Facebook Cozies Up to Android Developers

Apparently Facebook is still out there trying to do business but at an important conference like Google’s I/O event they have managed to be much more private than their 450 million users’ data. Of course, that doesn’t take much these days now does it?

All Facebook reports on Facebook’s efforts to work with the Android development community in ways that may surprise some.

Facebook announced new mobile social networking functionality for the Android platform this week. At Google I/O, Google’s developer conference, executives routinely made fun of Steve Jobs and Apple, but Facebook’s role in the drama was overlooked by the press. Facebook’s mobile development team soft launched a Facebook SDK for Android, bringing functionality that was previously only available on the iPhone to the Android platform. It gets better: Facebook gave the Android platform a de facto exclusive on two of its newest initiatives: Open Graph APIs and OAuth 2.0.

Marketers Respond to the Apple v. Flash Battle

In the past few weeks the back and forth between Apple and Adobe about the merits and demerits of Flash technology use has gone from bad to worse. Bitter rhetoric and open letters to about each other played out like a high school romance gone bad. Needless to say you would hope that grown-ups might act, well, more grown up but this is the Internet era after all and sometimes it’s what you say over how you say it that wins the day.

Evidence of how Steve Jobs’ tirade against the evils of Flash and Apple’s adoption of HTML5 as the future of all things Apple might have worked is becoming apparent. Who says throwing a public hissy fit can’t help business?

Google Takes Aim and Fires at Apple

As one might expect, Google is pretty confident when it comes to just about everything. You have to be to do what they have done in a short period of time relative to most business success stories. Of course, taking the lead position in the development of the Internet Age will do that, won’t it.

Google also is very interested in maintaining that position as the shift toward a more robust mobile computing and communication world is underway (it may even be for real this time!). So when Google’s Vic Gundotra spoke yesterday at the Google I/O developer conference he left little room for speculation as to Google’s intentions for the Android OS and who it is looking to ‘take out’. At about the 3 minute mark of the video below Gundotra takes aim directly at, you guessed it, Apple.

Google Looking at Facial Recognition

Just what Google needs right now: a way to look even more invasive. Privacy concerns for the Internet and Google in particular have skyrocketed this year, as Buzz has prompted privacy concerns since the day it rolled out. But the trend goes further back with Google Street View.

Although that service blurs the images of passersby and license plates (and will remove images on request), Google is thinking about going to the opposite extreme soon: facial recognition technology, the Financial Times reports.

Oh great.

FT points out that Google already uses the technology in Picasa, so it certainly has the capacity to expand the service. (They chose not to include it in Google Goggles, though.) CEO Eric Schmidt said:

Will Privacy Regulation Reduce Ads’ Effectiveness?

In the European Union, it’s illegal to track consumers online with cookies without their consent (though the opt in/out question is still in the air). A recent study looked at what effect this regulation has had on purchase intent and, therefore, online ad effectiveness—and the results aren’t so pretty.

Looking at 3M+ Internet users and nearly 10,000 campaigns over 8 years, researchers asked users if they’d seen the ad and if they’d intended to purchase the product. They then compared the purchase intent based on the responses before and after the EU introduced its behavioral targeting regulations, as well as non-EU users’ purchase intent. MediaPost reports the results:

ReachLocal’s IPO Indicative of SMB Internet Market

In an indication that the market is not where people would like it to be, ReachLocal cut the price of its IPO yesterday to below the midpoint of the range for the offering.

Reuters tells us

Internet marketing company ReachLocal Inc (RLOC.O) priced shares in its initial public offering 28 percent below the midpoint of the expected range on Wednesday, according to an underwriter.

The company, based in Woodland Hills, California, sold 4.17 million shares for $13 each, raising about $54.17 million. It had planned to sell shares for $17 to $19 each.

ReachLocal sells services to maximize the effectiveness of online advertising by small and medium businesses.

The initial filing from December of last year had ReachLocal looking to raise about $100 million.

From Russia With Search

We have all heard of Baidu and the hold that the Chinese search engine has on one of the largest potential markets in the world. Google’s Chinese experience has probably done more to advance Baidu than Google itself. Well, it’s a big world out there with another large market opportunity for search in Russia and the former Soviet states that end in ‘stan’. Whether Google will have trouble there is yet to be seen but there are developments on the search front from that part of the world as Russian search engine Yandex announces its global launch.

SearchEngineLand reports

In its announcement (Russian language), Yandex calls this an “alpha service” and the “beginning of a long journey.” In this English-language news release, the company says it’s been indexing foreign web sites and adding the content to its search engine for the past two years.