iFive: Facebook Bigger than EBay, Apple’s iAds in Europe, Social System Path, MailOnline’s Dear Reader, Light-up Trees

Monday morning, you’re yawning, right? Let innovation drop and give you five.

1. Ahead of its email/communication announcement today, Facebook has overtaken eBay to become the third largest Internet business in the U.S., according to BusinessWeek. Although it’s still a privately held company, shares are trading at $16 each on SecondMarket Inc., putting its worth at $41. Still to beat: Amazon and Google, of course.


2. Apple is to announce this week which brands will be using its iAds system in Europe. There has been a surprising amount of criticism of the network, which should see targeted ads for iPhone and iPod Touch users launching next year, with some brands (Chanel, Adidas) pulling out. Some media bosses, however, aren’t impressed with what they’ve seen so far, one digital executive calling them “expensive and a pain to deal with.”

3. There’s a new social network, and its name is Path. Launched yesterday, the photosharing site that circulates pics via a contacts list, garnered a lot of coverage already, despite the fact that Robert Scoble thinks its limitations (only 50 chums allowed, sending one of them to social Siberia can’t be done surreptitiously) may do for it, and ReadWriteWeb has already managed a list of 10 things you can’t do on Path. The brains behind it is social media veteran Dave Morin who, once upon a startup, was Senior Platform Manager at Facebook.

4. Second biggest online newspaper in the world? MailOnline, the web arm of the Daily Mail. Astonishing though it may be, the scourge of liberals everywhere has grown by 446% in three years without spending a dime on marketing. Its executives, unlike News International, believe “the sums add up better to go free and big.” Most amusing factoid from the piece? MailOnline has two readers in North Korea, one of whom has a mild obsession with Lady Gaga.

5. A group of academics in Taiwan have come up with the idea of using gold nanoparticles in tree leaves to provide street lighting. As well as reducing light pollution and cut carbon emissions, the toxic-free method is stunningly beautiful, giving out a reddish-gold glow that is phosphor powder-free, a staple ingredient of LEDs.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.