• BURN MEDIA
    • Memeburn
      Tech-savvy insight and analysis
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Kevin Grant: Silicon Valley correspondent

Kevin is a journalism geek who hails from Chicago, Illinois. He spent more than three years working in New York City’s “Silicon Alley” building the content enrichment firm Inform Technologies. He is now a second-year master’s candidate at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School in Los Angeles. He is executive editor of Neon Tommy, a Web-only news organization devoted to innovating in the Web media space and serving its community. Kevin is drawn to opportunities where budding technologies intersect with reporting and information sharing. He makes many of his decisions based on the relative proximity of good coffee shops.
  • GetGlue brings social check-ins to media and entertainment

    People like to be rewarded for things they would probably do anyway. Hence it stands to reason that sooner or later someone would capitalise on this. And that is what entertainment check-in network GetGlue did — by offering real and virtual incentives for consuming media online. GetGlue, founded in 2009 by New York City entrepreneur Alex Iskold, has pioneered the media check-in space, piggybacking on the Foursquare phenomenon with more than one million users earning stickers and discounts as they watch, read and listen. Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla have come a long way offering virtual “badges” to complement the...

  • Israeli high-tech strives for maturity

    After a few down years, Israeli high-tech is thriving again, by some accounts comprising 40 percent of Israel’s exports.  With a powerful combination of military, medical and clean energy R and D, Israel’s “Silicon Wadi” is one of the world’s most vital centers for startups and mid-size tech companies. But Israel’s instability injects a host of challenges into the industry, forcing an urgency unknown in more peaceful regions.  The result that most founders...

  • Apple debuts iPad 2, gets favourable response from web world

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on Wednesday as Apple debuted the iPad 2. “We’ve been working on this product for awhile, and I didn’t want to miss it,” Jobs said before launching into the presentation. The iPad 2 features a new, faster OS (iOS 4.3) with dual-core processor, two cameras (front and back), offered in two colours (black and white) and 1/3 thinner (making it thinner than the iPhone 4).  It also automatically syncs with Apple TV and includes an HDMI output. It’s shipping in the United States on March 11...

  • With The Daily, News Corp and Apple try to shake up the news business model

    Rupert Murdoch is the biggest man in media. Apple is one of the hottest companies in tech. The two have teamed up to make a run at a new kind of news organisation, creating a tablet-only paid product that could reinvent the news subscription model. Called The Daily, Murdoch’s brainchild staffs more than 50 top-tier journalists and will only be available as an iPad app through at least 2012. The News Corp. CEO introduced the product to mixed reviews at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Wednesday morning. “New times demand new journalism,” he said. ...

  • Has Quora found the magic formula for online Q&A success?

    Quora is not a brand new site but it is surging out of the gate like a massively hyped startup. After a few influential tech bloggers saved it from obscurity in December, Quora now has the momentum to make a run at greatness. At its core, Quora is a “questions and answers” site, but its ingenious use of Twitter-inspired social connections and user-generated tagging has the company on a winning path towards finding critical mass. If it is to win the battle of the Q&A sites, and there are many competitors out there, Quora will need to gain loyal users without...

  • ‘Fifth screen’ emerges for cars, but not yet ready for prime time

    By now, the illustrious “fourth screen” is a common term–that of the mobile device, still the holy grail for media companies and advertisers. At the North American International Auto show(NAIAS) in Detroit, it became clear that the era of the “fifth screen” is upon us: The one inside people’s vehicles.  Unfortunately for consumers, these “mobile” systems tend to have substantial usability problems. Ford, once known for classics like the Mustang, Cobra and GT then emerging with the family-friendly (and dull) Taurus in the 1980s and the Explorer in the 1990s, is helping to lead the charge. It plans to make its MyFord...

