CT AG Hits Google With Civil Investigative Demand
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The tension over Google’s collection of sensitive WiFi data has risen again.  Today, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued a civil investigative demand requiring that Google share the information gathered by its Street View cars.

Blumenthal defined the demand as being the equivalent of a subpoena, meaning Google should have little choice but to comply.  It’s supposed to do so in the near future, too, as Blumenthal’s only given the company until December 17th to obey.

Sort Google Results By Reading Level
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A Google Web Search product manager announced a new Google search filter for reading level on the Google Web Search Help Forum. 

Google Brings Desktop Version Of Docs To iPad
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Many people have pointed to the iPad as a replacement for laptops, or at least netbooks.  Google Docs, meanwhile, is supposed to take on programs like Microsoft Word.  And now the two newcomers can work together more effectively, as Google’s moved to bring the desktop version of Google Docs to the iPad.

Google Voice Lets You Send Calls From Santa
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Google has introduced a new feature to its voice service that allows people to send and receive free personalized calls from Santa.

Users can visit sendacallfromsanta.com and choose from a number of options to send unique, often humorous , customized phone calls to anyone in the U.S. Users can also send the messages from Santa via email, Facebook and Twitter.


Anonymous Wikileaks Avengers: We Don’t Want Your Credit Card Info or to Prevent You From Shopping
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"Anonymous" is an "Internet gathering" of people that has perpetrated Operation Payback, which took down MasterCard.com, Visa.com and others, because of how they’ve handled their relationships with Wikileaks, has issued a press release in attempt to clarify what it is trying to do. 

Google Tests NFC Tech, Holds Hotpot Contest In Portland
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Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is not mainstream.  Indeed, the average consumer probably hasn’t heard of it yet.  But Google’s going to give NFC and its new Hotpot service a push in Portland, encouraging local businesses and consumers to get involved.

Cast Your Vote For The YouTube Symphony Orchestra
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YouTube has narrowed down finalists for its second YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 to be held at the Sydney Opera House and is calling on users to vote on the best musicians.

Users can vote on the remaining 336 finalist from 46 countries over the next seven days to determine who will be going to the Sydney Opera House from March 14-20 to perform for a global audience.


Facebook Announces Hacker Cup
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Computer engineers interested in a free trip to Palo Alto, some cash, and perhaps a job offer should pay attention.  Facebook’s announced something called the Hacker Cup, and top competitors will receive at least those first two prizes for sure.

Google Brings Priority Inbox to Android
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Google announced the launch of Gmail for Android 2.3.2, which brings Gmail’s well-received Priority Inbox feature to mobile. 

"While Priority Inbox on your Android phone doesn’t have all the features offered in the desktop version of Gmail, we think this is a good start and plan to add even more functionality moving forward," says Paul Westbrook of Google’s Gmail for Android team. 

Google Slides To Third Place In Chinese Online Ad Market

It’s a pretty well-known fact that Baidu’s beaten Google in China, and all of Google’s efforts to reverse that fact haven’t accomplished much.  Unfortunately for the company, those efforts also failed to hold off another rival, as a new report puts Alibaba ahead of Google in the online ad market.

Google Instant Goes Mobile Globally

Google announced today that Google Instant for mobile is now available globally – in 28 languages and in 40 countries. You have to have an Android 2.2+ or iOS4 device to use it though. 

If you have one of these devices, you can simply go to google.com in your mobile browser, and it tap on the Google Instant link beneath the search box to enable it. This is somewhat interesting considering when Google Instant was first launched, you had to disable it if you didn’t want it, rather than enable it if you did want it. 

Google Takes Aim at Microsoft Exchange with “Message Continuity”
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Today Google introduced a new service called Google Message Continuity, which Microsoft must be incredibly thrilled about. The service, powered by Postini, is described as a way to bring "Gmail’s reliability to Microsoft Exchange". 

E-Reader Sales Set To Double This Year
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E-reader sales are on track to total 6.6 million units in 2010, up 79.8 percent from 2009 sales of 3.6 million units, according to a new report from Gartner.

Hugues-De-La-Vergne In 2011, global e-reader sales are forecast to surpass 11 million units, a 68.3 percent increase from 2010.

YouTube Nixes Video Time Limit For Some Users
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Some YouTube content creators will soon get the opportunity to test their artistic abilities – and their audiences’ patience – more than ever before.  YouTube announced today that it will let select guideline-abiding users upload videos of any length.

The previous limit, which will still apply in many cases, was 15 minutes, so this represents a big adjustment.  YouTube credited advances in its Content ID system, since it now has to worry less about people uploading entire movies divided into multiple clips.

Social Media Has Been Around for Centuries. It’s Not About the Tech.
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Connecting with people shouldn’t be about what social networks you’re using. It should be about connecting with people. Yes, you need to look at where your audience is at, but you shouldn’t be using Twitter just for the sake of using Twitter if you’re not using it to communicate to the right people. 

Microsoft Admits Facebook Acquisition Attempt
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Last month, Groupon reportedly demonstrated to Google that not everything’s for sale, and it’s now more certain than ever that Facebook did the same thing to Microsoft a few years ago.  A Microsoft exec confirmed this morning that his company once tried to acquire Facebook.

Amazon Offers Nielsen BookScan To Authors

Amazon.com said today that authors who use its Author Central service can now view Nielsen BookScan’s weekly geographic sales data for their print books for free.

Author Central is a free service that helps authors promote their books and reach more readers. Also announced today, Author Central has added a feature that shows authors past history on the Amazon bestsellers rank for their books.

Amazon UK Listing Wikileaks Cables for Sale on Kindle
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Update: See comments section.

The Next Web discovered that someone is selling the infamous Wikileaks cables at Amazon UK to be read on the Kindle. This is interesting for a variety of reasons. 

Reason 1 

Google Releases End-Of-Year Zeitgeist
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Around the end of November and start of December, Bing and Yahoo released lists summing up the top searches of 2010.  Now, a little closer to the end of the year, Google’s followed suit, and there’s plenty of data for people who are interested in that sort of thing.

Treating Information Architecture Like Social Media Can Help You in Search
Scammers Targeting Amazon Retailers With Fake Receipts
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Cyber criminals are using a hacking program to create fake receipts for items sold through Amazon.com and its retail partners, in an effort to receive refunds or new products, according to security firm GFI Software.

“The free program available online allows scammers to create an HTML ‘receipt’ for phantom Amazon.com purchases,” said Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher, GFI Software


Mark Zuckerberg Pledges Majority Of Wealth To Charity
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Critics of Mark Zuckerberg should consider taking the day, week, month, year, or even decade off.  Zuckerberg, whose net worth was calculated to be $6.9 billion as of September, has pledged to donate the majority of his fortune to charity.

Report: 6% of American Adults Using Twitter

Twitter mentioned in a blog post about how its Trending Topics work that its users are sending over 95 million tweets a day. A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals some more interesting information about Twitter usage in America. 

Twitter Explains How Trending Topics Work
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Twitter has taken the time to explain a bit about how its Trending Topics work, following accusations from the Blogosphere that the company was blocking terms like #wikileaks and #cablegate, which Twitter says it was not and is not.