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Yahoo Upgrades Local Search Performance
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The next time you want to look up or research a local business, Yahoo intends to be there for you.  Yahoo Shortcuts now display a lot more information right on the regular results pages, which should make the search process less click-intensive and time-consuming.

Gmail Takes Care of Common User Annoyance
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MySpace may be launching a new email service, but Google never stops adding new features to Gmail, even since the service has finally left "beta" status. The most recent addition to Gmail is the ability to send mail from different addresses without the inclusion of "on behalf of" in the From line.

MySpace Mail Arrives
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Last week, rumor had it that MySpace was about to launch their long-awaited MySpace email service. It didn’t happen last week, but it’s starting to happen now. The company is rolling it out. It could be several weeks until you have access to MySpace Mail, but trust that it is on the way if you don’t already have it.

State Websites Failing To Provide Details On Stimulus
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While some states have created solid websites to provide information about their portion of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), most are failing to effectively educate taxpayers about the impact of economic stimulus spending, according to a report from Good Jobs First, an economic development research group.

Google Strips Beta Tag From New AdWords Interface
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Google’s definitely leaving behind the period during which beta tags remained visible for years on end.  Today, the search giant made a significant step by pulling the beta label off its new AdWords interface.

As part of the change, more advertisers will be required to use the new interface exclusively.  But given the laundry list of upgrades and new features it includes, this shouldn’t present much of a problem.

AT&T Talks New Yellow Pages
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Sometimes it can be easy to forget that people use other sites besides Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find local results. There are plenty of people using YellowPages.com, and why not? Google may have the most untouchable brand on the Internet right now, but the Yellow Pages brand has been around much longer.

There are still plenty of people using the print version of the Yellow Pages, but the AT&T’s YellowPages.com extended network still gets over 40 million unique visitors a month according to the company. Not too shabby.

Google Gives Sony 1 Million More Books

Sony has announced that its eBook store now offers access to more than 1 million free public domain books from Google.

The selections include biographies, historical texts, romance novels and hundreds of other genres. The titles have been digitized by Google as part of its Google Book project. The titles are available on Sony’s eBook reader.

UBS Initiates Coverage Of Google With “Buy” Rating
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Financial services firm UBS apparently doesn’t feel that the new Microsoft-Yahoo deal poses too much of a threat to the other big search contender.  Today, UBS initiated its coverage of Google with a "buy" rating and some rather aggressive targets.

Google Releases Apps Directory Sync Enhancements
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Google has released a couple of enhancements to Google Apps Directory Sync, which is a tool that helps businesses sync the user and directory info in their LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) systems with Google Apps.

Google Apps Directory Sync now helps sync employee contact info as well as non-employee info listed in the central LDAP directory. This means customers, partners, vendors, etc. can easily be looked up.

The Louvre Opens Online English Database
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The Louvre museum in Paris has launched an English language version of its online collections database, Atlas.

The online database will allows users to access information on 22,000 works of art from the Louvre, and provide high-resolution images along with their locations in the museum.

Before today, the Atlas database was only available in French and could be accessed via the Louvre’s website, which receives more than 10 million visits a year.

Advocacy Group Calls For Scrutiny Of Microsoft-Yahoo Deal
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Advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog is urging the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to look closely at the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo search deal to ensure there are no antitrust violations and that user privacy is guaranteed.

Under the proposed deal Yahoo would use Microsoft’s Bing to sell ads that appear with search results. Google currently has 65 percent of the U.S. search market. Microsoft and Yahoo have 28 percent. Conventional wisdom is that the combination of the two smaller search businesses would offer stronger competition to Google.

MSFT Announces New Reach And Frequency Ad Tool
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Following yesterday’s Yahoo announcement, Microsoft’s wasted no time before making fresh overtures to advertisers.  This morning, it and comScore revealed the existence of a digital media planning solution known as the Reach and Frequency Planner.

