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Boxee Gets a Whole Lot of Indie Films
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Boxee announced today that it is adding the foundations of a movie library to go along with its existing TV show library. Boxee is tapping EZTakes, Indie Movies Online, MUBI and Openfilm to add thousands of movies to its offerings.

Most of the movies in the library will be free and ad-supported, Boxee says.

MySpace Cleans Up its Profiles
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MySpace has introduced new profiles for users, musicians, and celebrities. The goal, was to "clean things up", so MySpace is offering a newly designed MySpace profile and a theme gallery.

Facebook Users Become Fans Of Brands For Discounts And Promotions

Nearly 40 percent (39%) of Facebook users who become fans of a brand do so to show their support of a company to their friends, according to new study by ExactTarget.

“Consumers use Facebook to interact with friends, be entertained and express themselves through their public affiliation with brands – factors that combine to create a potent viral marketing platform,” said Jeff Rohrs, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group.

Make and Receive Phone Calls from Gmail

Earlier, it was reported that Google was testing a feature that would let you make and receive phone calls from within Gmail. It turns out, this wasn’t just a test.

Google has now officially announced that this is indeed a feature of Gmail. It is being rolled out in the U.S. starting today.

Google Social Network Lets Users Keep Conversations Separate

Google has launched some new features for its Orkut social network, which is popular in Brazil and India, though it has been trumped by Facebook in India according to new comScore data.

Bango: Android Web Browsing Up 400%
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U.S.-based Android users are an active (and likely multiplying) bunch, according to new data from a mobile payment specialist called Bango.  The company’s determined that, between the first and second quarters, the volume of Web browsing conducted on Android devices increased by a whopping 400 percent.

Motorola Buys 280 North to Foster Android Growth

While no official announcement has been made by either party, Motorola has reportedly acquired 280 North, a startup known for developing the Cappuccino programming language.

TechCrunch claims to have confirmed the acquisition, and has heard that the price is around $20 million, though this is not confirmed. Michael Arrington shares this quote from a Motorola spokesperson:

Amazon Selling Kindles Like Hotcakes, Shipping Early

Amazon has announced that more new generation Kindles were ordered in the first four weeks of availability than in the same timeframe for any other Kindle launch.

Additionally, in those four weeks, customers ordered more Kindles on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk combined than any other product. That makes Kindle the bestselling product across all products on Amazon for two straight years.

Apple Set To Offer 99-Cent TV Show Rentals

Apple is reportedly in talks with News Corp’s Fox, CBS, NBC Universal and Walt Disney to allow iTunes users to rent TV shows for 99 cents.

Under the deal, according to Bloomberg, episodes would be available to rent 24 hours after they air, would be commercial free and available to iTunes users for 48 hours.

Facebook Tops Orkut In India
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For a long time, Orkut has been the one bright spot in Google’s social media stable; it’s been the sole product that became really popular in some markets, even as everything else struggled to gain users (and/or not get the axe).  Only new stats indicate that Facebook’s beaten Orkut in India, which represented one of its two strongholds.

Here’s an Invitation to the New Digg

Digg is giving out invitations to the new Digg. Specifically, it’s giving out handfuls of invitations to publishers to offer to their readers.

"We want to see all publishers experience the same success, so we’re providing every publisher, big or small, with a chance to invite their readers to the new Digg, before our GA launch," says Michael Cieri.

Murders Organized Using Facebook
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From time to time, we get a reminder of the true power of social media, and the fact that sometimes that power is used by evildoers. The latest example comes a CNN report about a Facebook "hit list".

According to CNN’s Arthur Brice, three teenagers in Columbia, who were on a 69-name hit list posted on Facebook, have been murdered in the past ten days. He reports:

Google Reportedly Testing Voice Calling from Gmail

Google is reportedly testing a new voice calling service that would reside in Gmail on the desktop. Tom Krazit at CNET says the service is launched from the Google Chat window within Gmail, and allows users to place and receive calls from within their contacts.

Google Launches Google Finance Android and iPhone Editions
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Google has launched a new mobile version of Google Finance for Android and iPhone. This offers nearly all the same features and functionality as the desktop version.

Opera Enters Agreement With Telenor for Co-Branded Browsers

Opera has announced a non-exclusive agreement with the Telenor Group, aimed at stimulating growth of mobile Internet services across Telenor’s business units.

As part of the agreement, Opera and any of Telenor’s business units may develop a co-branded version of Opera Mini that is adapted to the local operator.

eBay Plans End To Third-Party Checkout Solutions
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In the not-particularly-near future, eBay’s checkout process will become a simpler affair.  The company announced today that it intends to stop supporting third-party checkout solutions on June 30th of next year.

This seems like a wise move for several reasons.  For starters, it will grant eBay more complete control over its site, and search boxes and Facebook widgets aside, it’s usually wise for companies not to rely on others.  Too many things can go wrong, diluting the brand and/or spoiling the users’ experience.

Firefox 4 Gets Panorama and Sync

About a month ago, Firefox Creative Lead Aza Raskin revealed "Tab Candy", a Firefox feature designed to make managing tabs easier. It shows an overview of all tabs so they can be quickly located. It also includes other organizational features like tab groups.

Pandora Improves Its Music Discoverability

Pandora announced today that it is giving users the ability to launch genre-based Internet radio stations.  While Pandora is known for the creation of personalized stations, based on artists or songs, this gives users the opportunity to listen to broader stations, while remaining in their musical comfort zone.

Intel and Nokia Collaborate on 3D Mobile UIs

Intel and Nokia announced that they have created a joint laboratory at the University of Oulu aimed at creating new user interfaces and experiences. It’s called the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Center, and will employ about two-dozen R&D professionals.

Intel says the lab will initially conduct research for mobile user experiences that could leverage the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile devices. They’re looking for an experience that does for mobile what 3-D graphics have done for movies.

Overstock Launches Private Sales Site
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Online retailer Overstock.com has launched a private sales website today called Eziba.com.

Eziba offers exclusive deals on home decor products from a variety of popular brands. Items will be offered in daily sales starting each day at 11 EDT. Each sale will last between 48 and 72 hours.

 

Eziba

 

Yahoo Completes Bing Transition for Organic Results (in US and Canada)
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Last week, Yahoo announced that it had begun transitioning Bing results into Yahoo results – a product of the Search Alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft. Now, the companies have announced that the transition of organic results in the U.S. and Canada is complete.

This applies to web, image, and video search on Yahoo for both the desktop and mobile experiences of Yahoo Search.

Google Earth For Android Goes Underwater

Google Earth fans who own smartphones and tend to spend a lot of time stuck in traffic, sitting in dentists’ offices, and bored during commercials can now explore a part of the planet that was previously unavailable for sightseeing.  The latest Google Earth for Android update adds underwater terrain.

Online Ad Spending To Reach $51 Billion

Online ad spending is set to grow almost 14 percent, from $45.6 billion, in 2010, to $51.9 billion, in 2011, according to a new forecast from Borrell Associates.

By next year, local online advertising should grow by almost 18%, from $13.7 billion, in 2010, to $16.1 billion, in 2011.

 

Online-Ad-Spending-2011

 

Can Bing Win More Search Market Share Through iPhone and Android?

I’ve written several times about Bing’s chances of increasing search market share through various avenues. While nobody expects Bing to overthrow King Google anytime soon, those chances are pretty good.

One of the keys I’ve repeatedly referred to, is the launch of Windows Phone 7, which will make Bing the default search option. If these devices take off, they could help push Bing’s share tremendously (not to mention the company’s deals with Yahoo and Facebook).