Rumor Mill: IPO for AOL’s Advertising Platform A

Last week, AOL announced that it was restructuring its online advertising holdings to create a new ad division, Platform A. Ten days later, TechCrunch has rumors that Platform A will be destined for an IPO of its own:

One knowledgeable source tells TechCrunch that the decision has been made internally at Time Warner to try to spin off Platform A through an IPO sometime early next year. (AOL declines to comment). A lot needs to happen before that plan is put into action, but the writing is on the wall. . . . An AOL spokesperson confirms to me: “The introduction of Platform A marks a significant change in how we operate—putting AOL’s overall network in front of our advertising sales strategy.”

Rumor Mill: Microsoft Buying a Stake in Facebook

Is Microsoft shopping for a social network? The Wall Street Journal reports today that Microsoft may be purchasing as much as a 5% stake in Facebook, a share valued at $300-$500 million. The WSJ speculates that a deal like this could push the value of Facebook into the $10 billion range—exactly the price tag investor Tim Thiel named in July. Further rumors state that Google may also be looking to purchase a stake in the social network.

An investment in Facebook could give Microsoft or Google greater opportunities to tie their services in with Facebook at a time when they’ve both recognized that social networking is changing how consumers tap into their core activities, such as Web search and email.

Rumor Mill: Google’s Gmail Getting New Features?

This is one of two Google rumors that surfaced over the weekend. The other one is here.

Google has a weakness when it comes to keeping new products a secret. According to Garett Rogers, Google uses volunteers to do much of its foreign translation–they provide them when a sentence or two and the volunteers provide the translation. While Google gets all of their translation needs fullfilled for less than minimum-wage, it can make it hard to keep new products a secret.

Rogers first provided us with a screenshot that suggests a new interface for Gmail might be forthcoming.

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Next, Rogers did some additional digging and found more translation screenshots that suggest one of Gmail’s new features will be the much-desired “offline” capability.

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Rumor Mill: Google Planning Second Life Rival?

This is one of two Google rumors that surfaced over the weekend–the other one is here.

Apparently Arizona State University sent out invitations to students that mention a super-secret, sign-an-NDA-or-else, social networking project.

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A few teasers have led most to conclude this must be a Google project:

  1. “a  major internet company” – yep, that sounds like Google.
  2. A questions asking if you have a Gmail account – hmm, I doubt MSFT or Yahoo would be asking that.
  3. Google already has Google earth and 3D modeling software.

In case you need further convincing that Google is behind this super-secret project, Google Operating System offers this compelling but circumstantial evidence.

Rumor Mill: Google Announcing New APIs?

Michael Arrington seems pretty confident in his sources and is suggesting Google will open up on November 5th.

On November 5 we’ll likely see third party iGoogle gadgets that leverage Orkut’s social graph information – the most basic implementation of what Google is planning. From there we may see a lot more – such as the ability to pull Orkut data outside of Google and into third party applications via the APIs. And Google is also considering allowing third parties to join the party at the other end of the platform – meaning other social networks (think Bebo, Friendster, Twitter, Digg and thousands of others) to give access to their user data to developers through those same APIs.

Rumor Mill: Google’s PowerPoint Challenger Launching Soon?

The Inquirer is reporting we should soon see Google’s PowerPoint clone, named Presently. Now, before you run around all excited–like a child with their underpants on their head–consider that we’ve heard these rumors since February.

Still, where there’s smoke there’s fire and the Inquirer has plenty of smoke…

Google is presently touring publishing houses to show Presently, so even if they make hacks sign an infuriatingly Web 1.0 non-disclosure agreement, an announcement can?t be far off.

As a Google Apps user, I’m excited that one day I can finally uninstall Microsoft Office.

Will Google Buy Earthlink?

Earthlink says it wants to get out of the municipal WiFi business. Are executives really grooming the company to be sold?

CEO Rolla Huff joined in June, and he recently brought on Joe Wetzel as COO. Huff and Wetzel are the team that sold Mpower Communications, a regional provider of broadband data and voice services to business customers. Maybe they’ll shop the company around as soon as they cut the fat.

There might be one very easy mark: Google.

A combined company — call it GoogleLink, just for fun — could help the search giant extend its advertising into the mobile space with less muss and fuss than trying to build such a service from the ground up.

Yesterday, rumors abounded that the search giant was planning gPhone, its own mobile data/phone device.