Google Opens An App Store

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Happy Birthday Craigslist. The schlubby classified ad site, which managed to blow up the newspaper business by behaving decidedly unbusinesslike, was founded nearly 15 years ago, according to a blog post from the site's eponymous founder Craig Newmark. He digs up what he calls "the earliest archaeological find" from the site's early days. It's a message directing users of the Well, an early social network, to Newmark's new home page. "My focus, on this page, is on events around San Francisco that involve arts and technology, privacy rights, local writers and artists, and any other item that strikes my fancy," he wrote. "The approach is as minimalist as I could make." PSFK, which flags the post, puts it in perspective, "From that simple start, today the site serves over twenty billion page views per month, putting it in 37th place overall among web sites worldwide and 11th place overall among web sites in the United States."

When is it okay to check your cellphone? If you're having dinner with your spouse and your phone buzzes with a text, do you reach for it? If you reach for it, do you text back? In Farhad Manjoo's house, that would be verboten (at least not without asking permission). In fact, one shouldn't text at all when having a face-to-face conversation, according to Slate's attempt to set the ground rules for cell phone use. On Twitter last week, young technophiles like the New York Times's Nick Bilton argued the opposite. When Bilton's lunching with his boss he leaves his phone alone, but around other tech-savvy people his own age, he texts without compunction. We're hoping the bit about his wife texting him to get his attention during dinner was a joke.

Google begins selling business software. Apple's iPhone App Store has created a billion dollar opportunity for small businesses that develop applications and games for the popular gadget. Now Google is trying to pull off the same trick for business software, which could be great news for business-to-business companies in need of customers. TechCrunch reports on the release of the Google Apps Marketplace, which allows companies to sell web-based business software that integrates with programs like Gmail and Google Docs. The app strategy will undoubtedly improve Google's already impressive (and free) software offering. But it could also be an opportunity for entrepreneurs. "For...small startup developers, it means instant access to more users than they can likely imagine," TechCrunch writes. "It also potentially means something more important: money."

How to handle employee turnover. Entrepreneur turned venture capitalist Mark Suster posted on his blog, Both Sides of the Table, about how the difficulty of moving from one job to the next. On A VC, Fred Wilson responds by breaking down the issue from every side: the employee, the current employer, and the future employer. One recommendation: If a key employee leaves suddenly, it's worth exercising some patience before bringing an outsider onboard. In that scenario, a "battlefield promotion" might be the best option.

Charting the Facebook economy. We've written in the past about the dangers of building your business on someone else's platform. But many companies, undeterred by that risk--and attracted by the prospect of hundreds of millions of potential customers--have built business models that rely heavily on Facebook. The Guardian takes a stab at estimating the size of the Facebook economy, figuring that among a slew of companies such as Playfish, Zynga, and Plancast, the social network's broader economy is easily worth several billion dollars. The article asks "whether [Facebook is] a viable ecosystem, a bubble or a house of cards."

How to simplify your phone system. Can't get an invitation to Google Voice, the free service that transcribes voicemails and rings multiple numbers? (Read more about Google Voice here.) A start-up called Phonebooth.com is attempting to pick up the slack, Mashable reports. The website is now offering Phonebooth OnDemand, which is a full-featured phone service that will set you back $20 a month per user. The no-cost version, which is called Phonebooth Free and is aimed at small businesses, will give you a local number with up to five extensions, call-forwarding to multiple sources, and voicemail with transcription.

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Last updated: Mar 10, 2010




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