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Hudson Square Research Labels Google, Yahoo “Buys”

Anyone who’s looking to invest a little Christmas money might want to listen up.  While we’re neither backing nor attacking this advice, Hudson Square Research has initiated coverage on Google and Yahoo, labeling them both a "buy" and setting price targets significantly above the stocks’ current prices.

Experian Hitwise Finds Holiday Retail Traffic Consistently Up
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As we wrap up 2010, there’s still more evidence online retailers came out of the holiday shopping season in good shape.  Experian Hitwise shared data indicating that retail traffic has been up on a year-over-year basis for the better part of two months.

The differences haven’t always been huge; on both Christmas and the day after Christmas, Experian Hitwise recorded just a three percent change in the market share of visits to its "Retail 500" category between 2009 and 2010.

Google Joins Effort To Deter Violence In Sudan

An upcoming election in Sudan is widely expected to be marked by violence, but thanks to the actions of Google, Harvard, the UN, and a group called Not On Our Watch, it’s possible the situation won’t get too bloody.  In an effort to discourage hostilities, the organizations have banded together to support satellite surveillance of Sudan.

Sears and Kmart Launch Movie Download Service
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Sears has launched a new online movie download service called Alphaline Entertainment. It lets customers of Sears and Kmart download movies the day they’re released on TV. 

Report: 7 Trillion SMS Messages Will Be Sent in 2011

ABI Research, which released a study on Mobile Messaging Services, is saying that over seven trillion SMS messages will be sent in 2011. That’s worldwide, from about 4.2 billion mobile subscriptions.

ABI says SMS is being increasingly regarded as something of a commodity by users, due to falling delivery costs and high competition. 

PayPal Plans China Expansion
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Different estimates put China’s population in the neighborhood of 1.3 billion people, and soon enough, PayPal intends to start helping them do business worldwide.  PayPal will open an ecommerce hub in Chongqing with the local government’s blessing.

This won’t be a simple matter of encouraging people to use the online payment system when making purchases and accept it when making sales.  Instead, it looks like the company means to interact with merchants in a number of ways, presumably earning their respect and loyalty in the process.

Skype Talks Outage and Prevention of Future Outages

Last week, millions of Skype users lost their connections and experienced various other issues with the service. Though the outage didn’t last much longer than a day, the sheer number of those affected created a huge blunder for the company. 

It didn’t take long for Skype to go on damage control mode, however. CEO Tony Bates himself jumped on the Skype blog a few times to provide updates, explanations, and of course apologies:

eBay Mobile Holiday Sales Up 166 Percent
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Earlier this month, eBay released two separate statements saying that mobile sales rose over a very short period.  Now, the company’s opened up a third time on the subject, and it turns out mobile sales for the complete holiday shopping season (defined by eBay as November 25th through December 25th) grew by an impressive 166 percent.

That 166 percent was measured on a worldwide basis year-over-year, and helped eBay record $230 million in gross merchandise volume.  The company may be able to report a pretty profitable fourth quarter as a result.

Netflix Plotting Global Expansion?

Reports would suggest that Netflix is looking at going global soon. According to AdWeek, the company has been talking with advertising and media agencies about "potential international assignments". 

Paul Allen Refiles Lawsuit Against Top Tech Companies
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Whatever his faults, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen is at least persistent and ambitious.  Allen proved this yesterday by refiling a patent infringement lawsuit against AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube.

Facebook Drives Massive Traffic Boosts To Media Sites
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Facebook says it has increased referral traffic to media sites by over 100% thanks to tools like its social plugins and Graph API, both of which were launched at f8 back in April. 

Facebook has worked with some organizations closely to help them find the right integrations, which is good for all parties involved – more traffic for the media sites and more data for Facebook. 

Groupon Continues to Grow at Funding, Valuation, and Geographical Levels

Groupon has reportedly closed a new round of funding at $950 million. According to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, who cites "a source with knowledge of the financing," Groupon is now valued at $4.57 billion.  Update: Arrington is now saying they have only closed half of that funding. 

