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If You’re Not Local, How Can You Compete in an Increasingly Local Google?
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Update: Looks like there is likely to be a lot more local action coming Google’s way soon. 

Schmidt Out as Google CEO
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Google just dropped a bombshell: Eric Schmidt is out as CEO (as announced in the company’s earings report. We’ll be covering the company’s earnings call, which is sure to have more on this.

Bing Reaches Out To BlackBerry Users

BlackBerry users who feel ignored every time a report on the mobile industry stops after comparing Android devices and the iPhone have reason to be grateful to Bing.  Today, Bing for Mobile updates were announced that will bring the app to more BlackBerry users, add new features, and improve the overall experience to boot.

Techmeme Now Posting Tweets As Stories

Update: Rivera has elaborated a bit more on the site’s use of tweets in a blog post (blogs aren’t dead yet):

Demand Media IPO Reportedly Coming Next Week
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Demand Media’s much-anticipated initial public offering is coming next week, according to Kara Swisher, reporting for the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital. She says numerous sources "with knowledge of the situation" say it will happen after the company’s road show for investors. 

Mobile Email Usage Sees Significant Growth
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In November 2010, the number of U.S. visitors to web-based email sites decreased 6 percent compared to the previous year, while email engagement declined at a greater rate, according to a new report from comScore.

During the same time period, the number of users accessing email via their mobile devices grew by 36 percent.

Gmail Labs Get Search Feature

The point of a laboratory is to facilitate testing.  The average chemist might not get too far if he was just presented with a jumble of beakers, however, and similarly, Gmail Labs has been getting pretty messy.  A new feature promises to fix that issue.

Turn Your Twitter Message Into A Tweet Ring
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Amsterdam based start-up Alphabeth.com has introduced something that every Twitter user surely needs, Tweet Rings.

“Some Tweets should last forever because they mark a special moment in your life or express your personal motto,” the company says.

“Perhaps your favorite message is just so beautiful that you want to carry it with you.” Perhaps.

Yahoo7 Purchases Group Buying Site For $40 Million

Yahoo7, which is the product of a partnership between Yahoo and the Seven Network in Australia, is now also part of the group buying phenomenon.  Yahoo7 announced today that it’s acquired Spreets, a group buying site with 500,000 members.

Use Your Existing Number For Google Voice, But Pay Generously For It
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Some Google Voice users noticed a feature that appeared in their accounts called Number Porting. This means adding your existing number to Google Voice, as opposed to having to use a new phone number entirely for the service, which users have had to do up until this point. 

The feature is evidently only being tested for the time being, but will could go mainstream in the future. If you don’t have to get a new number, there’s a much bigger incentive to use Google Voice…that is if you don’t mind paying the price.   

Sony Launches Mobile Music Apps For Its Artists

Sony Music Entertainment said today it is working to develop mobile entertainment apps for its artists and labels using technology from Mobile Roadie, a platform for creating and managing mobile apps.

Sony Music will create customized apps for its artists and offer users access to news, streaming music and videos, photo galleries, tour schedules, ticketing options, and chat.

YouTube Launches New Homepage For All Users
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Statistics prove that YouTube.com is one of the most visited pages in existence.  At the same time, anecdotal evidence suggests people barely give it a glance before conducting a search or clicking away.  So a new homepage has been designed, and it’s now launched for everyone to see.

A quick clarification: the overhauled homepage is actually available for everyone who’s logged in to see.  Which some people may view as an inconvenience or even a threat to their privacy, but also allows for a degree of personalization.

What Do Customers Expect From Your Social Media Practices?

Have you noticed members of your community posting customer service related questions on your Facebook Page? Or perhaps you have now revised your customer service and customer relationship management processes to integrate Twitter as part of your programme.

Amazon Buys European Netflix-Like Company, LoveFilm
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Amazon is acquiring the remaining shares in LoveFilm, which is often referred to around the web as the "Netflix of Europe". Amazon already owned a 42% stake in the company. 

Facebook Looks to Get More People Using the Site on Phones
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Facebook has launched a new mobile app for feature phones in order to get more people in the world using Facebook via their mobile devices. This should help with that. 

"We want people to have a great mobile experience no matter what type of phone they carry," said Facebook program manager Mark Heynen. "Smartphones have offered better features for sharing with friends but aren’t used by most people around the world."

Social Video Chat Service vChatter Gets New Funding
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Social video chat service vChatter has secured a new $350,000 round of funding, which the company will use to ramp up their development team for faster velocity on the rollout of new features, a spokesperson for the company tells WebProNews. This brings the company’s total funding up to $600,000 after raising an initial seed round of $250K in the summer of 2010.

eBay Delivers Impressive Q4 Earnings Report

The fourth quarter of 2010 – which of course coincided with the all-important holiday shopping season – was a pretty good period for eBay.  The company reported its financial results this afternoon, and managed to come in above analysts’ forecasts.

Google Lets You Search with Local Recommendations From Specific Friends

Google announced a new Google Maps feature today, related to the company’s recently launched Hotpot social recommendation product. Now, users can search Google Maps, and request results based on the recommendations of specific friends. 

RIAA Wants to Work with ICANN To Keep .Music Domains Piracy Free
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The RIAA is lowering its horns and taking the .music initiative head-on. Even though the .music domain extension hasn’t seen the light of day yet, the RIAA is already challenging ICANN to ensure that, if approved, this top-level domain won’t be used to encourage music piracy.

Google Updates Ad Preview Tool
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AdWords advertisers who prefer not to go with the "guess and check" method when trying to attract customers are in luck.  This afternoon, Google announced some improvements to its Ad Preview Tool, allowing users to get a good idea of how their ads will appear without wasting any time or money.

T-Mobile Launches Android App To Prevent Texting While Driving
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T-Mobile has released an Android app called DriveSmart Plus aimed at preventing texting while driving.

DriveSmart Plus, powered by Location Labs, is is a subscription-based, opt-in service that automatically detects when a handset user is driving and sets the phone into a ‘Driving Mode’.  Once this service is activated, it disables most texting and calling features to the handset while the car is in motion.

 

Are Businesses Using Instagram and Quora to Engage?
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I pay attention to emerging technology and trends on a daily basis. While I track many networks, tools, and services, I take the time to share those that appear to gain traction or offer interesting prospects for tomorrow’s business, today.

Demanding Trust From Pluck

How much do you trust Pluck’s review system?  Apparently not enough, because with the introduction of their new Trust Filters, Demand Media is attempting to improve end-user confidence.

Sundance Expands Online Video Offerings With Brightcove

Online video platform Brightcove said today it is teaming with the Sundance Institute to support its new live and on-demand video initiatives for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, which runs from January 20 – 30 in Park City, Utah.