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More Than Half Of Americans Do Online Research Before Making A Purchase
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More than half (58%) of Americans conduct online research about the products and services they are considering purchasing, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Google Talks Hyperlocal Mobile Ads

Google has hyperlocal search ads for mobile search, which the company has highlighted today in a post on tis Mobile Ads blog. Google specifically discusses a use-case from Rent-A-Car. 

In the scenario described, someone has car trouble and is able to quickly find a nearby car rental place from the side of the road as they simply enter "car rental". 

Gmail Gets a Long Overdue Setting

Google is launching a new option in Gmail that lets users turn of conversation threads. This is a feature that was innovative when Google released its popular email service years ago, but not everyone has been a fan of this style of email communication. 

I’m not sure why it’s taken Google so long to offer a setting to turn the feature off, but better late than never, I suppose, for those who aren’t fans. 

Rand McNally Launches iPhone App
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Rand McNally has launched a free new iPhone app called “Explore America” that offers snippets of travel content, photos and videos, destination information and a daily quiz.

Explore America users will receive a “daily adventure,” which includes a description of an interesting place in North America, a locator map, and up to five photos showing the location and information about the area.

 

Google Renews Flu Prevention Efforts

Don’t wait until you’re sick to search for terms like "flu" and "flu shot" this winter.  By adding a few tips and a flu shot finder to its results page, Google’s taken special steps to help ensure that people who search for the words won’t get sick in the first place.

The tips, which you can read for yourself below, consist of simple, common-knowledge stuff.  Still, their prominent placement could help drill them into people’s heads, and the link to Flu.gov may also come in handy.

Skype Announces Deal with Avaya

Skype announced that it has entered a new agreement with Avaya, a provider of enterprise communications systems, software, and services. The deal is to deliver real-time communications and collaboration solutions to businesses of all sizes. 

What Adobe Scene7 Update Means for Marketers and Developers

Adobe’s mobile plans are not just about Flash. The company announced an upgrade to its Scene7 offering, which has implications for both marketers and mobile developers. 

Scene7 is a rich media service that lets retailers create an online catalog with video and 3D modeling (among other things). The new version includes support for mobile sites and apps, and provides expanded offerings for delivering content across mobile devices including iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android. 

Twitter to Replace Account Verification System with Something New

There have been several pieces of interesting news regarding Twitter. For one, the company stopped verifying accounts, as it has done for celebrities and companies  for some time. The company is working on a new system to replace this. 

Details about this new system remain a mystery, but Twitter says it will be better. The company’s support team posted the following tweet (hat tip: The Next Web):

Mobile Video Booming In Europe

The number of people viewing video on mobile devices has increased 66 percent in the past year to 12.1 million mobile consumers in the EU5 (U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy), according to a new report from comScore.

The U.K. and Italy each have 2.7 million mobile video consumers, up 75 percent from July 2009 in the U.K. market and up 55 percent in the Italian market. Spain has the fastest growth, with mobile video consumption up 90 percent in the past year to 1.7 million subscribers.

Steve Ballmer On Schmidt: “We’re His Best Competitor”
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Last week, Eric Schmidt stated in an interview that Bing, not Apple or Facebook, is Google’s biggest competitor.  Now Steve Ballmer has responded, essentially agreeing and indicating that Bing will continue to innovate and pose a threat.

Microsoft’s CEO told Sharon Pian Chan with respect to Schmidt’s comment, "He’s right! . . .  We’re his best competitor, and we’re a very good competitor and we’re going to do a very good job."

Google to Offer Interesting New Display Ad Formats

While you may not tend to think about display ads when you think about Google, the company seems to be working hard to change that. Google says display advertising is at the heart of what it is doing these days, and that 99% of its top 1,000 clients are running campaigns on the Google Display Network. 

Facebook May Count Skype as Weapon Against Google
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According to Kara Swisher at All Things Digital’s BoomTown, Facebook and Skpe are preparing a new "deep integration partnership". This would include integration of SMS, voice chat and Facebook Connect. 

Google Announces New Agreement with Bizrate Insights

Google has announced an agreement with Bizrate Insights in the US, UK, and Germany that will affect its merchants. The program will get reviews from shoppers that have completed transactions on a site. Google says this means it will provide content businesses know they can trust to help improve and promote their customer experience.

comScore Gives Twitter Traffic Victory Over MySpace

Although it obviously took a little while for anyone to notice, it looks like August will go down as a very important period in Twitter’s history.  comScore has determined that Twitter passed MySpace in terms of unique visitors last month.

In one sense, the changeup wasn’t a huge deal: Twitter just saw 96 million visitors versus MySpace’s 95 million.  But the switch looks permanent, considering that, on a year-over-year basis, Twitter’s visitor count increased 76 percent while MySpace’s fell 17 percent.

AOL Acquires Thing Labs and Brizzly

AOL has acquired Thing Labs, makers of Brizzly. Brizzly is a social media reader that lets users view and post updates to Twitter and Facebook., see photos and watch videos.

Report: Yahoo Media VP To Quit

Yahoo News and Yahoo Finance are two of Yahoo’s most successful and therefore important properties.  Unfortunately for the company, new reports indicate that the executive who’s in charge of them will soon find employment elsewhere.

Jimmy Pitaro, who currently holds the title "Vice President of Media," started at Yahoo about four years ago as Vice President of Business Affairs.  Since then, he’s also been General Manager of Yahoo Sports and Head of Sports and Entertainment.

LinkedIn Makes Professional/Company Networking More Customized

LinkedIn made a couple of announcements today. First was an update to its Company Follow Feature, and second was the introduction of its new Career Pages. 

Company Follow has an updated look and feel with better customization, more personalized insights for professionals, and a new Career tab for both companies and professionals. 

GigaOm and TheStreet Combine Content and Audiences

AOL buying TechCrunch isn’t the only news happening in the tech content world today. GigaOm and TheStreet.com have announced a partnership, which will see the two publications sharing content and audiences. Both will share and co-author editorial and research content across their network of sites.

Content Creation Slows On Social Networks

 While the worldwide adoption of social networking is still increasing, other forms of social interactions, such as content creation, have experienced no significant growth in the past year, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Google Maps Photo Layer Gets Improvements, MapQuest Launches Atlas

There are a couple interesting things happening with online maps today. Google has updated its Photos layer and MapQuest has introduced Atlas. 

Yahoo and Ad Council Launch “Create for a Cause” Contest

Yahoo and the Ad Council have announced the launch of the 2010 "Create for a Cause" contest. The competition looks to highlight the best and most creative in non-profit-focused digital advertising.   

AOL Officially Acquires TechCrunch
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Update: AOL has now officially announced its acquisition of TechCrunch for an undisclosed amount. TechCrunch will continue to operate independently as a wholly-owned AOL unit.

Texting Bans Not Reducing Car Accidents

States that have laws banning texting while driving are not seeing a reduction in the number of accidents, according to a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

In fact, such bans are associated with a slight increase in the frequency of insurance claims filed under collision coverage for damage to vehicles in crashes. This finding is based on comparisons of claims in 4 states before and after texting ban, compared with patterns of claims in nearby states.

Report: Android Continues Market Share Growth

Millennial Media has released its Mobile Marketing Mix report for the month of August. Among its findings are continued Android growth, as well as significant iPad growth. The firm points to the following as the highlights: