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Startupbin

Blog about the web and startups, from Finland. By Timo Paloheimo

Open Facebook Search has a new name: Open Status Search

Open Facebook Search has reached an important milestone. Thanks to the brave ongoing efforts of Ethel from Facebook’s legal department, I too received a “Notice of Trademark Infringement”. It was a monument of legalese which stated that using the word “facebook” in the domain infringes on their trademark. Which I guess it does, whatever, not going to have any sleepless nights over this.

So I had to change the domain and I changed the name of the site too. It is now called Open Status Search and can be found at the handy URL http://openstatussearch.com. (Doesn’t quite have the SEO appeal of its predecessor, does it…)

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Embed Facebook Searches Anywhere

ofbs-embed

Open Facebook Search – my newest project – is developing rapidly. Since the launch a few days ago, it has received some nice coverage on blogs, the biggest being Inside Facebook and ReadWriteWeb. Today I’m very proud to announce that now on Open Facebook Search you can now embed any search results to any web page.

Go to Open Facebook Search.

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Open Facebook Search – Search Facebook public timeline outside Facebook

Open Facebook Search

UPDATE  17 MAY 2011: The service is no more called Open Facebook Search. It is now called Open Status Search, thanks to Facebook’s ace legal team. Read more.

Facebook launched their new open Graph API last week, and most of the attention has been towards how Facebook will be gathering massive amounts of new data through Social Plugins and how they are going to utilize it.

A very interesting thing also was launched at the same time, namely the Open Graph API. What developers and users have not quite realized yet is, that now there is a way to search the public timeline of Facebook, without logging in to Facebook.

This opens up whole new possibilities for developers to create totally new services on top of Facebook’s data. The first service to utilize this was likebutton.me, and while i was using it, I realized that they had managed to create a way to search these public records.

I though this idea could be taken further, so for the past day I’ve been working really hard (It’s not that hard really, but I’m not a fast coder) to create the first search engine for Facebook’s public timeline – Open Facebook Search.

The service is still quite much in beta, but I wanted to launch it to the world as quickly as possible. So, take a look at the brand new service: Open Facebook Search.

UPDATE: The site has gotten some nice coverage on Inside Facebook & ReadWriteWeb

UPDATE: Now you can embed all searches to any website. Read more.

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My new mirco-startup is aiming hyperlocal

During the past 6 months I’ve been holding back on my blogging about startups as I’ve been trying various ideas for a new startup of my own. After a few misses, that I’ll not talk about here, I think I have come up with a sustainable idea.

Hyperlocal was a somewhat big buzzword in 2009 and as many websites are becoming more location-aware, location will become even more important in 2010. So far hyperlocal services such as EveryBlox, Fwix and Outside.in have gained some traction mainly in the US, but in my home country of Finland there are currently no such services.

I believe there is a need for consumers to find relevant information about things happening around them, but that need is not being fulfilled in a comprehensive way (at least in Finland). In Finland I see almost every week that a new or existing website tries to fulfill a part of the equation so from a consumer’s perspective, there is more local information, but it is very fragmented. Therefore I decided that I wanted to start exploring the possibilities of hyperlocal and location-aware services by building an aggregator. Paikallinen.info was born.

paikallinen-info-screenshot-etusivu

Currently Paikallinen.info aggregates news, and information about restaurants and services from the biggest cities in Finland, so calling the site hyperlocal is a bit of an exaggeration, but that is the ultimate goal. It is currently very difficult to retrieve any local information beyond city-level in Finland, but I see that this will change in the future. The site in it’s current form serves as a platform for adding more information from various sources later on.

From the US-based hyper-local services I see EveryBlock as the most interesting, but I will not try to copy them, but to find a solution that fits the Finnish market. We are behind the US by 1-3 years, so there is time to find the best working model. As for monetization, I believe there is real value in location as a context for advertising. In the beginning the site will include contextual advertising through Google AdSense. Affiliate marketing (still underutilized in Finland) will follow soon.

paikallinen-info-screenshot-helsinki

As I’m not going to leave my day job in an ad agency just yet, I wanted to create a very lean startup, that requires minimal investment. The first version of the site was created in four hours on top of WordPress. After some more tweaking over the holiday season, I have created a site that I see as enough for a so-called minimum viable product. It could also be called a minimal viable product as there is some work needed to enhance the visual representation of the site at a later stage. I really want to get critique and ideas from users to guide the development of the site, so point your browsers to Paikallinen.info and give your feedback there.

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Twitter interview with Kai Lemmetty from Floobs

Floobs logo

For the second interview with Finnish startups via Twitter I chatted with Kai Lemmetty from Floobs. Earlier I interviewed Ramine Darahiba from MySites using the same rules: one tweet per question, one tweet per answer.

Read the discussion below for Kai’s comments on the future of their service (they are coming out of beta after the summer), making money with their service and the state of the Finnish startup scene. Enjoy.

Startupbin: @Kaimaan For the people not familiar with Floobs, how do you define yourself?

Kaimaan: @startupbin Floobs is a live and on-demand-video management platform for sports and music industries.

What sets you apart from your (bigger) competitors?

without going to technical details: 1. our focus on sports and music 2. focus on Europe 3. product

How is your product different? or is that where the tech comes into the picture? Any difference from the user POW?

tech innovations enables us to keep the streaming cost low but we also make it easier to manage brand related content online

So, what’s new with Floobs?

we are just launching new widgets for music and sports. Currently we have beta users mainly from Spain and Finland.

