Last February, in an interview with the technology blog TechCrunch, a senior Google executive expressed a rather philosophical – even postmodernist – view on the future of maps.

"If you look at a map and if I look at a map, should it always be the same for you and me? I’m not sure about that, because I go to different places than you do," said Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps for mobile.

By mid-May, as Google announced the upcoming release of the new version of its flagship map service, it became clear that Graf wasn’t joking.

Ben Grubb
Published: May 16, 2013 – 2:06PM

Lee Gaywood, 31, of Chelsea Heights in Victoria, contacted Fairfax Media about the information being freely accessible to anyone online after conducting a specific Google search that turned up Telstra spreadsheets.The personal information of thousands of Telstra customers has been found online using a Google search.

The tantalising prospect of finding the next Facebook, Groupon or Twitter is driving the biggest rush of venture capital into the internet start-up arena since dot-com mania first boomed and then fizzled more than a decade ago.

More than $US5 billion of venture capital investment flowed into young web companies globally in the first four months of the year, data from Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence shows.

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Though small compared with the boom years, the sum puts 2011 on track to be the busiest in dollar terms since 2000, when more than $US55 billion was deployed to back nascent technology firms.

The latest frenzy bears some of the hallmarks of the previous web investment craze – exuberance over “concept” start-ups that have not launched their sites and intense competition among potential backers to place bets in presumptive hot spots, such as the social media space now defined by the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn.

Entrepreneurs such as Clara Shih, chief executive of Hearsay, a San Francisco-based speciality software provider, enjoy more leverage with investors than last time and talk about having their pick of potential backers. Shih said she had already raised $US3 million when cash came knocking at her door.

“Honestly, we weren’t thinking of raising money, but now it’s kind of landed on our lap, we may be open to it,” Shih said in an interview with Reuters Insider.

Herd investment behaviour gives rise to talk that another internet bubble is forming, particularly when analysts see valuations on the order of $US70 billion for Facebook and $US15 billion for Groupon calculated from private investments.

“I’ve heard … many venture capitalists who are saying, ‘No, there’s not a bubble,'” said Dana Stalder, a partner in the Silicon Valley office of the venture capital firm Matrix Partners.

“When you’re seeing valuations double in the last 12 months for the same company, the same team, it feels like a bubble to me.”

But other characteristics of the current boom do set it apart from the one that ended in collapse 10 years ago.

  • Venture capital investors say more of today’s young companies are profitable or on a clearer path to profitability as the advent of cloud computing helps to lower operating costs dramatically from a decade ago.
  • Online advertising and e-commerce, in their infancy a decade ago, have matured into accepted and more reliable revenue sources.
  • The rush to cash out through an initial public offering has slowed. Bountiful sources of private investment, a raft of new public company disclosure regulations and the growth of alternative venues for trading private company shares provide the means and incentive to delay going public.

Perhaps the most distinguishing factor from the “It’s different this time” litany is that today’s web frenzy is global.

In the three years that marked the height of the last boom, from 1999 to 2001, the venture capital industry sank $US96.4 billion into web start-ups, with more than 80 per cent of that or nearly $US78 billion in the United States alone, the Thomson Reuters data show. Of 10,755 venture capital deals over that run, 7174 took place in the US market.

Not so today. Of the more than $US5 billion of venture capital money invested so far this year, just $US1.4 billion has been deployed in US start-ups, according to Thomson Reuters data. Roughly three-quarters of the 403 deals have taken place overseas.

Moreover, it is the big deals that as often as not are now happening outside the United States. Of the 25 biggest consumer internet deals last year, 15 were non-US investments, according to Quid, a Silicon Valley research start-up that tracks venture capital investment flows. Nearly half, 12, were Chinese.

The investors as well as the start-ups have an increasingly international flavour. Perhaps the most notable new face among today’s internet king makers is Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, chief executive of DST Global. Milner has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Facebook, Groupon and Zynga. Last month his firm invested $US500 million in 360Buy,com, China’s biggest business-to-consumer website.

While one of the distinguishing characteristics of the new boom is the tendency to remain private for a longer period, the IPO pipeline is nevertheless filling up with internet names.

So far this year, 16 web firms have filed IPO documents with US securities regulators, seeking to raise proceeds estimated at nearly $US4.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. That already tops the full-year totals for every year except 1999, when 52 companies filed to raise $US4.2 billion.

For the first time ever, smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone are outselling personal computers, according to a report by research group IDC that was released this week.

Worldwide, consumer electronics makers shipped 100.9 million smart phones in the last three months of 2010, an 87 per cent jump from a year earlier. PC shipments were weaker than expected, edging up just 3 per cent to 92.1 million.

Mobile phone security threats rose sharply last year as a proliferation of internet-enabled mobile devices like smartphones and tablets provided new opportunities for cybercriminals, security software maker McAfee said.

In its fourth-quarter threat report, released this week, McAfee said the number of pieces of new mobile phone malware it found in 2010 rose 46 per cent over 2009’s level.

The AFR required the management of its implementation of a digital pay-wall enabling it to manage subscriptions and enable broader access to its content by users of mobile devices.

We provided the Program Management expertise to implement Methode and integrate it with Think Subscriptions.

The result has been a 53% increase in the number of subscribers over the past twelve months. Source

Think and Methode integration by Khan

Apple says it is “aware” of a security weakness that allows anyone to bypass iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 PIN codes with a few button presses and will fix it in a software update next month.

“We’re aware of this issue and we will deliver a fix to customers as part of the iOS 4.2 software update in November,” Apple Australia said in a statement provided early this morning.

Android has just rocketed past a major milestone: 100,000 applications available in the Android Marketplace.

The announcement was made with just a tweet from the Android Dev Twitter account. “One hundred thousand apps in Android Market,” was all the tweet needed to say to spread the news. The search giant recently expanded the Android Marketplace to 20+ countries in an effort to kick its developer ecosystem in high gear.

Google’s open-source mobile OS has been on a tear, but its rapid growth has come at the cost of OS fragmentation across hundreds of devices. And while Android may be flooding the market at breakneck speed, Apple’s iOS App Store is the dominant mobile store by leaps and bounds. There are more than 280,000 iOS apps available, nearly triple the offerings on Android.


A security flaw has been detected in the popular Apple iPhone that allows anyone to gain access to its phone function without the need to enter a passcode.

The flaw, which this website has attempted successfully but is not able to describe due to legal reasons, involves a user pressing a couple of on-screen buttons and then a physical button, allowing them to bypass the passcode required to gain access.