New Facebook Groups Encourage Private Interactions

Facebook launched a new approach to understanding groups of friends today. CEO Mark Zuckerberg called groups “a fundamental building block” and “the biggest problem in social networking,” and said Facebook has determined the best solution is a social one: to enable users to tag each other.

Instagram: Free Hipster iPhone Photos, Plus a Community

Want to apply cool filters to your iPhone photos without paying for an app like Hipstamatic? Try out Instagram, which is launching today. Om already reported on how it comes from the makers of Burbn, a demo HTML5 app that was neat enough to win $500,000.

Eventbrite Raises $20M. Ticket Sales Top $200M

Eventbrite has closed $20 million in Series D funding led by DAG Ventures, and including Tenaya Capital as well as previous investor Sequoia Capital. The four-year-old, San Francisco-based company has now raised a total of $29.5 million.

Settle Your Tab With Your Phone? NEA Will Drink to That

ATX Innovation, which makes TabbedOut, an app that enables bar and restaurant patrons settle their tabs from their iPhone or Android handsets, has raised $2.05 million in funding from NEA, for a total of $2.8 million raised.

Facebook Could Make $250M From Virtual Goods Next Year

The American market for virtual goods will grow 31 percent to $2.1 billion in 2011, according to a new report from Inside Network. Virtual goods sold in social games are set to account for 40 percent of the market, or about $840 million in 2011.

Got a Twilio-based App? Get Some Investment Dollars

Twilio, a web-based VoIP development platform, is going to get a boost, thanks to one of its investors: Dave McClure and his fund, 500 Startups. Twilio, a San Franciso-based startup, allows web-app developers to add voice-related functionality to their web apps.

Twitter to Launch Free Real-time Analytics This Year

Twitter plans to roll out a free real-time analytics dashboard in the fourth quarter, said Ross Hoffman of the company’s business development team at a conference yesterday. If true, the announcement has implications both for Twitter’s business model and for startups currently offering analytics.

Factual Wants to Be Your Place Database in the Cloud

Web data API provider Factual is making a play for the hot geo-local space today. Today it came out a huge new dataset for geo-coded information like addresses and phone numbers tied to latitude and longitude for 14 million local U.S. businesses and points of interest.

Yammer Mostly Mimics Facebook But Offers New Stuff Too

Where once Yammer could be described as Twitter for the enterprise, now it will be Facebook for the enterprise. I was interested to learn whether Yammer is returning the favor and innovating and contributing technology and features that might have value for other social networks.

Layar Builds Augmented Reality Shooting Game

Layar, the augmented reality platform, is trying to both foster a new form of content and also bring that content to a wide audience. Now the company has develops its own augmented reality multiplayer shooting game to demonstrate what other people might not be imagining yet.