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Apple to create virtual social app store environment

Figure 9 from U.S. PatentNo US007660749

Figure 9 from U.S. PatentNo US007660749

Apple Inc. today has been awarded a new virtual store patent (Patent No. US007660749) by the U.S. Patent Office, indicating the company could roll out a virtual app store environment where users could customize their own virtual characters.

The patent application also gives hints at the environment, suggesting there would be far more outside of the actual store. The entire virtual world, including the environment outside of the store, would dynamically change according to various factors such as the time of day, weather, and possibly even to yearly seasons such as summer and winter – think Rockstar’s GTA.

We’ve already seen virtual interactive environments such as Sony’s PlayStation Home (wikipedia) realm, and SecondLife.

The Apple patent figures do not provide much insight as to what the end-product would really look like, except minor details that show users could purchase music, books, electronics, and likely an excessive assortment of other goods. So, Apple once again has us guessing as to what Apple CEO Steve Jobs could possibly unveil in the future.

The patent was originally filed back in mid-2006, but was published as approved today.

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Facebook now cash flow positive from operations

The world’s largest social network Facebook has hit an important milestone.

The company founder Mark Zuckerberg announced in a blog post that Facebook was cash flow positive in the last quarter ended in June.

The company previously forecasted it would become cash flow positive sometime in 2010.

However, many material costs were not considered in the analysis. Only costs required to keep the site operational, such as server costs and other capital expenses, were considered. Acquisition costs, such as the most recent $50 million FriendFeed acquisition were not considered. Facebook also said that private investment cash was not considered. Other costs that can have a material impact are not considered as well, such as accounting charges, interest, and taxes.

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Photo sharing site Expono launches with rich features

Update: When asked what the company is working on, Expono told us “we are working on improving photo browsing (bigger better photos) and new ways users can explore public/friend photos.”

Expono (@expono) is a relatively new photo sharing website that recently went live with a slew of many extensive features you won’t find on the most popular media sharing sites such as Flickr.

Expono lets you upload, manage, geo-tag, backup, embed and share your photos with social media sites such as FriendFeed, Facebook, and Twitter.

If you want to share your photos via Facebook, you just follow the simple instructions to connect your FB account with Expono, then you’ll be able to easily share full photos across Facebook. You can also tag friends in photos.

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Facebook Usernames are now live

Facebook Usernames are now live. You can now register your “facebook.com/username” to easily share your Facebook profile with friends. This was one feature Facebook was missing that other services offered that made it easy to share your profile, such as Twitter.

Your Facebook profile has went from a complicated URL structure of http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=111111111 to http://facebook.com/yourname

The feature has just gone live, and in about 15 minutes after the launch, there have been over 500,000 registered usernames, so grab yours before it’s gone.

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Cable industry pushes for interactive online TV to compete with Hulu among others

The cable industry is feeling increased pressure from online sites like Hulu that let you watch select TV shows whenever you want straight from your computer. The cable industry is now feeling increased pressure to do something about companies like Hulu who pose a significant threat as trends indicate consumers are shifting to watching TV online and want interactivity and more choice.

Comcast will be expanding its free online video site Fancast to include more social media and social networking features, premium subscription services, and a wider assortment of online videos much like Hulu. Fancast will also stream live shows playing on TV to Fancast as part of a premium feature. Read the full story

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Nokia Building Google Latitude Location Sharing Competitor

nokiaPhone makers are starting to understand that people want more social features on their phone to help keep them connected with friends. You can easily send messages and update your status right now, but it is difficult to get timely information of where your friends are. Google has just launched Google Latitude, allowing you to see your friend’s geographic position on a map in real-time. Read the full story

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