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Google Announces $20 Million Donation To Charities
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This week, tens of millions of people are resuming their normal work/school habits, perhaps packing up holiday decorations and definitely returning to less-than-merry states of mind.  But Google’s not quite through being cheery, as the company announced this morning that it’s donating $20 million to charity.

UK Online Retailers Score Big On Boxing Day

Many retail sites that cater to people in the UK had a great time of things yesterday.  In keeping with tradition (and barring some strange New Year’s Eve surge), new UK-specific Experian Hitwise data shows that Boxing Day turned out to be the busiest day of the year for online retailers.

Facebook For iPhone App Gains 1.6M Users In Three Days
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Earlier today, we reported that Facebook beat Google in terms of UK traffic over Christmas.  We also reported that Apple upped its sales forecasts for iPhones.  Now, to perhaps link the two stories together, it turns out that the Facebook for iPhone app gained around 1.6 million users in the past three days.

Considering how long Facebook, the iPhone, and the Facebook for iPhone app have all been around, growth of this sort is fairly astonishing.  It’s easy to imagine most or all of the potential user base would already have been exhausted.

Rumors Fault Google TV For Logitech Revue Shipping Freeze
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Popular products are almost always difficult to get around Christmas, with high demand causing stores to run out of bestsellers.  Unfortunately for a certain search giant, it’s starting to sound like a lot of items incorporating Google TV tech were allowed to collect dust.  Rumors indicate Logitech even asked a supplier to stop shipping Revue units.

Apple Not Doomed To Repeat History
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In 1995 I remember waiting in lines to buy Windows 95. It effectively ended the design lead Apple had for 11 years in personal computers. From then on Microsoft had both the thought leadership and the market share. Apple ended up with less than 10% market share. Microsoft had most of the rest.

Lots of people think that Apple could repeat 1995 in 2011. This time with iOS instead of Macintosh OS and with Google in the place of Microsoft.

We forget one little thing: 1995 was different.

Here’s how.

Report: Apple Boosts Q1 iPhone Sales Targets
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Two days ago, lots of people no doubt woke up to discover iPhones under their Christmas trees, and it looks like Apple expects many more iPhones to find new homes in the first quarter of 2011.  Rumors indicate the company’s upped its targets by between 5.3 and 10.5 percent.

Android Security Team Talks Openness, Not Rooting
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Last week, reports began to circulate that the Nexus S had been rooted.  Concerns about Android’s (lack of) security ensued.  Android fans shouldn’t worry, however, as this appears to be an authentic "it’s a feature, not a bug" situation.

Non-news along these lines may be a little anticlimactic, but Google has been pretty firm on the matter.  The company explained its stance last week and hasn’t tried to go back on that position since.

Social Signals You Should Be Monitoring
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Listening is not hard these days.  There are now over 200 tools that can help you gather the conversations.

The next step is not so simple.  Finding the right content and figuring out exactly what the people talking about you need and want is critical to PR success today. Content analysis is a traditional PR skill, but data mining is not.  Building social graphs has not been part of our PR practice.

Facebook Tops Google In The UK
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If any Facebook employees were still manning their stations two days ago, you can be sure they sent up a cheer as traffic data rolled in.  A report from Experian Hitwise has indicated that, at least in the UK, Facebook received more visits than Google for the first time ever.

Microsoft Intent On Making Tablet Gains
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It can only be a company of the stature as Microsoft that can continue battling and trying real hard to make it big in every field that it enters. No matter how much competition it faces from stalwarts like Apple, Google, etc. in the Tablet market (which is dominated by iPads) Microsoft is bent on making it big here too.

Kindle Becomes Best-Selling Amazon Product Ever
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The first Amazon Kindle was released more than three years ago, and for whatever reason, Amazon still won’t share exact sales figures concerning the device.  But this morning, the company did see fit to disclose one important fact: the third-generation Kindle has become the bestselling product in Amazon’s history.

To put that in perspective: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" previously held the title, and that franchise has had national reading programs, Halloween tie-ins, a string of hit movies, and even a theme park help boost its sales.

