While the above picture may look like an asteroid as seen in an enormous cosmic mirror, it's not -- it's much, much cooler than that. This is the one of the latest images from NASA's Cassini probe, which shows two of Saturns "shepherd moons" -- Pandora and Prometheus, and we swear we're not making that up -- seemingly staring at one another down across the planet's rings.
Internet radio, for all the complaints that it receives, is not a field that sees a great amount of participation. Due to the fees imposed by the RIAA, Internet radio has never really been a cost-effective business strategy for most. Webcasting has essentially been abandoned by the likes of Yahoo! and MSN, even though they built a large audience for their respective services. Pandora is probably the most well-known Internet radio company and is still struggling to turn a profit. Part of this is because they pay millions in royalties.
It may seem a little weird to call innovators "disruptive," but it's a term for a reason. As much as innovation is awesome for those who benefit from it, it puts some serious pressure and stress on the guys who were doing things quite well the old way. Innovation, when it takes off, very literally disrupts the entire market. Remember a few years ago when practically no one used tablets? Netbook-centric companies probably aren't too thrilled.
Focus has put together an infographic that rounds up some of the most innovative and disruptive tech companies of our day, picks out some products, and breaks down their numbers to give you a real feel for the sort of effects they've had. It also provides some hints of the kind of havoc they're likely to wreak on markets in the future. Some of the disruptive products are the kind you'd think of off the top of your head, like Netflix or the iPad, but there are a few more that I'd never really considered. And who knows what's just around the bend.
Infographic after the jump.
Remember Google Music? Well, then it seems like Magnifier has done one of its jobs. Magnifier, a new blog recently launched to work in tandem with the Google Music Beta, aims to bring tunes to your attention, tunes that you can then add to your Google Music collection, along with all the songs in there that you already own, uploaded and have presumably heard. The blog explains itself like this:
Well, when I was in junior high school, I had a friend whose older cousin lived in England, and that cousin would always send my friend great new records we usually knew nothing about, except that if the cousin liked them there was a very good chance we would, too...So, Magnifier is basically Music Beta's cousin who lives in England
So, basically Magnifier will recommend you music based on the opinion of its team (made up of people who you probably don't know) and allow you a free download. That's all well and good, but not quite anything worth doing the Sid Vicious pogo about.
Streaming Internet radio service and music recommendation Pandora has just gotten into the comedy business, having unveiled a bevy of new comedy stations today featuring the work of such comedians as Mitch Hedberg, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K., and George Carlin. As per Pandora's usual M.O., users can either search for comedy by a given comedian and create a station containing bits by that and similar comedians, or they can subscribe to one of Pandora's precreated comedy channels, such as "Today's Comedy," "80s and 90s Comedy," "PG Comedy," or "Urban Comedy." This is all free, of course. Full press release below:
An investigation of the Pandora mobile app by Veracode has revealed that the popular free music streaming app is sending reams of personal information to advertisers without the user's knowledge or consent. The Wall Street Journal, which initially investigated several free mobile apps and discovered similar information-broadcasting mechanisms, is also reporting that a federal investigation has been launched into the makers of these apps and that Pandora has been subpoenaed. Veracode has published their findings, indicating five different libraries of advertisers' code in the Pandora app from AdMarvel, AdMob, comScore, Google.Ads, and Medialets. Veracode confirmed that the app was, indeed, sending information including gender, unique phone identifiers, IP address, connection status, bearing, altitude, and geographic location, among other information.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, YouTube is in talks with the NBA and the NHL to broadcast live basketball and hockey games. Up until this point, league sports have been leery (and often contractually forbidden) to hand broadcast rights over to the Web, and sketchy, illegal streaming sites have happily stepped into the breach. But as the likes of Netflix and Pandora have proven that old media companies can make easy money handing rights over to the Web, could this be the year that live events and entertainment comes to the web, further eroding the need for people under the age of 30 to pay monthly TV bills? YouTube has reportedly been pushing harder for NBA and NHL rights following on its successful run broadcasting Indian cricket matches this past year. Bloomberg Businessweek:
Adding live sports broadcasts may help YouTube expand revenue by keeping viewers on its site longer to woo more advertisers. YouTube’s contract to show cricket from the Indian Premier League, which gives the Google unit a share of ad revenue from games and the league’s website, brought in 55 million visits from more than 250 countries, Anand said. “It’s fair to say that there will be a lot more appealing sports content you’ll see on YouTube,” Anand said. “We have ongoing conversations with pretty much everyone.” Mountain View, California-based Google is in negotiations with “most pro sports leagues” including the NBA and NHL, as well as soccer leagues in Europe, said Brian Suh, head of YouTube Partnership at Google’s Korean unit, in a separate telephone interview yesterday.The NBA, anyway, remains a long-term goal: It still has four more years to go before its exclusive deals with ABC, ESPN, and TNT wind down. Then again, at the pace online video has been progressing, it's hard to imagine that in 2016, we still won't get legal, real-time video of sporting events on the Web, possibly accessed through our smartphones via interactive augmented reality/Foursquare QR codes. In all seriousness, live online video is just going to get more and more pervasive in the coming few years, but don't expect the cable and broadcast beneficiaries of the current system to give up their position of advantage without a mighty fight. (Bloomberg Businessweek via RWW)