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Android Security Team Talks Openness, Not Rooting
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Last week, reports began to circulate that the Nexus S had been rooted.  Concerns about Android’s (lack of) security ensued.  Android fans shouldn’t worry, however, as this appears to be an authentic "it’s a feature, not a bug" situation.

Non-news along these lines may be a little anticlimactic, but Google has been pretty firm on the matter.  The company explained its stance last week and hasn’t tried to go back on that position since.

Social Signals You Should Be Monitoring
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Listening is not hard these days.  There are now over 200 tools that can help you gather the conversations.

The next step is not so simple.  Finding the right content and figuring out exactly what the people talking about you need and want is critical to PR success today. Content analysis is a traditional PR skill, but data mining is not.  Building social graphs has not been part of our PR practice.

Facebook Tops Google In The UK
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If any Facebook employees were still manning their stations two days ago, you can be sure they sent up a cheer as traffic data rolled in.  A report from Experian Hitwise has indicated that, at least in the UK, Facebook received more visits than Google for the first time ever.

Microsoft Intent On Making Tablet Gains
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It can only be a company of the stature as Microsoft that can continue battling and trying real hard to make it big in every field that it enters. No matter how much competition it faces from stalwarts like Apple, Google, etc. in the Tablet market (which is dominated by iPads) Microsoft is bent on making it big here too.

Kindle Becomes Best-Selling Amazon Product Ever
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The first Amazon Kindle was released more than three years ago, and for whatever reason, Amazon still won’t share exact sales figures concerning the device.  But this morning, the company did see fit to disclose one important fact: the third-generation Kindle has become the bestselling product in Amazon’s history.

To put that in perspective: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" previously held the title, and that franchise has had national reading programs, Halloween tie-ins, a string of hit movies, and even a theme park help boost its sales.

Massive Smartphone Growth Predicted For 2011
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A whole lot of smartphones – and in particular, Android phones – are going to find their way into new owners’ hands next year, according to one expert.  Seth Weintraub recently predicted that 500 million smartphones might sell, with Google’s mobile operating system accounting for a lot of the purchases.

Brand Monitoring: Look at Brands That Are Doing it Right
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Listening. It’s a mantra we’ve heard PR, marketing and social media consultants preach to brands for the last two years. But, how many brands are really listening to their customers online?

I’m not talking about responding to comments on Facebook or Twitter. That’s fine, but at this point, it’s table stakes, don’t you think?

Yahoo-to-Microsoft Ad Transition Period Drawing to a Close
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The deadline for Yahoo Search Marketing advertisers to transition their campaigns to Microsoft’s adCenter is approaching. You’ve had ample time to do, but there are no doubt some procrastinators out there. 

Five Tips For More Efficient Business Blogging
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“Why should we have a blog?”  It’s a reasonable question.

Nevermind the fact that millions of businesses are blogging and multiples of those millions of customers are reading said blogs. In fact, 23% of the primary Fortune 500 corporations have an external corporate blog.

MySpace Issues User Data Protection Update
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New features, celebrity endorsements, and a redesign can only get a site so far.  More than ever, users want to know their private information is safe.  So this week, MySpace issued a clear statement to the effect that the social network is protecting users’ data.

Check Out These LinkedIn Groups If You’re in PR
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If you work in PR, chances are you have one of three needs:

* A need to build or grow your network.

* A need to acquire new skills or hone existing ones.

* A need to find a new job.

While you could argue many social networks meet these three needs adequately, I might argue that LinkedIn has the biggest potential to meet these needs best when it comes to professional skill-building, networking and job-seeking.

But, are folks capitalizing on that opportunity within LinkedIn now? Not so much.

Google Prepares For Christmas With Array Of Easter Eggs
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Unless you live somewhere east of New York, there’s still at least several hours left before December 23rd comes to an end.  But Google is eager to help everyone with kids get Christmas Eve off to a good start, and so the company’s put together lists of all the Santa-related treats its engineers have concocted or come across this year.

