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Google Game Developer Central Launches

Games make people happy.  They also, as anyone who’s seen a guy glued to a controller or a mob the morning of a major release can attest, make people willing to sacrifice lots of time and money.  Google may be onto something, then, as the search giant today launched a site called Google Game Developer Central.

Google Algorithm Update Casualties Speak
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Last week, Google launched a major update to its algorithm, which was positioned as one that would go after content farms. While some sites that are often attached to that label were in fact hurt by the update, some other sites that aren’t generally considered content farms became casualties as well. 

Calacanis on Google Algorithm Aftermath and Impact on Mahalo
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As previously reported, Mahalo is reducing its staff by 10% as a result of the loss of revenue and traffic from Google’s most recent algorithm update. We reached out to Calacanis for comment on the situation. 

Facebook Can Improve Self-Esteem
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Using Facebook can have a positive influence on the self-esteem of college students, according to a new study from researchers at Cornell University.

This is probably because Facebook allows them to put their best face forward, said Jeffrey Hancock, associate professor of communication at Cornell University and co-author of “Mirror, Mirror on my Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem” published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

iPad 2 Announced By Apple As Expected – AT&T and Verizon

Apple announced the iPad2 today, as expected. Also as expected, it is lighter and thinner than its predecessor.

Flickr Releases Apps For Windows 7

Yahoo has introduced its Flickr app for Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 devices.

The Flickr Windows Phone 7 app is available in the Zune Marketplace and the Windows 7 tablet app can be downloaded from the Flickr website.

 

Flickr-Windows-7

 

Google Picked For Royal Wedding Site Hosting Duties

Months ahead of the actual wedding date, the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton has generated all sorts of media attention and page views, with people all over the world taking an interest.  And now Google’s right in the midst of it, as the search giant’s been picked to host the official Royal Wedding website.

Yahoo Search BOSS Documentation Released to Developers

Last month, Yahoo announced pricing info and search advertising/branding policies for the upcoming version of Yahoo Search BOSS, which is expected to be released this summer. Now, the company has released the technical documentation for developers. 

Google Algorithm Update to Get “New Layer” to Help “Falsely Caught” Sites
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As we discussed in another article, Google’s recent algorithm update aimed at content farms had some apparently unintended casualties. One of these was the Apple news blog Cult of Mac. Publisher Leander Kahney wrote a scathing post about the update, clearly furious over Google knocking their search rankings (and traffic) down as if they were a content farm. 

Amazon Web Services Launches In Japan
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 Amazon Web  Services (AWS) said today it has launched data centers in Japan for its cloud computing platform.

Japan is the fifth region where Amazon has introduced its cloud computing platform. Amazon said it is offering support in Japanese for any users who have a Japanese language preference. In addition, AWS plans to provide in the coming months the option for billing in Japanese Yen.

Yahoo May Sell Yahoo Japan Stake To Softbank

To avoid any sense of false hype-building, we’ll admit right now: Softbank has already denied any involvement.  But rumor has it that Yahoo is in discussions to sell its stake in Yahoo Japan to Softbank, and a whole lot of people are hoping that’s the case.

Yahoo Japan is, if you’ll recall, not exactly the Yahoo most Americans know.  Yahoo only owns 33 percent of the organization, while Softbank controls a 42 percent stake.  And Yahoo Japan’s also on a different path in other respects, considering it’s arranged to make use of Google’s search tech.

Charlie Sheen on Twitter … and MySpace
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Charlie Sheen has moved into the social media universe. The man was apparently not getting enough media attention, so now he can communicate with people on a mass scale. 

Google Update Costs Mahalo Employees Their Jobs
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Google’s recent algorithm update, aimed at content farms, has done more than harm content farms. Some unexpected casualties were hurt in the search rankings as well. Google is acknowledging this. 

AOL Loses Another High Profile Exec
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AOL has made some bold acquisitions lately – most notably that of The Huffington Post. Since then, however, the company has been losing some key staff members. 

Major Real Estate Firm Switches To Google Apps
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Chalk up another win for Google Apps.  Fairview Cadillac, a real estate firm with 1,800 employees and a portfolio worth over $19 billion, is switching to it, and an exec has gone on the record outlining the forecast monetary savings and other benefits.

Bing Shopping Gets Natural Language Price Constraint Feature
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Bing has announced a new natural language search feature for Bing Shopping results. With the new capabilitiy, users should be able to use words like "under $100" or "under $50" along with their keywords to get relevant results for products that match such descriptions. 

Google Buys Technical Tool Firm Zynamics

Google and/or users of some of the company’s many products may soon be a little safer.  A company called Zynamics announced today that it’s been acquired by Google, and Zynamics specializes in reverse engineering tools and vulnerability research.

Facebook Buys Beluga
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Facebook has acquired mobile app Beluga and its team. TechCrunch shares the following statement from Facebook:

Loopt Launches Reward Alerts For Local Deals

Location-based service Loopt is introducing real-time mobile “Reward Alerts” app for iPhone, iPod Touch and Android phones.

 Reward Alerts allow brands and local businesses to offer limited-time deals to people nearby. Reward Alerts offer a “flash” deal that is redeemable in person, instead of a deal that is purchased now, but used at a later date.

Facebook Launches New and Improved Comments Plugin For Content Sites
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Facebook has launched a new version of its comments plugin, adding features like the use of social signals to order comments based on quality, improved moderation tools, the ability to add different log-in options, and better sharing of comments. 

Google Ventures Invests In Weather Insurance Start-Up

Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures have invested $42 million in a weather insurance start-up founded by former Google employees, called WeathrBill.

WeatherBill’s technology platform compiles large amounts of weather data from a variety of sources, then sells insurance based on statistical analysis.

Hulu CEO Forecasts 2011 Revenue Of $500 Million
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Prior to its launch, more than a few prominent bloggers predicted that Hulu would fail, and it was dubbed "Clown Co." in certain circles.  Now, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has forecast that his organization will earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million in ad revenue this year (see update).

Google In-App Payments Coming in May

Google has a new in-app payments product in private beta. Current users of Jambool’s Social Gold found about the product, which will most likely be formally launched at this year’s Google I/O in May. Google acquired Jambool back in August.

Adobe to Help Search Marketers Keep Paid Campaigns From Cannibalizing Organic SEO

Back in the fall of 2009, Adobe announced it was acquiring web analytics software provider Omniture. As a result of that acquisition, Adobe runs SearchCenter+, a paid search campaign management tool. 

Adobe announced today that SearchCenter+ now allows users to integrate data from both paid search campaigns and organic SEO.