Amazon Working on Accessibility Features for Kindle
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Amazon is making some enhancements to its Kindle electronic reader, aimed at improving the reading experience for people who are blind, visually impaired, or dyslexic.

"Kindle is for anyone who loves to read—in fact, we’ve heard from thousands of vision-impaired customers and customers with learning disabilities over the past two years who have been helped tremendously by Kindle," said Amazon Kindle Vice President Ian Freed, Vice President.

Online Holiday Spending Hits $15.3 Billion

Online holiday spending has reached $15.3 billion, a 4 percent increase over the previous year, according to the latest report from comScore.

The most recent week saw three individual days surpass $800 million in spending, led by Cyber Monday with $887 million in spending, matching the heaviest online spending day on record. The following Tuesday nearly matched the Cyber Monday total with $886 million in spending, while Thursday, December 3 reached $808 million in spending.

Google Comes to Brick and Mortar Store Windows
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In a recent article, we discussed ways the local search landscape is changing. Add another one to the list, because now Google is sending brick and mortar businesses decals to put on their windows, with barcodes that people can scan with their phones to bring up business listings on Google.

Google CEO Joins Twitter

At this point, Twitter may not gain much from the backing of any more "celebrity" members; we’ve already seen lots of politicians, media personalities, and Hollywood types join up.  Just the same, it seems noteworthy that Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, apparently established an account last night.

Facebook Forms Board For Online Safety

Facebook has formed a Safety Advisory Board with five safety organizations from North America and Europe in an effort to better protect its 350 million global users.

The five organizations on the board are Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, WiredSafety, Childnet International and The Family Online Safety Institute.

Yahoo Lets Users See How They’re Being Tracked for Ads

Yahoo has launched a tool it’s calling "Ad Interest Manager" in beta. The tool is designed to provide transparency and let Yahoo users make decisions about how they want their information to be exposed to interest-based advertising from the Yahoo Ad Network.

Facebook Profiles Reflect True Personality

Social networks such as Facebook are being used to express and communicate genuine personality, instead of an exaggerated identity, according to new research from psychologist Sam Gosling at The University of Texas at Austin.

"I was surprised by the findings because the widely held assumption is that people are using their profiles to promote an enhanced impression of themselves," said Gosling of the more than 700 million people worldwide who have online profiles.

Some Solutions for the Too Much Info, Not Enough Time Problem

With blogs, online news publications, aggregators, and social media, there is a lot of information being produced at a more rapid pace than ever before. User-generated content is flowing onto the web at a ridiculous pace. That comes in the form of blog posts, articles, status updates, tweets, forums, wikis, etc. That doesn’t even take into account personal messages in email, private messages, text messages, and on and on and on.

YouTube Unveils Video Targeting Tool
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Some people tend to shrug their shoulders when presented with options.  Others know exactly what they want.  For this second set – or at least the members of the second set who work for advertising agencies – a new Video Targeting tool from YouTube promises to be of great use.

40 Million Reasons You Need a Mobile Web Presence
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Opera is reporting that usage of its Opera Mini mobile browser has jumped 11% in just a month, around the world. In addition, they say data transfers have gained 16%.

Google Puts Its Own Dictionary in the Spotlight
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Google Dictionary is in the spotlight because Google is now using it for its "definition" link on search results pages for word searches. Previously Google pointed users to Answers.com.

Alan Meckler in Expansion Mode Again

 Alan Meckler who has bought and sold more B2B web properties than anyone else is… according to his Twitter post, back to buying again. 

We hope to close an acquisition late next week or early the next. And perhaps another by month end. Both exciting. More…

Our present platform plus coming deals will make us one of the more exciting blog networks in the BtoB space.

Google Ready To Advance In Russia With New Search Deal
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About three months ago, Google Russia lost its CTO to Mail.ru as she became the company’s deputy CTO.  Now, it looks like a reunion of sorts may take place, as reports indicate that Google Russia and Mail.ru have reached a search deal.

New Google Home Page: Does it Remove or Add Distraction?
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Google has launched its new homepage, which looks generally the same, but removes everything but the logo, search box, and two buttons until the user moves the mouse. Google says most people go to the Google home page to search, and they wanted to remove the other distractions, unless users specifically want to see them.

Two More Publishers Talk About Blocking Google
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A couple of major publishers are siding with (or at least edging towards) Rupert Murdoch in the News Corp./Google content dispute.  MediaNews Group and A.H. Belo execs have said that they’re interested in keeping Google away from parts of their sites.

Let’s talk about MediaNews Group first.  It operates 54 daily newspapers with a combined daily circulation of 2.4 million.  Corresponding websites are part of the mix, as are a TV station and some radio stations.

Italian Prosecutors Request Jail Time For Google Execs
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Italian prosecutors have – sort of – tried to put several Google executives (and the company’s former CFO) in jail.  The prosecutors requested sentences ranging from six months to one year in connection with a case that involved a YouTube video and a disabled boy.

Google Begins “Next Chapter” in Search Advertising
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Update: Google says its new ad formats are "the next chapter in search advertising", and its "AdWords New Ad Formats Initiative" will focus on two themes:

Is it Really Crazy to Block Google?
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After all is said and done Rupert Murdoch may still be seen as the sly old fox that really knew best. Many bloggers and journalists have pounded the insanity of Murdoch’s suggestion that News Corp publications might strike an exclusive indexing deal with Bing and delist itself from Google’s search engine.

Retailers Funneling More Money To Bing
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Bing has managed to turn retailers’ heads in a big way.  After looking at statistics from part of 2008, SearchIgnite reported that retailers spent almost 50 percent more with Microsoft’s search engine this time around, which puts Google and Yahoo partly to shame.

Critical Local Search Factors To Pay Attention To
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Local search is only one sliver of the search marketing game, but it is an increasingly important one, and one that is changing rapidly. These days people are going to the web to find local businesses, sometimes more than even the phone book. Having a presence in local search is imperative for any small business, but just as imperative is being able to compete for visibility.

35 Ways to Improve Your Online Video Performance
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There was an interesting session on online video at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East, which WebProNews attended. The session was called "Video Search Marketing Beyond YouTube". The following tips come from a combination of presentations from that session from speakers: William Leake of Apogee Search, John McWeeny of TurnHere, and Eric Papczun of Performics.

Will a Lack of Editors Affect Wikipedia Accuracy?
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Wikipedia is a very useful site for anyone looking to find information on any given topic. Chances are that you have used it for research at one time or another. Even if you don’t start by going directly to Wikipedia, results from the site are often at the top of search results in Google, and you’ll get there anyway.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Takes Over Social Media
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Shhh, can you hear that? What you’re hearing is the collective shrieks from Twihards everywhere as The Twilight Saga: New Moon is upon us. For those of you asking yourself, what is a Twihard? I’ve included the definition below.

twi-hard noun
A serious/obsessive reader of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, one leap above Twilighters.

Yahoo and Microsoft Finalize Deal
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Update: Microsoft and Yahoo have closed the deal. WebProNews received an email from a Yahoo representative saying that they have "finalized and executed the definitive Search and Advertising Services and Sales Agreement and License Agreement in accordance with the letter agreement announced in July."

Statements from the two companies are as follows: