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Facebook, Google & Other Tech Giants On Board White House Startup Initiative
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Today, the White House announced the launch of the Startup America Partnership as part of a national strategy to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. The initiative is being chaired by AOL co-founder Steve Case, and will receive funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation. Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, will serve as a founding board member. 

Facebook Buys Menlo Park Buildings
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Current and potential Facebook employees who are weighing their options should set aside any concerns about lack of elbow space.  Although things might be getting tight at the company’s current headquarters, reports indicate Facebook has bought two new buildings.

Meijer Launches Online Grocery Service

Retailer Meijer has introduced a new online grocery service called “MeijerDoorstepGrocer.com.”

"This is a very important step for our e-commerce operations," said Rick Keyes, executive vice president of supply chain operations and e-commerce for Meijer.

 

Meijerdoorstepgrocer

 

Salesforce Launches Chatter.com For Any Business With Company Email Addresses
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Salesforce has launched Chatter.com as a way for businesses to create free, private social networks for their companies. 

Chatter, the product, has been around for a while now, and is often described as a "Facebook for the enterprise", but it has been part of the company’s Salesforce CRM and Force.com offerings. Now chatter.com is free to anyone with a company email address.

AOL Acquires Online Video Network Goviral

AOL said today it has acquired the European online video distribution network goviral for $74.1 million.

In addition, AOL will pay goviral $22.6 million over two years following completion of the deal.

“Video is core to AOL’s consumer programming strategy and goviral has created an incredibly compelling platform that delivers highly measureable and cost effective solutions to publishers and advertisers,” said Kate Burns, SVP, AOL Europe.

 

Connecticut AG Declines To Take Google To Court
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Google’s decision to ignore a Civil Investigative Demand issued by Richard Blumenthal may work out all right for the company.  New Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell have reached an agreement with Google that should keep the matter from going to court.

Report Names Android World’s Leading Smartphone Platform

Android is now the leading smartphone platform according to Canalys, which just published its Q4 2010 report on the subject. Shipments of smartphones with Google’s mobile operating system reached 32.9 million. 

The fourth quarter saw 101.2 million smart phone shipments in all, representing an in crease of 89% year-over-year.

No “Actors” for The Social Network

Awards season has been kind to The Social Network. At the Golden Globes, the film won Best Director (David Fincher), Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin), Best Score (Trent Reznor), and Best Picure, Drama. Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield had been nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for their roles as Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin respectively.

Keeping Your Digital Talent Pipeline Full
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One of the huge issues you’re going to see play out starting this year is the movement and flux of those that work within the digital marketing and PR industries.

It’s not often talked about, but believe me, it’s a major concern for agency owners and businesses. How do you retain your top digital talent? How do you keep them happy? And, how do you keep your eye on the next hire?

Will Local B2B Be the Next Web Trend?
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Most of you would probably agree that local is one of the biggest trends on the web these days, fueled by a variety of factors: increased mobile and smartphone usage, localized deals services (like Groupon), and of course search. Local is a major focus of Google right now, as evidenced by an increasing number of local results being returned for queries, as well as products like Google Places, Hotpot and Google Offers. 

Google Edges Bing For Visual Attention
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The top three paid positions on Google attract more visual attention than the top three links on Bing, according to a new report from research firm User Centric.

Study outcomes showed a comparable number of participants viewing top sponsored links (~90 percent) across both search engines. However, these participants spent 22 percent more time looking at Google’s top sponsored links than Bing’s. For right sponsored links, Bing and Google didn’t significantly differ in the amount of attention.

 

Kindle E-Books Turn Amazon’s Page

The Amazon brand was given a serious boost with the launch of their Kindle e-reader, and they are still reaping the rewards as the digital book formats are outselling the more traditional reading medium, paperback books.

According to their fourth quarter report, for every 100 paperback books sold, Amazon sold 115 books in Kindle’s format.  Furthermore, the e-book format is also outselling hardback books — normally, the most expensive of the three formats — by a factor of three.

