Virtual Drinks on Facebook Become Real With Bartab

Tired of sending virtual sheep to Facebook friends? Webtab is turning virtual drinks into real ones with its Bartab service. One dollar Bartab credits become redeemable drink tickets sent through Facebook. The bar gains free social advertising, plus Bartab users tend to stay for more drinks.

Location Is the New Shopping Assistant

Point Inside today announced a Find-It application specific to the Meijer retail chain. The software, for both Android and iOS handsets, uses Point Inside’s mapping solution to provide shoppers the instant location of any of the more than 100,000 items sold by Meijer.

New Smartphones Arriving Faster, But With More Bugs

The smartphone market is moving so quickly that consumers are finding improved devices just a few months after they bought the “latest and greatest” handset. But a disturbing trend is growing as device makers keep cranking out new devices: more smartphones are shipping with major bugs.

Join Us Tomorrow: Disintermediation in Publishing

We’ll be talking about this week’s news and other big changes at our GigaOM Pro bunker event, “Author to Audience: Disintermediation in Publishing.” The room is at capacity, but we’re livestreaming the event and will also have the video archives available to GigaOM Pro subscribers.

Connected Workers Going iPad for Productivity

The mobile workforce carries more devices, stays connected longer and expects to be productive on tablet devices, according to the latest iPass study. Given a choice, workers would carry a smartphone over a laptop, but a growing number plan to purchase an iPad for enterprise work.

VSS Gets $20M to Keep an Eye on Corporate Networks

VSS Monitoring, a network traffic monitoring company, has taken $20 million in funding from Battery Ventures. The funding was the first for the company which was founded in 2003 and the funding will be used for R&D and company expansion. Its investors call it a unicorn.

Inkling Says the iPad is the Textbook of the Future

Inkling, a startup that launched last week and also closed a Series A round of funding, says that the iPad is the future of the textbook. The company’s software turns the iPad into an interactive textbook with video and even 3-D images that can be rotated.

Mobile VoIP Comes to BlackBerry Devices

TringMe, a VoIP startup, has introduced a new VoIP application for BlackBerry OS (works with BlackBerry OS versions 4.2 to 5.0) that can make calls over Wi-Fi. It allows for single-click, worldwide conference calling and when there is no Wi-Fi, it uses the cellular network.

Visa Testing NFC Memory Cards for Wireless Payments

Visa and Bank of America are reportedly partnering for a trial program that will allow customers to pay for purchases using only a smartphone. Although the wireless payment battle is far from over, Visa’s solution has an advantage because consumers can use their existing handsets.

Webinar – The Video Communication Explosion: Join Us!

Over the past two years, a number of key developments have transformed the video communications market from ho-hum to white hot. As a result, we are presenting our first 2010 webinar, The Video Communication Explosion, to discuss the growing interest in video communications.

BlackBerry Torch: An Evolution, Not a Revolution

Amid declining market share losses, Research In Motion has both a new operating system, BlackBerry OS 6, and a debut device for AT&T’s network in the BlackBerry Torch 9800. Will the updated hardware and software grow RIM’s user base or simply keep current BlackBerry users happy?

Startup Makes Probability-Based Chips for Big Data Apps

Lyric Semiconductor, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup that was spun out of MIT in 2006, today announced a revolutionary new approach to processing data called probability processing. It wants to make chips that are fit for a world awash with information and grappling with data deluge.

Meet The All-New Structure Blog

The big web infrastructure makeover which includes the rise of cloud computing has been an area of much focus for us. Now accompanying our industry-leading Structure conference, we are launching the Structure Blog to closely track what Nick Carr calls The Big Shift.

Apple Could Finally Bring NFC to the Masses

If you polled people about NFC, most would confuse wireless payment technology with the NFL’s National Football Conference. But Apple’s hiring of NFC expert Benjamin Vigier combined with its NFC patent library make for a Joe Montana – Jerry Rice tandem that could score NFC adoption.

GetJar Enables Mobile App Recommendations to Get Social

GetJar today announced that mobile downloads of Photobucket have increased 2,500 percent with the new GetJar App It! service, which creates a single application web link for use on all mobile platforms. GetJar envisions the unique AppIt! link used for social networking and viral marketing.

Oracle’s Java Lawsuit: Free Markets, Not Free Software

Oracle’s lawsuit against Google over alleged IP violations in Android isn’t a threat to open source, but is a wake-up call that capitalism is alive and well in the open-source community, and its participants had better be ready to play hard.

Should Marc Andreessen Become HP’s Interim CEO?

Should Hewlett-Packard’s board consider entrepreneur-turned-venture-capitalist Marc Andreessen as a candidate for interim HP chief executive in order to burnish company’s reputation and bring back the culture of innovation? Given his deep links and interest in tomorrow’s technologies, it is not such a preposterous idea.

