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sFund

Kleiner Perkins today reasserted itself as a powerhouse and relevant venture capital firm by rounding up Facebook, Zynga and Amazon to announce a $250 million fund for social web startups, called the sFund. Kleiner partner John Doerr today won on-stage testimonials from Facebook, Amazon and Zynga. Read more »

GroupPosterous

Posterous, the email-based blogging platform, aims to keep things simple and easy to use, but it can’t resist adding new more advanced features such as increased support for groups, premium accounts for businesses, proximity-based geoblogs, and a better bookmarklet to bring in outside content. Read more »

Esther Dyson, Chairman of ED Ventures

In light of recent outcry about social networking privacy lapses and potential misuse of users’ personal information, long-time web thought leader Esther Dyson had this to say at the marketing conference Pivot in New York City today: online privacy a marketing problem. Read more »

Upcoming Events

Wanderfly

Have a hankering to take a few days off and go somewhere? A new startup called Wanderfly, which launched today, wants to help inspire you. Type in your approximate travel dates, budget, duration and interests, and Wanderfly will serve up a set of glossy options. Read more »

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For the most part, as soon as I lose connectivity, my mobile apps are mostly broken. Musing over to my most-used apps — Gmail, Facebook and Twitter — only gets me error messages and frustration. And even Angry Birds and Word Warp are handicapped when they’re offline. Read more »

thinonionskin

Google today on its quarterly earnings call broke out some numbers that it doesn’t historically give (and doesn’t promise to give in the future): revenue and monetization rates for display, video and mobile advertising. The intent was to show that Google isn’t just a search company. Read more »

garylogo_lg1-249x300

Mozilla Corporation, which makes the Firefox browser, has named its next CEO: Gary Kovacs. This was a planned transition — current CEO John Lilly wants to become a VC at Greylock Partners — but perhaps not an expected choice, given Kovacs comes from outside the Mozilla fold. Read more »

Facebook gift card

Facebook has done a remarkable job of getting developers to adopt its Credits virtual currency before the program was fully fledged. Today, the company announced a partnership with PlaySpan to add 20 additional ways for users to pay for credits and plans to accelerate rollout. Read more »

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MarkZuckerberg

Microsoft today launched social search features for Bing created in partnership with Facebook. The two companies are teaming up to take on their common enemy, Google. The implementations are basic, but significant because they will automatically show up to all users of both Bing and Facebook. Read more »

ZestCash CEO Douglas Merrill

Former Google CIO Douglas Merrill has set out to provide an alternative to payday loans that uses data analysis to determine whether borrowers are likely to pay him back. Called ZestCash, Merrill’s Hollywood-based startup is launching tomorrow in the Utah market. Read more »

Twitter's Biz Stone and Evan Williams

“Laughable,” “absurd,” “ludicrous” and “pointless” were words Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone used Monday night to describe a recent Malcolm Gladwell story in the New Yorker about the futility of social media to create real social change. Read more »

A Microtask visualization from an animated promo video the company made

Crowdsourcing is often used for fairly menial tasks: correcting databases, screening offensive images, transcribing audio. But what if you could make those little bits of human labor even more menial, discrete and interchangeable? That’s what the Finnish company Microtask does. Read more »

640px-GOOG-411_billboard

Google today announced it is shutting down its free U.S. and Canada directory assistance service, 1-800-GOOG-411, to put its focus on its other speech recognition services and extending them to new languages. As of Nov. 12, the number will go dead. Read more »

FacebookGroups

Facebook launched a new approach to understanding groups of friends today. CEO Mark Zuckerberg called groups “a fundamental building block” and “the biggest problem in social networking,” and said Facebook has determined the best solution is a social one: to enable users to tag each other. Read more »

Eventbrite

Eventbrite has closed $20 million in Series D funding led by DAG Ventures, and including Tenaya Capital as well as previous investor Sequoia Capital. The four-year-old, San Francisco-based company has now raised a total of $29.5 million. Read more »

AppNexus CEO Brian O'Kelley

AppNexus has stepped up its fundraising, bringing in $50 million for its real-time display advertising platform from existing investors as well as Microsoft. The company has now raised $65.5 million over the last three years from investors including Venrock, Kodiak Venture Partners and First Round Capital. Read more »

complaints

Yahoo recently announced a number of product tweaks to modernize and standardize its products, including stalwarts like Yahoo Groups. But amidst complaints about user privacy, Yahoo rolled back the redesign entirely last week, and promised to tread much more carefully as it explores any further changes. Read more »

1Z5O1494

On a panel of mobile payments providers at GigaOM’s Mobilize 2010, everyone was happy to agree that mobile payments are finally getting their day in the sun due to the growth of smartphones, mobile application platforms, and the sheer market size of 5 billion phones. Read more »

IMG_0309

Real-time content discovery startup Evri is turning its focus to a mobile strategy, and on Thursday at our Mobilize conference, the company will launch five Android and iPhone applications that drill down on specific content interests: celebrity gossip, technology, baseball, football and rock music. Read more »

PeanutLabs

Peanut Labs is announcing today it’s been acquired by e-Rewards, owner of Research Now. The two companies both perform online data collection, Peanut Labs by getting users to complete market research surveys in exchange for virtual credits on services like Pogo, RockYou, Playdom. Read more »

McClureConway

There were high expectations among attendees at TechCrunch Disrupt that last week’s “AngelGate” would come to a head today. That didn’t happen. All the involved parties now seem to be chanting the mantra that the focus should return to startups, entrepreneurs and innovation. Read more »

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus got lobbed some softballs this morning at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference by his investors at Kleiner Perkins. But he did give up some specific metrics about how his very metrics-driven company runs, and he talked about the larger themes at stake. Read more »

Facebook gift card

Earlier this week, Facebook introduced changes intended to foster the growth of games on its platform that are less spammy and more engaging. Game developers are worried their games will be less viral, but the good thing is Facebook is finally incentivized to help games grow. Read more »

Radian6 dashboard

Twitter plans to roll out a free real-time analytics dashboard in the fourth quarter, said Ross Hoffman of the company’s business development team at a conference yesterday. If true, the announcement has implications both for Twitter’s business model and for startups currently offering analytics. Read more »

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