Entries tagged with “drooling”.


Never underestimate the power of first-mover advantage, especially when being one of the first movers gets you bought by Google. Back in August, 1999, Pyra Labs launched Blogger. LiveJournal had launched six months before and Open Diary in October of the previous year. But it was Pyra Labs which was acquired by Google in February, 2003, and the rest was history. Now, nearly ten years later, Blogger is still the dominant hosted blogging platform. In May, 52 million individual people from the U.S. visited a Blogger blog, almost twice as many as the 28 million who visited a blog hosted by Wordpress.com (comScore). Six Apart properties, including Typepad.com, attracted 14 million.

Millions of bloggers still use Blogger because it is easy. However, Wordpress.com is making steady gains and growing its aggregate audience in the U.S. at more than twice the annual rate of Blogger (40 percent versus 14 percent). These numbers don’t count all the blogs that host Wordpress on their own servers, such as Techcrunch.

The vast majority of Blogger traffic comes from outside the United States, where its annual growth rate is 38 percent compared to Wordpress.com’s 59 percent. On a worldwide basis, Blogger blogs have a readership of 267 million people a month, compared to 143 million a month for Wordpress (comScore, April, 2008). The biggest countries are, in order:

1. U.S.
2. Brazil
3. Turkey
4. Spain
5. Canada
6. U.K.

From a business standpoint, Blogger is good for Google because it creates millions of sites which can show AdSesne ads. It creates more inventory for Google. Only recently has Google bothered to start showing ads to the users of Blogger itself every time they publish a post.

Can Blogger keep its lead indefinitely, or will Wordpress eventually catch up? Or will something else entirely overtake both of them?

Today, two of the people behind the original Blogger, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, have another little service that is capturing people’s attention. It is called Twitter, you may have heard about it. In May, Twitter.com had 17.6 million unique U.S. visitors to its Website alone, making it bigger already than Six Apart.

Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

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Renault Twingo
Image via Wikipedia

It’s silly, of course, to judge a car by its name. But perhaps not quite as silly as the name Twingo, which is supposedly a combination of Twist, Swing and Tango. Though fine for confectionery – “I’ll have a Twingo, please, two Mars bars and some liquorice allsorts” – it’s not a word many of us would feel comfortable placing at the end of the sentence “I drive a … ”

In aid of a little brand research, I spent a week telling people I met that “I came in a Twingo”. Suffice to say the response was not encouraging. A couple pretended they hadn’t heard me, a few flashed me indulgent expressions, and one asked me if everything was OK at work.

All this focus on what is, after all, just a name may seem beside the point, but there is a culture and history to motor cars that we’d be ill-advised to ignore. There is the romance of the road, and then there are the contents of the tuck shop: and the two don’t really mix. Can anyone, for example, imagine Bruce Springsteen penning a lyric in which he takes his Twingo for a ride?

That said, there is more to the Twingo than just sounding like a sweet. For a start, it also looks like a sweet: a squashed wine gum, possibly, or a half-consumed lozenge. Chunky but compact, there is something suspiciously reduced about the car, as if it started out as a people carrier and then had the people bit cut off.

This odd sense of identity crisis is hardly allayed by the discrepant relationship between the large sloping windscreen, which suggests a safe, family-friendly experience, and low-slung sporty seats, which bespeak something rougher and more raunchy. I felt either that the screen needed to be six inches lower, or the seat six inches higher (and maybe both). As it was, I felt a bit like one of those underage joyriders, without quite driving into any trees or jewellery shops.

The Twingo is what’s known as a “hot hatch” – that’s marketing speak for a small car with big ideas. The big idea with the Twingo Sport is that it’s secretly a sports car. Hence it has its rev counter positioned on top of the dashboard behind the steering wheel, just like in a formula one cockpit. Not since Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav wore an alarm clock around his neck has a measuring instrument seemed more conspicuously out of place.

Arguably the sportiest thing about the Twingo is the clutch pedal. If you want to work on developing your left-leg muscles, then just spend a few hours in a Twingo changing gear and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be looking at your calf with drooling envy.

A lot of expense has been spared by not bothering overly about comfort or ease. It makes for a stripped-down, almost old-fashioned drive – in twisting, swinging and tango terms, it’s John Sergeant rather than Rachel Stevens – which is in keeping with the new temper of the times. It’s practical, too. The back seats fold down to make generous boot space for a car of this size./ppThe Twingo is not for everyone. But if you’re looking just to zip around town, well, suck it and see.

Renault Twingo Sport 133

Price £11,550
Top speed 125mph
Acceleration 0-62 in 8.7 seconds
Average consumption 40.4mpg
C02 emissions 165g/km
Eco rating 7/10
At the wheel Violet Beauregarde
Bound for Salsa class
In a word Sweet

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