Real-time marketing takes hold

Spurred by some spectacular successes, and some equally spectacular failures, real-time marketing is expanding beyond its roots as brand content synced to events and spread via social media.

Gigaom Research launches coverage for tech buyers

Gigaom Research is launching a research channel for tech decision makers. Whether they work in functional or line of business management, or in IT departments, tech buyers need to understand the impact of cloud, big data, mobile, and social business technologies on their business.

Tripl turns your friends’ travels into visual stories

Social travel startup Tripl, part of the latest DreamIt Ventures NY accelerator class, has built a personalized filtering service that ingests your friends’ Facebook and Foursquare feeds and organizes their travel data into stories on a timeline, so you can see where your friends are visiting.

Facebook giveth, Facebook taketh: A curious case of video apps

More than nine million apps and services use Facebook Connect, the Open Graph developer platform, which gives company powers to predict the future. It can turn on the traffic spigot for some apps such as Socialcam. But it can turn off the spigot, equally fast.

Adventures in big data: How AddThis’ Hydra works

With 10 terabytes of data generated everyday, AddThis (formerly called Clearspring) has access to a social graph that rivals Facebook. But unlike the social networking giant, AddThis wants to share its data. So I asked them how they can handle real-time processing on that many terabytes.

SocialFlow builds an attention buying platform

Brands and publishers face quite a challenge in capturing the attention of distracted consumers because it’s hard to pinpoint where to target a marketing message when people are constantly moving across different forms of media. But for New York-based SocialFlow, there’s opportunity in the chaos.

Wrapp’s social gift cards are coming to the U.S.

After launching in Sweden in November and recently expanding its presence in Europe, Wrapp, the Swedish social gifting start-up, is now coming to the U.S. to tap America’s love of gift cards. The start-up is partnering with a number of brands including Gap, H&M and Sephora.

Social travel sites start to rethink their tactics

Twigmore, a social travel service built on Facebook, is pivoting into more of a global friend-finding service as it builds off the success of a standalone hit feature. It’s the latest example of services finding that a focus on social travel may not be enough to survive.

Socialcam adds themes, soundtracks to its video-sharing app

The problem the Socialcam team has been trying to solve is, “How do you make the videos you shoot with your iPhone appealing enough to want to share with others?” Its answer? In the latest update, allowing users to add themes and soundtracks to their videos.

Twitter & Facebook share a problem: Proving social ads work

Twitter and Facebook are both trying hard to show that they are powerful advertising vehicles, in part to justify their multibillion-dollar market valuations. But while each company has shown some growth, there is still skepticism among advertisers about the ultimate value of social advertising.

Grammy Awards partner with CBS for digital experience

In these heady two-or-three-screen days, the Grammy Awards are a classic case study for how an overdose of social media engagement can pay off Nielsen-wise. And this year, the tradition continues — as does the tradition of struggling to get live performances online after the show.

Who loses in the war between Google and Twitter? Users

Google and Twitter are sniping at each other over social search, but the reality is that both sides are being disingenuous. The real issue is about control over social content, and users of both services are the ones who wind up losing in the end.

Sharing private videos? Give Givit a chance

Get ready for yet another video-sharing app. But this one has a twist: unlike like Socialcam or others, Givit, which is available on the web and now on the iPhone, is designed to limit the number of viewers who can watch the videos you upload.

Jun Group raises $2.5m to insert video ads into social games

Social video ad firm Jun Group has raised a small bit of funding, a full six years after being founded. The New York City-based company, which specializes in serving video ads into social environments like casual games, has raised $2.5 million from Western Technology Investment.

Mixel invites iPad users to create social collages

Mixel, a new iPad app, invites people to make really simple photo collages that can be shared easily among friends and remixed into new creations that form a sort of visual conversation. The free app tries to make art fun and casual.

Yahoo’s IntoNow iPad app: Video discovery on steroids

Yahoo released its IntoNow iPad app yesterday, adding a larger form factor and more social features to the TV chec-kin service. I go hands-on to see what all the fuss is about, and find a neat interface for finding new shows based on what others watch.

