Archive for the ‘Startup News’ Category

Jawaker Launches Campaign Management Tool For Advertisers

| July 7, 2009 – 5:22 pm | comment 3 Comments

JawakerJawaker, the online multiplayer card games website that was previously reviewed here, and whose co-founder Mohamad Haj Hasan was interviewed here, has introduced a new feature called the Jawaker Campaigner.

Jawaker’s approach to serving ads on its cards games platform has been an interesting and different once from the beginning, with them choosing to move away from the traditional advertising options and coming up with what they call “Cost per Hand” (CPH for short).

The idea is that every CPH credit displays an ad (which consists of branding the back of all the cards on the table, branding the table cloth and a small text ad on the right side of the page with a target link) to the player for an entire round (or “hand”) of play.

Their ad server has been in place for some time now and they have been tweaking it and enhancing it so as to reach a point when they can open it up to potential advertisers to log in and create their own targeted advertising campaigns on Jawaker.
The result of these efforts is Jawaker Campaigner which does just that; enabling advertisers to create their campaigns and choose to target their ads based on: Country, Gender, Age and Time of Day.

Jawaker Campaigner

Advertisers can state the maximum number of hands to serve per day, write their ad text and target URL (in both Arabic and English) and upload their ad images. Jawaker will then approve the campaign and start serving the ads. The advertiser can freeze or delete the campaign whenever they want and can add as many campaigns as they like.

Jawaker automatically deducts credits from the advertiser’s total CPH credits as soon as an ad is served on a hand to the target audience. The advertiser will also be able to see statistics on their campaign such as how many impressions were served, how many clicks their ad got and their average implied click-through rate.

Currently, advertisers need to contact Jawaker in order to get an account and purchase credits, but an automatic sign-up and online credit purchase system should be rolled out soon.

Folowen Releases Public Beta With New Features

| June 23, 2009 – 2:08 pm | comment 3 Comments

folowenFolowen, the social media search tool that aggregates social profiles of people and organization’s on several social media sites into one search result, and that was previously covered here, has just gone into public beta.

The tool makes it easier for users to follow a person or organization’s social web; be it a Facebook profile, page, group, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile, a YouTube channel …etc.

Currently, folowen uses Google AJAX Search API to find user profiles in 20 social media sites.

A number of new features have been introduced with this public beta, based on the feedback received from the private beta users, among them are:

- Search is now open without sign up.

- Search results will list up to 4 links for each service for you to browse through to find the account you want to follow.

- Direct Follow: It is now possible for you to directly follow the person/organization you searched for directly from the search results page. This feature is currently enabled for only four services (Twitter, YouTube, FriendFeed and Facebook) that you need to connect folowen to from your Settings/Direct Follow page.

folowen

Ayna Adds Satellite Imagery To Mobile Version Of Ayna Maps

| June 19, 2009 – 8:10 pm | comment 13 Comments

Ayna Giza Satellite Image

As promised when they first launched the mobile version of their mapping service, Ayna.com has gone on and launched a satellite imagery feature for this mobile version, allowing users to see a high-resolution aerial snapshot of the location they are looking for.

Users of the service can now enter any address in the Middle East on Ayna maps, and click on the “Satellite” link to locate and zoom into the wanted area till having the closest image.

The satellite imagery service on the mobile is empowered by DigitalGlobe technology and updated for 2008, allowing users to view the entire world and zoom into 26 Middle East and North African cities, with streets, malls, points of interest, geographic information, buildings and more, directly from their mobile phones.

The satellite map has the same features existing on the normal map: finding points of interest, getting directions, saving favorites, sharing with friends …etc.

The satellite imagery feature should also be available on the web version of Ayna maps soon.

Ayna Mobile Maps

Twitvid And TwitterFon To Bring Video Tweeting To iPhone 3GS

| June 9, 2009 – 2:21 pm | comment No Comments

twitvidTwitVid.com, the instant video tweeting service previously reviewed here, and TwitterFon, the most popular Twitter application for the iPhone, announced a partnership where the TwitVid video service will be integrated into the TwitterFon iPhone application, enabling its large base of iPhone users to easily Tweet mobile videos to their Twitter followers who can begin watching the videos instantly, even before the upload from the source iPhone is completed.

The partnership comes on the heels of Apple’s announcement at WWDC ’09 yesterday that the new iPhone 3GS will incorporate the possibility to capture and edit videos directly on the phone.

Kazuho Okui, CTO of naan studio, Inc., creator of TwitterFon, said that they chose to work with Twitvid and not other video uploading applications because it offers the best user experience and high-quality video, along with its unique ability to offer instant playback of Tweeted videos as soon as the video begins uploading, a patent-pending technology created by Eatlime, the company behind Twitvid.

Twitvid has been working on a number of new features ever since their release, among these are the following:
- The possibility to record videos directly from a user’s webcam.
- The conversion of uploaded videos to High Quality video.
- The ability to chat with people when watching a video.
- The Creation of playlists by uploading several videos at the same time.
- The possibility to send videos directly to YouTube after they’re uploaded on Twitvid.

The TwitVid enabled TwitterFon iPhone application will be available at www.twitterfon.com.

Argaam Opens Up To Contributions Through Alpha Beta

| June 7, 2009 – 3:19 pm | comment 1 Comment

Alpha BetaArgaam, the Arabic financial portal, has just launched Alpha Beta, a section of the portal for informed visitors to contribute through posting their analysis of news and events taking place in the market, as well as any information that they might have that isn’t necessarily common knowledge to everyone interested in the stock market and economy in general.

Alpha Beta is open for direct contributions in the form of articles, news, opinions, analysis about regional or worldwide stock markets, investment opportunities; as well as comments and followup on articles published on the portal.

Argaam hope to create a vibrant open environment for discussion and sharing of new ideas, enabling the portal’s visitors to connect, interact and exchange opinions and information that will help enrich and develop the investment culture in the Arab world.

The portal’s editors will go over submitted material before it is published to make sure of its quality, accuracy and reliability, as well as its adherence to the guidelines for these articles, which ask for them to be focused, unbiased and precise among other criteria.

It’s an interesting move from Argaam, attempting to tap into the knowledge of the crowds for insider information about a financial market where there’s more to each story than what figures in the official press releases and news, in addition to all that takes place behind the scenes.

As with the parent portal Argaam, Alpha Beta is available in Arabic only.

D1G Appoints Ex-Yahoo! Vice President Usama Fayyad As Executive Chairman

| June 6, 2009 – 10:53 am | comment 10 Comments

D1GSocial Networking and video portal site D1G, which allows users to share, discuss, and distribute rich online content, has tapped into the knowledge and expertise of online data mining and data strategist, Dr. Usama Fayyad, to help catalyze the company into its next stage of growth.

Usama FayyadDr. Usama Fayyad served as Yahoo!’s Chief Data Officer and Executive Vice President of Research & Strategic Data Solution. Dr. Fayyad was responsible for Yahoo!’s overall data strategy, architecting Yahoos data policies and systems, prioritizing data investments, and managing Yahoos data process infrastructure which processed and mined over 25 Terabytes of data per day resulting from Yahoo!’s over 500 million users globally.

Fayyad was also responsible for the advanced technology arm of Yahoo! in Yahoo! Research — the group that is driving innovation in social systems is Search Technology, in Microeconomics and in monetization technologies. He was also responsible for user targeting and grew ad targeting at Yahoo! by 20-fold from when his company was acquired by Yahoo! in 2004 till he left Yahoo! in later 2008.

Fayyad invested into d1g.com, and has become the company’s new Executive Chairman. His entry into the company should provide great value in helping scale the company’s infrastructure to accommodate increased users’ activity and to grow the business to the next level.

“Arab audiences are really thirsty for new-generation rich content and social media represented by the Web 2.0 offerings of d1g.com. I am very excited about d1g.com. I have been informally advising the firm since its early days, and I am very bullish about their potential to grow and provide some of the most dynamic experiences for their audiences and marketers alike.” said Dr. Fayyad. “Since my departure from Yahoo! in the autumn of 2008, I have been evaluating various investment opportunities in the regional online space, and I was very impressed with the skills, expertise and dedication of the company’s leadership.” added Dr. Fayyad.

The company and Fayyad are hoping that he will play a particularly crucial role in helping the d1g.com management team better monetize the company’s inventory through more targeted ad offerings that allows marketers to dynamically generate ads that target various audience criteria such as geography, demography, and browsing behaviour. He will also help expand the offering to our rapidly growing user base across the entire Arabic speaking world.

Yamli Releases Beta Of Their Official Firefox Toolbar

| May 26, 2009 – 10:02 pm | comment 17 Comments

YamliYamli, the startup that specializes in smart transliteration technologies for the Arabic Web, just unveiled its new official Firefox browser toolbar.

A Yamli toolbar or extension has been a user request for quite a while now, and Yamli has answered with this toolbar that extends the possibility to use Yamli’s Arabic transliteration technology to any site or web application a user might need to type in Arabic in. By just going to the website and clicking on the ‘Enable Yamli’ button in the toolbox, all text input areas get the Yamli functionality activated for them. Another option is to just right click on the textbox you need to use and activate Yamli for just it.

Basic text input boxes and areas as well as rich text editors are supported and can be made to use Yamli with the toolbar.

The toolbar also includes a search box, enabling users to launch searches on the web using Yamli’s smart Arabic search functionality; Search is available for Web, Images,Video, News and Wikipedia.

Another interesting feature available through the toolbar is the possibility to send updates to Twitter and Facebook directly, using Yamli’s transliteration to write the updates in Arabic.

