the accuracy and efficiency of many advertising processes from delivery through billing, and will ultimately contribute to improved tracking and measuring advertising effectiveness across campaigns.

If you wonder why this is:

“Microsoft believes the future lies with identified, targeted, customized advertisements, and the best way to effectively track and measure results from advertising assets is by using Ad-ID – a universal code which provides end to end system connectivity.”

Read more in this .pdf announcement (90.5kb) from

In-game advertisement roundup


Yahoo TV Launched

26 Apr 2006

So, I’m waiting for Google to come after this but in the meanwhile Yahoo kicked off their Go-TV and from the first reviews I’ve read I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that it really opens up a lot of opportunities. Not only for advertisers, but also for consumers.

From the Unofficial Yahoo Blog:

Instead of huddling around your 17″ monitor and cluttered desk to view your Y! Photo album of the latest family gathering, you can show them from the comfort of your TV viewing room. You can also see pictures from on-the-fly Flickr searches. You can also play DVD’s or saved video files on your computer and watch them on your TV! Kind of eliminates the need for the ol’ DVD-player don’t it? And there’s a lot of Yahoo! Premium content in audio and video form that is easily accessible through Yahoo! Go – TV.
There’s more features to discover at the Y! Go – TV site.