Napster mulls movie plan
For Napster, the message may be in the movies.
The chairman of the digital music service says the company may expand to downloads of films and video games. At a music industry conference in Cannes, France, Chris Gorog told The Financial Times, "We are currently considering moving into video, particularly to tap the younger video-game generation."
Gorog said Napster is more likely to adopt a subscription model than a pay-per-view system.
Google phone service?
Google Inc. appears to be getting ready to offer a free Internet-based phone service, The Times of London reported on its Web site. However, a spokesperson for Google told Vnunet.com, "This is pure speculation and we do not comment on rumor. We are not aware of any moves to enter this arena." A spokesman at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., declined to comment.
Speculation about the move was fueled by a Google job posting for a position described as "strategic negotiator, global infrastructure," suggesting the company wants to create a high-capacity international network for phone service, according to The Times report.
Internet telephone service has been on the rise as major U.S. telecom carriers introduced voice over Internet protocol service. However, the trend likely would take a giant leap forward as Google's strong consumer brand could make its offering formidable, an analyst said.
Julian Hewitt, a partner at the Ovum telecom consultancy in London, told The Times that a Google phone offering could be tied into a search service so that a shopper could find a Web site, click on the screen and speak with representatives of that business.
Brian Mark, managing editor with telecom consulting firm IGI Group, said the Google brand name alone could transform voice over Internet from niche to the mainstream, to the detriment of the Baby Bell phone companies that have begun to explore Net-based calling.
Geologists use podcasts
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists has begun using podcasts to update members. Podcasts are feeds of multimedia content distributed over the Internet.
Gerald Buckley's reports include headlines and announcements about the association, its activities and newest publications. His podcast was reported by Steve Rubel, a New York-based public relations executive. He contacted Buckley, who wrote him, "All not-for-profit associations are facing a common problem -- retention of aging member and student members."
Buckley said using the podcast format is a way to "serve the entire spectrum in ways they appreciate."
E-Loan Inc. said a new agreement will make it possible for auto customers of eBay to get a decision on financing a purchase within 15 minutes. "When you consider that a vehicle is sold nearly every minute on eBay Motors, the need for an efficient financing option is critical," said Mark Lefanowicz, president and of E-Loan, an online consumer direct lender.
Bankrate Inc. said it has extended an agreement with NYTimes.com to provide the site with personal finance, editorial content and interest rate table listings. The New York Times and Bankrate have worked together since 2003. The new agreement extends the relationship to 2006.