Microsoft Launches SearchPerks Program
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At any search engine conference, Google’s setup tends to draw the biggest crowds.  Next come the companies that happen to have booth babes.  But swag is also popular, and since Microsoft can’t easily change its name or distribute women, a new SearchPerks program aims to capitalize on this last idea.

StumbleUpon May Become Bigger Player
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StumbleUpon announced today that it will be rolling out a new design to make the service more accessible to new users. The biggest drawback has always been the fact that users had to install a toolbar to use the service, but with this new design, the need to do so has been eliminated.

Bloomberg To Provide Video To AOL Money & Finance

Bloomberg Television has reached a deal with AOL to provide video on AOL’s Money & Finance portal.

Germans Seek To Block Google Street View
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Aspects of Google are pretty popular in Germany; the latest comScore data indicates, for example, that it’s cornered 79.8 percent of the country’s search market.  Google Street View is being looked at in a different light, however, and may hit a show-stopping barrier in the town of Molfsee.

British Telecom’s Doing ISP-Based Behavioral Targeting
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British Telecom began some ISP-based behavioral ad targeting testing today. Before privacy enthusiasts freak out, it’s on an opt-in basis…so far.

"Around 10,000 customers will be invited to opt in to the trial when they commence their browsing session. We will issue invitations at random," said British Telecom.

Ballmer Gives Economic Warning

Microsoft’s stock managed to go up by 6.72 percent today, which undid a great deal of damage and put the company ahead of its opening price from Friday.  Just the same, Steve Ballmer has taken the unusual step of warning onlookers that the economic problems are likely to affect everyone.

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I deal with a lot of PR flaks, marketing guys, computer geeks, company founders and CEOs, but not one of them has ever uttered a phrase like this: “Instead of just iCams or emoticons, you can reach out and tickle or fondle someone if they agree to it."

That gem is courtesy of Amir Vatan, co-founder of HighJoy Products. His company specializes in cyberdildonics, a.k.a. teledildonics, a.k.a. icky Internet-controlled sex junk. HighJoy.com* is a kind of Facebook for. . .is a MySpace for. . .well, you know.

Online Threats Concerning More Americans
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Internet users are becoming increasingly concerned about online threats such as viruses, spam and identity theft, according to survey by the American Consumer Institute.

Consumers also report significant worry that their privacy might be invaded by programs that track and record which Internet sites they visit.

The majority (74%) of those surveyed said they were "very concerned," about identity theft, compared to 68 percent who indicated great worry about identity theft in a similar ACI survey from 2006.

YouTube HotSpots Show You Which Spots Are Hot

Earlier this year, YouTube rolled out YouTube Insight, an analytics program for videos that let users get a look into where and by whom videos were posted. They have launched a new feature of that service today, which allows you to actually pinpoint the specific parts of videos that get viewed the most. A post on the Official Google Blog explains:

YouTube Given Important Role In New Zealand Politics

One nice result of the U.S. economy’s implosion has been the news coverage of something other than American politics.  But then the blame game begins, so to remove ourselves even further from McCain-Obama bickering, we can look to YouTube’s latest project: the ONE News YouTube Election Debate.

Norway Presses Apple To Open Up iTunes
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A Norway consumer body says it wants to take Apple to court over its iTunes music store for not changing its DRM technology to make its music available on all music players.

Two years ago, Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon criticized iTunes for the use of unfair contract terms in breach of the Norwegian Marketing Control Act.

MySpace Facing Loss Of Top Spot

It shouldn’t surprise anyone if MySpace’s execs all have the "Jaws" theme stuck in their heads.  Facebook has been creeping up on its rival for some time, and within the next month or so, may finally overtake it in terms of unique U.S. visitors.

SocialText Brings Facebook & Twitter Into Wikis

 Socialtext is making big news all over the Web this morning. Here’s a rundown, later in the post I’ll talk about why.

Customers Cry Foul On Wal-Mart’s DRM Decision

 In yet another shutdown of DRM servers, following on the heels of Yahoo and MSN Music,Wal-Mart is also shutting down their DRM servers casting millions of dollars in media locked into one computer, unless you can copy it over to disk. 

Companies Come Together To Promote Mobile Broadband

A group of 16 major IT and mobile companies have united behind a GSMA-led initiative to promote mobile broadband.

The companies include Dell, Ericsson, Lenovo, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Toshiba and Vodafone. The group’s goal is to help people easily identify laptops that have built in access to the Internet via high-speed networks. The marketing initiative is worth more than $1 billion over the next year.

The group will label laptop computers that meet their standards for mobile broadband access with a badge that identifies the laptops as ready for mobile broadband connections.

NBC Olympics Coverage Proves Online Video’s Importance
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NBCNBC Sports had a good run with online video during the Olympics to say the least. They reported that they streamed over 12 million hours of Olympics content across its digital platforms, with 7 million visitors watching over 30 millions streams of live and Video On Demand content at NBCOlympics.com.

Microsoft Picks Norway To Host Enterprise Search Efforts

So much for Redmond and Washington.  According to an announcement made by none other than Steve Ballmer, Microsoft is moving its main development center for enterprise search technology to Oslo, Norway.

Advocacy Group Forms To Combat Piracy

An advocacy group created by a number of major media and technology companies plans to promote the Internet as a place for people to get songs, television shows and movies without turning to piracy.

Could Google Be Looking to Dominate the Wireless Industry Next?

Google’s been giving a lot of thought to the future lately with all of its posts from experts in their respective fields on the Official Google Blog.

Interest In Bailout Bill Shuts Down House Web Site
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The U.S. House of Representatives Web site was shut down yesterday along with a number of related sites including the Web sites of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts as millions of people went online searching for news about the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry.

Google News Goes Polish
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Google has expanded its Google News offering to yet another language, as it has launched the Polish version. That makes 23 languages and 49 countries in which Google News is available.

YouTube Improves Video Upload Experience
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YouTube has unveiled a new and improved video uploader. They’ve been letting random users sample it via a beta version, and now they’re letting everybody use it.

New YouTube Uploader

Highlights of the new version include:

Pandora Never Says Die

PandoraPandora’s obituary was all but written last month as SoundExchange called for higher royalty payments from the Internet Radio site, and others like it. But there is a little life in the site and in the industry yet.

Open Source Guru Rails Against Cloud Computing

Criticism of the rising cloud computing meme has come from a seemingly unlikely place: GNU creator and Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman. Traditionally, any option to Microsoft’s dominance would be a welcomed change in the open source community, but Stallman foresees corporate bullies being replaced with different corporate bullies who would put your privacy at risk.