Massive Smartphone Growth Predicted For 2011
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A whole lot of smartphones – and in particular, Android phones – are going to find their way into new owners’ hands next year, according to one expert.  Seth Weintraub recently predicted that 500 million smartphones might sell, with Google’s mobile operating system accounting for a lot of the purchases.

Brand Monitoring: Look at Brands That Are Doing it Right
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Listening. It’s a mantra we’ve heard PR, marketing and social media consultants preach to brands for the last two years. But, how many brands are really listening to their customers online?

I’m not talking about responding to comments on Facebook or Twitter. That’s fine, but at this point, it’s table stakes, don’t you think?

Yahoo-to-Microsoft Ad Transition Period Drawing to a Close
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The deadline for Yahoo Search Marketing advertisers to transition their campaigns to Microsoft’s adCenter is approaching. You’ve had ample time to do, but there are no doubt some procrastinators out there. 

Five Tips For More Efficient Business Blogging
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“Why should we have a blog?”  It’s a reasonable question.

Nevermind the fact that millions of businesses are blogging and multiples of those millions of customers are reading said blogs. In fact, 23% of the primary Fortune 500 corporations have an external corporate blog.

MySpace Issues User Data Protection Update
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New features, celebrity endorsements, and a redesign can only get a site so far.  More than ever, users want to know their private information is safe.  So this week, MySpace issued a clear statement to the effect that the social network is protecting users’ data.

Check Out These LinkedIn Groups If You’re in PR
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If you work in PR, chances are you have one of three needs:

* A need to build or grow your network.

* A need to acquire new skills or hone existing ones.

* A need to find a new job.

While you could argue many social networks meet these three needs adequately, I might argue that LinkedIn has the biggest potential to meet these needs best when it comes to professional skill-building, networking and job-seeking.

But, are folks capitalizing on that opportunity within LinkedIn now? Not so much.

Google Prepares For Christmas With Array Of Easter Eggs
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Unless you live somewhere east of New York, there’s still at least several hours left before December 23rd comes to an end.  But Google is eager to help everyone with kids get Christmas Eve off to a good start, and so the company’s put together lists of all the Santa-related treats its engineers have concocted or come across this year.

Facebook Registration Plugin for WordPress Launched
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Last week, Facebook launched a new registration tool for site owners. With this, users can quickly sign up for new sites with their Facebook profiles. The tool goes beyond the simple log-in feature of Facebook Connect, and lets users more easily fill out forms based on the information that they’ve already shared with Facebook (such as email address, name, birthday, phone number, etc.)

Remembering What Facebook Has Done Since the Beginning of 2010
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2010 has been a huge year for Facebook – arguably the company’s biggest yet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was named Person of the Year by Time magazine, a Hollywood movie about the founding of the company was released in theaters, and attracted a great deal of critical buzz. The company launched the "open graph", possibly the most important feature the company has ever implemented, as it connects nearly the entire web to Facebook itself. Then there was the messaging product, the privacy fiascoes, and much more. 

Baidu’s Twitter Imitation Collects 1 Million Users
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An apples-to-apples comparison may not be possible here, given that Twitter used to keep its stats private, time’s passed, and Twitter and a service called Baidu Talk operate in different markets.  But Baidu Talk, Baidu’s Twitter-esque product, is doing quite well, apparently racking up a million users in a rather short period of time.

Google Combines Webmaster Resources In a Single Page
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Google has put together a new collection of resources for webmasters. This includes a page that provides all the different ways the company wants you to contact them if you want to tell them about a page you want to remove from search results, tell them about spam, tell them when you’ve fixed issues on your site, etc. 

They’ve also collected various articles from their sites and put them with this information. 

Salesforce Chatter Mobile Goes to BlackBerry
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Salesforce released Chatter Mobile for Blackberry. Chatter, if you’re not familiar with it, is the company’s social product, that’s often been referred to as a "Facebook for the enterprise."

Millions Lose Their Skype Connections [Updated]
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Update 3: Now CEO Tony Bates has provided further explanation and apologies

Update 2: Parkes provided another update on the issue today: