This Morning’s Top Stories in Social Media and Tech

Welcome to this morning’s edition of “First To Know,” a series in which we keep you in the know on what’s happening in the digital world. We’re keeping our eyes on three particular stories of interest today.

AOL Looking to Acquire Yahoo [REPORT]

AOL and several venture capital firms are in talks to buy Yahoo, according to The Wall Street Journal.

AOL’s current market value is roughly one tenth of Yahoo’s.

Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone Group are rumored to be in on the deal. Yahoo is working with Goldman Sachs to defend against a potential takeover, three sources have told Bloomberg. Neither company is willing to make an official statement at this time.

Verizon to Carry iPad

Apple announced this morning that its iPad device will become available for purchase in Verizon stores nationwide beginning Thursday, October 28. Verizon will offer all three versions of the iPad Wi-Fi model, bundled with a Verizon MiFi 2200 Mobile Hotspot and an optional monthly access plan of up to 1GB of data for $20 per month.

All three Wi-Fi models will also be made available at AT&T stores on the same date.

New Version of Skype Features Heavy Facebook Integration

Skype 5.0 for Windows has just been released with a slew of improvements and new features, most significant of which is the inclusion of a Facebook tab that allows users to SMS, chat or call their Facebook friends via Skype right from the News Feed.

A comparable version for Mac is coming soon, Skype assures us.

Further News

  • The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has teamed up with Facebook to reduce the amount of hate speech and anti-gay bullying that goes on around the Internet, the organization announced.
  • Effective today, Facebook members can now credit their friends’ Starbucks cards without ever leaving the site, thanks to an update added today to the Starbucks Card Facebook application.
  • Social media analytics service Klout, well-known for its Twitter influence measurement scores, has finally launched a version of its platform that determines your influence on Facebook.
  • NASA has teamed up with Gowalla to offer users a range of virtual rewards (a.k.a “pins”), such as virtual moon rocks, a NASA patch, a spacesuit and a space shuttle, for checking in at agency-related venues around the company.
  • Launched amid much fanfare just last week, iPhone app Instagram [iTunes link] has already garnered more than 100,000 signups, according to Co-Founder Kevin Systrom.

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