Weekly Tech Round-Up: Twitter IPO and secret Google barges

Jeremy Hintz

Tweet, tweet. A little bird told me we could see an IPO this week. 

Twitter’s public stock market launch, or IPO, is getting closer every day, with most analysts predicting the website will go public this week. People haven’t forgotten Facebook’s woeful IPO, when the stock’s price dropped to levels roughly 50 percent of its initial offering. Facebook is up over 200 percent since the beginning of June, and that recent success has created buzz for the potential of social media and technological IPOs in general. 

Many analysts say investors are overly optimistic about Twitter’s prospects as a publicly traded stock, but there are some key differences between Facebook and Twitter that reveal potential red flags.

The most obvious difference between the two is in revenue. Twitter has a revenue of $422 million, compared to Facebook’s $5.287 billion. While Facebook had a net income of $977 million for the first three quarters of 2013, Twitter netted losses of $134 million. This difference in revenue is expected to some degree. Facebook has roughly five times more users than Twitter’s. But Facebook also earns over twice as much per user at $1.72 compared Twitter’s 73 cents per user. 

Investors are willing to look the other way when it comes to tech companies not turning quarterly profit. The key factor most investors look for is growth potential. Many experts speculate that Twitter going public will put pressure on the company to seek out new sources of revenue by monetizing some of its core features. Depending on how these changes sit with users, they could affect Twitter’s growth rate, which is what investors are attracted to in the first place.


Rumor Mill: A mysterious floating barge in San Francisco Bay

Over the past week, mysterious barges have been spotted floating in San Francisco Bay. CNET reported that these belonged to Google, but had no indication as to what they could be. Many speculated they could be giant floating data centers powered by waves, a retail location for Google Glass or perhaps a new office for the company’s secretive branch, Google X. The most widely accepted explanation is that the barges will be used as an invite-only showroom for some of Google’s most secretive projects, privy to its largest investors.


App of the Week: Sworkit

This week’s AOTW is Sworkit. The iOS and Android app creates randomized circuit-training workouts that can be done in short amounts of time and on the go. This app is handy for college students who desperately want to make time to work out.