With over 85,000 apps on Apple’s App Store alone, the task to find apps tailored to your needs and likes is daunting. Who wants to sift through that? Sidebar is hoping to help smartphone users with the process of finding the perfect apps for their phones. An app in itself, Sidebar will ask you a series of demographic questions (gender, age, location) and a series of questions to determine your interests and content preferences (i.e. what type of news do you prefer, do you play online games, what types of outdoor activities are you interested in). Once Sidebar figures out a rough sketch of who you are, the app will begin to recommend mobile content to you.

Sidebar will recommend daily content to you within the app, including videos, games, music, apps, ringtones, podcasts, promotions, news articles. The app will load no more than 12 content recommendations per day, which will last for 24 hours until the next batch of recs are sent to you. Recommendations include a short synopsis of the app or content and a screenshot or image. If you like the rec, you can save it and and download or access it later.

The startup has also recruited two seasoned professional to help run operations. Patrick Kennedy, a former Sony Pictures Digital exec, joins the company as president and CEO. At Sony, Kennedy oversaw Sony’s entry into mobile entertainment and the creation of Sony Pictures Mobile. Sidebar’s new COO is Kieran Hannon, former CMO of online retailer Cooking.com and former marketing EVP at Helio.

Kennedy tells us that the app, which is free, will be available on Apple’s App Store and for other smartphones, such as the Blackberry and Android within the next three months. The service around Sidebar is compelling. While there are other ways to find recommended apps, such as the App Store itself, and websites like 16 Apps, it’s great to receive the personalized recommendations on your mobile device.

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 Sidebar Will Deliver Personalized Mobile Apps And Content To Your...  Sidebar Will Deliver Personalized Mobile Apps And Content To Your...  Sidebar Will Deliver Personalized Mobile Apps And Content To Your...  Sidebar Will Deliver Personalized Mobile Apps And Content To Your...  Sidebar Will Deliver Personalized Mobile Apps And Content To Your...

 Sidebar Will Deliver Personalized Mobile Apps And Content To Your...

LA-based Sometrics has secured a Series B round of venture capital, led by Walt Disney Company-affiliated Steamboat Ventures and joined by previous investors The Mail Room Fund and Greycroft Partners. In total, $4 million was injected into the fledgling company, we’ve learned.

That brings the total invested in the startup to $5.55 million. The first round was raised back in May 2008. It was the first investment made by The Mail Room Fund, a joint venture fund established by William Morris Agency, Accel Parners and Venrock.

Sometrics is one of many companies looking to optimize the way social networks, gaming platforms and virtual worlds are being monetized. The startup markets tools that allow publishers and brands to manage ad inventory across social web platforms, optimize campaigns through audience analysis and targeting, as well as gain ’social intelligence’ about the performance of those campaigns through detailed analytics.

The latter part is what the company started out with, by giving social app developers a way get an overview of the number of page views and unique visits, installs and uninstalls, age of users, gender of users, number of friends, location of users and more for their Facebook and MySpace apps.

The company has since diversified and broadened its offering, and now does a little bit of everything that publishers and advertisers can tap into to get more ROI from advertising campaigns on social gaming sites, community sites and from sales of virtual goods across the board. Sometrics appear to be gravitating towards a focus on game developers, particularly with their Virtual Currency Manager product. The startup already boasts a number of partnerships with players in the online gaming industry, such as Playdom and Outspark.

Virtual goods and social advertising are an interesting field that’s poised for growth, but there’s a lot of competition in the space, with companies like SocialMedia.com, Lookery, OfferPal Media and Pubmatic offering services similar to what Sometrics markets. Maybe the pedigree of co-founder and CEO of Sometrics, Ian Swanson, can help the company stand out among them; Swanson used to run business development for AOL-owned Userplane and was an executive at Sprint before that.

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 Sometrics Raises $4 Million For Social Analytics And Advertising...  Sometrics Raises $4 Million For Social Analytics And Advertising...  Sometrics Raises $4 Million For Social Analytics And Advertising...  Sometrics Raises $4 Million For Social Analytics And Advertising...  Sometrics Raises $4 Million For Social Analytics And Advertising...

 Sometrics Raises $4 Million For Social Analytics And Advertising...

Google’s new logo is a barcode which, as far as we can tell, says “Google.” Today is the 57th anniversary of the first patent on the bar code. Inventors Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver filed the patent on October 1949, and it was granted, No. 2,612,994 (pdf), on October 7, 1952. The original patent was for a system that would encode data in circles (a bulls eye pattern), so that it could be scanned in any direction.

The barcode on the Google homepage is Code 128 encoded, which is a standard way of encoding ASCII character strings (ie. A-Z, a-z, 0-9, etc.) into a barcode. It would be safe to assume that Google used their own open source barcode project, ZXing, to generate the barcode. The same library is used in Android for barcode recognition.

The barcode is a technical innovation that has become an often unnoticed, yet essential, part of modern day life. The format is a global standard, where a scanner from any manufacturer can interpret almost any conforming barcode from anywhere (assuming it can interpret the encoding format – which is UPC in the case of products, and Code128 or something else for other applications, depending). The barcode is a great example of why uniform protocols and standards serve a greater good for everybody, and the same lesson certainly applies to the web.

We had to double check that the barcode in this instance was correct (some of the geeks here insist the barcode isn’t 100% correct), since Google has previously messed things up when they try and talk geek dirty.

Google regularly changes its logo for holidays and other special events. Here’s their 10th birthday logo from last year, for example. More recently they celebrated Gandhi’s birthday. Google hosts some of their holiday logos here, and fan created logos here.

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 New Google Logo Celebrates The Barcode  New Google Logo Celebrates The Barcode  New Google Logo Celebrates The Barcode  New Google Logo Celebrates The Barcode  New Google Logo Celebrates The Barcode

 New Google Logo Celebrates The Barcode

Social gaming startup Zynga is seeing some impressive traction. It now boats 129 million monthly active users across its portfolio of more than 30 games, according to both Inside Facebook’s AppData(see chart) and Developer Analytics. That’s up from about 50 million three months ago, and 30 million in April.

Zynga’s most popular games are FarmVille (the most popular game on Facebook with 50 million cumulative players), Mafia Wars (the second most popular game on Facebook with 25 million), Zynga Poker, and YoVille. The majority of Zynga’s users play its games on Facebook, but it also has games Bebo, Hi5, MySapce, and Friendster.

Heere are some fun stats about each of its top games:

FarmVille—sort of like a Sim Farm, where you grow your own crops and manage a farm, FarmVille users have built more than 40 million virtual farms (which is 20 times more than actually exist in the U.S.). Players buy 500,000 virtual tractors a day in the game.

Mafia Wars —Every month, 140 million “jobs” are done by aspiring cappos in this game.

Zynga Poker—This used to be calledd Texas Hold’Em. Every day about 150 million hands are dealt (more than ten times as many as are dealt on an averag day in Las Vegas), and on there are usually 250,000 concurrent players, so you can always find a game.

YoVille—A game where you furnish a virtual apartment, buy pets, and eat funnel cakes. The 17 million residnents of YoVille have bought 10,000 pets and 40,000 funnel cakes since August alone.

As Zynga continues to grow, so does the IPO talk (and the litigation). Its revenues, which is well above nine figures now, comes largely from its virtual currency, as well as ads.

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 Zynga Is On A Tear; Claims Nearly 130 Million Social Gamers.  Zynga Is On A Tear; Claims Nearly 130 Million Social Gamers.  Zynga Is On A Tear; Claims Nearly 130 Million Social Gamers.  Zynga Is On A Tear; Claims Nearly 130 Million Social Gamers.  Zynga Is On A Tear; Claims Nearly 130 Million Social Gamers.

 Zynga Is On A Tear; Claims Nearly 130 Million Social Gamers.

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