Yamli Toolbar

The toolbar is currently in beta, and is still being tweaked with more features to be added with the final release. It’s available for Firefox only at the time being; but an Internet Explorer version should follow soon.

On another note, other than the official toolbar by Yamli, the Arab Techies Code Sprint 2009, that was held in Cairo, has resulted in a couple of unofficial Yamli related projects: A Yamli bookmarklet that can be added as a link in any browser and used to yamlify any text inputs on a page, as well as a Firefox extension that automatically yamlifies all text inputs on visited web pages. All this possible through Yamli’s open API.

Twitvid.com, A Service to Tweet Videos Quickly And Easily

| May 24, 2009 – 12:59 pm | comment 2 Comments

twitvid

EatLime, the online video and file sharing service that was previously reviewed here, has gone on and released a new service call Twitvid.com that presents users with an easy way to post their videos to Twitter.

The service doesn’t just post a link to a video when the user tweets, but it uses the patent-pending EatLime technology to upload and stream the video in real time, in a way that a person’s followers on Twitter can start watching the video immediately while it’s still uploading, making it pretty much a live stream.

Users can upload their videos to the service either through the web interface, through their mobile phones (by sending an email or MMS), or through the service’s API.

Just as with other services like twitpic, the user can just login with their Twitter username and password and start uploading and tweeting their videos. Upon logging in, each user also gets an email address that they can use to email their videos directly from their mobile.

The system’s API also helps open it up, making it easy for other companies and developers to integrate the service into their own services and products.

twitvid

Among future plans is the ability to resume uploading if the connection is lost, enabling users to resume uploading from the exact point where it stopped.

EatLime, the company behind Twitvid.com, is a 5 person San Francisco based company, founded by Mohammad Al Adham from Jordan and Adil Lalani from Pakistan.

Watwet’s New Version With Twitter Link, Channels And Better Language Support

| May 20, 2009 – 9:14 am | comment 8 Comments

WatwetWatwet, the Arab social networking and micro-blogging platform, has released a new version of their web application code named ‘Suzie’, and with it come a bunch of really interesting new features.

With the recent migration to the Rails 2.2 framework, they’ve worked on better language support on Watwet, which translates into better handling of Arabic in this version, but also opens the door for other languages like French, Farsi, Turkish and Swahili, that are in their future plans.

Something interesting they’ve also gone and opened up is the possibility for anyone to create a channel of their own, without having to go through the Watwet team like they used to in the past.
It should be interesting to see how many people and businesses start using this feature; and when/if we’ll start seeing the concept of sponsored channels.
Complementing this move, the public timeline of Watwet now also shows the watwets coming from channels too, along with the watwets coming from the users.

Another good move with this version is the possibility to link a Watwet account to a Twitter account, in a way that anything posted to Watwet gets automatically posted to Twitter and vice versa. A simple settings page available under ‘Twitter Link’ turns this on for the user.
This makes it easier and more efficient for people who mainly use one of the services, but also want to try out the other, or who want to streamline their status and lifestreaming activities across both platforms.
I expect more focus will be put on the integration with Twitter in the future to try and lure more Twitter users to play around with Watwet, growing their user base and activity level through it to make the service even more interesting to use.

Other than these mentioned points, they’ve also worked on some design and layout tweaks for the interface, as well as on browser compatibility issues.

Some really exciting moves in this release by Watwet, paving the way for some pretty interesting possibilities in the future and for some other features they seem to have hidden up their sleeves.

G.ho.st Launches API To Enable Third-Party Web Applications

| May 18, 2009 – 11:00 pm | comment 6 Comments

G.ho.stG.ho.st, the free open web based operating system / virtual computer, has launched an API aimed at allowing third party application developers to add any web-based application to G.ho.st easily and with a tight integration to the system’s data and preferences.

The API allows the following specific functions (all subject to appropriate user consent)

  • Allow a user to launch a third-party web application visually integrated in a window on the G.ho.st Desktop
  • Allow the third-party to rely on G.ho.st authentication to effect single sign-on
  • Allow a file to be passed to the web application for viewing/editing and to be saved back to G.ho.st Drive
  • Provide a full file system to the web application by offering full read/write access to the user’s G.ho.st Drive using Webdav
  • Pass user preferences like language, font, etc. from G.ho.st to the third-party application

The API is designed to be very light weight with a simple convenient approach to launching third-party applications by a URL and passing data as parameters to that URL.

The API was also built to be completely technology agnostic; accepting any web application with any backend as long as it is launched in a web page through a URL.

These web applications have to be hosted at the web application developer’s own expense on any server or platform of their choice, as G.ho.st currently don’t provide any hosting for these third party applications. A special case exists for applications that can be compiled into a single file.

For more details on the API, check the G.ho.st API Page.

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