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Google Launches API for Chrome Omnibox
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Google announced the launch of a new omnibox API for Chrome. This means developers will be able to do new cool things with the omnibox (the address bar in Chrome, which also serves as a search box). 

Facebook Hires Google’s Latin America Head

Although Google’s famous for being one of the world’s best employers, Facebook has been able to lure workers away on a regular basis, and the social network’s starting to get quite aggressive about it.  Indeed, the latest switch involves Alexandre Hohagen, Google’s (former) top-ranking exec in Latin America.

Netflix and CBS Strike Content Streaming Deal
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Netflix announced a new deal with CBS that will allow it to stream CBS content for two years (non-exclusively). The deals enables Netflix to stream select TV shows like Medium, Flashpoint, Frasier, and Cheers.

Other shows included in the deal are: Family Ties, the original Hawaii Five-O, Star Trek, Twin Peaks, The Twilight Zone, and The Andy Griffith Show. 

Is Blogging Really in Danger Because of Social Networks?
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Here we go again with another one of those silly social media vs. blogs debates. The New York Times stirred the pot this time with an article called, "Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter."

Can you imagine ever reading only social media updates and no blogs? Share your thoughts.

Square Eliminates Transaction Fee, Calls it a Revolution
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Square, the mobile payments company co-founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, just announced that it is removing a 15¢ transaction fee on credit card payments – a move that is sure to capture merchants’ attention. The company says:

Now when you swipe a card with Square there is just one fee: 2.75%. What you see is what you pay.

ForRent.com Partners With Oodle On Facebook Marketplace

ForRent.com said today it has partnered with online classified company Oodle to integrate its apartment listings in the Facebook Marketplace.

“Looking for and acquiring a home (be it renting or buying) has been called one of life’s major stressors. Engaging feedback from one’s ‘social network’ can ease the anxiety of this decision,” said  Brock MacLean, senior vice president of national sales and development at ForRent.com.

 

Facebook Continues to Improve in Search
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I wrote an article a couple months ago, asking: What if Facebook goes search while Google struggles to go social? I looked at some of the things Facebook has done related to search, and made the case that the social networking giant has a lot of potential for becoming a bigger player in search in general. 

Why Digital Marketing Challenges Everyone
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Sometimes I can see it in their eyes. During a speaking appearance, I’ll look out at the audience and see fear. Not the "Big F" kind of "Run for your lives, citizens!" terror that you see in a B-movie. No, I am talking about the kind of fear that makes you stop and check things out just one more time before trying something. The fear that causes you to wait for someone else to make the first move. I see it all the time in digital marketing. It’s totally understandable. It’s human nature. I am extremely sympathetic to everyone who experiences it.

Russian Official Faults Google For “Manipulations” In Egypt
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Google’s attempts to "do no evil" and defend Wael Ghonim may have raised the Russian government’s ire.  Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has been quoted blaming more than one executive for contributing to the Egyptian revolution.

According to a new Reuters article, Sechin said, "Look what they have done in Egypt, those highly-placed managers of Google, what manipulations of the energy of the people took place there."

Graphic.ly Introduces Android App

Online comic service Graphic.ly has launched an app for Android that offers users access to more than 150 publishers and over 2,000 titles.

 Publishers include Marvel Comics, Archaia Entertainment, Archie Comics, BOOM! Studios and IDW Publishing.

“Like our community, we are firm believers in the explosion of the Android market,” said Micah Baldwin, CEO of Graphic.ly.

 

Zagat Introduces New Website
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Restaurant information company Zagat has relaunched its website to include more free content and increased recognition of its user reviews.

“Zagat has always been a brand powered by people and passion. Having listened to our users, we’ve re-envisioned Zagat.com,” said Nina Zagat, Co-Founder, Zagat Survey.

 

Yahoo Japan Agrees To Video Deal With Ooyala

Yahoo Japan’s approach to online video technology will soon change a great deal.  Indeed, the company’s partnered with Ooyala, an online video specialist, and its tech is supposed to be incorporated into just about everything Yahoo Japan owns.

