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About Doug Caverly

Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.
Google Tempts Hackers With $20,000 Prize
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Any hackers who think they know a thing or two about Chrome should strongly consider booking a flight to Vancouver, British Columbia.  At the Pwn2Own competition in early March, the first person who can exploit the browser will get $20,000 (and a Cr-48 notebook, if it matters) from Google itself.

Stewart, Colbert Return To Hulu

Eleven months ago, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report were pulled from Hulu.  Fans complained in response.  Now the shows are back thanks to a wider deal between Hulu and Viacom, and Hulu’s CEO, Jason Kilar, has also revealed some interesting stats and opinions regarding the site’s performance and the future of television.

Rumor: Path Turns Down $100M Offer From Google
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Google may be losing some of its charm.  Two months after Groupon supposedly turned down an acquisition offer worth $6 billion, rumors indicate that a small company called Path has declined an offer worth an initial $100 million.

Android Market Website Debuts
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Using an app on a smartphone can be both easy and fun.  Browsing through dozens or hundreds of them, on the other hand, might result in an unscheduled trip to the optometrist.  So this afternoon, Google introduced the Android Market website in the midst of some other Android announcements.

Microsoft Releases H.264 Extension For Chrome
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About three weeks ago, Google announced that Chrome would no longer support the H.264 video codec.  Now, following some unpleasantness over allegedly copied search results, Microsoft’s struck back by introducing an H.264 extension for Chrome.

To be fair, there’s room for interpretation regarding how aggressive this move is (or isn’t).  Microsoft’s offered similar plug-ins for Firefox for quite some time, and no one’s identified any real animosity there.

Google Shopper For iPhone Released

iPhone owners now have another option when it comes to apps that can help them save money.  Almost exactly a year after it became available to Android users, a version of Google Shopper for the iPhone has launched.

Obviously, Google’s a little late to this game on the iOS platform, and the new version of Google Shopper doesn’t offer any fresh, groundbreaking features.  But the app is free, and its functionality is hard to dispute.

AOL Beats Q4 Estimates
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Earlier this morning, AOL reported its fourth quarter earnings results, and for shareholders, there’s both good news and bad news.  The good: the company beat most analysts’ expectations.  The bad: a column documenting year-over-year changes is still almost full of double-digit negative numbers.

Indeed, total revenue decreased 26 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, advertising revenue fell by the same amount, and free cash flow plunged by 38 percent, none of which is encouraging.

Google Latitude Adds Check-in Options

Facebook, Foursquare, and Gowalla (along with several other companies) now have a little more competition when it comes to location-based check-in services.  Starting this afternoon, Google Latitude users can also let their friends know when they’ve arrived at a certain place.

Google’s rationale for this upgrade is that check-ins add context.  Now, rather than just seeing a pal is on a certain street, a user can figure out whether he’s grabbing a drink at a coffee shop or buying a new vehicle at the adjacent car dealer.

“Guide To Going Google” Debuts

When making a big decision, many people like to do some research on their own before meeting with a salesperson.  And sellers might prefer this arrangement, too, since it saves them from having to answer the same basic questions over and over.  So Google’s probably made a wise move by releasing a "Guide to Going Google" for schools and universities.

eBay Attracts Employees From Bing, Facebook

eBay lost an important employee last week (the VP of product development at PayPal jumped to Google) but things are now looking up on the personnel front.  The company’s managed to poach one staff member each from Bing and Facebook, and both men have rather impressive resumes.

Net Applications: Chrome’s Market Share Jumps To 10.7 Percent
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Whether or not any of us realized it at the time, the first month of 2011 was an exciting one when it came to Microsoft, Google, and the ongoing browser wars.  New stats from Net Applications indicate that some big changes took place, with Chrome gaining ground and Internet Explorer taking a hit.

Baidu Reports Big Jump In Revenue, Profits

Chinese search company Baidu shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to making money.  Late yesterday, the company released its fourth quarter earnings report, and analysts’ expectations were surpassed in pretty much every respect.

To sort of cut to the chase: Baidu’s stock is up 6.69 percent in early morning trading, which shows the degree to which the company impressed investors.  Jumps like that don’t occur on an everyday basis.