Where Can Groupon-Like Services Go with Geo?
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Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m liking Groupon, SwarmJam, and other email-driven and mobile local coupon deals.. heck, what’s not to like about the service?

Indeed, I’ve been pretty skeptical about the insane valuations being thrown around about Groupon, although Google and their recent announcement to jump into this lucrative space may derail the huge valuation of Groupon… wait and see I guess. So how popular has Groupon, Living Social and other services become??

Biz Stone: “The Tweets Must Flow”

The Egyptian government’s decision to shut down Internet access doesn’t seem to have gone over well with Twitter cofounder Biz Stone.  While Stone was diplomatic enough not to name the country, a new 400-word post on the official Twitter Blog very much speaks to the situation, stressing the importance of freedom of speech.

Yahoo VP Leaving For Groupon
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The company that’s said to have turned down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google has now lured an important employee away from the second-biggest name in search.  Michael Shim, Vice President of Mobile Business Development and Partnerships at Yahoo, will soon start at Groupon.

Shim’s resume is quite impressive.  After graduating from Georgetown University and Cornell Law School, he worked for a time as a corporate lawyer.  Then he collected some paychecks from AOL before starting at Yahoo in 2006.

Is OpenLeaks WikiLeaks 2.0?
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If you thought the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would bring an end to the “Let’s Leak it to the World” phenomenon, not to mention the subsequent fighting about how we should react to these leaks, think again.

Now You Can Monetize Your Facebook Fans By Promoting Their Likes
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Facebook has a new ad product that may be its most promising ad unit yet – the sponsored story. These ads are simply brand-related stories that users have already shared, but then paid for by the brand mentioned to appear in the ad space, as to attract more attention and engagement. 

Will you be promoting your fans’ engagement with your brand? Let us know.

Twitter Teams Up With the NFL For Super Bowl 45

If you’re having a hard time keeping up with all the NFL/Super Bowl XLV-related tweets, a new partnership between Twitter and the NFL will alleviate these issues. 

Data Credits Quora With 150 Percent Growth In January

Quora, the Q&A site that bloggers and Silicon Valley early adopters can’t get enough of, is growing quickly, according to a new report.  Andrew Chen published some stats today showing that even a conservative estimate pegs the January growth rate at 150 percent.

Is Google Trying To Hide Torrent Results?
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The torrent watchdogs of the Internet have a beef with Google’s instant search feature and the way it deals with word “torrent” and related searches (bittorrent, utorrent).  That is, instant search won’t suggest any sites unless the term in question is completely spelled out.

Mobile Market Up In Q4 Driven By Smartphones

The global mobile phone market grew 17.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, a new quarterly high driven by smartphones, according to a new report from IDC.

Vendors shipped 401.4 million units in Q4 compared to 340.5 million units in Q4 of 2009. Vendors shipped a total of 1.39 billion units on a cumulative worldwide basis in 2010, up 18.5% from the 1.17 billion units shipped in 2009.

Jeff Bezos Cut Amazon Stake By 8 Percent

Amazon shareholders who were already on edge over the company’s disappointing earnings report and forecast now have one more thing to fret about.  A new SEC document indicates that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos cut his stake in the company by a significant amount at the end of last year.

New Google Acquisition Could Be A Key To Company’s Social Battle
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Earlier this week, it was revealed that Google had acquired fflick, a site that lets you log in with your Twitter account, and see what your friends have said about movies. 

Google Marks Data Privacy Day
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We’re not quite sure how the average individual is supposed to celebrate this – don a tinfoil hat and watch a few episodes of The X-Files, perhaps? – but Data Privacy Day is here, and Google’s attempted to acknowledge the occasion in several different ways.

Method of support number one: as you can see from the screenshot below, Google (along with Microsoft) is a sponsor of Data Privacy Day.  That means the search giant officially supports The Privacy Projects, which is the nonprofit think tank behind the unusual holiday.