Ruckus Solves 3G Headaches, StumbleUpon Vies with Facebook, Woz Misspeaks, & More Bay Area Biztech News

The long Thanksgiving weekend put an early punctuation mark on last week’s technology and business news in the Bay Area. Here’s a glance back:

—StumbleUpon, the San Francisco “discovery engine” company founded in 2002, now rivals Facebook in the amount of social-media traffic it sends to websites. I profiled the company, which has had a fascinating trajectory as an independent startup, an eBay subsidiary, and now a privately owned eBay spinout.

—Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak briefly drove up the stock price of Burlington, MA-based Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) with a remark to the effect that Apple had purchased the $5.3 billion speech technology company. Wozniak later said he’d been mistaken, but not before the story was picked up by numerous news outlets.

—Wireless carriers are searching for ways to lessen the burden on their 3G data networks, and I profiled a Sunnyvale, CA, company, Ruckus Wireless, that has a solution: adaptive, beam-forming Wi-Fi antennas that could help carriers “offload” data streams from 3G to Wi-Fi in dense areas such as public plazas or train stations.

—Here at Xconomy, we helped Boston-based Marginize launch its new Publisher Widget, a tool that shows social media conversations pertaining to each page on our site. You can use the widget (see the brown tab at the far right of your browser screen) to add your own Twitter posts or status updates on Facebook or Google Buzz.

—New York-based location services startup Foursquare announced that it’s staffing up its San Francisco office, which is co-located with Jack Dorsey’s Square in the Mission district.

—SolFocus, a Mountain View, CA, startup that makes photovoltaic panels featuring unique optical concentrators, raised $20 million from unnamed backers.

—YardSellr, founded by former eBay executives to help consumers buy and sell items over social media channels, raised $5 million from Accel Partners and Harrison Metal Capital.

—Menlo Park, CA-based Sequoia Capital led a venture round for New York-based blog platform provider Tumblr amounting to $25 to $30 million, according to reports. Tumblr hasn’t confirmed the details.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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