iFive: Amazon Buys Lovefilm, Google Pulls App, Google Voice Number Porting, 200 Million Tweeters, Facebook on Feature Phones

1. Amazon's announced it's agreed to buy Lovefilm--a successful U.K. movie streaming service, which some argue is the European home-equivalent to Netflix. Lovefilm works in the U.K., Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, and the acquisition (which should be complete this quarter) will give Amazon a huge footprint in the E.U. digital streaming market.

2. Google's pulled off an app-barring stunt in the Android store that, for the first time, has people confused in the same way Apple's often done. It's very quickly pulled Kongregate Arcade, which is a legitimate non-spam service that acts as an app-based portal to Flash games. The reason is that Google thinks Kongregate is acting as an app store inside an app store. Controversy's raging around the fact that the Kindle app does the same thing.

3. A little more Google news. It's also testing an upcoming trick that proves Google Voice is graduating into the big time: Number porting from other services to Voice. It accidentally revealed the $20 service online, then pulled it--citing that it's merely a test cycle, and not all users may ultimately benefit--but it's a sign that Google Voice is quite definitely changing the mobile telephony scene in the U.S.

4. Earlier this week Twitter promoted its new Korean language skills, and now it's emerged the social net is near to 200 million users globally--that places it with a userbase around one third that of Facebook, the world's most popular social network. Co-founder Evan Williams visited the Korean president while promoting the service expansion, highlighting exactly how big Twitter's become.

5. Facebook is also trying to expand by promoting a "better mobile experience for more people," by releasing apps for non-smartphone phones. It's new feature phone apps work on nearly 2,500 devices from Nokia, LG, Samsung, and more, and 14 operators around the world have agreed to support the app by not charging for data access from Facebook for the first 90 days. Facebook's essentially trying to hook more folks into using its service all the time.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Ray Scott

    You only need to use Lovefilm for a few weeks to see the sad state of affairs movie streaming is in, here in the UK. So long as movie studios are going to demand a cut every time a subscriber wants to stream a movie, people are always going to opt for the slower DVD snail-mail option. On top of that, the quality from Lovefilm on a 50" HDTV is well, far worse than terrestrial TV.