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Skype Buys Mobile Video Company Qik

Skype announced today that it has entered an agreement to acquire Qik. The price has yet to be announced, but rumor has it that it’s about $100 million. 

What Qik does is let people capture video instantly from their phones. It’s already available on over 200 different phones running Android, iOS, Symbian, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Mobile. On many of them, Qik comes preloaded. 

House Oversight Committee Heads To YouTube

When watchdog groups and oversight committees are formed, the semi-paranoid question "who watches the watchers?" sometimes comes up.  Now, with respect to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the answer can be anybody (or everybody) with access to YouTube.

FCC Launches App Challenge For Internet Openness
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The Federal Communications Commission has announced a challenge for software developers to create apps that help people monitor Internet openness.

The FCC says its Open Internet Challenge is about the development of apps that provide users with information about  the extent to which their fixed or mobile broadband Internet services are consistent with the open Internet. These software tools could, for example, detect whether a broadband provider is interfering with DNS responses, application packet headers, or content.

Yahoo Brings “Broadcast Interactivity” to Connected TV

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, Yahoo announced that it’s introducing some new connected TV features, partnerships and apps. 

For one, Yahoo announced "Broadcast Interactivity" to launch with select national broadcast and cable TV providers and brand advertisers. The company is collaborating with ABC, CBS, HSN, and Showtime on content for a pilot program in the first half of 2011. Brand advertisers Ford, Mattel and Microsoft are also planning to work with Yahoo on this. 

South Korean Police Find Google Violated Privacy Laws
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Five months ago, local police officers raided Google’s offices in South Korea, and what they found may cause quite a lot of trouble for the company.  A police report’s indicated that Google illegally collected private data with its Street View cars, and criminal charges could result.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb Previewed by Andy Rubin
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At the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, Google previewed the next version of Android – 3.0 AKA Honeycomb. VP of Engineering Andy Rubin provided the following explanation of what to expect from Honeycomb, as well as the video below: 

Microsoft 2010 By the Numbers
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Microsoft made a slew of announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). More on that here. The company also revealed a bunch of numbers for 2010 that you might find interesting. 

So, let’s get right to them:

Xbox/Kinect

- 8 million: Number of Kinects sold in first 60 days

- 50 million: Xbox 360s sold to date

- 30 million: Number of Xbox LIVE members 

Tech Holiday Sales Down 5%

U.S. consumer technology  holiday sales were down 5 percent in 2010 totaling $10.3 billion, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

Heavy sales promotions early in November, before Black Friday, did not convince shoppers to spend early as sales for the first three weeks of the month fell by 5 percent compared to the previous year. Overall NPD estimates that 2010 sales for the 9 week sales period will total $14.9 billion down 4 percent from last year.

Microsoft Announcements from CES
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The Consumer Elecronics Show (CES) in Vegas has already been a big event for Microsoft, and it doesn’t even end until January 9. CEO Steve Ballmer reflected on the past year, and introduced some elements of where the company is headed. 

LinkedIn IPO Rumored For This Year

By all accounts, private shares of Facebook are incredibly popular, with wealthy investors causing a virtual stampede over who will get to buy them through Goldman Sachs.  It’s a good bet that there will be widespread interest if/when Facebook goes public, too.  So to avoid being overshadowed, LinkedIn may IPO this year.

Having a Plan in Social Media
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I’ve received a series of inbound requests for comments based on a report from Gartner, an IT analyst firm, that estimates as many as 70-percent of social media campaigns will fail in 2011.

Mac App Store From Apple Officially Open
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Apple’s much-anticipated Mac App Store officially opened to the public today. Right off the bat, it’s got over 1,000 free and paid apps. 

The goal of the store has been to bring the App Store experience, which has been so popular with devices like the iPhone and iPad to the company’s Mac operating system. Users can buy apps at the Mac App Store using their existing iTunes accounts. 

Remember Who Can Read Your Tweets
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What kind of an image are you creating for prospective clients, who check out your social media updates?

I received an interesting email from a reader last night, which I would like to share with you.  She asked if I would not use her name, so I am going to call her Barbara instead.  Her email was short but contained a very valuable message.  It’s something I have heard of many times and it’s becoming more and more common.

Expedia Launches Facebook Contest To Name Its Vacation Packages

Online travel website Expedia has launched the “You Name it Contest and Sweepstakes,” on its Facebook page with the aim of coming up with a better name for its Vacation Packages.

Can You Have An Effective Online Presence Without Your Own Site?
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Do you need a website to run a successful business these days? In years past, the answer would have seemed to be: almost certainly. Granted, not all businesses operate the same way, and businesses thrived for centuries before websites even existed, but if you don’t have on online presence, you are missing heaps of opportunity. That much is clear.

NFL Playoffs: Twitter Style

If you follow American Football, you know that it’s playoff time, starting this weekend. Since social media and football go hand in hand quite nicely, Twitter has taken it upon itself to help out fans in keeping up with their favorite teams and players that are involved in the run to the Super Bowl. 

More Valuable for Business: Twitter or Facebook?
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Which is more valuable to business – Facebook or Twitter? It’s a question that business owners struggle with every day in the quest for building a larger customer base, and retaining the customers they already have. It’s a question that won’t have the same answer for every business. It’s also a question that requires the evaluation of a great deal of variables on a per business basis. 

Misleading Groupon Ads Flagged by UK Watchdog
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Groupon has had a few ads flagged after some issues with the Advertising Standards Authority, an independent watchdog for ad standards in the UK. 

The ads in question were found to be misleading, because they failed to make clear certain terms, such as the fact that one person had to pay full price for a meal to get a second one at a discounted price, or that another deal didn’t apply to weekends. One "misleadingly exaggerated" the savings it offered, according to the ASA. 

Online Holiday Spending Hits Record $32 Billion
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Online retail spending for the 2010 holiday season reached $32.6 billion, representing  an increase of 12 percent compared to last year and an all-time record, according to the latest report from comScore.

Think Google PageRank Doesn’t Matter? Think Again.
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It looks like Google wants you to think PR doesn’t matter, but don’t let them fool you! For more than a decade now, Google has been trying to retrieve this metric from the radar of webmasters. That Google has stopped pushing regular updates to their toolbar is one more step in the strategy to convince you that PageRank doesn’t matter anymore.

Malware Threats Increased In 2010
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In 2010, cyber-criminals created and distributed one-third of all existing viruses, creating 34 percent of all malware that has ever existed, according to PandaLabs annual security report.

PandaLabs did find the speed at which the number of new threats grew has actually decreased compared to 2009. Every year since 2003, new threats grew by at least 100 percent, but in 2010, the increase was 50 percent.

Amazon Introduces Kindle App For Windows Phone 7

Amazon continues to make its Kindle app available on more and more devices, the latest is Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.

Half Price Books Begins Selling Online
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Half Price Books said today it has launched HPB.com, which features its new online web store, HPB Marketplace.

Through a partnership with Monsoon Commerce Solutions, a company that powers websites for online retailers, Half Price Books has begun selling books, music and media online.  The company says its website will give users access to more than 120 million book, movie and, music titles sold through Half Price Books and other independent sellers. Previously the company offered its inventory via third- party sellers such as Amazon and Half.com.

 

Amazon Appstore for Android Apps Should Help Android
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Amazon has launched its Appstore Developer Portal, aimed at letting Android developers submit apps for the launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android. The date of this launch is still undetermined.