Technology News Headlines for July 26 2012 ( Thursday )

First Commercial Tidal Wave Power Project In U.S. This Summer
Tidal power is something that hasn't yet been commercially tried as a green electricity source in the U.S., but that changes this Summer with the TidGen project in Cobscook Bay, near to Eastport, Maine. Turbines will be anchored to the ground in water that's about 50 to 100 feet deep and will spin to generate power as the tide surges into and out of Cobscook Bay during the day. The system will initially power between 75 and 100 homes, but ultimately will generate enough to power 1,200 homes--a power of about 3 megaWatts. The project comes from the Ocean Renewables Power Company, which has been working with the Department of Energy.

Fab Rolls Out Mobile Sharing Features, Facebook Connect
Fab's mobile users, who drive 30 to 40% of the shopping site's daily traffic, are twice as likely as web-based users to make a purchase. And shoppers who use the site's social features, such as the Live Feed that shows what people are purchasing in real time, buy twice as much as those who don't. So it makes sense that Fab is adding a host of social features to its mobile app, which it launches as Fab 3.0 for Mobile today. It's also adopting Facebook Connect, so users who were previously able to see what their Facebook friends were buying on Fab can now also log into the site through Facebook. Fab, which now has 5.5 million users, says more than 20% of its daily traffic comes from social channels.

Path Adds Personal Voice Messages, Photo Filters, Movie And Book Reviews To Sharing App
Personal social network Path has added a few features in version 2.5 of its sharing app. Among those, the photo feature has been updated with filters, and Path has slapped on a bigger, better display in which to enjoy them. Invites to friends not on the intimate social network get even more of a personal touch--those can be sent along with a voice message recorded and attached. Path has also added a catalogue of movie and book reviews, through partnerships with Apple and Flixter. Path noticed updates often involved photos of movie posters or books, cofounder and CEO Dave Morin told The Verge, so they decided to add a feature that would make those shares more effective. In its latest funding round, Path added $30 million from the investors like Greylock Partners and Richard Branson.

Zynga Releases Q2 Report, Cuts Back Forecasts
Zynga has released its second quarter earnings results, reporting revenues of $332 million which fall short of analyst expectations of $343 million. Acknowledging the trend, but perhaps worryingly, Zynga also cut back its forecasts for bookings this year (its revenues minus its Facebook fees, the New York Times explains) from $1.47 billion to $1.15 billion. Part of the reason behind Zynga's disappointing results is its purchase of Draw Something maker OMGPop for $183 million earlier this year, as the game's initial rush of popularity seems to have fizzled. It's the company's second earnings report since it went public in December. Facebook itself is about to reveal its first quarterly earnings since its May IPO later today, but the Washington Post notes Facebook's share price is being dented by Zynga's news.

Mountain Lion Sighting At The Mac App Store
Mountain Lion, the newest operating system from Apple named after a stern-looking wild cat, is out at a Mac App Store near you and downloadable for $19.99. The new OS integrates applications on the Mac with those on Apple's iPhone and iPad iOS even tighter than its predecessor Lion did--its iMessage messaging service, for example, is making a debut on the Mac in a big way. The update is likely to go well if last year's Lion release is any indication--in fact, 9to5Mac reports that some early downloaders are already running into issues. Last June was the first time Apple released an OS update over the air, and Lion was downloaded more than 1 million times on its first day out. Apple's next mobile OS iOS 6 should also do rippingly well in terms of adoption, when it arrives in the Fall--the last iOS update hit 61 percent adoption in just fifteen days. 

AOL Reveals Quarterly Finances: Revenues Slip Again, But At Slower Rate
AOL has just reported its second quarter finances: Revenues of $531 million are down 2% on the same period in 2011, but which the firm notes to be AOL's smallest slip in seven years. Net income was $970.8 million, largely driven by a pre-tax gain on "disposal of assets" of $945.8 million, which is essentially its patent sale to Microsoft. That's a dramatic change from the $11.8 million loss the company managed in the same period last year--although it doesn't paint a picture of an extraordinarily healthy AOL at all, because you can only sell the family jewels once, and a more representative income figure (without the patent sale) would be around $25 million in profit.

More promising is the fact AOL reports its global advertising revenues were up 6%, the fifth consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth. Part of that positive figure is attributed to "the lowest rate of search and contextual revenue decline in over three years of 1%, driven primarily by continued double-digit growth in search revenue on" Which is AOL saying that though its overall search engine-driven incomes are declining, they're doing so much more slowly.

BitTorrent Makes DJ Shadow A First Of A Kind Revenue Deal
While the rest of the world tries to shut them down and debate if BitTorrent shares help in real album sales, BitTorrent has struck its first revenue deal with an artist. The partnership runs contrary to the traditional music selling model but could present an amiable truce between two warring sides that comes with benefits for each. GigaOm explains that the music is still free for the downloader, but DJ Shadow now gets a cut thrown his way if the downloader also installs a BitTorrent software bundle which includes media from BitTorrent's advertising partners. BitTorrent has struck sharing deals with artists before through its uTorrent program but this is the first time the company and an artist are sharing cents. 

Facebook Begins Hiring Engineers In London
Facebook is adding an engineering team to an office in London, and has put up a jobs posting including five software engineers. Facebook first moved to London in 2009 and moved into its current Covent Garden office in late March this year. London is a busy chapter in Europe's Silicon Valley Edition, with high-profile U.S. tech firms like Google, Qualcomm buying up office space in the area. The most recent addition is Amazon, who announced its purchase of a 8-floor office in London's "Silicon Roundabout" area to develop its streaming TV business.

ARM Reports Profit Rise Of 23%, Bucking Industry Trend
British firm ARM, behind the innovative low-power chips that are enabling the smartphone and tablet revolutions, has just reported its second quarter finances, including profits of £66.5 million ($103.25 million) on sales of £135.5 million. The totals beat analyst expectations, and the profit figure represents a rise of 23% over the same period last year--while revenues are up 15%. The results are impressive given the difficult global economic environment and that ARM's industry peers have variously been down-adjusting their forecasts to suit consumer nervousness and the financial crisis that's affecting Europe so badly. ARM's strong performance is attributed to good global sales of tablets, smartphones, and other devices like smart TVs, and that its licensing revenue streams performed particularly well. Apple licenses ARM designs for its own-branded A-series of chips that power the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple TV.
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