Recruit your friends as curators with Smartr for iPad

Smartrhas a considerable challenge ahead of it: It’s late to the iPad and entering an already crowded market of personalized news aggregation apps like Flipboard, Pulse and the CNN-backed Zite. But some serious dedication to social interaction could help it stand out.

Shocker! Social content discovery might not work

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have helped to raise awareness of content online, and made it easier for videos to go viral and be seen by the masses. But betting only on social might not be the best strategy for apps focused on video discovery.

The secret behind Facebook’s obsession with fan pages

Facebook is offering companies more information on the way fan pages are used — and new data shows that it’s for one simple reason: it’s by far the most effective way for brands to reach customers, which makes it an easy way for Facebook to cash in.

Play that hashtag: Eye-C crowdsources media curation

A new iOS and Android app called Eye-C turns hashtags into collaborative media playlists, allowing you to play a continuous stream of videos from the #occupywallst movement or check out the artists your friends are listening to. All media can be beamed straight to your TV.

Facebook adds Smart Lists to categorize friends

Facebook made some pretty huge privacy changes last month. This month the social network is revealing more tools that help users automatically categorize friends, control who views content they post and allow users to decide whose status updates and photos they see the most and least.

Google Fights Off Brain Drain With PostRank Buy

Google’s acquisition of social analytics technology startup PostRank indicates the company is also looking beyond its own walls to get its social efforts off the ground. Scouting for fresh talent externally is a smart move for Google, an aging player in an increasingly cutthroat industry. Curates Videos From Twitter Celebs

Want to know what kind of YouTube videos Paris Hilton is tweeting about, but don’t care about the other four tweets she’s sending out per hour? Then you might be interested in, which uses the Twitter accounts of celebrities to curate your social video feed.

Sure, I Could Join a Google-Based Social Network — But Why?

Google’s launch of its new +1 feature is an attempt to add social signals to search, but it’s also an attempt to jump-start the company’s social-networking efforts, and that seems to have less likelihood of success. Why? Because people don’t go to Google to be social.

Be Afraid, Google. Facebook Will Do Search.

A screenshot that has been circulating of a Facebook page with a web-search box appears to be fake, but the giant social network is almost certain to add more search-related features that take advantage of the social information it has. And yes, Google should be afraid.

Bye-Bye 15 Minutes of Fame: Tout Gives You 11 Seconds

With a website and a mobile app, Tout aims to connect people through user video streams and by hooking into Twitter and Facebook. There’s just one catch: these shareable moments on video can be no more than 11 seconds. It may not be enough time.

IntoNow: A Social TV App That Knows What You’re Watching

A new social TV app is launching, hoping to make it easier for users to share what they’re watching with friends. The trick is that IntoNow, which is launching today, is doing so with some state-of-the-art audio recognition technology and a deep index of TV shows.

Social Media 2011: Privacy Puzzles, Search Will Stick Around

No set of fearless year-end predictions would be complete without also examining the expectations for what won’t happen in the coming year, despite the hype certain trends might generate. In the world of social media there are a few milestones we’re not betting on for 2011.

Say Cheese: Social Photo Sharing App Throwdown

You want to badly share that photo of your cat wearing its pumpkin costume. It’s understandable. You’ve got an iPhone and Internet access, but which app best suits your needs? There’s recently been a mini-boom in social photo applications, so we’re breaking down the top contenders.

Meet The New New Facebook

When it comes to Facebook, you can count on one thing –- CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg is not afraid to move hundreds of millions of people in a new direction. That’s one reason why the Palo Alto-based social web company has been able to constantly reinvent itself.

Social Media and Privacy: Get Serious or Get Regulated

Privacy isn’t just Facebook’s problem. The whole consumer Internet and media industry had better devise a plan for facing the privacy issues fast, or get ready to face serious consumer backlash and, perhaps worse, government regulation. Here are a few steps social media companies can take.

