Lawmakers Call On FTC To Review Google Privacy Policy
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Congressman John Barrow (D-GA) along with a number of other lawmakers sent a letter last week to the Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz calling for the protection of consumer privacy rights and an in-depth review of Google’s public release of personal consumer information

Usability Counts for Content Too
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In a recent article, we talked about the importance of usability of both the search engines and your site, with regards to the path to conversions. If you create content, you would do well to consider similar lessons in how you craft that.

Nearly Three-Quarters Of Internet Users Visit Social Networks
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Globally, 72 percent of Internet users are members of at least one social network, which translates to 940 million people worldwide, according to a new study by InSites Consulting.

Eastern Europe and Asia are the regions with the lowest social networking participation (4 out of 10), while South America has the highest usage in terms of percentage (95%). Brits mostly visit Facebook (50%), followed by Twitter (42%). Worldwide, Facebook remains the most popular social network (51% use Facebook), followed by MySpace (20%) and Twitter (17%).

Google Reports “Partially Blocked” Mobile Service

It looks like China has found another way to strike back following Google’s decision to redirect Google.cn users to Google.com.hk.  The search company is reporting that its mobile service in China is now "partially blocked."

This information was disclosed through the "Mainland China service availability" page Google established after making its somewhat dramatic semi-exit.  And as you can see below, "mobile" is the first service to have its status change since the page debuted.

Internet Broadcasting Introduces New Hover Ad

Internet Broadcasting has introduced a new collapsible ad unit it calls the "IB Hover Ad", aimed at giving online advertisers more visibility while allowing for user control.

The hover ad is anchored to the bottom of a user’s browser, with an above the fold presence even when the user scrolls up and down a Web page.  The ad can be minimized by the user at any time, leaving a branded button at the bottom of the screen that can be expanded or closed.

T-Mobile Customers Bigger on Stocks, Bill Pay?

Last week, we saw some interesting findings from AdMob about smartphone usage. Now Compete has shared some of its own findings with WebProNews. The firm recently conducted a Smartphone Intelligence Survey.

About 47% of T-Mobile smartphone users use their phones to find local branches and ATMs, while 45% of AT&T users and 36% of Sprint users reported doing this (see chart #1 for data).

Apple Owners Show Most Interest In Buying An iPad

Awareness of Apple’s upcoming iPad release is highest among current Apple owners, (82%), consumers with $100,000 or more income (80%), and 18-34 year olds (78%), according to a new report by The NPD Group.

Those demographic groups are the ones with the most interest in buying an iPad. Only 18 percent of all consumers indicated a real interest in owning an iPad while 27 percent of 18-34 year olds and 24 percent of Apple owners said they were extremely or very interested.

Google Plans Office Tower Move In Japan

Google’s poised for another quantifiable growth spurt, this time in Japan.  Officials have confirmed that the search giant will be moving into a larger office space this year, joining Yahoo Japan, Ferrari Japan, and a number of other interesting companies in Mori Tower.

Will Wikipedia’s New Changes Boost Editing?
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A couple weeks ago, I attended a session at SXSW Interactive, in which USC Professor of Journalism Andrew Lih talked at length about the declining rate of Wikpedia entry editing. A large part of the problem, as Lih presented it, is that the editorial process itself has become much more complex and confusing over time.

Apple Reportedly Begins iPad Shipping

Apple has reportedly begun shipping iPads to the first customers to pre-order them. The year’s most talked about device thus far, is scheduled to go on sale April 3rd, but it appears that those who pre-ordered them on March 12th or 13th may get theirs a little early.


When Personalized Search and Relevance Collide
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Not everybody is a fan of the increasingly personalized search results they get from Google. Some criticize them as a way for Google to give advertisers reasons to rely on PPC as opposed to the less predictable organic results, and others just find it disruptive to relevance.

UK Kids Ignoring Facebook Age Limits
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A quarter of children in the UK aged 8-12 who use the Internet at home say they have a profile on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, although the minimum age is 13, according to new research from communications regulator Ofcom.

Twitter Business Lessons from Justin Bieber
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If you’re not familiar with Justin Bieber (you’re excused if you’re not a 12-year-old girl), he is 16-year -old singer, who was discovered by his manager on YouTube, apparently after his mom uploaded videos of his performances so his loved ones could see them.

Google Launches YouTube Channel To Showcase Apps Marketplace Additions
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Google has launched a YouTube channel for its recently released Google Apps Marketplace. The Apps marketplace is a place where developers can create apps that integrate with Google Apps and sell them to users. According to Google, they can reach over 2 million businesses and 25 million users.

The YouTube channel should be a good place to checkout some of the apps that are available in the marketplace, and see what they can do.

Facebook Revisits Privacy Policy Ahead Of New Features

At this point, it seems inevitable that people will object to every little tweak Facebook makes; even a 99.9 percent success rate would leave around 400,000 users unhappy.  But Facebook has proposed some revisions to its Privacy Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities in what appears to be an attempt to prepare everyone for some rather big changes.

SEMPO Talks State of Search Engine Marketing
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The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) has shared the results of its annual State of Search Marketing Report. WebProNews talked about the findings with SEMPO’s outgoing president Sara Holoubek at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York (more exclusive interviews from the conference can be viewed here).

Google Talks Next Steps for Fiber Network
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Update: Google has posted some info regarding the next steps for its fiber network as the submission deadline approaches today. Product Manager James Kelly says:

Internet Access Vital For Those With Chronic Disease
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Only 62 percent of adults living with chronic disease go online, compared with 81 percent of adults with no chronic diseases, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Conversions Rely on Usability of Both Search Engines and Your Site
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WebProNews talked to a lot of interesting people at Search Engine Strategies in New York this week, and one theme that ran through more than one of these conversations was the relationship between user attention and usability and how this relates to search marketing.

Note: There is plenty more useful information in the videos embedded in this article than the points I have referenced. I suggest watching the interviews in their entirety for some helpful advice.

Significant Wikipedia Makeover Announced
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As if to make up for its brief outage earlier this week, Wikipedia has come back with some big news: the site will soon change in several important ways.  It’ll change soon, too, with an overhaul of the English-language version of Wikipedia scheduled to start late next month.

Why MapQuest Should Be Considered in Your Local Marketing Mix
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I don’t think too many people will dispute the fact that location is buzz topic of 2010 so far within the online marketing industry. Big players in this space include Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, Facebook (soon), and of course Google.

As reported earlier this week, Google noted that a third of its searches via the mobile web pertain to some aspect of the searcher’s local environment, and that they think of location as a "hugely important signal".

UK Newspapers To Charge For Online Access
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News International, News Corp’s British newspaper unit said today it will begin charging readers for access to the websites of The Times and Sunday Times of London starting in June.

Both titles will launch new websites in early May, separating their online presence for the first time and replacing the existing, combined site, Times Online. The two new sites will be available for a free trial period to registered customers.

Have an Employee Social Media Policy for FTC Compliance
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The FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials that were updated in December have been the cause of a lot of concern and confusion among the industry, and this continues to do this day. A lot of the confusion has been around how the guidelines apply to social media use.

Motorola Splits With Google In China
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Google’s decision to redirect Chinese searchers to Google.com.hk is having some serious repercussions.  On Monday, Chinese Internet company Tom Online distanced itself from Google.  China Unicom followed suit on Wednesday.  And now, Motorola has also turned its back on the search giant.