  • Twitter’s great divide: A clash of product and business

    The audience at Le Web in Paris was stunned last week when Jason Goldman, the beloved VP of Product at Twitter for the last four years, announced he is leaving the company. He tweeted afterward: “Thanks so much everyone at Twitter for the best job I could ever imagine. It’s been amazing and I think the future will be even brighter.” Goldman’s departure, hot on the heels of former CEO Evan Williams’ resignation, has revealed a growing schism between the product side and business side of the organisation. Twitter’s business folks (led by new CEO Dick Costolo) have begun edging out...

  • Diaspora scores on privacy but will it ever go mainstream?

    Diaspora, the open source social network that puts user privacy above all else, is now rolling out in private alpha. The question is: can it hold its own against Facebook, or MySpace, or even Ning?  Early indications seem to indicate that the answer is no. Although Facebook has run into backlash several times over its approach to users’ information, it continues to grow like gangbusters, surpassing more than 550-million unique users in October, according to ComScore. Clearly, privacy concerns are something plenty of people pay lip service to, but rarely do anything about.  If Diaspora is to succeed, it will need...

  • Facebook takes on email

    Reporting from the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. Project Titan is a secret no longer. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday that the company will begin rolling out a “modern messaging system,” a tightly-integrated experience that will enable users to manage their e-mail directly from Facebook.com. Zuckerberg was clear that e-mail is only a part of the new offering, however. Young people find email ‘too slow’ “We don’t think that a modern messaging system is going to be email,” he said.  Facebook’s existing messaging system already delivers four billion messages per day, Zuckerberg said, with young people finding email “too slow”. Facebook Mail...

  • Facebook launch event — [Live blogging]

    Way back in February of 2010, Michael Arrington wrote on TechCrunch that “Facebook is completely rewriting their messaging product and is preparing to launch a fully-featured webmail product in its place, according to a source with knowledge of the product. Internally it’s known as Project Titan. Or, unofficially and perhaps over-enthusiastically, the Gmail killer.” Facebook has been in lockdown all summer long developing a range of new features, and commentators are expecting big things from the event. Memeburn’s San Francisco correspondent Kevin Grant is blogging live from the event… Cool crowd here, lots of technorati: Robert Scoble, Charlene Li, & Dan...

  • Jaron Lanier believes the internet is making us poor

    Jaron Lanier understands the internet as well as anyone on Earth. He did, after all, help build it. Over the past thirty years, Lanier has been a force of nature in the digital world, inventing the concept of virtual reality in the 1980s and (as chief scientist of Internet2) helping to build the backbone of the Web in the 1990s. Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world this year. And now, one of the world’s great digital inventors issues a stunning warning: his co-creation is turning us all into paupers. Speaking at the University of Southern...

  • Five arguments you can use to convert Twitter sceptics

    We’ve all met the type. They use the Web all the time but they shun Twitter. They’re willing to try new sites and applications, but each time the topic of Twitter comes up, they make a little clicking sound or make a snarky comment.  Something like: “I don’t need to know what kind of sandwich everybody had for lunch today.” The Twitter faithful know better. For all the random junk on Twitter, and the obnoxious downtime, the application’s utility far outweighs its drawbacks. So here’s a guide to showing your friends and colleagues the light. And if they still don’t get...

  • Blekko search: Coming soon to a browser near you

    Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta has conceded the search battle to Google without even firing a shot. Instead, he’s adopted the mantra of his co-founder Mike Markson: own a category or die. The challenge for Blekko is that the company must figure out exactly which category it plans to own; then work to define it. At present, the most accurate term for what Blekko does is vertical search, which has been a highly elusive category for large-scale, consumer-level entrants. Vertical search targets specific types of content, whether by format, topic or genre. ...

  • ‘Simple blogging’ with Posterous takes off globally

    In June, blogging platform Posterous launched an all-out assault on other services, hoping to convince bloggers from WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr to switch over. At the time, the move was considered by some to be overly aggressive, even “preposterous,” but the move appears to be paying off. Rich Pearson, VP of Marketing at Posterous, said the service has seen a 50 percent jump in new signups since launching the campaign. Although defecting bloggers account for a large piece of the growth, emerging markets like Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and India are helping the company take off on a global...