Facebook Registration Plugin for WordPress Launched
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Last week, Facebook launched a new registration tool for site owners. With this, users can quickly sign up for new sites with their Facebook profiles. The tool goes beyond the simple log-in feature of Facebook Connect, and lets users more easily fill out forms based on the information that they’ve already shared with Facebook (such as email address, name, birthday, phone number, etc.)

Remembering What Facebook Has Done Since the Beginning of 2010
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2010 has been a huge year for Facebook – arguably the company’s biggest yet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was named Person of the Year by Time magazine, a Hollywood movie about the founding of the company was released in theaters, and attracted a great deal of critical buzz. The company launched the "open graph", possibly the most important feature the company has ever implemented, as it connects nearly the entire web to Facebook itself. Then there was the messaging product, the privacy fiascoes, and much more. 

Baidu’s Twitter Imitation Collects 1 Million Users
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An apples-to-apples comparison may not be possible here, given that Twitter used to keep its stats private, time’s passed, and Twitter and a service called Baidu Talk operate in different markets.  But Baidu Talk, Baidu’s Twitter-esque product, is doing quite well, apparently racking up a million users in a rather short period of time.

Google Combines Webmaster Resources In a Single Page
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Google has put together a new collection of resources for webmasters. This includes a page that provides all the different ways the company wants you to contact them if you want to tell them about a page you want to remove from search results, tell them about spam, tell them when you’ve fixed issues on your site, etc. 

They’ve also collected various articles from their sites and put them with this information. 

Salesforce Chatter Mobile Goes to BlackBerry
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Salesforce released Chatter Mobile for Blackberry. Chatter, if you’re not familiar with it, is the company’s social product, that’s often been referred to as a "Facebook for the enterprise."

Millions Lose Their Skype Connections [Updated]
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Update 3: Now CEO Tony Bates has provided further explanation and apologies

Update 2: Parkes provided another update on the issue today:

Hitwise Finds Visits To Social Networks Surging
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Out of a desire to say "hi" to old friends, reconnect with family members, or perhaps get a moment away from visiting relatives, it looks like lots of people are signing into social networks this month.  Indeed, Hitwise relayed some UK-specific stats today, and the increase has been sharp enough that Facebook might top Google in traffic on Christmas.

Facebook Passes Yahoo In Number Of Video Streams Referred
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Facebook defines itself as something that "helps you connect and share with the people in your life," and now more than ever, it looks like folks are sharing videos.  Brightcove and TubeMogul determined yesterday that Facebook passed Yahoo in terms of video streams referred during the third quarter.

To be clear: the difference wasn’t large, and Google’s still in the lead by a huge margin.  Bing and Twitter aren’t entirely out of the running, either.

Android Market Gets AT&T Direct Carrier Billing
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Android users who are also AT&T customers should no longer have to worry about pulling out a credit card and typing a long sequence of numbers every time they want to buy an app.  Late yesterday, Google introduced an AT&T Direct Carrier Billing option for this audience.

Steve Jobs Named Financial Times Person of the Year
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got a lot of press for being Time’s Person of the Year, but the Financial Times has someone else in mind. And no, it’s not Juilan Assange. 

YouTube Partners Treated To $1,000 Shopping Sprees
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YouTube videos that look like and sound like they were shot with $40 cell phones and tin cans on strings are about to become much more rare.  YouTube announced this afternoon that it’s going to let 500 YouTube partners conduct shopping sprees on its dime, only the actual total should be closer to $500,000.

Google Sends Android to Near Space
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Google sent seven of the new Nexus S phones into "near space" via weather balloon to do some exploring. The phones were equipped with Google Maps for Mobile, Google Sky Map, Google Latitude, etc. 

Does Google have too much time and money on its hands? Perhaps. A publicity stunt for these products? Maybe. It’s pretty interesting either way.

Here are a couple videos showing off the experiment: