Has YouTube Found the Right Ad Solution?
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YouTube has begun testing a new kind of ad format on some of its videos – skippable pre-rolls. These ads let users choose whether or not they want to watch the ad as it appears at the beginning of a video.

YouTube says that when it first began testing in-stream ads a couple years ago, abandonment rates on videos were as high as 70%. They found that users were much more likely to view and engage with overlay ads.

Mozilla Celebrates The Fifth Birthday Of Firefox
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Mozilla is celebrating the fifth birthday of its Firefox browser today.

Mozilla says in the first four days of launch, more than 1 million people had downloaded Firefox 1.0 Now that number is at 330 million users globally, accounting for almost a quarter of all Internet users.

Currently Firefox is available in more than 70 languages and offers users more than 7,000 add-ons to customize their browsing experience.

Google Latitude Introduces Location History, Smart Alerts

A quick, but important, note: the stuff we’re about to discuss is only available on an opt-in basis.  So there’s no need to stop halfway through this article and drown your phone or tape it to a neighbor’s car.  Now, with that out of the way, let’s move on to the news that Google Latitude’s gained two features called Google Location History and Google Location Alerts (which is in beta).

Google Programming Language on the “Go”
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Update: Philipp Lenssen notes that someone has already developed a language called Go! (with an exclamation point). There is a book on it here. The author wants Google to change the name. This could get confusing for developers looking to use Go, although, it could also help sales of the Go! book. It wouldn’t make for very happy customers, however.

Google Wave Simplified: How it Basically Works
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As you may know, Google has been sending out Google Wave invitations for a little while now. Many people are still finding these hard to come by, but others have been lucky enough to be selected and get their hands dirty.

Those who have been granted access to Google Wave have the ability to nominate people for invitation, but not directly invite people themselves. So in other words, you’re not getting in unless Google wants you to. They have to approve your nomination.

Buy A Blackberry From Walmart Get A $100 Gift Card

Walmart has introduced yet another holiday promotion, this time the retailer is offering a $100 gift card with the purchase of any Blackberry device, both in stores and online.


Staring Saturday, November 14 at 8 am through November 20, shoppers will receive a $100 Walmart Gift Card with the purchase of Blackberry devices with a two-year contract.

Google Makes the Cloud Cheaper

Gmail used to offer a gigabyte of storage to new users, but now it offers at least seven gigs. Picasa comes with a gig. Sometimes that’s not enough. While Google has offered the ability to pay for additional storage, the company has now reduced the prices for it.

Consumers Are Looking for Offers on Social Networks
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Razorfish has released a wealth of interesting data about consumer online behavior, and a good deal has to do with social media and brand interaction. For those struggling to find the right use of social networks for their business, the data is worth paying attention to.

The data is based on a survey of 1,000 consumers in the US, about half male and half female. They cover four major age groups and 10 major cities.

Spam Will Not Keep You Away from Email
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With all of the spam out there and the increasing amount of malice that comes with it, it’s easy to look at the situation and think that email must be dying. Combine the overwhelming amounts of inbox spam and the ever-increasing popularity of communication tools like Twitter and Facebook, and you may ask yourself why you even need email.

Google Maps Adds NYC Subway Layer
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Last night on "30 Rock," Alec Baldwin’s character got lost within New York’s subway system, and due to being covered in bedbugs, received no help from his fellow passengers.  But if the same thing happened to him (or a non-fictional person) today, Google Maps could have come to the rescue.

MySpace To Host Exclusive Stream Of “New Moon” Red Carpet
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Don’t be surprised if MySpace experiences a big traffic spike on Monday, November 16th.  The social network intends to host a live stream of red carpet arrivals at the world premiere of The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

Hacking Ring Indicted For $9 Million Fraud

A federal grand jury in Atlanta has indicted eight East Europeans on charges of hacking into a computer network operated by the credit card processing company RBS WorldPay, the U.S. Department of Justice said today.

The 16-count indictment alleges the group used sophisticated hacking techniques to compromise data encryption used by RBS WorldPay to protect customer data on payroll debit cards. Payroll debit cards are used by some companies to pay their employees.

