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What Do Customers Expect From Your Social Media Practices?

Have you noticed members of your community posting customer service related questions on your Facebook Page? Or perhaps you have now revised your customer service and customer relationship management processes to integrate Twitter as part of your programme.

Amazon Buys European Netflix-Like Company, LoveFilm
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Amazon is acquiring the remaining shares in LoveFilm, which is often referred to around the web as the "Netflix of Europe". Amazon already owned a 42% stake in the company. 

Facebook Looks to Get More People Using the Site on Phones
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Facebook has launched a new mobile app for feature phones in order to get more people in the world using Facebook via their mobile devices. This should help with that. 

"We want people to have a great mobile experience no matter what type of phone they carry," said Facebook program manager Mark Heynen. "Smartphones have offered better features for sharing with friends but aren’t used by most people around the world."

Social Video Chat Service vChatter Gets New Funding
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Social video chat service vChatter has secured a new $350,000 round of funding, which the company will use to ramp up their development team for faster velocity on the rollout of new features, a spokesperson for the company tells WebProNews. This brings the company’s total funding up to $600,000 after raising an initial seed round of $250K in the summer of 2010.

eBay Delivers Impressive Q4 Earnings Report

The fourth quarter of 2010 – which of course coincided with the all-important holiday shopping season – was a pretty good period for eBay.  The company reported its financial results this afternoon, and managed to come in above analysts’ forecasts.

Google Lets You Search with Local Recommendations From Specific Friends

Google announced a new Google Maps feature today, related to the company’s recently launched Hotpot social recommendation product. Now, users can search Google Maps, and request results based on the recommendations of specific friends. 

RIAA Wants to Work with ICANN To Keep .Music Domains Piracy Free
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The RIAA is lowering its horns and taking the .music initiative head-on. Even though the .music domain extension hasn’t seen the light of day yet, the RIAA is already challenging ICANN to ensure that, if approved, this top-level domain won’t be used to encourage music piracy.

Google Updates Ad Preview Tool
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AdWords advertisers who prefer not to go with the "guess and check" method when trying to attract customers are in luck.  This afternoon, Google announced some improvements to its Ad Preview Tool, allowing users to get a good idea of how their ads will appear without wasting any time or money.

T-Mobile Launches Android App To Prevent Texting While Driving
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T-Mobile has released an Android app called DriveSmart Plus aimed at preventing texting while driving.

DriveSmart Plus, powered by Location Labs, is is a subscription-based, opt-in service that automatically detects when a handset user is driving and sets the phone into a ‘Driving Mode’.  Once this service is activated, it disables most texting and calling features to the handset while the car is in motion.

 

Are Businesses Using Instagram and Quora to Engage?
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I pay attention to emerging technology and trends on a daily basis. While I track many networks, tools, and services, I take the time to share those that appear to gain traction or offer interesting prospects for tomorrow’s business, today.

Demanding Trust From Pluck

How much do you trust Pluck’s review system?  Apparently not enough, because with the introduction of their new Trust Filters, Demand Media is attempting to improve end-user confidence.

Sundance Expands Online Video Offerings With Brightcove

Online video platform Brightcove said today it is teaming with the Sundance Institute to support its new live and on-demand video initiatives for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, which runs from January 20 – 30 in Park City, Utah.

Yandex Reports 43 Percent Revenue Increase
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The Russian search company that has had little difficulty fending off Google in its homeland is also doing rather well financially.  Today, Yandex announced its 2010 financial results, and the company saw its revenues increase by an impressive 43 percent compared to 2009.

That puts Yandex’s revenue for 2010 at about $410 million, which is a tidy enough sum.  As for some other achievements, an official announcement explained, "Revenues from contextual advertising grew 45% year-over-year."

Rackspace Takes Cloud Infrastructure to Europe

Rackspace has launched its Cloud Infrastructure in Europe. "After strong growth in 2010, Rackspace is off to a solid start in 2011," a representative for the company tells WebProNews. 

The company’s new pay-as-you-go cloud offerings based in the UK include Rackspace Cloud Files, running on OpenStack Object Storage, and Cloud Servers, based on the Xen hypervisor. The new cloud platform joins the dedicated hosting platform already offered in EMEA.

MapQuest Open Roll-out Rolls On

MapQuest’s embrace of user-generated content from a topographical perspective continues with the release of additional editions of MapQuest Open.

By aggregating its data from the OpenStreetMap service, MapQuest Open allows users to interact with their applicable map, which would, according to MapQuest’s blog entry, “indicate rapid change in geographic locations, points of interest and routing.”

Starbucks Launches Mobile Payments In All U.S. Stores

Starbucks has introduced mobile payments in all of its U.S. stores, allowing people to pay for purchases with select smartphones.

The new mobile payment program now includes 6,800 company-operated stores and more than 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target locations.

 

Starbucks-Mobile

 

Twitter Launches In Korean

Twitter usage has increased a lot in South Korea over the last year, and it may soon skyrocket.  Late yesterday, Twitter announced that it has launched in Korean, giving South Korea’s 48.5 million citizens the opportunity to access the service in their native language.

Amazon Introduces “Elastic Beanstalk” for Easy App Deployment

Amazon announced a new product for Amazon Web Services today, called "AWS Elastic Beanstalk". The product, a new way for developers to deploy and manage apps in the AWS cloud, handles things like capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and app health monitoring.

Google Launches Doodle 4 Google Contest

Google said today it is holding its fourth annual Doodle 4 Google contest, which is open to K-12 students in the U.S. for a chance to design the company’s homepage.

 Participants in this years Doodle 4 Google contest will have a chance to win a $15,000 scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for their school.

 

Alibaba Makes Major Logistics Investments in Chinese Market

Alibaba announced plans to build a network of warehouses across China, and drive major investment in logistics in that country, with the aim of allowing merchants to meet growing domestic consumption. 

Playboy To Move To iPad

Adult content may at last heading to the iPad.  Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who recently asserted new control by offering to buy out the company’s remaining shareholders, has stated that uncensored versions of the magazine will be available on the device starting this March.

Hefner, who will turn 85 in April, shared the news late yesterday on Twitter.  You can see his first tweet on the subject below.

Google TV Goes to School
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Google has announced a program called Google TV for EDU, which is described as a seeding program to support university research. Google essentially gives Google TV devices (Logitech Revues) to university faculty for the purpose of carrying out in-classroom research. 

The Google TV team has been working with Google’s Student Ambassador Program and University Programs to give students and faculty around the country access to Google TV. 

Google Gives Google Earth, Picasa, Chrome Downloads to Iran
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Some U.S. export controls and sanctions programs, which prohibited software downloads to Iran have now been lifted, and Google has announced that it is making Google Earth, Picasa, and Chrome available for download in that country. 

Apple Earnings Call, Cook Calls Android Tablets “Bizarre”

Apple has announced its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011. The company would appear to be way over consensus estimates, as it has posted yet another record quarter. 

We’ll be covering the call live, which is scheduled to begin at 5pm Eastern. Press release info below.

Live coverage begins (paraphrased)…

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer:

Extremely pleased: announces all time record quarterly revenue and earnings. (see release below).