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Google Further Customizes the News Experience

Google has launched a new Google News feature called the Custom Sections Directory. This is a page where users can go to find and create customized sections covering narrower topics to put on their Google News homepages or share with other users.

Novell Tries To Ride On Google Wave

When Google Wave was first released, it impressed a lot of people from a technical standpoint.  The trouble was, no one could figure out a practical use for it.  Now, Novell has decided to take a shot, announcing a service known as Pulse.

NY AG Hits Intel With Antitrust Suit
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New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a federal antitrust lawsuit Wednesday, against Intel, the world’s largest maker of computer chips.

The suit says Intel violated state and federal anti-monopoly laws by engaging in a global campaign of illegal conduct revealed in emails, in order to maintain its monopoly power and prices in the market for chips.

Google Launches Analytics for Mobile Apps

Google has launched Google Analytics for Mobile Apps. The reports that are available as a result of last week’s expansion of mobile reporting features are now available for mobile apps as well.

Apple App Store Hits 100,000

Apple said today developers have created over 100,000 apps for its App Store, making it the largest application store in the world.

iPhone and iPod touch users in 77 countries can choose from a range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. App Store users have downloaded over two billion apps since the launch of the store 16 months ago.

Google Aims to Put the “Friend” in Friend Connect

Google has launched some new features for Google Friend Connect, aimed at letting site owners make their GFC experience more personalized and letting their visitors get to know each other.

A representative for Google tells WebProNews that 9 million sites are using Google Friend Connect, and pages with GFC get over half a billion unique visitors a month. Two people join every second, she says.

Social Media Playing Role In U.S. Policy Making

Senior staff in the U.S. Congress and European Parliaments regularly access digital outlets and social media to research, influence and set policy, according to a new study by StrategyOne.

Nearly every staffer (96%) uses online resources for public policy research, more than half (54%) reported learning of policy issues for the first time online and (19%) actually changed policy positions based on information and opinions they found online.

More Microsoft Layoffs On The Way
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Earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hit a pessimistic note by saying that he expected to see IT spending growth, but not recovery.  Now, it seems that Microsoft is about to prove it’s still in recession mode, as rumors of imminent layoffs are circulating.

PayPal to Take Over Mobile and Social Apps
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PayPal has opened its global payments platform called PayPal X, providing new APIs, a new developer portal, and some introductory services pricing to help developers take advantage of PayPal X to build businesses.

"The whole world is going digital, and the future of how we communicate, how we get information, and even how we transact, is in the hands of developers," said PayPal President Scott Thompson. "The network is the platform on which the potential of digital money will be fully realized."

eBay Launches Online Magazine
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eBay said Wednesday it is launching a new digital magazine called "The Inside Source" that will be focused on "insights and stories based on what more than 89 million active users are searching for, buying and selling" on the auction site.

The Inside Source content will be managed by an editorial team, led by Meredith Barnett, previously Director of Digital Media for Lifetime Digital. The content will focus on a variety of lifestyle topics, including fashion, technology, automotive, home and garden, pop culture and sustainability.

Amazon Shows Interest In Twitter Referrals

A company with a market cap of $51 billion has lent some weight to the idea that it’s possible to make money off Twitter.  Early this morning, Amazon launched a "Share on Twitter" feature designed to bring in buyers and reward the specific people responsible for doing so.

Considering Social Network Audience Differences

As you’re probably aware, many business owners and managers are hesitant to integrate social media into their business strategies. If you are one that does look for ways to use it, however, you may want to consider how you are using individual social networks.

Google Gears Up For The Holidays

It’s getting to be that time of year during which people grow much nicer and more family-oriented.  Or much more rude and antisocial.  Whatever.  Either way, Google’s making a special effort to ensure that it isn’t put out of mind over the next couple of months.

Florida Sues Expedia And Orbitz Over Taxes

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said today his office has sued online travel companies Expedia and Orbitz for failing to pay the right amount of taxes on hotel room rentals.

The lawsuit states that while the companies have been collecting these taxes from consumers all along, they have only been paying a portion of the taxes to the state and keeping the rest as profit.  Florida says the practice denies it of millions of dollars every year in tax revenue.

Yahoo Real-Time Search Test May Be Days Away

A little more information regarding Yahoo’s take on real-time search has emerged, and the details – scarce as they are – sound encouraging.  Another key point is that public testing of the real-time search feature may be just a few days away.

As we’ve said before, real-time search will be a tricky thing for Yahoo.  Google and Facebook have already made their first efforts in this field, and their partner – Twitter – has a rather higher profile than Yahoo’s pal, OneRiot.

iPhone Most Popular Touchscreen Device

Touchscreen mobile phone adoption in the U.S. showed a significant 159 percent growth rate during the past year to 23.8 million users, according to a new report from comScore.

The growth in touchscreen device adoption outpaced the already strong 63 percent growth in U.S. adoption of smartphones.

Turkey Asks Google For $47 Million In Taxes
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It seems that Google’s accounting practices may not be quite in line with accepted Turkish procedures.  In fact, Turkey’s government has determined that the search giant owes it a little over $47 million in unpaid taxes.

Feds Charge Cable Modem Hacker

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged an Oregon man and the company he founded, TCNISO, alleging they developed and distributed products that allowed users to modify their cable modems and get free Internet access.

Google and Heineken Study Search for Branding

This week Google released some findings from a test Google Netherlands conducted with Metrixlab, Heineken, and Heineken’s agency Twist. They set out to find what effects paid search ads had on branding, and were quite pleased with the results.

By Tweeting, You Could Appear All Over the Web
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Twitter has introduced a new widget for the Lists feature. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter’s widgets, there is one that lets you display your most recent Twitter updates on a web page, one that lets you display search results in real time, and one that lets you show off your favorite tweets.

The Lists Widget is fully customizable. You start off by selecting the username of the account you want to pull lists from, then choose the list name, title it, and give it a caption.

YouTube’s Director Of Content Partnerships To Leave

The man who’s served as YouTube’s director of content partnerships for almost three years has found another job.  Jordan Hoffner is set to link up with a content venture at IAC, according to a new report.

Best Buy To Launch Online Movie Service

Best Buy said today it is partnering with online video provider CinemaNow to create a movie download service that would be built into most of the electronic devices it sells that can be connected to the Internet.

Best Buy said it has entered into a multi-year agreement to license Sonic Solutions’ Roxio CinemaNow technology. Under terms of the agreement, Best Buy acquired warrants enabling it to purchase shares of Sonic Solutions common stock.

New Google Labs: Related Links and Script Converter

Google has released a couple of new Labs projects. The first one is called Script converter, and the second one is called Related Links.

The Script Converter Lab lets users read the text of any script in the supported languages, which currently consist of:

- Hindi
- Bengali
- English
- Gujarati
- Kannada
- Malayalam
- Marathi
- Nepali
- Tamil
- Telugu

All you have to do is enter text or a web address in the box, select the language you want to read it in, and press convert.

New Google Chrome Release Includes Bookmark Sync

Google has launched the latest beta of its Chrome web browser. This release includes bookmark sync.