Facebook Sells 1.6% to Microsoft for $240 Million

In a conference call a few minutes ago, Facebook and Microsoft announced a deal that sees the software giant taking a $240M investment in the social network.

Here’s the press release:

PALO ALTO, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 24, 2007 — Facebook and Microsoft Corp. today announced that Microsoft will take a $240 million equity stake in Facebook’s next round of financing at a $15 billion valuation, and the companies will expand their existing advertising partnership. Under the expanded strategic alliance, Microsoft will be the exclusive third-party advertising platform partner for Facebook, and will begin to sell advertising for Facebook internationally in addition to the United States. Financial terms were not disclosed.

NBC Leaves YouTube in Favor of Hulu

Frankly, NBC is just all over the map online. They’ve declined to renew their iTunes contract, started offering their shows on Amazon, and offered free show downloads from NBC Direct. They’ve hyped Hulu, their YouTube killer, and then said they’re ready to fail with it. They’ve attacked Google and YouTube on copyright infringement issues—while maintaining a content partnership with the company.

Well, that last contradiction is no more, according to several reports earlier this week. After 16 months, NBC has reneged on its agreement for a channel on YouTube in favor of Hulu, due into private beta this month (T-minus seven days, guys!).

Meanwhile, CNET’s Don Reisinger offers encouraging words on Hulu’s prospects:

Facebook Sets the Date (for New Ads)

No, Facebook isn’t announcing the date for its impending nuptials, but it’s sent out engraved invitations (literally) for an event next month in New York, as AdAge writes:

The invitation, sent to advertisers and agencies in New York, arrived carved onto a Lucite brick:

“You are invited to a discussion with Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook executive team as we unveil a new way of advertising online.”

AdAge speculates that this could be the unveiling of the meaning of a term first used and trademarked by Facebook last month, “SocialAds”:

described as “advertising and information distribution services, namely, providing advertising space via the global computer network [and] promoting the goods and services of others over the internet.”

MySpace Dominates in the US

Datamonitor predicts that social networking sites will level off around the world in the year 2012. They also predict that the plateau will hit even sooner in the US. In the meantime, global active memberships in social networking sites are growing. They’re expected to reach 230 million at the end of 2007 (this includes multiple memberships by one person).The money is good and growing.

For example, my friend’s Facebook App that took two weeks to build recently sold for $25k. And marketers who are savvy are getting a lot of press for their social networking presence. There is a lot of money and creativity being exchanged. “Revenues from social-networking services should reach $965 million, growing to $2.4 billion by 2012, writes MarketingCharts.”

Google Tracks California Wildfires

Google Maps and Google Earth are helping to organize information and images from the wildfires in Southern California. So far more than 373,000 acres of land has been burned and 350,000 homes evacuated.

Google Maps shows burn zones, evacuated areas, evacuation centers, safe areas, and closed roads. There are also pictures and videos. You can get a live stream of news online from radio station KPBS and they are also posting information on Twitter. Here is the KPBS map.

It’s amazing that people are creating the news and contributing – putting up the maps and keeping them updated. Newspapers and television stations are keeping people informed. We get our news so many different ways. Californians are checking the maps to see how close the fires are getting to their homes.

Gmail Adding IMAP Support

Download Squad is reporting sightings of IMAP support showing up in Google’s email service, Gmail.

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Why is this a big deal? I’ll let them explain…

Why is IMAP integration a good thing for Gmail? POP was a stepping stone, but IMAP pushes Gmails benefits over the top. With IMAP, users can now access their email via a desktop application like Outlook or Thunderbird, read emails, make changes, delete, and have the changes made across platforms. So if you now log into your Gmail account, the message which you read in Thunderbird, will now be marked accordingly. No more wasting time trying to sift through emails that had already been answered.

I wonder if this means it will work better with my Blackberry? I don’t see it listed, but iPhone users are in luck!

Dear KX News: Blackle Is Not an Official Google Site

image I’m not sure how difficult it is to take a look at the “About Blackle” link, or notice the “a Heap Media Site”, but apparently it’s too complicated for North Dakota’s KX News.

You can watch their news segment via this video.

Here’s a partial transcript…

Google is a popular search engine on the World Wide Web…
And saving energy has been a popular topic of discussion these days…
So Google decided to do it’s part to save energy…by going black.
The founders of Google have created “Blackle.” It’s basically the same search engine but in black instead of white.
This is because a white screen uses more energy than a black one…

Normally, I wouldn’t bother embarrassing another media outlet, but c’mon, it’s plain lazy to not click a few links.