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AOL Takes Over

Over the weekend, I visited and was surprised to see AOL's "On Now" campaign taking over the *entire* screen of my laptop. This screenshot is trimmed down to fit the blog, but it is taken of a fully expanded browser. The ad itself is attractive, dynamic and features fresh, timely content. My surprise is instead that the New York Times homepage is entirely covered by a different (but still competing?) news source:

Congratulations to Thing Labs, Brizzly

A big congratulations to Thing Labs, the makers of Brizzly, who were acquired by AOL today. Brizzly will continue to exist and be a part of AOL. (Thing Labs is a Polaris company and Dogpatch Labs graduate)

And equally importantly, the Thing Labs team will play a major role at AOL - which I could not be more excited about. Jason Shellen and Christopher Wetherell of Thing Labs, two terrificly talented leaders and product thinkers, will lead AOLs AIM and Lifestream products. From AOL's release:

"The Brizzly team will play a key role in helping AOL provide consumers with the best possible venues to discover and share content with each other. Over time, AOL expects to integrate aspects of the Brizzly service into its popular Lifestream product, its social aggregator and publisher, and AIM, AOL’s flagship messaging platform. The Brizzly team will join AOL’s Consumer Applications Group, where Thing Labs Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jason Shellen and Christopher Wetherell, Vice President of Product and Engineering, will lead the AIM product suite, including Lifestream."

A big congratulations and we are all excited to see what happens with AOL's social products... which now have a killer team at the helm.

More on TechCrunch and ThingLabs.

Trying to Keep the Microsoft, News Corp, AOL, Yahoo Gossip Straight

Nearly a week into the three-week Microsoft ultimatum, there are a sudden flurry of developments and rumors... enough activity that (I imagine) something significant will happen shortly:

- Microsoft gave Yahoo a three-week notice - Yahoo announces today that they will test ads with Google - Microsoft responds to the announcement with force and threat - Meanwhile, Yahoo is negotiating with AOL to merge... discussions are apparently quite far along - ... Enough so that Microsoft and News Corp might be joining forces to improve their Yahoo bid

AOL + Yahoo sounds like a mess.

I already like Microsoft + Yahoo - and adding MySpace (and News Corp's content properties / relationships) makes it even more attractive and powerful.