American Idol Bikini Girl Not Exactly An Overnight Success
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If you haven’t heard of Katrina Darrell yet, she’s probably incredibly disappointed, and so are her, ahem, handlers. After all, her name is currently at the top of Google Hot Trends’ top search gainer list. She’s also known as “bikini girl,” in case you didn’t catch her name for all the, well, distraction.

New Gmail Labs Feature Makes Organization Easier

The oldest email in any given person’s inbox probably confirms their account’s password.  After that, there may be some important note-to-self stuff.  But if the following messages are just moldy jokes or ancient conversations, some tidying up may be in order, and a new experiment in Gmail Labs should help.

Spam News: Michelle Obama Hotter Than Britney?
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Well, socially speaking, there being more interest in First Lady-Elect Michelle Obama than in Britney Spears or Paris Hilton is a positive change, one that bodes well for society. On the flip side, as Inauguration Day nears, spammers are rewarding that renewed interest in affairs of state with an onslaught of junk mail.

Of the 1.4 million spam emails analyzed by SPAMfighter in December, Michelle Obama was the subject nearly five times as much as Britney Spears was, nearly six times as often as Paris Hilton, and ten times as much as Angelina Jolie.

United Adding Inflight Internet

United Airlines announced it will being offering inflight Internet service to passengers on board its p.s. transcontinental route between New York and California starting in the second half of 2009.

United will be using Aircell’s Gogo Inflight Internet service which will allow customers to surf the Web, check email, and send instant messages. The service will be available to customers traveling in all classes for a flat fee of $12.95.

Google Announces Winners Of Website Workout Contest

Google’s Website Optimizer works, and the company really, really wants you to know it.  The winners of the Google Website Workout contest – which challenged businesses to use the tool and improve their conversion rates – have been announced in just about every place possible, giving both them and Website Optimizer all sorts of publicity.

China Internet Users Top 298 Million
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The number of Internet users in China rose nearly 42 percent by the end of 2008 from the previous year, putting its online population at 298 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

China continues to have the world’s largest Internet population and 91 percent of users have broadband connections.

When Stock Market Fails, Try The Lottery

Wealthier households are visiting lottery websites with more frequency than their lower income counterparts, Hitwise reports. Heather Hopkins’ investigation was prompted by AP report about rising sales of state scratch-off lottery tickets.

YouTube Mutes (Some) Copyrighted Music
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If you happen to come across some silent YouTube videos today, there’s no need to start investigating your speaker settings and browser defaults.  It seems that the "problem" is on YouTube’s end; the site’s owners have chosen to mute certain clips as a way of dealing with copyright violations.

Blockbuster To Offer Content On More Devices
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Blockbuster has partnered with Sonic Solutions to offer Video on Demand on a wide variety of consumer electronic devices in an effort to stay competitive with Netflix.

The two companies are working with a number of consumer electronic manufacturers, including Sonic’s CinemaNow, to expand the ecosystem of interoperable devices offering the Blockbuster service.

The devices will include PCs, portable media players, Blu-ray Disc players, set-top boxes, mobile phones and Internet -connected television sets.

Google Making It Easier For Local Businesses To Be Found

Small brick and mortar businesses that advertise with Google may be about to get a boost.  The search giant is making some adjustments to the ads that appear on Google Maps, and a separate upgrade should allow stores to track how much of a gain the things give them.

Ask Revs Up Search For NASCAR

Ask.com has partnered with NASCAR and Hall of Fame of Racing to become the official search engine for the sport.

"As part of our strategy to go deeper into the highest-volume categories and provide the best answer, the first time, every time, we want to be the first place fans search online for NASCAR information," said Ask.com Chief Executive Officer Jim Safka.

Google Starts Apps Reseller Program
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Google Apps Reseller ProgramGoogle has started a program in which resellers can begin selling Google Apps to businesses. Naturally, you would sell the apps to customers, and then kick up money to Google.

Google Introduces New Open Source Sitemap Generator
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Google has introduced a new Sitemap Generator for webmasters to help them create better sitemap files. Google had previously introduced one back in 2005, and watched many other people make their own, but this one is different they say.

What SEOs Want from Google’s Webspam Team in ’09
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UPDATE: Cutts has tallied the demands so far and shares them in a list here.

GiiNii Movit Mini Aims to Make Cell Phone Contracts Obsolete
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GiiNii introduced a pretty cool mobile device at the Consumer Electronics Show called the Movit Mini. It looks like a great way to access the mobile Internet and social networks as well as any number of applications one decides to put on it.

Google to be More Transparent in 2009
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Matt Cutts of Google’s Search Quality Team made a post on the Google Webmaster Blog indicating that a goal of his this year is to make Google more transparent and to communicate more.

Times Online Source Denies Google Teakettle Comparison
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Remember all that hype about a pair of Google searches being equivalent to heating a teakettle to boiling? Yeah, never mind. It seems the Times Online did a little fuzzy math and the Harvard source credited with providing that little tidbit says they didn’t hear that from him.

Google On Pace To Take 75% Of Search Market
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How long do you think it will take Google to corner a full three-fourths of the search market? According to the latest Hitwise report, not long. Does April or May sound too conservative?
Google On Pace To Take 75% Of Search Market

1.4 lb. Sony VAIO P Series Lifestyle PC Introduced at CES
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At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony introduced its new convenient and lightweight laptop computer the VAIO P Series Lifestyle PC. This looks like the perfect device for business travel.

The Y2K+38 Crisis
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In 2038 we’ll likely be weaving tales for our grandkids about how we used to instant message with paper notes instead of our brainwaves and how, when we were really little, stereos were once considered nice furniture pieces. They may be especially interested because, if Richard Wilcox is right, all the really important computers just dialed back to 1901.
The Y2K+38 Crisis

Once Again, Websites Not Liable For User Stupidity
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Okay knuckleheads, you can’t rely on a website to make sure a girl’s 18. And when you get in trouble because she’s actually 14, it’s not the website’s fault, even if their age verification process is ridiculous.

59% of 100 Leading Retailers are on Facebook
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Independent interactive marketing agency Rosetta released a study today that shows that 59% of 100 leading retailers have fan pages on Facebook. This is a testament to how social media is truly consuming the way businesses market themselves.

Mobile Imaging Apps Set To Accelerate
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U.S. consumers will spend more than $500 in 2013 for imaging applications on their mobile phones, according to research firm Parks Associates.

The market will expand beyond photo-sharing services to personalized content management and social networking applications.

Twitter Gets Down to Business
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Twitter has announced that it hired Kevin Thau as Director of Mobile Business Development last month, and that even though "mobile" is part of his title, he’ll be working on a variety of different fronts as Twitter’s "first official business development guru."