Google Buying Twitch for $1 Billion, According To Reports

Google is reportedly purchasing video game livestreaming platform Twitch for $1 billion. A Google spokesperson has declined to comment on the rumors.

Twitch, the world’s largest gaming website and community, lets gamers broadcast their live videoplay for viewers. It’s like the Netflix or Hulu for livestreamed games.

Livestream gaming on Twitch 

Google is hoping for lightning to strike twice with their affinity for online video. For what Google accomplished with online video gargantuan YouTube after its purchase in 2006 for $1.65 billion, we can expect the same from Twitch.

This reported purchase also signifies the mainstream growth of the online video gaming community and the legitimization of gaming as a sport that people actually want to watch. It’s a huge opportunity for gamers and the advertisers who can profit billions from the virality.

The livestreaming platform has already developed an enormous community, albeit a niche one within the gaming subculture. And according to Twitch’s numbers from last year, audience numbers are skyrocketing.

The gaming service saw 45 million unique visitors per month last year, and 12 billion minutes of gaming were consumed each month in 2013. With one million broadcasters, Twitch sees more peak traffic than Facebook and Hulu.

Google’s reported acquisition also shows that the search engine giant is paying attention to YouTube’s thriving gaming community. Gaming channels like Stampylonghead and The Diamond Minecart have amassed over 3 million subscribers apiece.

YouTube’s most subscribed channel of all time stars Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, whose gaming channel has now close to 29 million subscribers. Like many other gaming channels on YouTube, Kjellberg uploads videos of himself playing and reacting to games, popular draws being games like Happy Wheels and Flappy Bird.

With such a clear connection to the gaming community, YouTube and Google’s embrace of Twitch comes at the perfect time. We’ll just have to wait and see what Googly things might come from the gaming network in the future.

Images courtesy of Flickr user The World According To MartyDucksauce on Twitch.tv

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Google’s Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories

As the analysis continues on yesterday’s Google local search algorithm changes — that we’re calling the Pigeon update — one thing appears to be clear: Local directory sites are getting better visibility in Google’s search results. More specifically, it looks like…



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Amazon Web Services: It’s Big, Getting Bigger And Not Slowing Down

Amazon Web Services is already the 800-pound gorilla in cloud. It offers five times the utilized compute capacity of its next 14 competitors combined and is arguably the fastest-growing software business in history. According to Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, however, this isn’t nearly ambitious enough. AWS aims to become an 800,000-pound gorilla. 

That’s because Amazon isn’t in the business of “infrastructure as a service,” as the process of setting data services such as storage and computation is dubbed in a jargony way. According to Vogels, Amazon is in “the business of pain management for enterprises.” And there’s a whole lot of pain to manage these days.

Amazon’s Dominance Problem

While not a bully, Amazon tends to dominate the markets it gets into. In retail this means that Amazon outsells its nine closest competitors, combined. While we like to fixate on the success of Apple stores, they move just a fraction of the product Amazon sells, according to data from Internet Retailer:

See also: Google’s Secret Weapon Against Amazon: Blisteringly Fast Networks

Amazon’s retail business generates roughly $70 billion in revenues. In an interview with Recode, Vogels insisted that Amazon has every intention of making AWS as big or bigger than its retail operations:

This is a business that will be as big as our retail businesses if not bigger.… It took us six years, or until 2012, to get to 1 trillion objects stored. Then it took us one more year to get to 2 trillion. So that’s an indication of the speed of growth. To my eyes, that it only took a year to get to 2 trillion, it looks like the onset of a hockey stick.

In other words, that huge delta between AWS and its cloud rivals? Amazon expects it to get even bigger.

Competitors? What Competitors?

When asked about competitors, Vogels was quick to assert that Amazon doesn’t think about what other cloud providers are doing except “when we want to understand why someone might want to choose something other than AWS.”

Let’s assume he’s telling the truth, and the company is completely customer-centric, and not too bothered by what Microsoft or Google might be up to (which might not be wise, as I’ve argued here and here). 

See also: What Microsoft’s Fiercest Critics Forget: Azure

The reality, however, is that AWS is a bigger threat by far to established software companies than to cloudy new providers. As Credit Suisse IT executive Zohar Melamed states it:

In other words, Amazon’s rise, as troubling as it may be to its cloud competitors, spells the end of an enterprise software era. That’s got to keep the Oracles of the world up at night.

Lock-in Rising?

So competitors should be worried, but what about customers? With so much of modern workloads running on AWS, do enterprises risk locking themselves into the next Microsoft?

Definitely maybe.

Vogels, of course, says no way: 

[Amazon has] worked really hard at not locking our customers in…. There’s no lock-in. Many of our services are really accessible from standard protocols. I’ve never gotten any feedback from our customers saying “please don’t build this.” They all say “please build more….” It’s the same story around standardization. I’ve yet to have a customer say they’re not going to use our stuff because it’s not standardized.

