Google-Groupon Deal?

Search giant Google is reported to be offering as much as $6 billion for leading e-Commerce coupon site, Groupon. According to a number of media sources, the deal’s initial payment will be worth about $5.3 billion, with the remaining $700 million to be used as an incentive for keeping Groupon’s employees.
The deal, if it happens, is going to be Google’s largest acquisition yet, much bigger than its successful $3.1 billion bid for DoubleClick and the $1.65 billion price tag of the company’s YouTube deal.
Launched in November 2008 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Groupon is a social shopping network that delivers daily deals to users in cities across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
While the price of the rumoured acquisition seems high – Groupon only has an estimated $600 million in revenue – industry observers say that the coupon site is the clear leader in a rapidly growing new category on the Internet. Its overwhelming success in offering retail discounts and exclusive deals to its members certainly makes it attractive to Google, which is looking to improve its local e-Commerce and advertising products.
The search giant is also in the process of purchasing ITA Software, which powers sites like Total Travel Deals, a platform for travel e-Commerce, in a deal reported to be worth $700 million.

“Facebook Killer” Diaspora Launches

Tired and jaded with privacy-related concerns while using leading social networking site Facebook?
You might want to try Diaspora, another social networking alternative to Facebook, released just on the heels of the launch of “personal network” Path a little over a week ago. Founded on the idea of a “privacy-aware” social network, Diaspora aims to serve as a response to the privacy issues raised almost regularly by the mainstream social network services of Facebook. The community-funded open-source software – not “site” – went live last Tuesday in private alpha version, with invites released to Diaspora’s first batch of users.
Daniel Grippi, Maxwell, Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy co-founded Diaspora while living in a computer laboratory on Mercer Street in New York. “We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how people can share in a private way, and still do all the things people love to do on social networks,” they write in the official blog post on the launch.
What makes Diaspora unique is its decentralized architecture, which makes it possible to create an open-source social network where users have more control and privacy over the information they share – something that several critics say Facebook fails to do. As a free software with an openly available code (for other programmers to build on), Diaspora lets users set up their own personal servers – or “seeds” – and create their own information hubs containing photos, links, and other kinds of shareable content. The software nonetheless allows users to keep socializing over the Web – sharing photos and albums, tweeting, playing games, posting links – but with a greater focus on security and privacy for users. Diaspora doesn’t expose your information to advertisers, or to games you play, or to other websites you visit.
Finding this “Facebook killer” hard to picture? Worry not. Mashable has a walk-through to give you a better idea of how Diaspora works.