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Another Day, Another New Gmail Feature
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Gmail has been cranking out new features left and right lately. That continues today with the addition of letting you choose your own colors.

To do so, simply click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner of your screen, select the Themes tab, and find the "Choose your own colors" option at the bottom. From there, you can select colors for just about every element of your inbox.

eBay Highlights Trusted Sellers (and Other Tidbits)
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Matt Olson from eBayeBay recently announced a change to product pages for books, music, movies, and video games last week – a change that will likely give sellers yet another reason to complain.

Google Transit Ushers In Another Update

Let’s face it: public transportation isn’t a sexy topic, and it’s not really one of the fields in which Google specializes.  But the subject does seem rather recession-appropriate, and the search giant has made a nice gesture by updating its Google Transit feature on Google Maps.

Firefox Extension Resizes Shortened URLs
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Tools for shortening URLs have become very popular in the age of microblogging, but shortening a URL to incomprehensible code makes it impossible to know what you’re clicking on.

The now quintessential microblogging service is Twitter, which limits messages sent to a group of followers to 140 characters. This makes it difficult to post URLs with long set of parameters that follow. The necessity to shorten those URLs gave rise to services like tinyurl, is.gd, ping.fm, bit.ly, tweetburner and others.

Google Most Visited Property In January
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Tax related Web sites had the biggest gains in traffic in the month of January with a 176 percent increase to 24.7 million visitors, according to comScore.

Career and job search sites also saw strong growth during the month. The job search category was up 42 percent to 26.7 million visitors and the career category increased 26 percent to 48.9 million visitors. The growth in both categories can largely be attributed to the increased amount of job losses.

YouTube Making Advertising Headway
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Two days ago, a financial analyst downgraded Google’s stock and said we’re in the middle of a media recession that will last for another seven or eight quarters.  Today, a different one popped up with some better news: YouTube’s selling more ads to increasingly important companies. 

Google’s Matt Cutts Talks State of the Index

You may recall a little over a month ago Matt Cutts from Google’s Search Quality Team talked about Google getting more transparent this year and making his talks from conferences available online so that everyone can easily see what he has to say.

Get to Google Docs, Calendar, and Gmail From Your Desktop
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You can now install desktop icons for Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Gmail on your computer for quick access. These icons are now an option of Google Pack.

If you are unfamiliar with Google Pack,it’s a free collection of software from Google and other companies. The software in the Google Pack helps you browse the web faster, remove spyware and viruses, organize your photos, and more. Learn more about each of the programs in the Google Pack.

Majority Of Internet Users Worried About Online Privacy
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The majority (80.1%) of Internet users are concerned about the privacy of their personal information such as age, gender, income and online activity, according to a new survey from Burst Media.

Concern about online privacy is common among all age segments, and increases with the respondent’s age from 67.3 percent among those 18-24 years to 85.7 percent of those 55 years and older.

Facebook Wants You to Monetize Your Apps
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FacebookFacebook has addressed the monetization of Facebook Platform for people building applications into businesses. They’ve set up some new pages to help people share ideas with other developers on how to get the most out of their apps. Among the pages are:

Microsoft Live Search Cashback Program Stumbles
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Microsoft’s Live Search cashback program is brilliant insofar as it recognizes that compensation makes the world go ’round; a little money helps people do things they don’t like or change old habits.  Only it appears that not everyone who’s participating the cashback program is receiving the key ingredient.

Yahoo Introduces Rich Ads In Search
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Yahoo has introduced a new advertising initiative called Rich Ads in Search that allows advertisers to add video, images and custom search boxes to their ads.

Yahoo hopes its Rich Ads in Search will help it to better compete in the paid search market with rival Google.

The company says a small group of advertisers tested Rich Ads in Search in the fourth quarter of 2008 and saw click-through rates increase by 25 percent along with improved brand exposure and conversion rates.

OVGuide Founder Answers Video Search Questions
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January marked the first operational month for video search engine OVGuide as a profit-making entity. Now it has received $5 million in funding from Baroda Ventures.

Canonical Tag Announced: Google’s Matt Cutts Interviewed
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New Sharing Options About to Be Rolled Out to 80,000 Sites
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Tim Schigel - CEO of ShareThisShareThis, creator of the ShareThis widget that allows for the easy sharing of content via your favorite social networks, has announced a new version of the widget with some added features. I just chatted with CEO Tim Schigel about it.

Google Mobile App Now Available On Windows Mobile
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Google has introduced its Google Mobile App for Windows Mobile smartphone users.

The app is currently available on a number of mobile platforms including the iPhone, BlackBerry and iPod Touch.

Google says its mobile app will allow users to conduct faster searches on their Windows Mobile device.

Google’s Cutts Apologizes For Paid Post Snafu
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Jaws dropped last week upon the news Google penalized its own Japanese site in Google search results after discovering Google Japan participated in a pay-per-post blogging scheme. WebProNews Video caught up with Google’s anti-spam-team captain, Matt Cutts, who offers his apologies.

Yahoo Celebrates Five Years Of In-House Search
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Google became Yahoo’s default search results provider on June 26th, 2000.  On February 18th, 2004, Yahoo ended the deal.  Now, the Sunnyvale-based company is celebrating the five-year anniversary of its decision to tackle search technology on its own. 

eBay, eTrade, Priceline Bottom Of Customer Satisfaction Heap
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For the first time in three years, overall customer satisfaction with e-commerce has fallen, ending steady growth over the same period, according ForeSee Results’ annual American Customer Satisfaction Index. At the bottom of the customer satisfaction barrel: eTrade, eBay, and Priceline.
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24 Million New Domain Names Added In 2008
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The Internet added 24 million new domain names in 2008, according to the fourth quarter 2008 Domain Name Industry Brief by VeriSign.

The year ended with a total of 177 million domain name registrations across all of the Top Level Domains (TLDs). This represents 16 percent growth over the previous year. In the fourth quarter, more than 10.1 million new domain names were registered across all TLDs.

The five largest TLDs in terms of size were .com, .cn (China), .de (Germany), .net, and .org.

The Taxman Cometh To Downloads
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Looking to curb a $15 billion deficit in the state budget, New York Governor David Patterson has proposed a tax on internet downloads.

The proposal isn’t content-specific, so the four percent tax would apply to everything from music, books, software and, yes, to downloaded pornography.

Guess that’ll be a boost for streaming, then, huh?

Google Talking Bounce Rate Again
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Avinash KaushikGoogle Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik has passed out some tips on improving bounce rates. For those still a little hazy on the concept of bounce rates, he explains it simply:

Not a Bad Month for Microsoft Live Search
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Microsoft didn’t have too bad a month of search in January. As Doug reported, comScore had Live Search’s market share rising from 8.3 to 8.5 percent.

Searchers Pick Gokey, Grace As American Idol Finalists
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It’s that time of year again when we watch a band of histrionic hopefuls vie for America’s new sweetheart on American Idol. If search behavior is any indication (and it often is, except when involving political candidates), we’ll see Danny Gokey, Alexis Grace, and either Ricky Braddy, Tatiana Del Toro, or Ann Marie Boskovitch slide through to the final twelve.

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