Yet according to one AWS partners, Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos, the only real way to avoid lock-in is through standardized open source software. As Mickos writes, “What to a customer first looked like an exciting new piece of software—easy to try, no strings attached—soon infests the organization and isn’t quite as easy to remove.” So, he suggests, “By using industry-standard open source software products, you reduce your lock-in down to an absolute minimum.”

AWS runs on a lot of open-source software, of course, but it’s not open source itself. While I doubt AWS spends any time trying to find ways to lock its customers in, the reality is that many will be.

Not because the code is closed so much as because we keep wanting to build more and more within AWS, just as we used to want to build everything with the Microsoft stack. In sum, while one day we may regret our new Amazon overlord, it seems we’re currently all too content to push as much of our IT onto Vogel’s shoulders as possible.

Lead image of Amazon CTO Werner Vogels by Flickr user The Next Web Photos, CC 2.0

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Google Introduces Dynamic Sitelinks, Dynamic Sitelink Clicks Are Free by @mattsouthern

Google announced via the Inside AdWords blog that they will be introducing dynamic sitelinks. Sitelinks are used to connect people to the content they need by linking to specific pages on your website with a direct link from your ad. Dynamic sitelinks are automatically generated sitelinks that appear below your ad text. Google describes this as another example of “AdWords tools adding value to your ads while saving time and simplifying campaign management.” Google cautions that impression share for dynamic sitelinks will be low, so you should still continue adding and optimizing sitelinks. The sitelinks you set up manually will […]

The post Google Introduces Dynamic Sitelinks, Dynamic Sitelink Clicks Are Free by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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SearchCap: Google Local Pigeon Update & AdWords Dynamic Sitelinks

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Google’s Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories As the analysis continues on yesterday’s Google local search algorithm changes…



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Weekly SEO Tip: How SEO and PPC Can Work Together – The Content Standard by Skyword

Weekly SEO Tip: How SEO and PPC Can Work Together
The Content Standard by Skyword
It seems that Google is essentially downplaying the effect of a Quality Score. Here's an SEO tip: while it may be tempting to see this as one less thing to worry about, think otherwise. Let's review the ways in which SEO and pay per click (PPC
How to Make AdWords Paid Search Work for You – 7 Important StepsSearch Engine Watch
Study Shows Search Engine Marketing Most Effective For Customer AcquisitionInternet Marketing News

all 5 news articles »

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Internapalooza: Silicon Valley’s Weird World of Interns

I saw the massive line of interns long before I could see the venue. The young crowd waiting outside Broadway Studios in San Francisco on Tuesday chatted with friends and checked their phones, eagerly awaiting to get inside.

Interns line up outside of Internapalooza 

Approximately 2,000 interns from around the Bay Area signed up to attend Internapalooza, an industry-sponsored event for Silicon Valley’s interns to meet each other, chat up potential employers, and hear some of the tech industry’s finest give advice and share experiences from their younger, soul-searching years.

Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram, Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, and top tech journalist Kara Swisher were among speakers. Overall, the lineup  included eight white men, one man of color, and two white women, which spoke volumes about the current state of tech’s not-so-diverse demographics.

Scanning the Internapalooza audience, I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of gender and ethnicity. Examining Silicon Valley’s young generation of interns can tell us a lot about the future of technology and about the new faces of leadership. 

While there is a lack of diversity among tech’s current leaders, the Internapalooza attendees suggest just how multifaceted the future of Silicon Valley may be. 

The fresh faces of Internapalooza

Waiting in line to get into the sold-out event  felt worse than waiting in line to get into a club. 

Interns stood shoulder-to-shoulder inside the steamy venue. A few interns wore business casual, but many were decked out in the true tech wear of t-shirts, jeans and backpacks. The aroma of free hot dogs didn’t help the claustrophobia, nor with the nostalgic feeling of filing into college orientation.

Many of the interns in attendence were  college students or recent college graduates—50% of attendees were rising seniors at their universities. One hundred attendees were interns at Salesforce, 90 came from Google, 50 interned at Facebook and another 50 at Apple. Close to 200 interns hailed from UC Berkeley, and more than 150 attendees studied either at Harvard, Stanford or MIT.

Interns take their seats to hear from more than 10 leaders in tech

The Silicon Valley culture of interns is unlike the Devil Wears Prada, fetching-coffee type of industry jobs, or the kinds of cheap labor positions that are pervasive within Manhattan and Los Angeles’ media-based internships.

Here in San Francisco’s tech industry, companies actively seek interns as potential full-time employees, and not just semester-by-semester rotations of unpaid staff. It’s a competitive market and the statistics of the attendees at Internapalooza are proof. Over half of the interns in attendence major in computer science, and 80% have studied something related to engineering.

