We haven't covered Stockholm-founded and Berlin-based HowDo yet, but with a new update we have an excuse to see what they're up to. The way their app works is pretty simple. You take a photo, record some sound, and repeat for however many steps you need to demonstrate what you're doing. Each step only allows eight seconds of audio to be recorded, which Emma Rose Metcalfe, cofounder of HowDo tells us isn't an arbitrary number - somewhere between seven and ten seconds is about how long the human brain can break down a task.
HowDo is one of those services that should exist. When you want to show off how to make some jewelry, you don't want to upload pictures to your computer and add text, you should be able to break everything down on your phone while you're making it. And if you're looking how to fix your car stereo, you don't want to run back and forth to your computer.
Iconfinder has received a $1.5 million (€1.2 million) investment from VF Venture (Vækstfonden) the Danish state-owned funding arm, and a follow up investment from an American investor who has not yet been disclosed. The company has built a name for itself by providing easy search for icons used by web designers, app developers, and even anyone making a powerpoint presentation. With the funding, the company says it will continue to develop the core product and work on commercializing the large amount of traffic they see. Iconfinder's founders also say they're ready to take on Google's search in this niche area.
While you would think Microsoft would have leveraged the Windows Phone platform to get add more use of its search engine, Bing, but things are looking otherwise in Russia. The news coming from Russia’s Search Giant, is that Yandex is going to be used as the default search engine on all Windows Phone based devices in Russia. This announcement includes the company’s announcement of partnering with major mobile manufacturing giants like Nokia, HTC and Samsung.
Yandex has been on top when it comes to coverage recently and sharing another piece won’t be surprising. Unless it isn’t positive. BBC has mentioned that Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine has confirmed sharing confidential data with the state’s secret service; the FSB. Bad news, given that Yandex had set its eyes on raising $1 billion via listing on Nasdaq.
Google is our answer to everything be it writing a Master's thesis, looking for a new car, a new job, doing your homework or putting together an analysis on a fortune 500 stock. I, for one, use Google every single day to get to the bottom of which ever startup I'm writing about. Yet, Google is not perfect and its job is getting harder by day when the amount of information on the web grows. And it grows very very rapidly.
This is something that Kristofer Kimbler, CEO of Azouk, has also recognized when he started working on his latest venture. Azouk is a Swedish online service for professionals that provides an alternative way to reach the best content and information and to ‘meet’ top experts. The company's HQ is in Malmö, Sweden, but marketing and sales in UK and R&D in Poland. Kimbler who was previously at Appium Technologies that was acquired by Aepona Ltd. In June 2007. Appium Technologies developed telecom application servers based on the Parlay OSA and VoIP standards.
Twingly, a Swedish based spam free blog search engine which is much like Technorati but is aimed at European market, just recently released two new products, a Top 100 and BlogRank. The first one is a listing of the 100 biggest blogs. Unlike in Technorati, Twingly lists the 100 biggest blogs in 12 different languages based on their ranking system that mainly focuses on "inlinks and likes among other things". Their second product is BlogRank, which is a number between 1-10 that shows how big a blog is. BlogRank is similar to Google PageRank but just for blogs.
I checked the top list for Finnish and Swedish blogs, but they were not what I expected. Similarly, Mari Koistinen, an active Finnish blogger, had come to the same conclusion and emailed Twingly asking the reason for this. Twingly's comment below taken from Mari's blog post (Most part In Finnish):
“The list is based on the data we have in our index. It’s why we say it’s from “our point of view”. We have, for example, better index for Europe overall than for US blogs which makes the list quite unexpected in some cases.
The ranking is based on, among many other things, inlinks and “likes” (search for something at twingly.com and you’ll see what “Like” is). Visitors isn’t possible for us to use in this list right now and therefore we don’t. If you use that parameter the list would probably be quite different.
Some blogs with many visitors may not get so many links and sorry for them, for they’re not on our list in that case :)”
That explanation I did not understand at all.
Luckily, I found a conversation regarding the ranking logic in Twingly's blog post (here). I quote:
[comment #17. half way through.]
Also, I read your reply such that frequently pinging Twingly affects the rank. Then how ‘fairly’ does the ranking respond to the ‘biggest’-question that you refer to?
Answer by Twingly:
If a blog pinging us frequently it’s much easier for us to index every blog post from that blog. If another blog don’t ping us at all, it’s possible that we index it anyway but in that case we have some problem to index it frequently because we don’t get a notification (which a ping actually is) every time it’s updated.
The bloggers who ping us frequently is therefore better indexed by us.
Again, thanks. We think it’s great with feedback and questions. They’re really important, so please keep asking!
This time I understood the answer very clearly, but it still does not mean it makes much sense to me to build a blog ranking on that logic.
Spinlet was founded by three Finns, who all have backgrounds in SaaS, mobile technology and IPR. According to Sami, they are building their company bottom up, through their model: invent, protect, productize, commercialize. They have filed patents for their products and are thus at the third step, productizing of their services. The company has been self funded from the start, since they founded in 2005.
Nuemo itself is relatively new and has just been opened to the public this month. The product itself is positioned to become an extension of traditional search, according to Sami Leino. They are targeting the B2B market together with R&D professionals. I'm sure there is a lot of potential with visualising search results exactly in the way Nuemo is doing it, but I'm quite not sure of the way it should be done. I mean, many if not all of the major search engines are based on text based output. Visualising the search results in an easily understandable way should be of someone's interest especially when you're building relationships and dependencies between nodes.
Having said so, I believe there is definitely a market to take, especially for Spinlet if they manage to position theirselves properly. I'm sure people working in the B2B sector require in some sense different kinds of tools that few companies have come up with. Then again, it's not an easy road to walk down and there are bound to be many obstacles along the way.