Yahoo Mobile Europe Manager Quits

Almost exactly one month ago, the Yahoo Mobile Blog launched, and nine new posts have been made since, signaling that the company really is interested in mobile tech.  Unfortunately, one of Yahoo’s mobile execs has decided to part ways with it at this juncture.

Google Talks Marketing Implications of Social Search
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It’s no secret that Google delivers personalized search results on a user-by-user basis. In fact, software engineer Bryan Horling reportedly said at SMX West in Santa Clara that Google personalizes as much as 20 percent of any user’s web searches, which would be one in five searches. One way that Google personalizes search results is with its social search feature, which it launched in January. At SMX, WebProNews discussed this feature with Google’s Johanna Wright.

Nokia Brings Skype To Ovi Store
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Mobile device maker Nokia said today it has made Skype available as a free download in its online Ovi Store.

The new Skype for Symbian software will allow more than 200 million Nokia smartphone users globally access Skype over a WiFi or mobile data connection.

Skype for Symbian will allow Nokia smartphone users to make free Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users, save money on international calls and texts, and share pictures and videos.

Hulu To Lose Comedy Central’s Stewart, Colbert

Two of the most popular shows on Hulu will be pulled off the site after March 9th.  Hulu announced late yesterday that it and Comedy Central have been unable to reach an agreement concerning the distribution of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

Google SEO Report Card Scores Company’s Own SEO Efforts
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Google is looking to improve upon its own internal SEO efforts. The company has created what it calls an "SEO Report Card," designed to improve the user experience and visibility of some of its own properties. The company says it aims to identify potential areas for improvement in Google’s product pages, which could help users find them more easily in search engines, and fix bugs that annoy visitors and hurt the pages’ performance in search engines.

Bing Talks Local Business Listings
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In case you missed it, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at SMX West in Santa Clara yesterday, addressing the search marketing industry for the first time (you can watch that at our new site live.webpronews.com). Obviously, much of the conversation was centered around Bing.

Facebook: “Promote your Post” Just a Test
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Update: I finally got word back from Facebook, who confirmed that the feature is indeed only a test. "The "Promote" feature is just a test and is unrelated to our Promotions Guidelines," the company says. They  did not give any specifics about a possible full launch.

Google Reiterates Support For Uncensored Results In China
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When Google made its dramatic "new approach to China" announcement in January, it sounded as if the company might leave the country within the month.  Obviously, that didn’t happen.  But according to testimony given today before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Google hasn’t forgotten its ultimatum.

What Happens to Twitter Ad Networks When Twitter Launches Ads?
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Twitter is expected to launch an ad platform this month (some have speculated this will happen at SXSW). While this hasn’t been confirmed, the industry has been waiting for quite some time to Twitter to launch such a monetization model.

BBB Warns About Online Payday Lenders
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The Better Business Bureau is warning people about the practices and claims of some online payday lenders.

"Desperate times are leading people to the Internet to apply for payday loans and many are falling deeper into debt after getting tangled up with a lender who has zero regard for the law," said Stephen A. Cox, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

AlikeList Points Customers to Local Businesses Their Friends Like
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As we’ve written about a lot lately, local search is continuing to evolve, and that evolution is not just coming from the biggest names in search. We recently had a discussion with RateItAll President Lawrence Coburn about user location-sharing as  new kind of query that can yield local business results. ChaCha is bringing in Q&A to local search.

Google Improves Click-To-Call Ads With Phone Extensions
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A little more than a month ago, Google introduced click-to-call phone numbers in local ads on smartphones.  Now, the popular program’s undergoing an expansion as Google’s made it easier for large companies to take advantage of the offering.

Online Gaming Growth Up 10%

The average number of hours spent each week on online gaming has climbed 10 percent since 2009, while an average of 20 percent of all games purchased were digitally downloaded up from 19 percent in 2009, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

 Among those reporting they personally play video games on at least one type of console, 54 percent said they play games online, down slightly since 2009 and 2008 (56% and 55% respectively).

Live: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Addresses Search Marketing Community
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Update: I’m going to go ahead an liveblog the keynote here as well. To watch it live (or archived), go to live.webpronews.com.

Begin Live Blogging

11:46EST: I hear Eddie Vedder’s voice playing somewhere while everyone finds their seats and waits patiently for the event to begin.

11:49: A little surprised there aren’t more seats taken up by now.

11:57: Getting close now.

European Windows Users Get Browser Choice
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Microsoft Windows users in Europe who have Internet Explorer as their default browser are now being offered a variety of choices.

Windows users in Europe will now see a browser "Choice Screen," designed to give them an effective and unbiased choice between their default and competing web browsers.

Google To Offer Street View Opt-Out In Germany
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The back-and-forth over Street View in Germany has been fierce at times, with one Google representative recently hinting that the company intended to move forward as long as German authorities didn’t draft laws against the program.  But now Google’s given in a bit, offering people a way to keep their properties out of Street View from the start.

FDA Asked To Investigate Online Marketing By Drug Companies
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The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the online marketing and behavioral targeting practices of pharmaceutical companies.

The CDD says few U.S. health consumers are aware they are being identified, labeled, profiled, and tracked on the Internet while they search or access information on specific conditions or concerns.

Kansas Capital Adopts “Google” Name
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The capital city of Kansas really, really wants Google to build it a high-speed broadband network.  Indeed, rather than stick to the standard email campaigns and Facebook groups, its efforts to catch the search giant’s attention have extended to the mayor renaming Topeka "Google."  At least temporarily.

SEO and Quality Key to Competing in the Long Tail
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A while back, WebProNews had a conversation with RateItAll President Lawrence Coburn about how the long tail of search is getting more competitive. Companies like AOL and Demand Media are working on dominating long tail searches with content across a broad scope of article subject matter.

Google’s CFO: “It’s Been A Great Time For Us”
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Patrick Pichette joined Google as its CFO on August 12, 2008, and since then, he’s seen the company through both good times (a stock price of $620 per share) and bad (try $262).  So Google fans should find it comforting that Pichette, with his range of experience, has said the company’s doing quite well again.

More Email Marketers Using Video
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Small and medium-sized business (SMB) marketers are becoming increasingly convinced of the positive results of video email, social media and personalization, according to a new report from GetResponse.

Over 80 percent of respondents plan to use video emails in 2010 and over 90 percent of SMB marketers who use video emails report it delivers significant conversion rates.

Google Announces Winners Of Street View Trike Contest
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About five months ago, Google started a contest to determine where its Street View trike would take pictures in the U.S.  Today, Google released some impressive stats concerning participation, and also announced the winning locations.

Google Buys Cloud Photo Editing Service
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Google announced today it has acquired Picnik, a cloud-based photo editing service. The company consists of about 20 employees.

"Google processes petabytes of data every day, and with their worldwide infrastructure and world-class team, it is truly the best home we could have found. Under the Google roof we’ll reach more people than ever before, impacting more lives and making more photos more awesome," says Picnik in its announcement.

CBS Upgrades March Madness Video Player

CBSSports.com said today it has upgraded its NCAA March Madness on Demand (MMOD) video player.

CBS said it will again offer a standard video player in addition to providing viewers with the ability to upgrade to a high-quality player delivering an improved video stream. Upgrades to the player include the ability of viewers of the high-quality player to watch picture-in-picture highlights of ongoing action inside a live video stream from the tournament.