Spanish news site Expansion reported Tuesday that Google plans to launch GrandCentral, an online voice communications service, in Spain sometime during 2009. According to the report, Google will allow voice calls to be placed for free, but each will be linked to the voicemail service. Currently, GrandCentral is only available in the U.S.
UGO Entertainment and its parent company, Hearst Corp., announced late Tuesday that it will acquire 1UP.com and its associated sites, GameVideos.com, MyCheats.com, and GameTab.com. A release from UGO asserts that with 1UP and the affiliated sites joining its own network of gaming properties, they will reach 40 million unique visitors each month. In announcing the sale, 1UP parent company Ziff-Davis Media noted that it will close its last remaining print publication, Electronic Gaming Monthly. The magazine was not included in the sale to UGO.
WorkLight, a company that provides Web 2.0 services for businesses, released a report Wednesday detailing how the enterprise is using widgets and social networks to generate business. According to the report, 87 percent of surveyed companies are planning to use online services to improve customer service and acquire new customers. It also found that companies are currently using widgets and social networks to identify and capitalize on specific business needs, as well as increase engagement and their reach.
Webcarzz, a company that's working to develop a virtual world that will target boys, has built an online tool that allows children to create their own 3D vehicles. Dubbed CarStructor, the app provides tools to customize 3D cars, trucks, planes, and motorcycles. Eventually, those models can be placed into the Webcarzz virtual world when it's released later this year. Developing vehicles with CarStructor is free with registration.