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Rumors of Friction Between Schmidt and Google Founders Surface
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Ken Auletta, author of the book Googled: The End of the World As We Know It, has written an interesting piece for The New Yorker, claiming to know more about why Eric Schmidt has relinquished his CEO role to Google co-founder Larry Page (effective April 4). 

Auletta, who claims to have conducted 11 interviews with Schmidt for the book, writes:

Is Google’s Search Quality The Best It’s Ever Been?
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In a post on the official Google Blog, Matt Cutts, head of the company’s webspam team said that Google’s search quality is the best it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness, and comprehensiveness. 

Do you agree that Google’s search quality is the best it’s ever been? Share your thoughts.

Eric Schmidt Plans $334 Million Stock Sale
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It may be quite a while before it’s possible say for sure whether Eric Schmidt chose a new position or was asked to step down, but in the meantime, no one needs to feel sorry for him.  The soon-to-be ex-CEO of Google has submitted paperwork to clear the way for a stock sale worth about $334 million.

AAA Launches Android App

AAA has introduced a mobile app for Android that allows its members to request roadside assistance.

The free Android app allows AAA members to request roadside assistance without having to place a call. The app uses the phone’s GPS to send the location of the user to AAA Roadside Assistance.

 

Steve Ballmer Comments on Obama’s Appointment of GE CEO Immelt to Jobs Council
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President Obama appointed General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt as chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. 

Having worked with Immelt in the past, Ballmer apparently wanted the world to know where he stands. He released the following statement on the Official Microsoft blog:

Google Funds Mathematical Olympiad With 1 Million Euros

For years to come, some of the world’s top math whizzes may be indebted to Google.  The search giant announced today that it’s donating 1 million (or about $1.35 million) to the International Mathematical Olympiad, which should help fund global events through 2015.

HP Launches Live Streaming Comedy Show On YouTube

HP has launched a live streaming comedy show on YouTube that is hosted by comedian Rob Riggle and will feature actors from the Upright Citizens Brigade.

The video series called HP ePrint Live calls on people to send in ideas for comedic skits.

LinkedIn May Be Approaching $3B In Value
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Ahead of an IPO that may (or may not) take place this year, privately traded shares of LinkedIn are beginning to soar in value.  New rumors indicate that share prices make the professional networking company worth about $3 billion.

Who Will Be the Apple of Streaming Music?
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Since April, Rhapsody has gained over 100,000 net new subscribers. The total number is upwards of 750,000. The company estimates that there are around 1.5 million US music subscribers, which means that it has captured around half of the market. While mobile has helped fuel their growth, Rhapsody is also speaking with cable television companies.

CNNMoney Implements LinkedIn Widget
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Let’s be honest: however content most people are with their jobs, Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For" list can elicit envy.  So LinkedIn and CNNMoney may be onto something, as they’ve partnered to point people who read the list towards individuals who work at the top companies.

This marks the first implementation of LinkedIn’s Company Insider widget, which would be quite significant on its own.  It doesn’t hurt that big names like CNNMoney (which acts as the online home of Fortune) and Fortune are involved, either.

Schmidt: Competitors Spreading Misinformation
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As reported, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is turning over his CEO role to co-founder Larry Page, in favor of an Executive Chairman role.  We sat in on a call with those two and co-founder Sergey Brin, who talked a little bit about the management strategy

Brin Looking Forward to “Many More Decades” with Page and Schmidt

Listening to Google’s earnings call, the conversation began with the big news – Eric Schmidt is stepping down as CEO of the company. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of previously unavailable information came out of that, but there was a quick introduction of the news from Schmidt, Larry Page (who will take his place) and Sergey Brin, followed by a Q&A with those three. They apparently didn’t have the time to stick around any longer, so it went by very fast. 

If You’re Not Local, How Can You Compete in an Increasingly Local Google?
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Update: Looks like there is likely to be a lot more local action coming Google’s way soon. 

Schmidt Out as Google CEO
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Google just dropped a bombshell: Eric Schmidt is out as CEO (as announced in the company’s earings report. We’ll be covering the company’s earnings call, which is sure to have more on this.

Bing Reaches Out To BlackBerry Users

BlackBerry users who feel ignored every time a report on the mobile industry stops after comparing Android devices and the iPhone have reason to be grateful to Bing.  Today, Bing for Mobile updates were announced that will bring the app to more BlackBerry users, add new features, and improve the overall experience to boot.

Techmeme Now Posting Tweets As Stories

Update: Rivera has elaborated a bit more on the site’s use of tweets in a blog post (blogs aren’t dead yet):

Demand Media IPO Reportedly Coming Next Week
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Demand Media’s much-anticipated initial public offering is coming next week, according to Kara Swisher, reporting for the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital. She says numerous sources "with knowledge of the situation" say it will happen after the company’s road show for investors. 

Mobile Email Usage Sees Significant Growth
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In November 2010, the number of U.S. visitors to web-based email sites decreased 6 percent compared to the previous year, while email engagement declined at a greater rate, according to a new report from comScore.

During the same time period, the number of users accessing email via their mobile devices grew by 36 percent.

Gmail Labs Get Search Feature

The point of a laboratory is to facilitate testing.  The average chemist might not get too far if he was just presented with a jumble of beakers, however, and similarly, Gmail Labs has been getting pretty messy.  A new feature promises to fix that issue.

Turn Your Twitter Message Into A Tweet Ring
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Amsterdam based start-up Alphabeth.com has introduced something that every Twitter user surely needs, Tweet Rings.

“Some Tweets should last forever because they mark a special moment in your life or express your personal motto,” the company says.

“Perhaps your favorite message is just so beautiful that you want to carry it with you.” Perhaps.

Yahoo7 Purchases Group Buying Site For $40 Million

Yahoo7, which is the product of a partnership between Yahoo and the Seven Network in Australia, is now also part of the group buying phenomenon.  Yahoo7 announced today that it’s acquired Spreets, a group buying site with 500,000 members.

Use Your Existing Number For Google Voice, But Pay Generously For It
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Some Google Voice users noticed a feature that appeared in their accounts called Number Porting. This means adding your existing number to Google Voice, as opposed to having to use a new phone number entirely for the service, which users have had to do up until this point. 

The feature is evidently only being tested for the time being, but will could go mainstream in the future. If you don’t have to get a new number, there’s a much bigger incentive to use Google Voice…that is if you don’t mind paying the price.   

Sony Launches Mobile Music Apps For Its Artists

Sony Music Entertainment said today it is working to develop mobile entertainment apps for its artists and labels using technology from Mobile Roadie, a platform for creating and managing mobile apps.

Sony Music will create customized apps for its artists and offer users access to news, streaming music and videos, photo galleries, tour schedules, ticketing options, and chat.

YouTube Launches New Homepage For All Users
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Statistics prove that YouTube.com is one of the most visited pages in existence.  At the same time, anecdotal evidence suggests people barely give it a glance before conducting a search or clicking away.  So a new homepage has been designed, and it’s now launched for everyone to see.

A quick clarification: the overhauled homepage is actually available for everyone who’s logged in to see.  Which some people may view as an inconvenience or even a threat to their privacy, but also allows for a degree of personalization.