Android This Week: TweetDeck, Dell Streak, Voice Actions

An early beta version of TweetDeck was released for Android that adds a special feature not found on other platforms. The Dell Streak was launched on the AT&T network in the U.S. Google introduced Voice Actions and ChromeToPhone to make Android phones greater tools for users.

Government Control Over RIM Chips Away at Web Freedoms

Following the precedent RIM set by last week allowing the Saudi Arabian government to monitor communications, India is requesting RIM provide access to encrypted mail both for personal and corporate accounts — a dangerous precedent that goes against the very spirit of the Internet itself.

Oracle vs Google — What the Web Is Saying

The dust isn’t going to settle soon on Oracle’s complaint claiming that Google has infringed upon seven patents through code used in Android. Around the web are some excellent back-stories on how we got here and what might happen as a result of Oracle’s complaint.

Shocker: U.S. Android Sales Surpass BlackBerry

Google’s mobile handset platform continues to gain market share around the world, with 17.2 percent of all smartphones sold in the second quarter running the Android operating system. And now the BlackBerry platform is the no. 2 smartphone OS in the U.S. behind Google Android.

Is Sprint’s Epic 4G With a Keyboard Worth an Extra $50?

Sprint today officially introduced the Epic 4G, an Android 2.1 smartphone with a slide-out keyboard and support for both Sprint’s 3G and WiMAX wireless service. Will customers be willing to spend $50 more than the Sprint EVO 4G for a physical keyboard and larger memory card? – So Much More Than CRM has moved beyond providing customer relationship management software as a service and wants to be simply the provider of enterprise software as a service, as a recent Facebook interaction illustrates. But as chases growth, it will take on the giants in enterprise computing.

Why Most Cloud Contracts Shouldn’t Be Negotiable

True or not, stories like Eli Lilly dumping Amazon Web Services will become more common as large enterprises think about moving more workloads to the cloud. What’s not so certain is whether cloud computing providers will budge.

For ARM, It’s Server Side Up

If there is one clear beneficiary of the rise of mobile devices – iPads, Androids and iPhones – it is British chip technology company, ARM Holdings. With its stock rising and profits soaring, the low-power chip company is now ready to take on Intel’s server chips.

How Big is Amazon’s Cloud Computing Business? Find Out

Despite all the disruption caused by Amazon’s web services business, most want to know how much money Amazon makes from its cloud computing efforts. Two Wall Street analysts have come up with estimates that show AWS’ possible money making potential for its parent, Amazon.

Cloud Providers are Sitting on a Statistical Gold Mine

When companies host software in the cloud, users benefit not just from the service alone, but from the data a web-based software provider can gather on all its customers. This lesson was driven home in mid July when FreshBooks detailed the size of its “FreshBooks economy.”

JoliCloud Finally Launches

JoliCloud, a Paris-based startup, has released its web-centric cloud client operating system. The company, while targeting new cloud clients, is hoping to use the OS to give old computers a new lease of life. JoliCloud will target the education vertical as well.

RightScale Shows Cloud Adoption Picking Up

RightScale, the cloud computing management vendor that automates the deployment and management of cloud platforms, today said in a blog post that it has tracked a 1,000 percent increase in its customer cloud infrastructure spend from June 2009 to June 2010.

Whatever the Numbers, Cloud Growth is Skyrocketing

A UBS research report sparked a lot of discussion this week with its estimates on Amazon Web Services revenue. Analyzing the numbers is fine, but it’s most telling to look at the growth curve when analyzing the promise of cloud computing.

When to Use Open Source in a Cloudy World

What is the role of open source in a cloud based world, and just how much validity does the open source model still have? Some argue that Platform as a Service (PaaS) removes one of the rationales for needing open source at all.

Sam’s Club Is Filling Warehouse Stores With Free Wi-Fi

Sam’s Club today announced it will launch free Wi-Fi access, provided by AT&T, in all U.S. locations by November. The company plans to offer the wireless service so customers can test integrated Internet services such as Pandora, Facebook and Vudu on televisions and other web-connected appliances.

Genachowski, Man Up! And Silicon Valley, Wake Up!

The FCC said it will halt the closed door net neutrality negotiations, after reports circulated that Google and Verizon have come to a compromise. Instead of a victory for openness this is most likely a loss for the FCC and those who favor an open Internet.

Facebook Gains an Android Facelift

Facebook for Android sees an update tonight, gaining some of the iPhone’s client look and feel, but also adds a draggable Notifications drawer, Events and a new photo reel showing pictures and videos from friends. Could Android’s growth be spurring updates for the Facebook client?

Live at RIM’s BlackBerry Event

I’m currently at Research In Motion’s joint press event with AT&T in New York City, where we expect to hear about the new BlackBerry OS 6, at least one new touchscreen sliding phone — the Torch — and perhaps more. Read our live coverage here.