There are thousands of social-media-related companies, if you include elements of gaming, mobile applications and online advertising. And they are sprouting — especially in the hotbeds of San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, says Mark Jensen, managing partner at National Venture Capital Services for Deloitte. Social media "is like air and connectivity. It is going to be embedded in everything we do in life," says Bill Gross, the titular CEO of apps developer UberMedia and start-up incubator Idealab. For the first time, social-networking use reached half of all U.S. adults and 65% of adult Internet users, according to a survey conducted in April and May by Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. Pew has conducted the survey since 2005. "The social Web is turning into the merchant Web: The first company to merge the two is the real winner," says Harry Weller, a general partner at New Enterprise Associates and an early investor in Groupon. "Facebook maybe? Google perhaps?" Get the full story at USA Today