Spam is Getting More Malicious
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Symantec has released two new reports for the month of November – the State of Spam, and the State of Phishing (both PDFs). The reports highlight a dramatic increase in spam that contains malware. On top of that, junk and malicious email now accounts for close to 9 out of 10 email messages.

Google Street View Hits Hawaii, Mexico

Attention all Street View fans: another update’s been announced, and this one could be considered especially significant.  Images of Hawaii were released, meaning Street View now has coverage of all 50 U.S. states.

Street View’s come a long way since its early days of functioning as a fun little distraction/curiosity.  It’s now a useful resource for travelers, an advertising aid for businesses, and even a friend of some tourist agencies (the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau worked with Google on this latest update).

Bing Maps Gets an Upgrade
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Microsoft announced that it has made some changes to Bing Maps. Changes include the color of the navigation bar, draggble routes, zoom bar changes, command parsing, embedding, dynamic computing, new navigation, speed, and Bing Maps will no longer stop at the international date line, but will wrap around the world continuously.

Amazon Kindle For PC Now Available

Amazon.com has released its free Kindle for PC application that allows users to read books on their personal computer without having to own the e-reader device.

The move comes as Amazon aims to make it s Kindle content available on a broader range of devices. Kindle books can now be read on the iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle DX and now a PC.

Facebook Most Widely Used Network Among Businesses
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Webinars and podcasts are the most popular social media resources for business people, used by 69 percent of those who turn to such channels for business information, according to a new study by Business.com.

Facebook is the primary social network on which consumer-focused companies maintain one or more profiles, cited by 83 percent of respondents compared with 45 percent for Twitter. Business-to-business companies maintain a presence on both social sites with 77 percent maintaining a profile on Facebook and 73 percent on Twitter.

The Traffic News Corp. Would Lose Without Google
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As you may know, Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., is saying he may block search engines from accessing the organization’s content. He expressed this notion in a recent interview.

If Murdoch were to act upon this, it would mean theoretically that you would no longer be able to find Wall Street Journal, New York Post, etc. content on Google. Of course that would be in a world where scraped content isn’t frequently crawled by search engines.

Google Gives AdWords Users New Alert Options
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Google has introduced a couple of new alert options for AdWords advertisers. Users can of course use account alerts, and can also use custom alerts. Now Google has added new alerts for keyword and budget ideas, which are personalized tips to help users improve their campaigns’ effectiveness. These are in the "opportunities" tab.

Google Offering Free Wi-Fi In Airports During The Holidays

Google said Tuesday it is working with airports in the U.S. as well as Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, Airport Marketing Income and others to provide free Wi-Fi as a "holiday gift" through January 15, 2010.

The free Wi-Fi is available in 47 airports, including Las Vegas, San Jose, Boston, Baltimore, Burbank, Houston Indianapolis, Seattle, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, St. Louis and Charlotte. As a result of this project, Burbank and Seattle airports will begin offering airport-wide free Wi-Fi indefinitely.

LinkedIn, Twitter Connect Through Status Updates
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LinkedIn has developed a reputation for being a rather sedate, professional site.  Twitter, on the other hand, is at the anything-goes, trend-of-the-minute end of the social networking spectrum.  But last night, the two companies announced a partnership that should see a bit of back-and-forth result.

Social Networks Don’t Waste Time, People Do.
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Social Media policies of well-known organizations often appear in the news with commentary throughout the Blogosphere, the Twitterverse, etc. There is an ongoing debate about just how restricted social networks should be when it comes to employee use.

Where do you stand on this debate? Share your thoughts.

Amazon.com Launches Denim Shop
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Amazon.com has just launched an online store for jeans it calls the Denim Shop.

To attract shoppers to its Denim Shop, Amazon is offering free shipping on some men and women’s jeans. It is also offering shoppers free returns for purchases that for whatever reason don’t work out. Customers will have up to 30 days to return their jeans for a full refund.

(Another) New Google Books Deadline Set

It could be said that the Google Books case is becoming the new Microsoft-Yahoo deal, having created all sorts of controversy and dragged on and on.  And on some more, as it turns out, since the involved parties are pushing a target date back again.