According to a formal statement, the RF Planner "will allow brand advertisers to predict reach, frequency and audience composition at the ad placement level.  The RF Planner uses a hybrid audience measurement method that combines Microsoft’s ad serving data with demographic information from comScore’s panel."

Businesses Increasingly Looking to iPhone Apps
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iPhoneAppQuotes, which puts businesses together with iPhone developers, has released some interesting findings. The company has noticed a shift in app development trends.

"Business apps are proving to be the most popular category of apps as entrepreneurs and small businesses realize the marketing and additional revenue stream potential the iPhone creates," says Founder Gregg Weiss.

Some of iPhoneAppsQuotes’ findings include:

Mobile Market Improves In 2Q
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The global mobile phone market saw another quarter of year-over-year decline in the second quarter of 2009, shipping a total of 269.6 million units, down 10.8 percent from 302.2 million units in 2Q08, according to IDC.

The second quarter results are an improvement from the 17.2 percent decrease in the first quarter, but challenges from the economic crisis remain a factor to watch.

Microsoft, Yahoo CEOs Comment On Employees’ Fates
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Personnel-related "efficiencies" can be good or bad, depending on one’s perspective.  Companies want to save money, of course, and their shareholders also appreciate savings.  But employees like to keep their jobs.  So let’s take a look at what sort of effect the Microsoft-Yahoo deal may have.

What Happens to Yahoo’s Search-Related Developer Projects?
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With the big Yahoo Microsoft deal announced, there are still a lot of questions out there, despite the significant amount of information the companies have shared thus far. We know that Bing will become the search engine used in Yahoo searches. We also know that Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10-year license to Yahoo’s core search technologies.

More Americans Watching Online Video
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Americans who watch online video continues to grow at a rapid pace across all demographics, far outpacing the adoption rates of many other Internet activities, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

More than half (62%) of Internet users have watched content on video sharing sites, up from 33 percent in 2006. The majority (89%) of Internet users 18-29 say they watch content on video sharing sites, and 36 percent do so on an average day.

Facebook Connect Gets Nod From Orbitz
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It looks like Facebook’s made still more progress in terms of dealing with important companies.  Following earlier news about 1-800-Flowers.com, it turns out that the social network has become a friend of Orbitz.

Hulu Traffic Surpasses the Networks for First Time
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Compete is pointing to some interesting data, and suggesting that Hulu’s "evil plot to take over the world" might just be working. The popular video site has surpassed NBC, FOX and ABC’s websites in traffic for the first time. And that was last month.

"The networks’ traffic declined during the summer rerun season, but Hulu seems relatively unaffected," notes Compete’s Seth Madison.

What is Responsible Blogging to You?
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The Federal Trade Commission has recently taken an interest in regulation of blogs when it comes to bloggers receiving products and writing about them. A lot of discussion has taken place about what it means to blog responsibly.

CBSSports.com To Offer Blitz Of NFL Coverage

CBSSports.com said today it has created a network of 32 reporters to cover every NFL team and provide brief updates on its homepage.

The new initiative called RapidReports will have a reporter dedicated to every team to provide a stream of short, original news updates. CBS says it is the only media outlet to offer this type of coverage of the NFL.

Yahoo Having A Horrible Day On The Stock Market
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According to a statement Carol Bartz issued this morning, the new Yahoo-Microsoft deal "comes with boatloads of value for Yahoo, our users, and the industry."  But a significant number of Yahoo’s (former) investors apparently didn’t believe that line, and have sent the company’s stock into something of a tailspin. 

Twitter Launches New Homepage Design
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This past Friday we told you about the new Twitter homepage that was just days away. Well,  now @Biz has updated the Twitter blog informing us that the new design has been launched.

New Twitter homepage

Bartz and Ballmer Talk Yahoo Microsoft Deal
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You have no doubt read or at least heard about the deal between Microsoft and Yahoo that aims to "change the search landscape." You may or may not know that the two companies have set up a joint site for the deal at ChoiceValueInnovation.com.