Friendster in Malay, Skype launches new version

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Friendster, the largest social networking website in Malaysia popular among teenagers, launched its Malay-language version on Wednesday to give users and visitors a greater choice of languages.

The site has been facing stiff competition from Facebook among the 15 million Internet users in Malaysia.The website, which pioneered social networking and claims to be the number one social network in Asia with 52 million registered users, is available in eight other languages – English, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish – that cover 70 percent of the world’s Internet users.Friendster said in Malaysia, it has over four million monthly unique visitors to Friendster.com as of April 2008 with a typical user spending 30 minutes a day on Friendster and visiting Friendster several times a week, communicating with friends and sharing/consuming content through a suite of features.”With over four million active users every week, Friendster is at least four times larger than Facebook or MySpace in Malaysia,” said David Jones, vice-president of global marketing at Friendster. “As the second largest web site in Malaysia (second only to Yahoo!) and the #1 social network in Malaysia, launching support for Malay will help Friendster maintain and extend its leadership position in the country as well as with Malaysians around the world.”Malay as a language choice on Friendster has been available in beta since May 22, 2008 and had attracted 100,000 users per day in a few weeks. Friendster is the top social network in the world with 70 million registered users. It is also the seventh largest website in the world of any kind and the third largest social network in terms of traffic, with over 22.4 billion page views a month.Meanwhile, Skype, eBay’s Internet phone division that pioneered voice and later video calls five years ago, has launched a new version of the programme called Skype 4.0.The 24Mb beta programme is said to be the most dramatic redesign of the calling service which started out by offering free audio calls but has gradually added other kinds of communication, like video calls, file-sharing, and text chats. The upgrade brings together all modes and allows for easier switching in a single conversation.Skype 4.0’s biggest change is making it easy to initiate a video conferencing call and is solving it by putting a large “call” and “video call” buttons next to every user’s name. The new Skype also includes records of current and past conversations next to each name in a person’s Skype directory, so the programme no longer spawns new windows on a person’s computer every time a new call comes in.Skype has 309 million registered users and earned US$126 million (RM410m) in the first quarter of 2008, exceeding what eBay and PayPal earned at similar stage.

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