Re/code’s Kara Swisher telling it like it is

Speakers hit the stage around 7 p.m, giving life advice in an almost believable, I was a kid once too! fashion. Quick words were said about the necessity of figuring out the rest of their lives. These pieces of advice must have seemed daunting and unreachable coming from the leaders who have already made achievements in technology.

For the many interns looking to break into Silicon Valley, their personal stories were a little more raw.

Cori Shearer, Intern at Pandora

Hearing about Internapalooza from a Bay Area interns group on Facebook, Cori Shearer attended, wanting to be inspired.

“I’m always on the hustle and grind, so sometimes I need events like this to reinvigorate my energy and to remind myself why I’m here in the first place,” says Shearer.

An intern at Pandora, Shearer works in sales technology and on building ad products.

She is also quick to discuss the need for more diversity in tech—noting that many startup’s lack of gender and racial variety occurs when founders look only towards their friends to build their company.

“You need to be in business with people who aren’t like you, and take risks to start your own company. As a female minority, I really want to do something innovative and helpful in the future,” says Shearer.

The Pandora intern hopes to see more people of color on stage at events like Internapalooza.

“Not seeing people on stage that looks like you has an effect because you want to be able to look up to someone,” says Shearer. “This affects future generations, but I am hopeful for change.”

Brian Clanton, Intern at Zynga

Developer Brian Clanton is a first-time intern at Zynga, and hopes one day to become a development lead.

Clanton says he finds it difficult to set himself apart from other interns in Silicon Valley’s ultra-competitive race towards tech employment. This feeling is made all too real while standing amongst the hundreds of interns gathered in the venue.

“In order to set myself apart I need to do well in school, gain lots of work experience, and just work on different projects,” says Clanton.

We awkwardly shuffle amongst groups of interns and gawk at the sheer number of people in attendance. I ask him about the fanaticism surrounding Silicon Valley. What makes the tech industry such an appealing place to work?

“Kids want to work in Silicon Valley because there’s an image projected out there that it’s a lot of fun, and that all of these companies have great working environments. They have hammocks! It appeals to a younger generation,” says Clanton.

Meron Foster, Intern at Captûre Wines

Meron Foster says that she wants to pursue technology because that’s where the future lies. An intern at Captûre Wines, Foster works in sales and events, but not being a technically-inclined person often leaves her feeling left out of the tech bubble.

“It’s tough to find jobs in Silicon Valley. It’s a tight-knit circle, and if you’re not ‘a techie’, it’s intimidating to break into that culture. But I’m good at sales and marketing. It’s just hard to portray that to the tech industry without any tech skills,” says Foster.

Like Shearer, Foster wants to see more people of color working in tech. Although the hundreds of interns at Internapalooza are diverse in gender and ethnicity, the leaders of tech companies often are not.

“Events like this have a lot of young people of color here. Tech has lots of folks of Asian descent, but that’s still a specific color that tech indulges in. This will change with time. There are so many different people, and tech is not closed off to us,” says Foster.

Bay Area interns gathered together

As I leave the venue, the doorman tells me more than 60 interns who could not initially enter waited throughout the night to get inside. With such overwhelming interest, the tech industry is clearly not hurting for qualified candidates. The draw of Silicon Valley for these interns may be as superficial as hammocks and nap pods, or perhaps it’s the in desire for inclusion and for more diverse representation. 

The students at Internapalooza overall were intelligent, driven, and hopeful for positive change.  We are in good hands. 

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Facebook’s Daily Active Users Are Up By 19 Percent by @mattsouthern

Facebook just released their Second Quarter 2014 Financial Summary, included in the report are a lot of positive statistics for the social media giant. Most notably, compared to last year there is a 19% increase in daily active users, bringing the total count to 829 million users. Second quarter revenue was up a whopping 61% increase compared to last year, at $2.91 billion compared to $1.81 billion this time last year. Mark Zuckerber, Facebook CEO, said about his second quarter performance: We had a good second quarter… Our community has continued to grow, and we see a lot of opportunity […]

The post Facebook’s Daily Active Users Are Up By 19 Percent by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Pigeon: Search Engine Land’s Name For The New Google Local Search Update

Last night, Google released a pretty significant local search algorithm update. Google told us there was no internal name for the update but now that we see that this update was fairly significant, we decided to ask the search community to help us name it. Pigeon is the name we decided on because…



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5 Stupid SEO Mistakes You’re Making Right Now – Forbes

5 Stupid SEO Mistakes You're Making Right Now
Forbes
In an effort to acquire inbound links, they hire cheap SEO firms who claim they'll build hundreds or thousands of links. The end result? A complete backfire; a Google penalty that slams the rankings of the website so far down the search results, they

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