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If Facebook VP of technical operations Jonathan Heiliger were a superhero, his name would be “Scaler-man.” Today Facebook has some 500 million users, twice as many as last July. But even so, Heiliger says the company should have planned better for the challenges it faces now. Read more »

IBM isn’t looking very far to find opportunities in cloud computing. In its first year offering cloud services, the company has been helping existing businesses in health care and other industries move towards service models for their infrastructure and products. Read more »

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When Zynga launched FarmVille, it hoped for 200,000 daily active users in the first two months. For each of the first 26 weeks FarmVille added 1 million new users. The story of Mark William’s last two years has been trying to support such unpredictable growth. Read more »

Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes tremendous pride in his public performances, and it pays off. His product presentations are usually seamless and even hypnotic. But today at WWDC, one glitch almost took Jobs down: too many Wi-Fi networks due to attendees packing their own. Read more »

Though mobile advertising is growing fast, it’s not yet keeping up with the growth of mobile usage. $3.8 billion will be spent on the U.S. mobile web in 2010, up from $2.6 billion in 2009, but a whole lot less than $25 billion in online advertising. Read more »

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t stand up well against the beaming lights and the piercing questions at the D Conference last night. We’re not going to give him a free pass on that, but we do think he provided some good direction on Facebook and mobile. Read more »

Google has acquired Invite Media, a young startup that helps display advertisers optimize how they spend their money across different exchanges and platforms in real-time. Invite Media in a way completes Google’s advertising suite, but it also poses questions about lock-in given existing DoubleClick products. Read more »

Pandora, the music streaming provider and Silicon Valley darling, has raised additional late-stage funding of an undisclosed amount. Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy said in an emailed statement the funding would be used “to invest in resources we need to continue to execute on our strategy.” Read more »

Zong and Boku, the mobile payments competitors, have found a new place to go head-to-head: the Android platform. Both companies are today announcing trials of support for in-app transactions on the iPhone, billed to users’ mobile carriers securely. Read more »

Beyond just connecting us through voice and text, our mobile phone numbers are quickly becoming our identities and our wallets. Now they can also receive physical gifts! Well kind of — Giiv, a newly funded year-old startup, allows users to send each other virtual gift cards. Read more »

PeerPong, a new Q&A site with an adorable name, is launching a public beta today. The company’s premise is to bring users’ questions to qualified experts on any given topic given their talking about it publicly online — right now, on Twitter. Read more »

Things are finally coming together for Fluidinfo founder Terry Jones, who just closed an $800,000 round of funding led by Betaworks and launched his product, the FluidDB “platform for the web of things,” at TechCrunch Disrupt, after 13 years and three complete rewrites in the making. Read more »

Digg founder Kevin Rose is pushing forward his first major launch since taking over as CEO and instituting layoffs. Digg version 4, due “very soon,” looks to be a personalized news page that’s a combination of Google Reader, the Facebook news feed and Twitter. Read more »

Opera, the little browser that could, has a cheeky response to Google’s Chrome speed tests. In contrast to Google’s MythBusters-as-art aesthetic, Opera goes a little more Royal Tenenbaums-in-Norway. The result of Opera’s own speed test? The browser is also “much faster than a potato.” Read more »

5to1, a company founded by former Fox Interactive executives including Ross Levinsohn, is out raising funding again. The San Francisco-based startup helps publishers find better ads for their sites, and has raised the first $68,000 of what looks to be a $3.45 million convertible note. Read more »

There was a push and pull throughout the TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week about the role investors play in Internet startups. Sometimes, it’s worth it to find an investor who’s willing to invest at a big valuation and leave a company alone. Read more »

Mobile payments are an incredibly promising phenomenon, so much so that the top venture capital firms are lining up against each other for a fight. Now, the teams are basically complete, with newcomer VC firm Andreessen Horowitz taking its spot next to San Francisco-based Boku. Read more »

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today combatted the assumption that Facebook is incentivized to make user data more public because it serves the company’s advertising business. “There’s a big misperception that we’re making these changes for advertising,” he said. “Anyone who knows me knows that that’s crazy.” Read more »

Facebook today announced a revamp of its user privacy controls, after nights-and-weekend work by its top engineers and designers to respond to widespread public criticism. Mark Zuckerberg called the release a “modern privacy system” that reflects what the site has become and incorporates feedback from users. Read more »

The idea of the “lean startup,” where young companies make use of readily available tools and quick iteration to figure out their business without spending much money, might be trendy, but VC Ben Horowitz is not a fan. Today he debated lean startup proponent Fred Wilson. Read more »

Facebook will launch “drastically simplified” privacy controls tomorrow, Facebook VP product Chris Cox said today at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City. Cox said the Facebook team has had a “humbling couple of weeks” amidst outcry over confusing and invasive privacy controls. Read more »

MySpace is planning a major relaunch this fall, co-presidents Jason Hirschorn and Mike Jones said today. They said it will include a redesign to emphasize discovery and will be backed up with a marketing campaign to “help solidify this is what we’re going to be.” Read more »

Twitter today announced it would no longer allow third-party ads to be injected into users’ Twitter timelines. The ban is particularly interesting given it’s almost exactly what the company’s own recently announced advertising platform, Promoted Tweets, does — insert paid and relevant tweets into timelines. Read more »

Google is free to complete its purchase of AdMob after the Federal Trade Commission decided unanimously that the deal is unlikely to harm competition in the mobile advertising market. Ultimately, it was Apple’s plans to launch its own competitor that paved the way. Read more »

Facebook and Zynga, the social network and its most popular game developer, have settled some of their differences and agreed to work together for the next five years. The two companies realized they need each other, even if their objectives are not always aligned. Read more »

SimpleGeo, the impeccably timed geo-location infrastructure startup, has raised a $8.14 million Series A. And at only a year old, it’s remarkable how quickly SimpleGeo has been able to capitalize on the excitement around geo-location technology and be recognized as a thought leader in the space. Read more »

Hotmail, the leading web email provider, has coasted along for years with barely a feature update. But Microsoft is planning a major release for later this summer. The modernized Hotmail will include new features include better email filtering, rich media viewing, and document editing. Read more »

In an odd role reversal, MySpace is now declaring itself a bastion of social networking privacy, at least in comparison to Facebook. The company will default many users’ settings to “friends only” and is pre-announcing new simplified privacy options that are probably too simplistic. Read more »

Booyah, which makes the location-based mobile gaming app MyTown, has raised $20 million in a round led by Accel Partners and including Kleiner Perkins and DAG Ventures. The company also added Accel’s Jim Breyer, well-known for being a Facebook board member, to its own board. Read more »

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