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Quantcast Finds Chrome, Firefox Have Trouble At Home
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Here are a couple odd facts for you: compared to people everywhere else, folks in North America dislike Chrome.  And individuals who live in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada are unusually big fans of Internet Explorer.  That’s what new Quantcast data implies, anyway.

Nielsen Grants Bing Small Win Against Google
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We heard earlier this week from comScore and Hitwise, and today, still more evidence that Bing performed well in January arrived.  Nielsen has released its monthly report regarding the U.S. search market, and according to the firm, Bing managed to increase its market share by exactly 1.0 percent.

Internet Plays Vital Role For Auto Dealers
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 Auto dealers say the Internet has provided them with the highest return on investment (ROI) over the last five years, according to a new survey from Autobytel.

 

Gmail-Free Version of Buzz Being Considered

Update: In case there is any confusion, Google will not be taking Buzz out of Gmail. The company issued this statement after some confusion in the blogosphere:

Aardvark Already Part of Google, Answers will Show Up in Search
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Yesterday, news broke that Google was acquiring social Q&A site Aardvark for about $50 million. Aardvark sent its users an email today saying:

Dear friends,

Aardvark has just been acquired by Google!

Report: EU To Approve Microsoft-Yahoo Deal
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The proposed Microsoft-Yahoo search partnership may soon be approved by one set of regulators, at least.  A new report indicates that the European Commission will give it a green light one week from today.

Apple Holds iTunes Contest Marking 10 Billionth Download
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Apple is holding a contest on iTunes called "Countdown to 10 Billion Song Downloads."

The user who downloads the 10 billionth song from iTunes will receive a $10,000 gift card from Apple.

"iTunes changed the way you buy music, making songs and albums available for download, day or night," Apple said.

Google: “Buzz Will Be Just Another Node”
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When Google announced Google Buzz earlier this week, the company made it abundantly clear that it was interested in Buzz being as open as possible. Looking at the Google Buzz API page, you’ll see that support for Activity Streams, AtomPub, OAuth, PubSubHubbub, Salmon and WebFinger are things that are "coming soon."

LinkedIn Greets 60 Millionth Member
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LinkedIn is getting rather large.  Yesterday evening, the network’s vice president of marketing announced on Twitter that it had hit a milestone in terms of users, attracting its 60 millionth member.

LinkedIn had just 55 million members as of December 17th, so this new declaration means it’s grown by a little more than nine percent in less than two months (which translates to a rate of at least 109 percent per year).  That increase in size is, it should be needless to say, impressive.

Video Site Veoh Files For Bankruptcy
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Online video website Veoh has announced it will be shutting down and filing for bankruptcy.

Veoh launched in 2005 and its backers included Shelter Capital, Spark Capital, Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Intel Capital, Adobe, Gordon Crawford, Firefly3 and Jonnathan Dolgen. Those backers supported Veoh with $70 million in investments.

Bing, Google, and Yahoo All Making Maps More Interesting
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At TED, Microsoft unveiled some new features for Bing Maps. "This work builds on the idea of spatial search that Microsoft discussed in December when the company launched its new version of Bing Maps," a representative for Microsoft tells WebProNews.

Some of the new features are available today, but some you will have to wait on a little bit. Microsoft highlights the following new features:

New Chrome For Mac Beta Boasts Extensions

It doesn’t really help anyone that Chrome for Mac isn’t on a level with the regular version of Chrome; Mac fans must feel neglected, and Google’s missing out on a lot of potential users.  The gap between versions narrowed today, though, as a new Chrome for Mac beta with extensions and a few other upgrades was released.

Consumers Favor Companies Engaged With Social Media

A majority of consumers react positively when companies respond to postings on social media sites, indicating the value of the channel as way to engage people in a dialogue while building a company’s image, reputation and brand, according to a new study by The Center for Client Retention.

The study found 55 percent of consumers felt positively when companies responded to a social media posting, with only 5 percent reacting negatively and 40 percent remaining neutral.

Ask Says it Has a Head Start as Google Acquires Q&A Site
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Update: Ask.com-U.S. President Doug Leeds offered the following additional statement:

YouTube Advertises Presence Of New Iran Protest Clips
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Yesterday, Iranian authorities enacted a ban on Gmail, saying they’d introduce a government-sponsored (and presumably government-monitored) email service to replace it.  Now, as YouTube’s seeing an influx of protest videos, Google’s taken a moment to mark the Iranian government’s lack of control.

eBay Loses Court Case To Louis Vuitton
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The Paris District Court ruled today that eBay is liable for harming the reputation of luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton through its use of trademarks, company name and domain name.

The Paris court has ordered eBay to stop using keywords which harm the reputation of the Louis Vuitton brand to promote its sites and will impose penalties of  $1,372 (1,000 euros) for future violations.

Google Reconnects With/Acquires Aardvark

Aardvark has, in a sense, returned to its roots.  Or in other words: Two of the four men who created the social search engine are former Googlers, and now, it’s been confirmed that the search giant’s acquired Aardvark.

YouTube Safety Mode Goes Beyond Human Review

This week, YouTube launched Safety Mode, an opt-in setting that helps users screen out potentially objectionable videos. We asked YouTube how it works. For example, is there human intervention involved?

"Safety Mode goes above and beyond the flagging system and manual review to use community signals to filter out content that may be objectionable," YouTube tells WebProNews. "YouTube’s filters use proprietary technology and algorithms to identify and filter potentially objectionable content."

The Latest in Google’s Effort to Make the Web Faster
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YouTube has just launched a "Speed Dashboard", which makes speed information about videos available to users. YouTube’s Chris Dale tells us it "offers granular insight into what your YouTube video speed looks like."

"We think it’s pretty cool and all part of our goal to make the web a faster place," he adds.

Real-Time Search Engine Adds New Features
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Real-time search engine Wowd, has introduced a real-time tag cloud and a real-time streaming feature to its search service.

The real-time tag cloud is based on hot topics customized to an individual’s search query. Wowd’s "Hot Topics" tag cloud offers a slice of the most popular topics online, including blogs, news, and the most discussed topics on Twitter.

Users can personalize their own tag cloud by downloading Wowd’s browser application or they can stick with a basic tag cloud based on the most popular pages people are visiting in real-time.

Twitter Puts Pixar’s CFO On Payroll
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Twitter’s at last found someone to be its chief financial officer, and the man appears to be more than qualified for the position.  Ali Rowghani actually comes to Twitter from Pixar, where he also held the title of CFO.

Pixar is, of course, the popular animation studio responsible for movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles, and WALL-E.  Disney bought it in 2006 for $7.4 billion, and Rowghani was present at the time, having started at Pixar in 2001.

Google Uses Hours of Search History to Serve Ads
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Google has made some adjustments to how it uses referral URLs for contextual matching of AdSense ads. Google has started expanding the use of query words in referral URLs to a few hours.

Basically what this means is that Google is using user’s search history to determine what ads to show on sites using AdSense. If a user arrives at one AdSense site via a search results page, and then goes to another AdSense site within a few hours, they might see ads based on the referral data from the first one.

What Google Looks for in a Town for its Broadband Project
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As previously reported, Google is planning to build and test "ultra high-speed" broadband networks in select communities around the U.S. We contacted Google to try and find out a bit more about what criteria Google is looking for to make its selections for these trial locations.

UCLA Turns To Social Media To Improve Teen Health
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With the average teen spending nine hours a week on social networking sites, the UCLA School of Public Health has partnered with Health Net of California to develop a health literacy program using social media in an effort to encourage teens from 13 to 17 to take better care of their health.