Social Toolbar Maker Wibiya Opens Up Its Platform

As website owners try to boost the amount of time their users spend online, the all-in-one site toolbar is becoming more popular. Wibiya, which makes a toolbar that allows users to chat and share links on Facebook and Twitter, is launching a developers platform and API.

Forget YouTubeSocial — How About HuluSocial?

A startup being incubated out of I/O Ventures called SocialVision made waves last week with the introduction of an application called YouTubeSocial, which enables users to create social “viewing parties” around a certain video or videos. But YouTubeSocial is only part of the startup’s story.

Social Media Advertising: Who Measures, Who Wins

Some recent stories about social networking companies and third-party data suppliers highlight a key challenge currently facing social media: advertising measurement. Companies that best address this challenge by pairing the new medium with more traditional media buying will be the ones to get the advertising revenue.

Memo to Eric Schmidt: Being Social is Not a Widget

Google CEO Eric Schmidt made some comments last week about the company’s plans to get more social, and they showed how little the web giant understands what it is up against. Schmidt said the company intends to “add a social component” to its existing products.

Facebook Ramping Up the Social in Its Search Engine

Facebook has started integrating social activity from the network into its search results, by showing how many people “liked” or shared a page. This is the first step in rolling out the network’s social-search engine, which could become a competitive threat for Google and other companies.

Unlocking Social Media Ad Spending

Increased market growth means that more advertisers are shifting more and more attention towards social networks as an advertising platform, but how can social media companies best gain ad dollars and increase market growth? Three areas need some attention: scale, distribution and targeting, and format.

Twitter Goes Mobile on the Weekend

SocialFlow, a New York-based social media marketing startup backed by Betaworks, recently studied clicks on the links shared by one of its client’s Twitter accounts for two months to see trends in the way people use Twitter and the content they find on it.

Google's Social Czar Is Vic Gundotra

Vic Gundotra, who as Google VP of engineering was been responsible for areas of the company’s mobile and developer relations, has been charged with leading the company’s efforts on social, TechCrunch reports this morning and I’ve heard as well independently.

Is Facebook's Social Search Engine a Google Killer?

Facebook’s search results will now include all web pages that have been “liked” by users who clicked on buttons powered by the social network’s Open Graph protocol, in what is clearly the first step towards building a social search engine. But can “likes” rival Google’s PageRank?

Google Seeks to Hire "Head of Social"

Google says it’s willing to accept its shortcomings on social and bring in a “Head of Social” to set the right course. The company has hired an executive recruiter to fill the position, and is currently in the process of casting its net widely.

Giveo Offers White-label Social Giving

One of the more interesting and fulfilling trends that’s picking up steam is using social technology for social good. On Tuesday Giveo is launching a platform for corporations and foundations to accept donations from and engage with online donors, especially younger ones.

PeerPong Raises $2.8M for an Aardvark for Twitter

PeerPong has reportedly raised $2.8 million for social search. The service which isn’t open to the public yet, describes itself as “an easy way to connect with the right Twitter users to get direct answers fast.”

Google's Approach to Social for 2010

Though Google’s social strategy has been catch-up at best to date, the company does have a master plan — at least according to engineering director David Glazer. He said across a variety of products, Google wants to make it valuable and easy to harness social information.

Aardvark to Answer More Questions With

Aardvark today expanded its answer service beyond its iPhone and instant messenger application offerings with the launch of, a social search…

Facebook Goes on the Record About Ad Claims

Facebook has been in the hot seat this past week over claims that the social network has been letting third-party advertisers post…

White Labeler OneSite Acquires Social Platform

Oklahoma City-based OneSite, a provider of white label social networking services, has acquired Social Platform, an LA-based provider of sim…

Why Is Google Afraid of Facebook?

Google (GOOG) announced its OpenSocial strategy last week, starting with some of the smaller (albeit fast-growing) social networks, and quickly ensnaring MySpace…