Friday, May 18, 2012

Internet greets Facebook's IPO price with glee, skepticism

(CNN) -- Friends may be priceless. But 'friending' is worth $38 a share.

That's what Facebook set as the initial price when its stock begins trading on Wall Street Friday morning. That's at the top end of the range analysts were expecting and gives the company a valuation of roughly $104 billion.

That stock price will be the biggest opening ever for a tech company and the third-largest IPO in history -- behind only Visa and Italian utility company ENEL.

Why Facebook won't start trading at the opening bell

On the Web, reactions ran the gamut from deliriously hopeful to harshly negative for the social-media giant's Wall Street potential.

"A $104 billion market capitalization puts Facebook at more than 100 times its trailing earnings," wrote John Constine and Kim-Mai Cutler for technology blog TechCrunch. "That's a big multiple to live up to, and it will likely need to add bold new revenue streams to justify the mammoth valuation."

And it wasn't just the pros weighing in. In fact, it seemed like everyone on the Internet had an opinion.

Business Insider posted a poll (obviously not scientific) asking readers where they thought the $38 stock would be by the end of the day Friday.

In early results, a pessimistic 17 percent said under $35. But the biggest cluster of respondents guessed somewhere between $40-55. (Thirteen percent said $40-45, another 13 percent said $45-50 and, yes, yet another 13 percent said $50-55).

A hopeful 8 percent predicted the stock would skyrocket at otherworldly levels, winding up over $90 a share.

On Twitter, many observers seemed to be rooting against Facebook and its early investors.

"Just me or anyone else really hoping for Facebook stock to take a nose dive and never come back up? I want to watch it drop like a rock," tweeted a user who identified himself as Thomas Bryant from Austin, Texas.

"Facebook just raised $16 billion in its stock offering! Let's all delete our accounts and leave investors high and dry!" tweeted Evil Wylie, the Twitter alter ego of New York author Andrew Shaffer.

On Thursday afternoon, shares were released to big-time brokers who have already agreed to buy them. Ordinary investors have to wait until Friday morning, when shares begin selling publicly

While the market opens at 9:30 am, Facebook's shares won't start trading until at least an hour or so afterward because it's newly listed.

While opinions in the business and tech communities have differed on whether the massive social network is a good investment, analysts have largely been bullish on the stock. There's been heavy demand, leading Facebook on Wednesday to announce it will sell about 25% more shares than it had originally planned, bringing its total to 421 million shares.

At CNN content partner Mashable, a blog that got its start focusing exclusively on social media and saw its popularity rise as Facebook's did, the staff geared up by creating an IPO-inspired playlist on music site Spotify (which, perhaps not coincidentally, is accessible only through a Facebook account).

Making the list? "Mo Money, Mo Problems," by The Notorious B.I.G., "Rich" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs," "Money (That's What I Want) by Barrett Strong and "If I Had $1,000,000" by Barenaked Ladies, among others.

Facebook's new billionaires

Even as tech and financial gurus (self-appointed and otherwise) waited with bated breath for the opening, opining either for or against the financial future of the site some had to face the hard truth: We have no idea what's going to happen.

"Of course, much of this is speculative and depends on the market's response to Facebook," VentureBeat's Jennifer Van Grove wrote in a post quoting analysts about the IPO. "For now, all we can do is wait and watch the clock in anticipation of tomorrow's opening. Tick tock."

CNNMoney and CNN's Brandon Griggs contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Google revamps search, tries to think more like a person

(CNN) -- So, let's say you're doing a Google search for "Kings." Did you mean the L.A. hockey team or the Sacramento basketball team? Maybe the TV show? Or maybe you actually wanted to know something about monarchs.

Google on Wednesday announced Knowledge Graph, a significant change to how search results are delivered that the company believes will make their search engine think more like a human.

"The web pages we [currently] return for the search 'kings,' they're all good," Jack Menzel, director of product management at Google, told CNN in an interview. "You, as a human, associate those words with their real-world meaning but, for a computer, they're just a random string of characters."

With Knowledge Graph, which will begin rolling out to some users immediately, results will be arranged according to categories with which the search term has been associated. So, in the above example, boxes will appear with separate results for the hockey team, basketball team and TV show.

Google develops 'smart glasses'

The user can then click on one of those boxes to only get results for the specific topic they were searching.

"It hones your search results right in on the task that you're after," Menzel said.

More specific searches, say for the name of a celebrity, will render boxes with basic information, as well as links to what Google believes are possibly related searches.

Menzel says the initial version of Knowledge Graph has information on 500 million people, places and things and uses 3.5 billion defining attributes and connections to create categories for them.

The feature will begin rolling out as early as Wednesday afternoon for some users in the United States and eventually be available on desktop, mobile and tablet searches. It will first become available in English, then in other languages, Menzel said.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Report: New MacBook Pro to feature retina display

(CNN) -- The new 15-inch MacBook Pro will be a significant departure from the current design, with a retina display and an ultra-thin profile, 9to5Mac claims, citing sources from Apple's supply chain.

It will be so thin, in fact, that it won't have room for an optical drive, just like its lightweight cousin MacBook Air.

Other design changes include a power button on the keyboard itself (replacing the eject button) and, possibly, the lack of an Ethernet port (replaced by an extra Thunderbolt port).

Rumors of new Apple iPads, iPhones The true cost of an iPhone

The MacBook Pro's new retina display -- the same technology that's in the new iPad -- is described as "definitely the most important Mac innovation in years" by the sources who've handled a prototype of the device. The specifics are unknown, but users should be able to choose between several Retina resolution modes.

Finally, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro will have USB 3.0 support, and the latest Ivy Bridge processors from Intel are a safe bet, too.

If these rumors are true, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro might be one of the most important MacBook devices to see the light of day in recent years.

How do you like these specifications? What do you think about a 15-inch MacBook Pro without an optical drive? Share your opinions in the comments.

See the original story on Mashable.