Twitter’s worldwide growth is on the up swing. According to worldwide comScore figures released this week, Twitter attracted 73.5 million unique individuals in January, up 8 percent from December, 2009 (when it had 65.2 million visitors). Twitter has an annual growth rate of a staggering 1,105 percent. A year ago, Twitter.com attracted only an estimated 6 million visitors.
Parents and privacy watchdogs are all a buzz about Google’s Buzz, the Internet giants new social networking tool. Buzz has come under attack for its lack of privacy control, which the Google has attempted to fix. However, parents are saying Buzz puts children in harms way and reveals entirely too much information about them online. In an article from today’s LA Times, it seems parents have reason to be in an uproar.
The concern came home in a personal way for technology analyst Charlene Li. On Sunday night she discovered that her 9-year-old daughter had publicly shared a private conversation on Buzz without intending to. Li grew even more troubled when she spotted her daughter’s fourth-grade classmates chatting with strangers.
She turned off Buzz and alerted other parents and her child’s school, which in turn alerted other parents. Then Li, an analyst who tracks Google as well as other Internet companies, took to the Web to spread the word.
Google had already drawn sharp criticism from privacy watchdogs for the way it rolled out Buzz in millions of Gmail accounts. Privacy expert Kathryn Montgomery, a professor at American University, urged the Federal Trade Commission to address the potential risks to kids.
“Google Buzz is a new danger zone for children,” Montgomery said.
Google said it had no specific plans to tweak Buzz in response to parents’ privacy concerns. In a statement, spokesman Scott Rubin said: “We designed Buzz to make it easy to have conversations with your friends about the things that interest you. Keeping kids safe online is very important to us.”
Wal-Mart is making big moves. Yesterday the retail giant announced that it has agreed to purchase the start-up online movie service Vudu. The struggling three-year old company’s services are already being built into televisions and Blu-ray players. Now the question is… is your HD-TV ready to connect to the Internet? Here’s the full press release
Walmart Announces Acquisition of Digital Entertainment Provider, VUDU
Company takes next step to enhance home entertainment and information delivery options for consumers
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 22, 2010 — Walmart announced today a definitive agreement to acquire VUDU, Inc., a leading provider of digital technologies and services that enable the delivery of entertainment content directly to broadband high-definition TVs and Blu-ray players. The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks.
VUDU is a revolutionary service, built into a growing number of broadband-ready TVs and Blu-ray players, that delivers instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows directly through the television. Customers with broadband Internet access and an Internet-ready TV or Blu-ray player can rent or purchase movies, typically in high-definition, without needing a connected computer or cable/satellite service. New movies and features will be added continually, enabling customers to enjoy a product that continues to become more robust long after they have left the store.
“The real winner here is the customer,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman for Walmart. “Combining VUDU’s unique digital technology and service with Walmart’s retail expertise and scale will provide customers with unprecedented access to home entertainment options as they migrate to a digital environment.”
VUDU has licensing agreements with almost every major movie studio and dozens of independent and international distributors to offer approximately 16,000 movies, including the largest 1080p library of video on-demand movies available anywhere. Via their broadband Internet connection, users have the ability to rent or buy titles and begin viewing them instantly.
VUDU will continue developing entertainment and information delivery solutions such as VUDU Apps, a platform that delivers hundreds of streaming Internet applications and services to TVs and Blu-ray players with built-in Internet connectivity. VUDU has partnered with some of the leading names in Internet and media entertainment to offer applications on its platform including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, The New York Times and The Associated Press.
“We are excited about the opportunity to take our company’s vision to the next level,” said Edward Lichty, VUDU executive vice president. “VUDU’s services and Apps platform will give Walmart a powerful new vehicle to offer customers the content they want in a way that expands the frontier of quality, value and convenience.”
VUDU, based in Santa Clara, Calif., will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart. The company is not disclosing financial terms of the agreement as the acquisition is not material to its first quarter earnings for fiscal year 2011.