Facebook Third-Party Commenting System Said To Be In The Works

The comments that people leave on blogs and news sites scattered across the Web might soon (and presumably with their permission) be tied their Facebook profiles.  A rumor’s indicated that Facebook will unveil a third-party commenting system in the near future.

Google’s 2010 Lobbying Expenses Reach $5.16M

Google fans may want to brace for another round of accusations about the company’s influence.  The Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, which is backed by the U.S. Senate itself, shows that the search giant spent $5.16 million to talk to politicians in 2010.

That’s up a significant amount – $1.13 billion or 28 percent – from the $4.03 billion Google spent in 2009.  Groups like Consumer Watchdog are sure to object as a result, and even Google’s supporters can’t argue that the company’s lobbying expenses are in step with its growth as a corporation.

Bing-Alibaba Relationship Stumbles In China

It looks like Microsoft isn’t going to defy Google and Baidu and achieve a great victory in China anytime soon.  Three and a half months after it began, a partnership involving Bing and a search engine owned by Alibaba has already ended.

To be fair, little is known about the situation, and it could have been someone at Microsoft who pulled the plug.  The comments of one Microsoft representative hint that a corporate memo didn’t exactly go around, however.

Facebook Buys Menlo Park Buildings
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Current and potential Facebook employees who are weighing their options should set aside any concerns about lack of elbow space.  Although things might be getting tight at the company’s current headquarters, reports indicate Facebook has bought two new buildings.

Connecticut AG Declines To Take Google To Court
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Google’s decision to ignore a Civil Investigative Demand issued by Richard Blumenthal may work out all right for the company.  New Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell have reached an agreement with Google that should keep the matter from going to court.

Biz Stone: “The Tweets Must Flow”

The Egyptian government’s decision to shut down Internet access doesn’t seem to have gone over well with Twitter cofounder Biz Stone.  While Stone was diplomatic enough not to name the country, a new 400-word post on the official Twitter Blog very much speaks to the situation, stressing the importance of freedom of speech.

Yahoo VP Leaving For Groupon
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The company that’s said to have turned down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google has now lured an important employee away from the second-biggest name in search.  Michael Shim, Vice President of Mobile Business Development and Partnerships at Yahoo, will soon start at Groupon.

Shim’s resume is quite impressive.  After graduating from Georgetown University and Cornell Law School, he worked for a time as a corporate lawyer.  Then he collected some paychecks from AOL before starting at Yahoo in 2006.

Data Credits Quora With 150 Percent Growth In January

Quora, the Q&A site that bloggers and Silicon Valley early adopters can’t get enough of, is growing quickly, according to a new report.  Andrew Chen published some stats today showing that even a conservative estimate pegs the January growth rate at 150 percent.

Jeff Bezos Cut Amazon Stake By 8 Percent

Amazon shareholders who were already on edge over the company’s disappointing earnings report and forecast now have one more thing to fret about.  A new SEC document indicates that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos cut his stake in the company by a significant amount at the end of last year.

Google Marks Data Privacy Day
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We’re not quite sure how the average individual is supposed to celebrate this – don a tinfoil hat and watch a few episodes of The X-Files, perhaps? – but Data Privacy Day is here, and Google’s attempted to acknowledge the occasion in several different ways.

Method of support number one: as you can see from the screenshot below, Google (along with Microsoft) is a sponsor of Data Privacy Day.  That means the search giant officially supports The Privacy Projects, which is the nonprofit think tank behind the unusual holiday.

Microsoft Earnings Top Estimates

Microsoft shareholders may not be impressed (the company’s stock has been a little droopy in after-hours trading), but the quarter ending December 31st seems to have gone well.  Microsoft reported its earnings this afternoon and beat analysts’ forecasts by significant margins.

Hitwise: LivingSocial Gaining Ground On Groupon
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A single high-profile deal has done wonders for LivingSocial’s popularity, according to a new Hitwise report.  The site, which trailed Groupon in terms of visits by a huge margin, closed the gap by a significant amount after offering $20 Amazon gift certificates for $10 last week.