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Mobile video chat was all the rage last year. But the new battleground is now becoming group video chat. Oovoo kicked off the competition late last year and now Fring is keeping pace with a group video calls, a new feature now launching in limited beta. Read more »

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In what could be a larger push by the federal government to stem the sharing of personal online information, a federal grand jury has served internet radio provider Pandora with a subpoena looking into the practices of information sharing on mobile apps. Read more »

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Despite some bad examples of gamification, the concept of adding game mechanics to tasks has merit as I’ve said when done in a thoughtful way. And that takes offering real world rewards, said Irving Fain, CEO of New York start-up CrowdTwist. Read more »

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Skype users, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, are getting a new powerful desktop tool that brings a lot of Google Voice management features to Skype. MySkypeOffice offers a host of in-bound call management tools for businesses that rely on Skype as their phone system. Read more »

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Zong has been a major player in mobile payments, best known for allowing people to bill Facebook Credits purchases to their phone. But the provider sees a bigger audience in payments and is expanding support to Flash, Unity, the mobile web and to interactive TV platforms. Read more »

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Visa is getting into personal payments ring by offering the ability to receive and send funds directly to Visa credit, debit or prepaid card accounts in the U.S. The move pits Visa against leader PayPal and others and further validates the market for personal payments. Read more »

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Google’s ongoing effort to turn Google Docs into a formidable competitor with Microsoft Office continues with a new feature that allows users to hold discussions in real-time while working on shared documents. The new feature lets users of its productivity service discuss shared documents in real-time Read more »

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Twitter is downplaying suggestions that it’s on a crusade against developers. But a new analysis of Twitter traffic indicates why the company may be getting nervous. While Twitter officials downplay the company’s crusade against new third-party clients, fresh analysis suggests third-party apps account for more traffic. Read more »

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Web apps saved to the home screen of iOS devices run less than half as fast as the same apps launched from the Safari browser and don’t have offline caching access and other features, according to a new report. Did Apple design this deliberately? Read more »

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Facebook confirmed it’s working on a Groupon-inspired discount service that will help bring together merchants and its 600 million users. But for all its assets, Facebook doesn’t appear ready to compete fully against social shopping leaders Groupon and Living Social. Read more »

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Kayak is now handling hotel bookings itself, rather than just referring customers to partner sites like Expedia and Orbitz. The move marks a significant turn as Kayak shifts from simply aggregating travel deal information into being a destination where users can complete their purchase. Read more »

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When does this story get better? Clearwire, the early 4G WiMAX pioneer announced its CEO Bill Morrow is stepping down for personal reasons, part of a larger executive shake-up. This follows not long after the December departure of company founder and chairman Craig McCaw. Read more »

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Google is making it easier for users to block unwanted sites in their search results, ratcheting up the pressure on low quality content sites. The search giant is allowing users to hide or block sites from future search results right from within Google search. Read more »

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SCVNGR is applying game mechanics and a new business model to daily deals in an attempt to strengthen the relationship between merchants and their customers. With LevelUp, merchants offer a series of three deals to consumers, who unlock each one as they try out a business. Read more »

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Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey responded to VeriFone’s much publicized and questionable attack on its security with an understated letter that defends his mobile payment system’s protections, saying VeriFone’s claims are neither fair or accurate and don’t reflect existing protections in Square and credit cards. Read more »

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Opera Software isn’t sweating the recent ban of its browser in the GetJar app store, because the effort is just one part of a larger plan by Opera to become a major distribution point for native and web apps around the world. Read more »

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Q&A site Stack Overflow has been on a tear, as we recently reported in a profile of the company. The site supports 45 vertical categories for questions, relaunched a career site and now has $12 million in new funding and a new name to boast about. Read more »

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Foursquare is taking a big leap ahead in its story with version 3.0 as it matures into a much more complete and polished location-based service capable of tackling its original vision of making cities easier to use for people. Read more »

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Sprint and T-Mobile are reportedly talking up a possible deal. But if the story wasn’t T-Mobile in talks with Sprint, it would involve one or the other in talks with LightSquared, the startup network backed by Harbinger Capital Partners, Clearwire or even MetroPCS. Here’s why. Read more »

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As an IPO looms, Skype is looking for new revenue streams that will help continue its growth and improve its financial prospects. And today it unveiled the next big revenue generator: ads on its Skype Windows desktop client, which should lessen its reliance on SkypeOut. Read more »

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The mobile messaging space, already hot with a number of start-ups on a roll and last week’s purchase of Beluga by Facebook, got a little hotter today with news that Kik has raised $8 million from Union Square Ventures, RRE Ventures and Spark Capital. Read more »

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Microsoft, like its rival Google, sees dollars in daily deals. The company today announced Bing Deals, which integrates daily discount information from The Dealmap into its Bing mobile and desktop sites. The idea puts Microsoft into the same game as Groupon and Living Social. Read more »

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Thrutu is introducing a new free Android application that allows users to easily share their location, contacts and pictures during a phone conversation. The company hopes to replicate the interaction people experience when talking face to face by enabling better multitasking within calls. Read more »

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