Google Amps Up Analytics, Facebook Spartan En Route, Playbook Cuts Prices To Keep Up With Kindle Fire

Breaking news, with updates all day long.

Google Amps Up Analytics For Enterprise. The world’s dominant search engine released its enterprise-grade Google Analytics Premium product on Thursday. According to an official Google Analytics blog post, Premium lets Google’s corporate clients: track and collect data in real-time; create customized reports on their digital campaigns using 50 different variables; get technical support, live, from Google technicians; and export high volumes of data for analysis. Pilot customers for Premium included: Gucci, Travelocity, TransUnion, eHarmony and others. The service costs a flat fee of $150,000 a year. —LK


Study: Wood Still Among Greenest Building Materials. With all the innovation in building and materials science these days–think of flexible, thin film solar panels or ultra-light concrete–it might surprise people that wood, at least when it’s harvested in a sustainable way, remains among the greenest. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study released on Thursday found that “using wood in building products yields fewer greenhouse gases than using other common materials.” Trees killed by insects in national and state parks could even be used in buildings, reducing the risk of forest fires, USDA chiefs also suggested. —LK

–Updated 5:30 p.m. EST

Facebook “Project Spartan” To Launch Next Week? A leaked Facebook mobile developers page has revealed the insides of a new mobile Facebook app, that TechCrunch identifies and confirms to be the rumored Project Spartan, Facebook’s web-based HTML5 mobile app. The app will be accessed through Safari rather than the Apple App Store, giving Facebook a little more independence with the application, compared to the regular iPhone Facebook app available on the Apple App Store, or the long-awaited iPad app. —NS

Nokia To Build OS For Cheap Phones. Nokia will turn to creating an operating system for its low-end phones, the Wall Street Journal reports. The new Linux-based operating system, Meltemi, and its development will be led by Mary McDowell, VP in charge of mobile phones. —NS

–Updated 8:50 a.m. EST


iTunes Expands Internationally. Late yesterday and into the early hours this morning, Apple has been slowly expanding the offerings in its international iTunes stores as well as adding new countries. All 12 remaining nations in the EU are now covered by the Music store, and new TV, movie and e-book content has begun showing up in numerous nations where it was previously absent (Portugal’s iBookstore, for example, now has a handful of paid e-books). The unannounced roll-out occurred mere hours after Amazon’s Kindle event. –KE

–Updated 7:30 a.m. EST

China’s Space Station Ready To Go. China will try to launch the first element of its space station today, the latest development in its rapidly-growing space plans, built upon original Russian tech innovations. Left out of development of the ISS, China is going it alone with the Tiangong 1 module–a tiny test bed that’s part of “Project 921-2,” a later plan to develop a massive orbiting space station due on-line in 2020, just as the ISS is closing. The launch aboard a Long March 2F rocket is due at 8:15 a.m. EST –KE

After Kindle Fire, BlackBerry Playbooks Prices Slashed. Hours after Amazon took the wraps off their Kindle Fire, a $199 Wi-Fi tablet, BlackBerry began selling their 16GB Playbooks on Best Buy in the U.S. at the bargain rate of $299, a $200 cutback from its original $499 tag. Other Playbook models, versions with 32GB and 64GB memories, also saw a $200 price drop from their pre-Fire days. —NS [Update: Barnes & Noble also cut their tablet price, and is now offering its Nook at a $25 discount.]

Groupon Launches Groupon Goods. Daily deals website Groupon may soon feature offers on items like furniture and sunglasses, through a new service, Groupon Goods. The company announced deals on household items like coffeemakers and televisions via email to some customers, Reuters reports. This new line of daily deals would follow yesterday’s launch of a premium deals program, “Groupon Rewards.” —NS

Flickr Takes On Facebook, Instagram. Yahoo’s Flickr has launched a new photo album sharing service called Photo Session. The service has a strong social flavor–up to 10 people can follow a slide show led by one person, while being able to talk to each other via a conference call feature that’s built in. That’s Flickr trying to keep in step with Facebook as the main place for people to share photographs, the New York Times reports. The updated Flickr iPhone app, and the brand new Android app are also out, and feature photo filters, like those on popular photo app, Instagram. –NS


–Updated 5:15 a.m. EST

Yesterday’s Fast Feed: Amazon Reveals Kindle Fire, Google Motorola Deal Under DOJ Scrutiny, Goldman Sachs Hacked, and more.