Daily Archives: July 6, 2011

Facebook Releases Group Chat

In a press conference at Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network is releasing Group Chat to its 750 million members.

The multi-person chat feature was inspired by the chat functionality inside Facebook Groups and will be incorporated in the new design of Facebook Chat. Group Chat will be rolled out to users beginning Wednesday.

“Now when your friends can’t figure out what movie to see, you can just add them to a chat and decide together,” Facebook video chat engineer Phillip Su says of the new feature. “To include more friends in your conversation, simply select Add Friends to Chat.”

More than 50% of users on Facebook are active in Facebook Groups, and Groups have an average of seven people, the company revealed Wednesday. The idea, then, is to make Group Chat more ad-hoc and accessible to all Facebook users.

In addition to Group Chat, Facebook is also releasing its highly-anticipated Skype-powered video chat feature Wednesday.

52 minutes ago by 

Monster.com is Starting an Employment Network on Facebook.

Monster is adapting its job search functionality to social networking with BeKnown, an app that lets users set up a professional network on Facebook.

BeKnown, set to go live on Monday, will let Monster users import their data to Facebook and set up professional networks there as well. Matthew Mund, global vice president of product for Monster, reasons that since Facebook has around 700 million members, most people are on it already. “This is the path of least resistance,” Mund says. “You can manage your professional identity and your social identity in one place.” BeKnown will also be targeted at recruiters. Mund says Monster gets about 38 million unique visitors a month.

In starting a network from scratch, though, Monster faces a formidable challenge. Most notably, there’s LinkedIn, which has more than 100 million members and has established itself as the premier professional social network. Monster is also not the first to consider using Facebook as a backdrop for a new professional network — BranchOut, which has more than 800,000 users — is trying to do the same thing.

Monster has added a few bells and whistles to BeKnown that it hopes will diferentiate the offering. For instance, users get Foursquare-like badges when they complete certain professional goals, such as graduating from college. Users can also follow companies and get endorsements a la LinkedIn, features not yet available on BranchOut.

The offering comes as the recession has hit Monster’s bottom line. Monster’s net sales have dropped 11% (annualized since 2008) and its stock price has declined 8.9%. However, the company posted a 23% jump in revenues in its first quarter, which ended March 31.

Twitter Said to Be Valued at $7 Billion

Twitter Inc., the microblogging site that lets users post 140-character messages, is raising funding that values the startup at about $7 billion, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

The San Francisco-based company is in talks with investors to receive hundreds of millions of dollars, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private.

Twitter’s worth has almost doubled since December, when it received a $200 million investment led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers that valued the company at $3.7 billion. The startup was pegged at about $1 billion in 2009, a person familiar with the matter said at the time. SharesPost Inc., an exchange for shares of closely held companies, has assessed Twitter’s current worth at $6.8 billion.

Twitter is continuing to raise funds from private investors, rather joining other social-media companies in filing for an initial public offering. LinkedIn Corp., a professional- networking site, went public in May. Since then, Groupon Inc., the biggest daily-deal site, and Zynga Inc., the top developer of Facebook games, have both filed for IPOs.

Matt Graves, a spokesman for Twitter, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In June, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced that he’s stepping away from day-to-day duties at the company to join Evan Williams, another co-founder, in a new venture. The shift puts more focus onDick Costolo, who became chief executive officer last October, and Jack Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder and former CEO who returned to an active role at the company this year.

Advertising Revenue

Advertising sales on Twitter may more than triple to about $150 million this year, according to EMarketer Inc., a New York- based research firm. Still, that’s dwarfed by the growth of Facebook Inc, which brought in ad revenue of $1.86 billion last year, EMarketer estimates.

Twitter aims to get 1 billion users, Williams said in October. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberghad previously said that signing up a billion members is “almost a guarantee.”

Twitter revamped its site in September with the aim of being faster, easier to use, and better able to better handle photos and videos. The service now features a second column that lets users quickly look at messages without leaving a page.

Twitter’s new valuation was previously reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Bloomberg http://t.co/em5zl2B via @BloombergNews

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