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Google Picks Up 3D Desktop Maker BumpTop

Google’s acquisition spree continues with its latest pickup – BumpTop, makers of the BumpTop desktop environment, which is designed to bring a more 3D and "visceral" user interface to the operating system. The product has been available for Windows and Mac, but Android is the likely destination for its technology in Google’s hands.

Google Making More Changes to the SERPs
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Google has a couple new elements going on in its results pages. The first one is the addition of brand links for some queries. For example, if you search for "watches" you might get links for Citizen, Nixon, Rolex, Omega, and Fossil. Or if you search for "footballs" you might get links for Wilson, Nike, Rawlings, Spalding, and Dallas Cowboys.

PayPal: Demand for Electronic P2P Payments Growing Rapidly

A study released this week sponsored by FIS, PayPal and NACHA, found that demand for electronic P2P payments and transfers is growing rapidly, and that the interest of making these and other payment transactions through an ePayment Portal is also strong.

According to the study, of those who were interested in the Portal concept, 70% would be likely to use P2P payment services within that Portal.

Bing Gears Up For The Kentucky Derby
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The Kentucky Derby is a huge deal for Louisville, Kentucky, with all sorts of people who would otherwise never visit flying in and spending lots of cash.  And the Derby’s at least a noteworthy event for Bing, too, with the folks behind Microsoft’s "decision engine" preparing some special instant answers.

At the time of writing, Google and Yahoo aren’t offering anything similar, which could give Bing a nice edge.  Even if people don’t make a permanent change, they may switch search engines for a day knowing that they’ll get more relevant results.

L.A. Stumbles In Deployment Of Google Apps
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The deployment of Google Apps in Los Angeles – the same deployment that’s supposed to save L.A. $5.5 million over the next five years and inspire many other cities to follow its example – isn’t going according to plan.  Although it appears that neither side is entirely to blame, several problems have cropped up.

iPad Apps Near 5,000 Mark

The number of applications in the Apple App Store for iPad has climbed to 4,870 since the launch of the device on April 3, according to the latest report from app store analytics firm Distimo.

Nine days after the release of the iPad, the Apple App Store for the device had 3,670 applications, with 2,654 applications that were only compatible with the iPad and 1,016 universal applications.

Barnes & Noble Members Now Get Free Shipping Online

Barnes & Noble has introduced "Unlimited Free Express Shipping" to all of its members for orders placed online and ship-to-home orders placed in store.

All Barnes & Noble Members orders will be automatically upgraded to Free Express Shipping and will arrive in three business days or less, with no minimum purchase required and no limits.

Google Maps No Phone Zones for Oprah
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Google announced today that has provided mapping (via the Google Maps API) for a couple of highway safety initiatives around the use of cell phones in vehicles.

The first such initiative is Oprah’s "No Phone Zone", which lets users make a pledge under three different options: no texting, no texting plus handsfree calling only, and no phone use at all while driving. These pledges are then mapped in near real-time using the API, so others can see where and when these pledges were made.

Smartphones Driving Mobile Recovery
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The global mobile phone market grew 21.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, a strong rebound over the first quarter of 2009, according to the latest report from IDC.

Vendors shipped 294.9 million units in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 242.4 million units a year earlier.

Smartphones and a recovering traditional mobile phone category helped the market avoid a repeat of Q109, when the market dove 16.6 percent during the recession.

Google’s TV Software May Debut At I/O
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Rather than just announce some partnerships, or even parade a few unfinished prototypes across a stage, Google may share some rather important information regarding its TV software with developers at Google I/O.  Enough info for developers to start making apps, perhaps.

Opera Acquires Email Service Provider FastMail

Opera announced today it has acquired web-based email provider FastMail.fm. Opera’s offered its own email client since 2000, and now it will use FastMail to expand its own messaging product across various devices from mobile to TVs and gaming consoles.

Google Expands Tag Advertising for Local Businesses
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Last week Google changed the Local Business Center to Google Places, and along with that change came some new features for local businesses. We looked at those here.

