The week before Thanksgiving, we started hearing rumors that Google was looking to acquire local deals sensation, Groupon, and at this point, the main question just seems to be at what price this is going to happen. Recent reports have valuations creeping towards $6 billion, which would represent quite a coup for the two-year-old company. Keep in mind that 12 months ago, Groupon was valued at $250 million and in April, that number had grown to $1.35 billion. A decision one way or the other seems imminent, but no matter how it turns out, this is an amazing success story. Why didn’t I think of that?
On November 10, Facebook announced it would hold an invite-only event the following week in advance of the Web 2.0 Summit. People put together pretty quickly that this would be the debut of the company’s new messaging platform, codenamed Project Titan and rumored about for almost a year, and Facebook did not disappoint. The new system aims to turn digital communication into a platform- and device-agnostic conversation, and Mr. Zuckerberg himself used the adjectives seamless, informal, immediate, personal, simple, minimal and short to describe it during the presentation. Time will tell how impactful this “modern messaging system” is. I’d love to offer some insight myself, but Facebook still hasn’t given me a stupid invitation. You can read my colleague Kevin Burns’ thoughts on the news here.
Now, one invite I did get was to Rockmelt, a new browser dedicated to integrating disparate functionalities across the internet and making the Web easier to use for all. Backed by high-profile investors like Marc Andreesen and Ron Conway, the company received quite a bit of attention leading up to the release of its “social browser” on November 7, and most people, myself included, seemed to like what they saw initially. However, chatter surrounding the new product died down pretty quickly post-launch, and after having some Gmail and Twitter issues, I switched back to Chrome after about 24 hours. It remains to be seen if we’ll ever be mentioning Rockmelt alongside Firefox, Chrome, Explorer or Safari. I’m skeptical.