Rumor Ties Facebook, Twitter To SEC Inquiry

Don’t look for employees at these companies to break out shredders – or even break a sweat – quite yet, but the Securities and Exchange Commission might be curious about certain details related to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Zynga.  Unconfirmed rumors indicate the SEC is looking into their privately traded stock.

eBay Releases 2010 “Top Shopped” Report
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In the past month or so, Google, Yahoo, and Bing all released year-end lists detailing what’s been on their users’ minds.  Now it’s at last eBay’s turn, as the company best known for its auction site has published what it calls the "Top Shopped" report.

Before we paste in the main list, here’s a quick (and perhaps unnecessary) word of explanation: no one’s claiming a soccer event, a football team, or an athlete was sold thousands of times.  Instead, eBay just found that products related to them changed hands quite often.

Work Smart, Rather Than Hard
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There is a common misconception in the world, especially amongst younger people, that you have to work hard and pay your dues, even if it means being miserable.  For some reason people seem to think that they have to be miserable for the first few years of their work life in order to get to where they want to be; either professionally or personally.  Lots of younger people have this notion that if they work hard that everything will be ok and fall into place for them.  This is the wrong way to go about trying to succeed.

AndroLib Counts 200,000 App Submissions To Android Market
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Five months ago, an organization called AndroLib indicated that 100,000 apps had been submitted to the Android Market.  Now, although AndroLib’s stats aren’t official, it looks like a whole lot of growth has taken place, as the latest graph shows the number has topped 200,000.

Have a look at the growth curve for yourself below.  It seems Android’s popularity with developers isn’t exactly tailing (or even leveling) off, which is good news for Google.  A platform with lots of apps should have a better ability to appeal to a wide range of people.

The Real Problem With Content Farms is Google
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The business of content farms like Demand Media is creating content in the form of articles and videos that search engines will crawl and feature prominently in the long tail of search results. Demand Media and all content farms’ Achilles’ heel is that much of their Internet traffic and revenue relies on Google.

McAfee Releases 2011 Threat Predictions Report
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Criminals have a long history of targeting what people like most, and judging from the new 2011 Threat Predictions Report from McAfee, cybercriminals will continue to be no different.  McAfee predicted that many of the technologies that gained popularity in the past 12 months may be exploited or attacked by online crooks next year.

Google Shares Android Operating Tips

Three days ago, some of you no doubt opened a present and were surprised (or not, depending on how many hints you dropped) to find an Android phone inside.  Now, while we’re sure you’re capable of reading the manual and experimenting, here’s a collection of Android tips straight from Google.

Advice For Dealing With Content Theft
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One of the wonderful things about the web is that most of the world’s information is accessible online. Better still, a large portion of the world has access to all of that information. Search engines play a huge role in making it easy to sift through that information and find the stuff you are looking for. Problems arise, however, when people who are less scrupulous decide to publish content and decide that the best way to do that is to steal it. Unfortunately, the web makes stealing of your content quite easy, and enforcement of your rights somewhat difficult.

Group Predicting Facebook Entry Into China Grows

A lot has been said in the past few weeks about Facebook entering China, and this morning, another expert expressed his opinion that the social network will at some point make an entrance.  Gady Epstein, the Beijing bureau chief for Forbes, even used a form of the word "inevitable" to describe the move.

Make Your Company’s Site a Social Hub in 2011

EyeforTravel published their 2011 Trends and their number one pick is the increasing need to integrate social content and activity on your corporate website.

Buzz Predicts Three Versions Of iPad 2
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Better products often offer consumers more choices.  Compare the original Model T (which Henry Ford supposedly approved in "any color so long as it’s black") to a modern Rolls Royce (available in thousands of paint, leather, and trim combinations), for example.  And now a rumor claims three versions of the iPad 2 will be produced.

Google Announces $20 Million Donation To Charities
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This week, tens of millions of people are resuming their normal work/school habits, perhaps packing up holiday decorations and definitely returning to less-than-merry states of mind.  But Google’s not quite through being cheery, as the company announced this morning that it’s donating $20 million to charity.