Google’s Marissa Mayer becomes Yahoo CEO
Yahoo has named Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s top execs, as its next CEO, ending a hunt that began after Scott Thompson was forced out in May for padding his resume. Ross Levinsohn, who has been the interim CEO, had been considered the top candidate for the job.
“I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users,” Mayer said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”
The appointment of Mayer, who joined Google in 1999 as employee No. 20, is a big coup for Yahoo, which has long been struggling amid brutal competition from Google and Facebook. News of the hiring was first reported by The New York Times.
Mayer, 37, has been Google’s most prominent female executive, often speaking at big tech conferences about Google’s products. She is known as the person responsible for the look and feel of Google’s most popular products — not just its main search homepage but Gmail, Google News, and Google Images. More recently, she was put in charge of Google’s maps and location services. All told, the Stanford computer science grad was behind the launch of more than 100 Google products and features, according to Yahoo.
Google CEO Larry Page congratulated Mayer in a statement: “Since arriving at Google just over 13 years ago as employee No. 20, Marissa has been a tireless champion of our users. She contributed to the development of our Search, Geo, and Local products as well as many other product areas. We will miss her talents at Google.”
Mayer was approached for the job in mid-June, as reported by Fortune’s Patricia Sellers, and was told by Yahoo’s board last Thursday that she was their choice. Mayer’s pregnancy — she is due with her first child in October — was not an issue. “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it,” Mayer told Sellers.
Venture capitalists Marc Andreessen, speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm conference, said the choice of Mayer shows that Yahoo wants to be more of a product-centic company rather than a media-focused company. He called the hiring a “big statement on Yahoo’s part,” and said it was “great for the Valley.”
In taking the top job at Yahoo, Mayer certainly has her work cut out for her. During the first quarter of 2012, Yahoo posted revenue of $1.077 billion, representing just a 1 percent increase over the year-earlier period. That relatively flat revenue figure resulted from a 4 percent decrease in display advertising revenue and an 8 percent increase in search revenue.
AT&T may charge for FaceTime calls over 3G
Apple’s FaceTime video chat service may have been Wi-Fi-only since its inception, but that means it’s also been free all along. This could change come the launch of iOS 6, however — the introduction of FaceTime calling over 3G could well be accompanied by charges for the first time. 9to5Mac has acquired screenshots from the recently-released iOS 6 beta 3 that seem to show FaceTime over cellular networks requiring activation (read: a contract bolt-on) in a similar way to the Personal Hotspot feature. Attempting to use 3G calling on an iPhone reportedly brings up an error message imploring the user to contact AT&T to have the feature enabled, though 9to5Mac’s iPad worked without running into the issue.
If true, this would raise all sorts of questions as to how AT&T plans to handle its customers’ data allowances. A flat rate for unlimited FaceTime calling could undoubtedly result in some hefty packet consumption, and the real question then would be if FaceTime data counts towards users’ bandwidth caps. If so, people might find themselves needing a higher data plan on top of the extra FaceTime charges, but if not it’d raise the issue of AT&T’s adherence to net neutrality principles — Comcast has come under fire recently for letting its customers use the Xfinity video service without it counting towards their download limits. Were AT&T to implement a similar policy, it could have far-reaching implications for Skype and other services with customers that currently have to deal with managing their data.
You Can Now (Finally) Read Barnes & Noble E-books on the Web
E-books purchased through Barnes & Noble can now (finally) be read via your desktop browser, no download required.
Nook for Web, which launched Tuesday, is compatible with all PC and Mac-supported web browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It offers a beautiful, uncluttered reading experience. You can choose between eight font types and sizes. Pages can be read in a single or double-page layout. Pages are turned with a quick scroll of your mouse.
It’s surprising it took Barnes & Noble this long to release a web-based e-book reader. According to a Pew Research Center survey published this spring, a computer is the most popular device for reading e-books: 42% of those who read e-books say they read on a personal computer, followed by an e-reader (41%), cell phone (29%) and tablet (23%). Both Amazon and Google launched browser-based readers back in 2010. And although Barnes & Noble already had downloadable reading applications for Macs and PCs, books have been inaccessible to those who frequently use public computers and can’t install any software on those devices.
Conveniently, e-books will automatically sync across devices: If you leave off on page 16 of a novel on your iPhone, you can resume on the same page on your desktop an hour later.
San Diego Comic Con 2012 Recap
-Firefly reunion panel: http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/07/sdcc-firefly-panel-prepare-to-bawl/
-Mattel BTTF Hoverboard: http://collider.com/comic-con-images-back-to-the-future/179777/
Matty Collector Ecto Goggles
Geek This Week:
Aaron: Smashing Pumpkins Pisces Iscariot box set
Gozer: Movies! Amazing Spider Man. Batman Madness! Batman Begins, Dark Knight & Dark Knight Rises. Nexus 7!
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