Also: Samsung's new Silicon Valley trendsetter; Khosla partners with Condoleeza Rice.
Google Maps app for iPhone goes in the right direction -- Review [THE NEW YORK TIMES]
You can sense the new app's polish and intelligence the minute you enter your first address; it's infinitely more understanding. When I type "200 W 79, NYC," Google Maps drops a pin right where it belongs: on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Apple's Maps app, on the other hand, acts positively drunk. It asks me to clarify: "Did you mean 200 Durham Road, Madison, CT? Or 200 Madison Road, Durham, CT?"
The man looking to turn Samsung into a Silicon Valley trendsetter [MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW]
Leading this effort is Young Sohn, who started at Samsung in August as president and chief strategy officer. He has spent a long career leading several successful Silicon Valley semiconductor and storage companies after founding Intel's PC chipset business and running its joint venture with Samsung in the 1980s. MIT Technology Review business editor Jessica Leber sat down with Sohn in his office in Menlo Park, California, to talk about his new mandate.
And the social networks seem to be using their pipelines on an increasingly exclusive basis. Facebook, for example, altered its photo app Instagram this week such that it no longer publishes photos to Twitter in the same rich, native fashion in which it publishes to Facebook. Instead, Instagram now sends Twitter users links which pull them back to Instagram/Facebook to actually view pictures.
The consultancy, RiceHadleyGates LLP, headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice includes former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former White House national security advisor Stephen Hadley, and it will provide advisory services for venture capital firm Khosla Ventures.
The wooing of Levchin is not new. As I wrote in February, he had been pegged for a board seat by then-activist shareholder Dan Loeb — who is now on the board after winning his fight with Yahoo and ousted former CEO Scott Thompson. But Levchin, as well as SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, did not want to be part of a dissident slate against Yahoo co-founder and then board member Jerry Yang.
Amazon is clearly serious about extending its platform reach, at least in terms of hardware partners and platforms. These apps will serve to add considerably to its potential mobile and at-home audience, reaching the iPhone and iPod touch's combined worldwide user base which is likely well north of 50 million people at this point, taking into account sales to date and the likelihood that some, or even many of those users may have since moved on to different devices. Samsung Smart TVs and Roku also likely represent a significant combined audience, though I haven't seen updated sales figures from Roku since mentioning 2.5 million devices sold at the end of 2011. Samsung announced 1.15 million HDTV sales in October alone, but it didn't provide a breakdown of how many of those were "smart."
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