Libya Protest Tweets Mapped Using Google Maps
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An activist has put together a Google Maps mashup, mapping out tweets from those involved in the protests in Libya. 

Twitter Poaches MySpace’s Director Of Business Development

Depending on your perspective, Twitter’s recruiters have either succeeded or struck again.  After luring employees away from Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, they’ve now also brought Rita Garg, Director of Business Development at MySpace, onboard.

Garg has a rather impressive resume.  For starters, she attended both Stanford (getting a BA in Economics) and the Harvard Business School (earning an MBA).

Yahoo Launches Finance App For The iPad
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 Yahoo has introduced a finance app for the iPad called MarketDash.

 MarketDash allows iPad users to manage views of stock charts, scroll across hours, days or months of market activity; plot points in time; and compare multiple stock tickers in one chart.

 

 

Amazon Launches New Netflix Competitor

Amazon has announced the launch of an unlimited, commercial-free instant streaming movie and TV show service for Amazon Prime members. The service will give subscribers access to 5,000 movies and shows. 

Prime members will not be charged any extra. The price will remain $79 per year for the membership. The service also provides members with "all-you-can-eat" free 2-day shipping, which the company says has already attracted millions.

Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquake – People Finder Tool Released by Google
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Google has launched a people search tool to help people affected by the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. With the tool, users have to options:

- I’m looking for someone
- I have information about someone

The tool can be accessed here

Google allows people to embed the tool on their own sites as such:

Google Simplifies Bidding on the Display Network

Google’s display network is a great way for small business advertisers to dabble in the banner advertising space.

Whilst the planning, set up and management of banner advertising through Google’s display network is fairly straight forward, one part of the process was a bit more convoluted than it should have been – the bidding on managed placements.

People who’ve used “managed placements” in the display network might have recalled seeing 3 default bids for their ad groups – namely:

Skype Breaks Record with 29 Million Users Online

Skype has broken a new record, hitting 29 million people online. On Skype’s "Big Blog", Peter Parkes writes:

We’ve passed another milestone – at approximately 1800 GMT yesterday, there were more than 29 million people online on Skype. Another record broken, and an opportunity for us to remind you that you can get Skype in all sorts of places – on your computer, on your mobile and even on your TV.

Eric Schmidt’s Mobile World Congress Speech: Full Video

Google has made video available of CEO Eric Schmidt’s speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. 

At the event, he discussed the company’s current operating system focuses: Android Gingerbread and Honeycomb, and Chrome OS. "We’ve got an OS for phones called ‘Gingerbread’ and one for tablets called ‘Honeycomb’. G and H. You can imagine that the next will begin with I and will be named after a dessert, and it will unite them," he said. 

Apple In-App Subscriptions Not for SaaS Apps, According to Steve Jobs

Apple’s subscription policy has been the subject of a great deal of controversy since it was introduced a week ago. It has been heavily in the spotlight this week, with app developer Readability having posted an open letter to Apple, 

In the letter, Readability creator Rich Ziade wrote:

If Google Tweaked Its Search Results …
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Google’s search quality has been a heated topic of discussion in recent weeks – mainly with regard to content farms permeating search results. It’s not only an issue with Google, but Google is by far the largest search engine, dominating the market by a landslide, so it gets the most scrutiny. 

Alibaba CEO and COO Step Down
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According to reports, Alibaba CEO David Wei and COO Elvis Lee have both resigned, following findings of fraudulent activity among thousands of sellers.

Neither executive was found to be actually involved in the fraud, but the company found a significant increase in claims against particular sellers over the last year.

$1 Billion Yandex IPO Set For This Summer

Anyone who would like to invest in Russia’s most successful search engine may want to start saving pennies and talking to his (or her) stockbroker.  Reports indicate that Yandex, which has had little trouble fending off Google in its home market, will go public and try to raise $1 billion this summer.