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Facebook Working on an IM Service

I take one weekend off the Internet, and everything goes crazy. Can’t you people get on without me?

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington reported on Friday that Facebook would be developing an IM service, to premiere as early as this week. Naturally, as Arrington pointed out, this would not bode well for the existing third-party chat apps already in use on Facebook. Arrington’s sources say that Facebook’s IM would eventually be Jabber-compliant (ie open source and compatible with existing chat clients like Trillium).

A day later, the ever-reliable Valleywag reported that Facebook was in talks to acquire Social.IM, one of those third-party chat apps (which happens to be privately funded, as well). However, they updated their story when the CEO of Mogad (Social.IM’s owner company) said that “If we’re being bought, I haven’t gotten the call yet.”

AOL’s Bebo Acquisition: A Social Network Bubble or Not?

As you’ve probably heard AOL today announced the acquisition of social networking site Bebo for $850 million.

Sure, we could discuss how this will help AOL turn AIM and ICQ into an uber-social network. We could also discuss how Yahoo and Google let this slip from their grasp. But, here’s the question I’d like to ask…

Does this prove that social networks are approaching their own “bubble?”

For the past year, we’ve heard rumors that Bebo is up for sale. Valuations have typically placed the social network in the $1 billion to $1.5 billion price range. Now, after weeks of speculation that internet users are tiring of social networks, Bebo sells for just $850 million–almost half the top-end valuation thrown around last year.

Yahoo Going for OpenSocial?

It seems like an innocuous enough idea at first: Yahoo’s making moves as if to join the OpenSocial initiative of standardized APIs for social network developer/3rd party apps. And then we think about it: OpenSocial is Google’s baby.

Yahoo’s current official comment, of course, isn’t very informative:

Yahoo has a rich history of supporting open standards, such as OpenID and Apache Hadoop, as we believe industry collaboration is beneficial to the developer community and the Web as a whole. While we are evaluating OpenSocial as an emerging standard, we do not comment on speculation or rumors.

The New York Times, however, says otherwise. An article yesterday states that “Yahoo intends to join OpenSocial.” Interestingly, the Times says that this isn’t an act of defeat for Yahoo, as most of us would assume when Yahoo signs on to a Google effort five months later.

R.E.M. Launching New Album on Social Network

When someone suggested that Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M., release the band’s new album “Accelerate” on the social networking site iLike – he liked the idea. The move will make history and is another sign of the music industry’s loss of power.

The entire album will be streamed on the site a week before it is released to the public on April 1st. Hopefully the servers will hold up.

Music is social. Music is current and everchanging. And most of all, music requires musicians. The winners in the music business of tomorrow are individuals and organizations that create communities, connect people, spread ideas and act as the hub of the wheel… indispensable and well-compensated.

-Seth Godin

Is Creating a Facebook Study Group Cheating?

An 18 year old freshman at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, could be expelled his first year of college because of a Facebook group he was the administrator of. Facebook started as a way for college students to network online and Chris Avenir used is as a virtual study group for his chemistry class. Now he faces charges of academic misconduct and could be kicked out of the university.

There were 146 members of the group according to stories I read, but after searching, I couldn’t find Avenir or the group on Facebook. The group was called Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions. The class it was created for ended in December.

Digg Getting Out While the Getting is Still Good?

UPDATE: As we said, TechCrunch is hit and miss with these types of rumors. Digg is denying them.

I know that most of the grumbling about Digg comes from marketers–who, for the most part, are annoyed because we can no longer expect traffic from the social voting site. But, surely there are enough other Digg users who feel that Digg is not quite the voting democracy they thought they were signing up for, and are abandoning the service.

And, maybe Digg knows that the clock is ticking, if it wants to sell out while it still has users and traffic to sell. That’s my take on why Digg is reportedly anxious to accept a bid lower than the $300 million valuation given by its investment bank Allen & Co.

Zuckerberg Not Done Building Facebook Management Team

BusinessWeek has scored an interview with Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The questions focus mostly on the company’s recent recruitment coup: hiring Sheryl Sandberg away from Google.

How did Zuckerberg do it?

I met her at a friend’s Christmas party before the beginning of 2008…Then we started talking a lot at Davos at the end of January. We had a lot of time to talk there. There are a lot of people who are talented at scaling operations and building companies. But her experience at Google gives her just about the most-relevant industry experience that anyone could have. Even though our product is very different [than Google's], there are components that are similar. One is scaling sales operations.

What will Sandberg do at Facebook?