Besides widgets, what are your plans for the future? When are you planning to drop the beta?

We will drop the beta after the summer. Before that we will launch widget store and start sales operations in Italy.

Tell me more abour the widget store – is that your way to generating cashflow?

yes. the widget store will serve all the widgets and it will be the primary place to manage the ads+subscriptions.

Why should we all start using Floobs right now?

in music it is the best tool for managing video on social platforms. In sports it is the best live web-tv solution out there!

How do you see the Finnish startup Scene at the moment?

times are difficult.Some started doing consulting and other things on the side.Nice to see new startups born.

What’s the most interesting new startup in Finland?

I think orxter is very interesting. I like their idea and business model.

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Google minus Google shortlisted in GrandOne

grandone_pieni_rajat_53985d Google minus Google

My little search engine that removes Google content when searching with Google got into the final at GrandOne, the biggest digital marketing competition in Finland. I submitted Google minus Google into the best results for an online campaign -category.

Check out my campaign submission (in Finnish) or all of the finalists.

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TwitBear launches into private beta – I’ve got invites

Twitbear logo

Three Finns, who clearly have a hard time in moving to Twitter from Jaiku have created a new service called Twitbear that gives the possibility to comment on Twitter messages.

The service, which moved into private beta yesterday,  is clearly not up to it’s full potential yet, but looks very promising. What Twitbear needs is the option to send the comments back to Twitter. I hope for their sake Twitter will not implement this type of commenting in the actual service some day.

I wish the team the best of luck. It’s great to see Finns creating services on top of Twitter.

Read more from Arctic Startup.

I have 5 invites to share with you. Claim yourself one by leaving a comment below.

UPDATE: No more invites to share. All gone.

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YouNoodle Scores for Finnish Startups

YouNoodle is a company that gathers information about startups and analyzing that data helps investors and other decision makers in their work of seeding promising new companies from the sea of mee-too’s and other rubbish. (I  wrote about them earlier) They have today realeased a new service called YouNoodle Scores.

A YouNoodle Score is a quantitative measurement, on a scale of 0 to 100, of a startup’s impact and importance based on its traction, activity, and buzz.

For further info, Sarah Lacy wrote a good post about YouNoodle Scores on TechCrunch.

I decided to check out the YouNoodle Scores for some Finnish startups and see how they are scoring. There are currently not that many Finnish compenies listed on the site – another place to submit your startup there… Especially because the YouNoodle score is also shown on CrunchBase (e.g. Floobs) However, for all the Finnish startups I found, the results can be found below.

YouNoodle Scores for Finnish startups

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Fruugo welcomes you to the jungle: Hands-on review

fruugo logo

Last night I joined a small group of Finnish bloggers and startups at Fruugo HQ in Helsinki for the first demo session of the service. We were also the first to get invitations to the public beta. Here are my initial thoughts.

What is Fruugo?

Fruugo is a Finnish startup unlike any other. They have started big gotten along investors such as Nokia’s Chairman Jorma Ollila and they aim at revolutionizing e-commerce. They sure have the resources for it. They are located in right of the center of Helsinki, where they employ close to 100 people.

Fruugo is what you get when you combine social shopping, a product finder, price comparison and a slick e-commerce site. They want to combine Europe’s (EU) webshops into kind of a huge mall, where it’s fun to shop or just hang around.

fruugo screenshot

Welcome to the Jungle is just a release name

The first beta release is called welcome to the jungle. They will have new releases in a fast pace, maybe even weekly and they will be named after (bad) songs.

The UI is colorful, but still simple. The service is really easy to use, although at this stage there are quite a lot of errors. Apparently they have a lot of features coming up in the future releases.

A lot of work done and a lot of work still to be done

The biggest task that Fuugo has done is prepare themselves for integration with a huge number of e-commerce platforms. Also they have done their work in trying to combine webshops from around Europe in a way that it doesn’t really  matter to the user from which country their goods will be delivered from. Having lots of different size webshops from different countries working on the same platform is by no means a small effort.

At this stage they have webshops mainly from Finland and Sweden, but they are opening up more countries in the near future. From the small selection of products they have on the site it’s hard to tell what will be the biggest benefits of Fruugo will be. But I can see that they are on to something big here.

More screenshots from Fruugo on Flickr.

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Finnish Companies Using Twitter

Twitter logo

Paul Dunay wrote a good post on brands that use Twitter. The list is not that long yet, but I recon it’s growing steadily. The list got me thinking again about how many Finnish companies use twitter.

Again, there is no easy way to find them,  even though I used several tools in the process, e.g. TwitDir (no longer functional), Twitter Grader and Twitter’s own search.

Below is a list of my findings, which is relatively short, but should be quite accurate. Most of the companies are startups, which is not surprising. Even many of these companies do not really use Twitter. There is a lot of work to be done to better utilize the great service.

I have only included companies that tweet. There are of course a lot of people in other companies that use it for business purposes, but they

Finnish companies that Tweet

Two finnish  IT news sites use it just for posting their news automatically:

  • Macmaa http://twitter.com/macmaa Apple-uutiset, testit ja vinkit – Apple news and tests
  • tietokone http://twitter.com/tietokone Tietoteknlogian asiantuntija

There clearly is a lot of room for more Finnish companies on Twitter. So sign up and follow me: twitter.com/startupbin. I’ll be happy to help you yo get started using Twitter.

If you other finnish companies using Twitter, please tell in the comments.

[Brands that Tweet via  http://twitter.com/jowyang]

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