YouTube Gets Faster With “Feather” Beta

YouTube’s supposed to be fun and easy to use; people want to visit the site and, in short order, view all sorts of interesting clips.  Making things load more quickly is a solid goal, then, and Google’s pursuing it with the launch of a new project called "Feather."

Google Exec: Docs Can Supplant Office In One Year
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Dave Girouard, the president of Google’s enterprise division, made an interesting admission earlier today, acknowledging that Google Docs isn’t right for the average person.  But Girouard also made an interesting prediction, putting Google Docs about a year away from seriously challenging Microsoft Office.

Twitter Users a Click Away From Google Friend Connect
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Google has launched Twitter integration with Google Friend Connect. This means any site using Google Friend Connect can potentially gain a much greater audience through Twitter.

The integration allows users to sign in to Google Friend Connect with their Twitter account information. From there, they can tweet about new site membership, share discussions from comments with their Twitter followers, and invite Twitter followers to join their Friend Connect community. The following clip explains how the new integration can be useful:

New Film Website Offers 12,000 Clips From Major Studios
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Clip sharing site Movieclips.com has launched in beta with a catalogue of more than 12,000 two-minute streaming clips.

Movieclips has struck licensing deals with six major Hollywood studios including 20th Century Fox, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. The clips are available for free on an ad-supported network that links to third-party sites where users can rent or purchase full length films.

Google Launches Site Performance Feature

In mid-June, Google commenced an initiative known as "Let’s make the web faster."  Late yesterday, the search giant performed a follow-through of sorts with the release of an experimental feature called "Site Performance."

Number of New Twitterers Declines
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We’ve been looking at Twitter’s growth on a monthly basis, in terms of new user registrations and number of tweets. In October, new Twitterers were down, but tweets were up.

November’s numbers paint a similar picture. Matthew Daines, the lead developer of Twellow, has shared a couple of new graphs for last month.

What’s Not to Like About Twitter’s New Retweet Feature?
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Twitter is of course in the process of rolling out a new retweet feature. The feature adds a retweet button to each tweet on your timeline, much like the "reply" button that has always been there. However, one distinct difference between these two buttons is that where the reply button fills out your form with the proper information ("@username"), the retweet button sends the initial tweet to your followers’ timelines without giving you your own tweet.

Microsoft Sells Fast Search & Transfer Businesses
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Perhaps Yahoo has started a trend.  Yesterday, we learned that the company will shut down part of a business it bought two and a half years ago.  Today, there’s word that Microsoft’s sold some things it picked up while acquiring Fast Search & Transfer in early 2008.

Representatives To Hold Hearing On Internet Gambling
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On Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee will discuss legislation introduced by Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) that would regulate online gambling in the United States.

The hearing will begin at 10 am EST and will include testimony from leaders in the fields of online security and consumer safety. Experts will describe how current systems and technologies have been successful in blocking minors from gambling online, reducing compulsive gambling and protecting consumers against money laundering, fraud and identity theft.

Digg’s New API Allows Digging of Stories and Comments

Digg released a new version of the Digg API today, which lets developers write and contribute data via OAuth. This API supports the digging and burying of both stories and comments.

Google Makes Free Holiday Postcard Offer
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It is, of course, the thought that counts.  A message from a friend or loved one means a lot regardless of what form it takes.  Still, physical items tend to have more of an impact, and Google’s made a very nice gesture by offering to send out real postcards this holiday season.

A Google representative wrote in an email to WebProNews, "As a token of our appreciation to our most enthusiastic fans, we’re snail mailing (!) one free holiday postcard on their behalf."

Bing Launches New Maps with Apps
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Microsoft has announced the launch of a new Bing Maps beta, which incorporates Streetside and Photosynth imagery.

"The new Bing Maps experience also features innovative new mapping applications such as Twitter Maps for real-time updates by area and Local Lens featuring hyperlocal, neighborhood content," a representative for Bing tells WebProNews. There are a number of interesting apps available, which is easily the most interesting part about Bing’s new Maps experience:

Social Networks Feed Holiday Shopping
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If online retailers have a profitable holiday season – or even if they don’t – they’ll owe a "thank you" to social networks for helping out.  New data from Hitwise indicates that retail sites are receiving a significant (and ever-increasing) amount of traffic from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

Perfect 10 Comes Out Swinging at Google Again
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Those who have been following the search industry for some time, may recall that Google had some legal issues with the (former) magazine Perfect 10 (nsfw). The company, which ceased publication of its magazine, but still operates on the web, has issued a press release saying that its five year battle with the search giant is "about to heat up."

Google Launches Commerce Search to Boost Your Conversion Rates
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Google has launched a new product that online retailers may find incredibly useful for improving the product search on their site, and potentially increasing sales and reducing bounce rates. It’s called simply Google Commerce Search. Think Google Site Search, specifically tailored to e-commerce and product sites. Google couldn’t have timed such a release any better with the holiday shopping season arriving. 

Cyber Monday Sales Reach $887 Million

Cyber Monday sales were up 5 percent compared to a year ago reaching $887 million and matching the heaviest online spending day on record, December 9, 2008, according to the latest report from comScore.

"We’ve seen an encouraging start to the online holiday shopping season and it would appear that retailers’ aggressive and early marketing efforts have so far succeeded in persuading consumers to open their wallets online," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Microsoft Launches Twitter-Esque Service In China
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Microsoft has launched a new service in China, and although it’s based on Windows Live Messenger, comparisons to a site that’s popular elsewhere in the world have become inevitable.  MSN Juku, which is in beta, seems a little bit similar to Twitter.

Gmail Gives Users New Default Text Styling Feature

Google has introduced a new Gmail Labs feature, which gives Gmail users control over the default style of their text. In other words, you can set how you like your text to appear normally, and it will automatically appear that way.

Yahoo Deepens Integration With Facebook

Yahoo said today it is expanding its integration with Facebook to allow users of both sites to share more content.

Yahoo said its deeper integration with Facebook will roll out in the first half of 2010. Users will be able to connect with Facebook friends on Yahoo, view a feed of their friends’ activity on Yahoo, and share content such as photos from Flickr or comments on news stories.

Google Makes it Easier to Tell Where Results Originate From
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Google has begun including geographical region information on some search results. The information is used when supplied by webmasters, and appears in the green address line on the results that include it.

Facebook Cracks 350 Million Users, Adjusts Privacy Settings
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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced last night that the social network now has over 350 million users around the world. The number indicates continued strong growth, because just in September, Facebook announced that it has surpassed 300 million. In early November, it was reported that Facebook had reached at least 325 million.

New Details on Google Caffeine Update
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Update 2:  Matt Cutts gave WebProNews another exclusive interview, in which he gave some more details about Caffeine (among other things. It’s only hitting one data center before the holidays, and it isn’t even live quite yet. Google will roll it out to more data centers in January.



“Time Spent Online” Report Puts Microsoft Way Ahead
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Despite all the gains other companies (Google, Facebook) have made, it’s still Microsoft’s world, according to new statistics from comScore.  comScore found that, in terms of time spent on sites, the Redmond-based corporation continues to maintain a huge lead over its competitors.

Watch: Bing Goes the Bloodsucker Route
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Microsoft is either taking the holiday marketing approach or the Twilight/Vampire trend approach with its latest commercial. The title is Bing: Vampire Decision Engine.

The company uploaded the new commercial to its (Google-owned) YouTube channel. Accompanying the video is a short description:

"When you’re looking for a restaurant that is family friendly, romantic, or maybe something with an otherworldly atmosphere, use Bing’s reviews to stop searching and start deciding."