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FBI Launches Online Tool For Recovering Stolen Art

The FBI has introduced a free online tool aimed at allowing people to search a database of thousands of stolen artworks and contact the agency if the have information about the items.

OPA President: FTC Proposal Both Encouraging and Concerning
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As you may know, the FTC released a report this week proposing a framework for balancing consumer privacy and innovation online, which includes (but is not limited to) a "do not track" mechanism in web browsers. Naturally, marketers have shown varying degrees of concern. Some are even calling the proposal a "Google Killer". 

Google Unveils Cantonese Voice Search

Thanks to a new product launch, as many as 65 or 70 million people should now find conducting Google searches from their mobile phones a much less difficult process.  This week, Cantonese Voice Search debuted in Hong Kong.

Facebook Promotions No Longer Require Approval or $10,000

Facebook has updated its policy on Promotions, Sweepstakes and Contests. It no longer requires written Facebook approval to administer a promotion on Facebook or a minimum media spend investment to support the promotion, which was previously the case (at $10,000). 

Yahoo’s Mergers And Acquisitions Chief To Split

The odds of Yahoo making any brilliant acquisitions in the near future – which were arguably already slim – appear set to decrease again.  A report’s indicated that Andrew Siegel, the head of corporate development (and therefore mergers and acquisitions) is leaving the company.

Zynga Acquires Mobile Game Developer Newtoy

Zynga said today it has acquired Texas-based mobile game development company, Newtoy, makers of mobile games including Words With Friends and Chess With Friends.

The Newtoy headquarters in McKinney, Texas will become The Zynga With Friends Studio. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Will Location-Based Services Break Out in 2011?
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Location-based services continue to get a great deal of attention as more services pop up, existing ones add features and integrations, and businesses find ways to take advantage of them. You can bet that this space is only just getting started. Over the next year, we’re going to see a lot of innovation in location-based services/check-in apps. 

Google Earth Engine Puts Tons of New Satellite Data Online
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Today Google launched something called Google Earth Engine at the International Climate Change Conference in Cancun. Google describes it as a new technology platform that puts an "unprecedented amount of satellite imagery" and data online for the first time. 

eBay Buying Milo.com (Now Confirmed)
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Update: eBay has now confirmed that it is true:

Yahoo Japan-Google Deal Gets Regulatory Approval

A tie-up between Yahoo Japan and Google may sound unlikely for all sorts of reasons, but antitrust regulators in Japan see no reason to stop the deal from going forward.  Earlier today, the Fair Trade Commission declared that the proposed partnership isn’t anticompetitive.

A little background information: Yahoo Japan said in July that it intended to make use of Google’s search tech, which came as a surprise to many since Yahoo and Bing were moving forward together in the U.S.

RIM Buys Interesting User Interface Company TAT

BlackBerry makers Research in Motion (RIM) are buying a company called The Astonishing Tribe (or TAT). RIM CTO  David Yach said the following in a statement on the BlackBerry Blog:

Today we are pleased to confirm plans for The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) team to join Research In Motion (RIM). We’re excited that the TAT team will be joining RIM and bringing their talent to the BlackBerry PlayBook and smartphone platforms.

Billboard to Track Artists’ Popularity On Facebook And Twitter

Billboard has introduced a new chart offering called the “Social 50,” which ranks the most popular artists on social networking sites.

The Social 50 chart will track artists’ popularity using a formula blending weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with weekly artist page views and song plays on MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and iLike. Data from these sites is gathered and provided to Billboard by social music tracking service Next Big Sound.  

 

Barry Diller Gives Up Role Of IAC CEO

Less than a month after IAC’s Ask.com announced its decision to stop competing in the search market, another major change is taking place as Barry Diller gives up the title "CEO of IAC."   Gregg Blatt, who previously served as CEO of Match.com, will replace Diller.

Seattle Police Using Twitter To Recover Stolen Cars
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The Seattle Police Department has started a new Twitter account to tweet information about stolen vehicles with the hopes of helping victims of auto theft recover their property sooner.

When a car is reported stolen in Seattle, employees in the Seattle Police 911 Center will tweet the color, year, make, model, body style and license plate of the stolen car.  Twitter followers who spot a car that has been tweeted as stolen on “Get your car back” can call 911.

 

Hulu CEO Interested In New Investors, International Growth
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Hulu’s a nice service, but for everyone not living in America, there’s a major problem: the site’s been unavailable to them so far.  Now, although there are no guarantees, it looks like Hulu’s starting to explore ways it might open up to new audiences.

“Google Me” Social Layer Reportedly Called “Emerald Sea” Internally
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Update: Google is already calling "Emerald Sea" something else according to a report. 

Original Article: It’s been widely discussed for months now: Google is working on some kind of social strategy that would presumably be the company’s latest shot at trying to take on Facebook. Of course the company itself has never presented it this way, but the lines aren’t too hard to read between. 

Should Marketers Be Worried About New FTC Proposal?

The online marketing industry has been shaken by a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has issued the proposal of a framework for balancing consumer privacy and innovation online. The proposal includes a "do not track" mechanism, which the FTC says would likely be a persistent setting on consumers’ browsers, so consumers can choose whether to allow the collection of data regarding their online searching and browsing activities.

Federal Agency Moves Email Completely to Cloud with Google
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The United States General Services Administration (GSA) is moving 17,000 employees and contractors to Google Apps for Government, reportedly replacing their use of several different versions of IBM’s Lotus Notes and Domino Software. Microsoft isn’t thrilled. 

YouTube Takes Skippable Ads Live

Online video viewers, it’s time to smile.  The TrueView ad format has launched on YouTube, meaning users will sometimes get the opportunity to pick the least objectionable commercial or even skip all but five seconds of an ad before watching a clip.

Note the word "sometimes."  Users shouldn’t get too happy (and advertisers shouldn’t get too scared), since skipping ads won’t always be an option.  Plus, picking one of three ads to watch is nothing new.

Online Holiday Shoppers More Satisfied So Far
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Customer satisfaction with online retailers on Cyber Monday matched last year with 73.1 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) 100-point scale, but overall satisfaction during the Thanksgiving holiday week and weekend was higher than in 2009, according to a new report from ForeSee Results.

Google Finally Releases Google Reader Android App
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Google has finally released an Android app for Google Reader, and as the company acknowledges itself, "It’s been a long time coming." I couldn’t agree more as a user. I already use a bookmark for Google Reader probably more than any app on my phone, so having an actual app for it should be pretty nice. 

Chrome Gains Still More Ground In November
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Preparations for Turkey Day and the retail madness that followed apparently didn’t prevent a lot of folks from experimenting with new browsers.  The latest stats from Net Applications are out, and in terms of market share, Chrome scored another significant win in November.

Indeed, Chrome was almost the only browser to make progress last month, edging upwards from 8.50 percent to 9.27 percent.  Safari’s market share increased a little, too – from 5.36 percent to 5.57 percent – but otherwise, every competitor lost ground.

Google Whips Up On-the-Fly Algorithm Change to Beat “Bad” Businesses
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You probably read or heard about a New York Times article that was published over the holiday weekend that talked about a business that was intentionally creating poor customer experiences to boost their search rankings. It was hard to believe that such a thing would work, but it seemed to do so for one particular business, and Google quickly penalized the business once the article exposed the issue. 

Yahoo Releases “Year In Review” Lists

The end of the year is almost here, and with it, so are the looks back at everything important that transpired in 2010.  Yahoo’s more than done its part, too, as today the company released well over a dozen lists covering popular searches in different categories.