Google Delves Into 45

Satellite views of a town are often neat – until you realize it’s hard to recognize places by their rooftops.  So Google seems to have made a wise (and possibly Microsoft-inspired) update to Google Maps by releasing what it simply calls "45° imagery."

45° imagery is quite similar to what Microsoft/Bing Maps has termed a "Bird’s Eye" view.  Or, in fairness to Google, it’s just what you get when Street View and a top-down view are sort of averaged out.

Google Delves Into 45
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Satellite views of a town are often neat – until you realize it’s hard to recognize places by their rooftops.  So Google seems to have made a wise (and possibly Microsoft-inspired) update to Google Maps by releasing what it simply calls "45° imagery."

45° imagery is quite similar to what Microsoft/Bing Maps has termed a "Bird’s Eye" view.  Or, in fairness to Google, it’s just what you get when Street View and a top-down view are sort of averaged out.

YouTube Announces $5 Million Grant Program
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Let’s face it: while there’s some fantastic content on YouTube, there’s also some stuff that features good writing and acting, but is recorded using a bad cameraphone and a poorly disguised studio apartment.  YouTube intends to address that problem with the new YouTube Partner Grants program.

Google Found In Violation Of Australian Privacy Act
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Google’s indiscretions with regards to WiFi data collection have earned it – for now – three years of close supervision in Australia.  That appears to be about the maximum penalty Australian Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis can impose after determining the company violated a privacy law.

Facebook Set To Close Gift Shop
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Facebook will be phasing out its virtual gift shop and closing it on August 1, the company announced in a blog post Thursday night.

So what does this mean? The Facebook Blog provides more details. "The gifts you’ve already received on your Wall will remain visible, and you still will be able to view your sent and received gifts on your gifts page."


Yahoo And Zillow Partner On Real Estate Ad Deal
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Yahoo and Zillow.com have partnered to create a real estate advertising network, bringing together the second and third most trafficked property websites.

The move expands on existing partnership between Yahoo and Zillow that began in 2006, when Yahoo integrated Zillow’s home valuations on its own real estate site. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

China Renews Google’s Internet License
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After months and months of censorship, workarounds, and harsh words between them, it’s been decided: the Chinese government will not force Google out of the country.  Google announced this morning that its Internet Content Provider license has been renewed.

Google’s announcement was quite understated, with no gloating evident.  Indeed, it just came in the form of a one-sentence update to the most recent China-related post on the Official Google Blog.

Google Knocked By Another Financial Analyst
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Google is not having the best possible week.  Yesterday, an analyst representing J.P. Morgan cut his price target on the company’s stock by $73, and today, an analyst with Oppenheimer followed suit, actually cutting his price target by an even-more-dramatic $115.

Not all is lost.  Jason Helfstein still feels Google’s doing well in the U.S., and even believes the company deserves an "outperform" rating, which is about as good as it gets.

MLB.com In Streaming Deal With Global Crossing
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Global Crossing said today it has partnered with MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, to provide a high-speed network for all 30 Major League ballparks, to allow the league to offer live video streaming to its online subscribers.

Facebook Acquires Travel Recommendations Firm
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Just one week after Google announced its acquisition of travel industry giant ITA Software, it appears that Facebook is dipping a toe in the same water.  This afternoon, Nextstop revealed that it’s being absorbed by Mark Zuckerberg’s organization.

Bing Captures Bigger Share Of U.S. Search Market
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Bing had the most search growth for the month of June, growing 7 percent month- over-month to capture 9.85 percent of the U.S. search market, according to the latest figures released by Hitwise.

Google accounted for 71.65 percent of the search market, but saw a one percent drop in growth month-over-month.  Yahoo’s search growth was flat, accounting for 14.37 percent of the market and Ask captured 2.19 percent of the search market, with 2 percent growth month-over-month.


Hulu CEO: Ad-Free Version Not Out Of The Question
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When the details of Hulu Plus were announced, many people were dismayed that the service still included advertisements.  Now, Hulu’s CEO has indicated that he’d be willing to do away with the ads – so long as enough customers are willing to pay more money.

Google Could Have Collected WiFi Data From Members Of Congress
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Google’s Street View cars could have recorded communications from some members of Congress, involved in national security issues, via unencrypted WiFi connections, according to an investigation by Consumer Watchdog’s InsideGoogle.

Rep. Jane Harman, D-CA, chair of the Intelligence Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee and former member of the Intelligence Committee has at least one wireless network in her Washington, D.C., home that could have been breached by Google.

comScore Puts Android Up Yet Again
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Palm’s out of the running.  Microsoft’s about to lose its advantage.  And although they’re still way out in front, even RIM and Apple appear to be in trouble, according to the latest report from comScore, which indicates that Android has taken market share from all of its top competitors.

YouTube Hosting Q&A With Katy Perry
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YouTube said today it is hosting an event that will allow fans of singer-songwriter Katy Perry, to ask the artists questions.

Yahoo’s CFO Pledges To Improve Buying/Selling Strategy
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If you’ve ever heard about a Yahoo acquisition and thought that the price sounded excessive – or heard about a sale and thought the opposite – know that Yahoo’s CFO is aware of the problem.  Tim Morse recently indicated that the company is trying much harder to spend wisely.

Ask LeBron James Questions Tonight With #lebrondecision
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Tonight’s the night; LeBron James will hold numerous cities around the country hostage with the anticipation of his decision. He’ll announce his choice via an ESPN special aptly called “The Decision”, which airs at 9 PM ET… oh, did we mention, he’ll be answering your questions via Twitter tonight?

What question do you have for LeBron James? Tell us.

MTV Gets Into Social Gaming
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MTV Networks said today it has purchased Social Express, a social gaming development company.

The move by MTV marks its first entry in the social gaming space, the company said it will develop social games based on original IP (intellectual property) as well as shows and characters from Nickelodeon and its other brands, with the first game to launch in the third quarter.  MTV will also use Social Express to launch a publishing platform for independent game developers.

“The Social Network” Gets A Second Teaser Trailer
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A second teaser trailer for David Fincher’s "The Social Network" has hit the web. Don’t get your hopes up though; no actual film footage was used.

Check it out for yourself below and tell us what you think.

U.S. Launching Program To Detect Cyberattacks On Critical Infrastructure
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The U.S. National Security Agency is launching a program called "Perfect Citizen" aimed at detecting cyberattacks on private companies and government agencies running critical infrastructure such as the electricity grid and nuclear power plants.

Perfect Citizen would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would flag "unusual activity" signaling an impending cyberattack, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google Expands Its Reach With YouTube Leanback
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Forget scooting forward, typing a fresh search query, playing with the mouse, and then pushing back again between clips.  YouTube Leanback has debuted, and it’s meant to make watching consecutive YouTube videos a more relaxed and uninterrupted experience.

Yahoo Partners With Offerpal Media
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The Yahoo Application Platform (or Y!AP, if you shorten it and embrace the company’s use of exclamation points) grew significantly more appealing today.  A deal between Yahoo and Offerpal Media ensures that developers and users will have more payment options.

More Businesses Using Social Media To Gain Customers
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More than one-third (35%) of U.S. businesses have had success using social media to attract new business, according to a new survey from Regus.

The U.S. lags slightly behind the global average, with 40 percent of businesses globally having successfully used social media for business development.

Hitwise Predicts Move Into Gaming For Google

Google’s never been a predictable sort of company.  Its focus on green energy, support for the Klingon language, and decision to set up beehives on corporate property are just a few examples of unusual behavior.  But if Google acts in a rational manner, Hitwise believes the company will enter the gaming sector.