Pilgrim’s Picks for November 6

I’m in Kansas City today, speaking at the NTA Annual Convention, before flying off to Vegas for Blogworld. Kansas City reminds me of a little of Charlotte, NC, and is certainly a pretty city at night.

I’d expected there to be a lot of news going on this morning, but things are somewhat quiet. I’m sure things will heat-up during the day–especially with the expected Facebook announcement–but for the time being, here are the news items you need to know about.

Radiohead’s Experiment: People Taking Advantage

It’s been one month since we all started buzzing about Radiohead’s latest experiment: a downloadable set-your-own-price release of their latest album. I’m sure many people saw this as the band’s vote of confidence in the genuine goodness of humanity—although I’m sure they realized that not everyone would be willing to pay when they could get it for free.

And it looks like both sides are right. A few weeks in, it looked as though the average price being paid was £8 (about $16). However, immediately after that report came a second—in reality, the price paid was more like £2.50 (about $5)—less than Radiohead would have received from their record company per album had they gone the traditional route.

T-Minus One: Facebook’s Announcement Tomorrow

With all the big announcements coming out today, I’m sure your head’s already spinning—but be sure to keep your eyes open for tomorrow’s Facebook announcement! Amid all the other buzz today, there are plenty of rumors flying about what Facebook’s big secret will be.

According to TechCrunch last week, at least part of the announcement will be “Project Beacon“: an effort to better integrate Facebook profiles with nonFacebook websites. In Michael Arrington’s example, a Facebook user purchases a product (like a book) from a partner site (Amazon, in this example). The purchase appears as a popup in a user’s mini-feed—which, like other items in their feed, they’ll be able to delete and turn off.

It’s Official: Google Heads Open Source Initiative for Phones

As anticipated, Google has announced their mobile phone strategy. As if Google needed another reason to boost its stock price, today the company announced how they are releasing phones with Google software as soon as the second part of next year. They are partnering with 34 companies to build an open platform to develop software for cell phones.

Google is moving towards open source development by announcing OpenSocial last week and now and a similar model to encourage innovation in the mobile phone industry. Rather than making their own phone – the rumored gPhone – they are forming partnerships. The platform is Android after a company that Google acquired a few years ago – and here’s a YouTube video from its creators.

Death to Russian Scammers

Here’s one way to eliminate spam – corporal punishment. We all hate spam, especially the ones that advertise Viagra, and pills for penis enlargement (and as I write this I’m thinking of the related ads I might trigger just by writing this). You can rest easy knowing that the man responsible for around 30% of those ads won’t be spamming you anymore. He’s dead. Or at least that’s what everyone thought. Now it appears the story is a scam.

The story made the home page of Digg, and quickly got picked up by bloggers. The story goes that a man named Alexey Tolstokozhev (which in Russian means ‘Thick Skin’) was shot in his luxury house near Moscow. Shot by Russian hit men.

Now Confirmed: Google Finally Announcing Cell Phone Project Today

UPDATE: The announcement is now confirmed, please see below.

There are many reports from credible news sources that suggest Google will finally put us all out of our misery and tell us what its mobile initiative actually is. Reuters, USA Today, and CNET are among those with "sources familiar with the matter."

Don’t have time to read all the buzz?

Here’s the 411:

  • They’re launching a mobile platform based on Linux.
  • It’s either going to be called "Android" (CNET) or "G-System" (USA Today).
  • Phone manufacturers on board include Qualcomm, HTC, Samsung, and Motorola. Nokia is conspicuous by its absence.
  • Wireless carriers signed-up include Sprint, NTT DoCoMo, and T-Mobile. AT&T & Verizon are hesitant to sign on.

Pilgrim’s Picks for November 5 – Bonfire Night Edition

Remember, remember, the fifth of November!

If you’re outside the UK, that means nothing to you. If you are reading from the UK, it’s just a few hours to go before you get to throw all your junk in your back garden, stuff newspaper into the clothes that no longer fit you, and "light the blue touch paper and retire." It also means that as of tomorrow, you’ll be able to grab your newspaper without some kid pestering you for "a penny for the guy" when what he really means is "give us a quid!"

For the rest of us, these marketing news stories will add fireworks to your life!