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The Social “News” Race

Li Evans at Search Marketing Gurus caught Digg on the slow side today. She was looking for updates on the shooting at Virginia Tech—but the story was nowhere to be found on Digg’s front page. (It didn’t “become popular” for another two hours after she checked.)

And who did have it when Li checked? Newsvine. Hm!

Aside from the interesting dig at Digg, which Diggers seem to consider the fastest way of transmitting news since the neighborhood grapevine, the irony of the situation struck me as it never has before. These and other “social news” sites aren’t making the news, or controlling it, or even covering it. They’re just voting and commenting on it.

Dodgeball Founders the Latest to Quit Google

Be warned, if you decided to sell your company to Google, don’t expect to actually enjoy working for the world’s largest search engine. While the money would be nice, judging by the number of resignations Google gets from its acquired companies, the money may be all you get out of the deal.

Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert, co-founders of Dodgeball, are the latest acquirees to find out the hard way. Dodgeball’s SMS-social network was ahead of the pack, when acquired, but since then, nothing has really been done with the company, and the founders have had to watch the likes of Twitter and Jaiku pass them by.

Here’s part of Crowley’s announcement to the world

Live Video Streaming Coming At Us Fast!

Wow, where did this come from? Over the past 24 hours I’ve watched live video streaming become the next hot topic on the web.

First, inspired by, Chris “I live on the lunatic fringe” Pirillo decided to start a live internet video stream of him at his computer. Bringing in (the live video technology) Skype, Twitter, chat rooms and a whole host of other technology.

Then Robert “PodTech” Scoble decided to live stream his road trip, thanks to a wireless laptop and a video camera.

Up next, both Scoble and Jeremiah “Web Prophet” Owyang announce they plan to stream live video from the Web 2.0 conference.

This is cutting edge stuff. Question is, how can it be leveraged?

USA Today Make Over a Success?

It’s been over a month since USA Today launched their new social-network-influenced redesign. The initial response was extremely negative; within a few days there were hundreds of comments on the announcement story, and over 90% were negative.

Today, MediaPost reports that USA Today’s online registrations are up 380% since the makeover. (It doesn’t mention how much of the 308% increase was created by visitors who registered for the sole purpose of complaining about the redesign.) Also up is their unique visitors (increased 21% since February, according to Nielsen//NetRatings). Last month they had 40,000 comments on the site.

So is USA Today’s social make over a success? If those numbers were our only indicators, I’d say yes.

Facebook Gets Facelift

Facebook is getting a lot of press today after its recent redesign. Unlike their last major update, introducing a “news feed” that tracked all your friends’ actions on the site, this one appears to be well received. In fact, the largest “I hate the new Facebook layout” groups appear to be left over from the last redesign.

One reason for the improved reception was Facebook’s effort to solicit user feedback before making the change. They created screenshots of the new layout and uploaded them to the site, asking users for feedback for weeks before actually making the shift. I guess they learned something the last time around.

Technorati Acquires The Personal Bee

Mashable is reporting Technorati has acquired citizen journalism site The Personal Bee. Not familiar with The Personal Bee, me neither, so let’s take a look at what they say they do…

In a nutshell, we’re dedicated to helping information producers and consumers capture the essential buzz from the roar of information washing over us all everyday. We believe that smart analysis of the information torrent coursing through blogs and mainstream news sites, coupled with the abilities of smart, aggressive and ambitious human editors, will help accelerate the evolution of our news media.

In an even smaller nutshell, they’re a human-edited news aggregator. No official word as to how The Personal Bee will be integrated with Technorati, but I would imagine it would help bolster the recently launched WTF tool.

Spock Hopes to Make Your Face the Final Frontier

I’m not quite sure where Spock got its name – maybe they picked up the domain for cheap and liked the name recognition – but the people search engine behind it, looks impressive.

Michael Arrington has the exclusive screenshots of the new service that aims to index and aggregate information on individuals, and help the many millions of us that use search engines to research the famous and not-so famous.

Similar services already exist – LinkedIn, Zoominfo and Naymz are among the many that come to mind – but Spock is aiming to scour the web, scrub it of duplication and even allow people to claim their profile page.