Google Gets Favorable Ruling In Rosetta Stone Case
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A lawsuit filed by language software firm Rosetta Stone against Google for copyright infringement has been dismissed by a federal judge.

In its lawsuit, filed in July 2009, Rosetta Stone alleged that Google allowed third parties including individuals involved in software piracy to purchase the right to use Rosetta Stone trademarks or other terms confusingly similar in Google’s Adwords advertising program.

Carol Bartz’s Compensation Package Tops $47.2 Million
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Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz may have a tough job, but this morning, it’s a rare person who’s arguing that she isn’t well paid for it.  A regulatory filing has revealed that Bartz received $47.2 million in compensation for 2009.

A number of different figures contributed to that final sum.  As you can see below, Bartz collected around $1 million by way of a base salary, $1.5 million in nonequity incentives, and then a whopping $42.1 million in terms of stock and options awards.  Along with $2.6 million in "other compensation."

Apple iPad Wi-Fi+3G Makes its Debut Today

If you’ve been waiting for it, you probably already had your calendar marked, but today the iPad with Wi-Fi +3G is here. In case anyone forgot, Apple sent emails out today reminding everybody.

Facebook Becoming Too Big For Anyone To Question

I’ve seen a lot of angst over the past week about Facebook’s moves to open up your data to other applications.

To really understand how huge these changes are I had to get away from Silicon Valley and come and hang out with the geeks in Kinneret, Israel where famous VC Yossi Vardi is throwing an exclusive camp for geeks and successful business innovators.

Facebook Enters Stickers-For-Businesses Game
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The storefront windows of tech-savvy businesses may be getting rather crowded before long.  Perhaps following the example set by "People love us on Yelp" stickers and "We’re a favorite place on Google" decals, Facebook’s begun to send out promotional stickers of its own.

Study Finds Twitter Matches Facebook In Awareness
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Twitter isn’t some strange new thing anymore, according to a fresh report.  In fact, if you reference "Twitter" in front of someone, the odds of you getting a strange look may only be a tiny bit larger than if you say "Facebook."  Unfortunately for Twitter, the odds of someone having a Twitter account versus a Facebook account remain not at all the same.

Watchdog Group Calls For Stronger Online Child Privacy Law
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The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing today about issues surrounding the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and if it should be updated to address online data collection practices, social networks, and the mobile web.

Google Improves Picasa Sharing Options
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Google’s photo-sharing site got a fair degree more social this afternoon.  Now, users should find the process of sharing their pictures to be simpler, although Google’s choice of products to feature is perhaps a little on the odd side.

Hulu Users Watched 1 Billion Videos In March
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More than 180 million U.S. Internet users watched online video in March, according to the latest research from comScore.

YouTube delivered video to more than 135 million viewers during the month, reaching 3out of every 4 online video viewers at an average of 96 videos per viewer.

Internet users watched a total of 31.2 billion videos in March, with Google sites ranking as the top video property with 13.1 billion videos, representing 41.8 percent of all videos viewed online.

Conduit: Google’s Labpixies Acquisition Validates App Marketing Opportunities

Apps are big business. From big brands to small ones, businesses are finding creative and interesting ways to harness apps to get customers engaged, to market their products, to drive traffic, and to drive sales.

Half Of People On Social Networks Use Their Real Name
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Just over half (51%) of the people on social networks use their real name, according to a new survey by Opinion Research and sponsored by Chubb Insurance.

The survey found eighteen percent always use a nickname, while 31 percent said they sometimes use their real name and sometimes use a nickname to identify themselves on social networking sites.

LinkedIn Gets Major Upgrade in Usefulness
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LinkedIn has introduced a new "Follow Company" feature as a way to (you guessed it) follow companies on LinkedIn. Now LinkedIn users can simply follow organizations to see their latest happenings, and this has a tremendous amount of potential for networking and job opportunities of interest.