Florida Sues Expedia And Orbitz Over Taxes

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said today his office has sued online travel companies Expedia and Orbitz for failing to pay the right amount of taxes on hotel room rentals.

The lawsuit states that while the companies have been collecting these taxes from consumers all along, they have only been paying a portion of the taxes to the state and keeping the rest as profit.  Florida says the practice denies it of millions of dollars every year in tax revenue.

Yahoo Real-Time Search Test May Be Days Away

A little more information regarding Yahoo’s take on real-time search has emerged, and the details – scarce as they are – sound encouraging.  Another key point is that public testing of the real-time search feature may be just a few days away.

As we’ve said before, real-time search will be a tricky thing for Yahoo.  Google and Facebook have already made their first efforts in this field, and their partner – Twitter – has a rather higher profile than Yahoo’s pal, OneRiot.

iPhone Most Popular Touchscreen Device

Touchscreen mobile phone adoption in the U.S. showed a significant 159 percent growth rate during the past year to 23.8 million users, according to a new report from comScore.

The growth in touchscreen device adoption outpaced the already strong 63 percent growth in U.S. adoption of smartphones.

Turkey Asks Google For $47 Million In Taxes
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It seems that Google’s accounting practices may not be quite in line with accepted Turkish procedures.  In fact, Turkey’s government has determined that the search giant owes it a little over $47 million in unpaid taxes.

Feds Charge Cable Modem Hacker

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged an Oregon man and the company he founded, TCNISO, alleging they developed and distributed products that allowed users to modify their cable modems and get free Internet access.

Google and Heineken Study Search for Branding

This week Google released some findings from a test Google Netherlands conducted with Metrixlab, Heineken, and Heineken’s agency Twist. They set out to find what effects paid search ads had on branding, and were quite pleased with the results.

By Tweeting, You Could Appear All Over the Web
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Twitter has introduced a new widget for the Lists feature. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter’s widgets, there is one that lets you display your most recent Twitter updates on a web page, one that lets you display search results in real time, and one that lets you show off your favorite tweets.

The Lists Widget is fully customizable. You start off by selecting the username of the account you want to pull lists from, then choose the list name, title it, and give it a caption.

YouTube’s Director Of Content Partnerships To Leave

The man who’s served as YouTube’s director of content partnerships for almost three years has found another job.  Jordan Hoffner is set to link up with a content venture at IAC, according to a new report.

Best Buy To Launch Online Movie Service

Best Buy said today it is partnering with online video provider CinemaNow to create a movie download service that would be built into most of the electronic devices it sells that can be connected to the Internet.

Best Buy said it has entered into a multi-year agreement to license Sonic Solutions’ Roxio CinemaNow technology. Under terms of the agreement, Best Buy acquired warrants enabling it to purchase shares of Sonic Solutions common stock.

New Google Labs: Related Links and Script Converter

Google has released a couple of new Labs projects. The first one is called Script converter, and the second one is called Related Links.

The Script Converter Lab lets users read the text of any script in the supported languages, which currently consist of:

- Hindi
- Bengali
- English
- Gujarati
- Kannada
- Malayalam
- Marathi
- Nepali
- Tamil
- Telugu

All you have to do is enter text or a web address in the box, select the language you want to read it in, and press convert.

New Google Chrome Release Includes Bookmark Sync

Google has launched the latest beta of its Chrome web browser. This release includes bookmark sync.

Opera Turns Your Computer Into a Server
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Update: Opera has released the beta version of Opera Unite in Opera 10.10 beta.

Original Article: Today Opera has released a product (as promised), which it claims reinvents the web. That may seem like an exaggerated statement, but it’s an interesting concept nonetheless.

How Social Media is Changing Charity

Social media provides a great deal of tools and opportunities for reaching the masses, which makes for some ideal ways of marketing a business. The marketing potential of social media also means great things for charitable causes.

The emergence of social media has opened up a lot of doors for getting messages out there and spread wider than was ever possible before. What better way is there to find people who care about a specific cause and call upon them to take action? You’ve got Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, blogs, and countless other platforms.

Correcting Your Web Analytics Mistakes
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WebProNews had something of a Q&A session with a couple of web analytics experts about what businesses can do to improve their implementation.

Google Maps Takes Another Crack At Real Estate
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There’s about a month left before the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit becomes a thing of the past, and – perhaps like many individuals – Google’s not going to let this opportunity slip away.  The search giant’s upgraded Google Maps’s real estate options in several different ways.

Skype Founders Reportedly Close to Settlement with eBay
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Update 3: Skype and eBay may be close to resolving their issues. Om Malik reports:

Amazon Introduces PayPhrase
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Amazon.com has introduced "PayPhrase," a new shortcut for making purchases at the online retailer and other websites.

PayPhrase works by allowing users to choose their own phrase along with a PIN and then set up their shipping information, which is stored at Amazon.

Amazon customers can use PayPhrase to make purchases at any websites that offers Checkout by Amazon, such as DNKY, Patagonia, Buy.com and J&R Electronics.

Bing Gets More Mobile Features in The US
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Microsoft has launched some new features for the mobile version of the Bing search engine, which is available at m.bing.com. These include features related to the NFL and to travel.

The NFL feature lets the user type a team or player and see upcoming games, stats, and scores. If you use the feature while a game is being played, you can get real-time updates on the plays. The feature is only available in the U.S.

National Geographic, Weather.com Befriend Bing
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National Geographic and Weather.com are not, if we’re to be honest, nearly as trendy as something like Twitter or Facebook.  Still, both entities garner a significant amount of respect (and a significant number of page views), and Bing recently received a sort of nod from each of them.

IT Pros Favor Facebook And YouTube
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A majority (79%) of information technology (IT) professionals use social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube, but 21 percent do not use social networking sites at all, according to a new survey by CompTIA.

Of the major social networking sites, Facebook was the most popular, with 57 percent of respondents reporting they had been active on the site within the past 30 days. YouTube was the second most popular site (53%), then MySpace (29%), Twitter (25%) and LinkedIn (22%).

Internet Explorer Losing Market Share in Europe
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Research from AT Internet Institute indicates that Microsoft is losing European market share in the web browser sector with Internet Explorer. The firm says IE is being seriously shaken up by rival browsers across the continent.

Hulu Adds “Coming Soon” Page

Catching episodes of your favorite show(s) on Hulu just became a little easier.  The site’s introduced a "Coming Soon" page so that early bird users can figure out when the stuff they want to see will actually become available.

One might argue that this is a very minor feature – essentially a redundant online TV guide, given that most Hulu users know episodes become available the day after they air.  Still, even if that’s the case, it should prove handy for folks who are new to the site.

Amazon Completes Acquisition of Zappos
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Update: Amazon announced the completion of its acquisition of Zappos.com today. The Zappos management team will remain intact, and Zappos will operate independently with its headquarters in Las Vegas.

Original Article: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh sent an email to Zappos employees today informing them that Amazon is becoming the only shareholder of Zappos stock. The following video from Jeff Bezos was also posted on the Zappos Blog:

Newsday Writer Leaves Due To ‘Pay For Access’ Decision

Here’s an interesting twist on the ‘pay for access to conten’t dilemma that faces the newspaper industry these days. Newspapers who do this may actually lose a writer or two! While it’s not likely that staffers at any newspaper are looking to just walk out the door to another job because there really aren’t any but you may get some that are going to walk n principle.