Google Makes Biggest Design Changes to Maps Yet

Google is rolling out the biggest set of changes it has ever made to Google Maps since it launched nearly five years ago. The changes come in a variety of manners, like refinements to color, density, typography, and road-styling. These changes are visible in the "map" and "hybrid" views around the world.

Codename Keychest: Disney’s New Film View Technology
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Disney has been diligently working on a new technology, code-named Keychest, that would give users the ability to watch a movie from any device imaginable.

Does Disney’s Keychest sound interesting to you? Tell us.

Kentucky Supreme Court Hears Online Gambling Case

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday on whether the Common Wealth of Kentucky has the power to seize 141 domains belonging to online gambling sites.

Previously a Franklin Circuit Court Judge ruled for the state saying it was allowed to seize the domain names, but the Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Mozilla Aims to Integrate Social Media and Email into One Inbox

Mozilla has introduced a new inbox program called Raindrop. They refer to it as an "exploration in messaging innovation" to "explore new ways to use Open Web technologies to create useful, compelling messaging experiences." Sounds kind of like  what Google’s trying to do with Google Wave from that description doesn’t it? There is already talk that this may compete with it.

Mattel Launches Ecommerce Website

Toy maker Mattel has launched its own ecommerce site, MattelShop.com, offering a selection of its popular brands along with social shopping features.

MattelShop.com features a social shopping tool called ShopTogether, developed by shopping application firm DecisonStep, that allows users to browse the site with family and friends. Shoppers have the ability to chat with each other in real time about the various toys offered on the site.

Facebook Receives 1/4 Of US Page Views?
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More often than not, when something is successful overseas, it’s even more successful in its home market.  And this led one person to wonder: if Facebook receives one-seventh of all page views in the UK (as Hitwise suggested last week), how’s it doing in the US?  He found that it might receive as many as one-fourth of all page views.

Google Launches Custom Search For Smartphones

Google has launched Custom Search for smartphones. This means that if you own a site and add a Google Custom Search box to it, it will format search results to fit the screens of supported mobile devices.

The following devices are supported:

Soupy Sales Dies, Web Responds
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Comedian Soupy Sales has passed away at the age of 83, reportedly at a Hospice in New York. 

Provide your condolences at the Famous Dead website – www.FamousDead.com …

The web is abuzz with fond memories and sadness of his death.  The rate at which the Tweets about him are rolling in provide evidence to that.

Microsoft Wants You To Bing Up Your Windows 7
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Microsoft unleashed Windows 7 onto the public today, and the company’s Bing team has released some downloadable wallpaper things for the operating system. The themes are based on the images that the search engine uses on its homepage.

Facebook Cooks Up New Site For Touchscreen Phones
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Facebook’s providing people with handy-dandy touchscreen phones a handy-dandy touchscreen site to match.  The new Facebook site – which is indeed different than the regular old mobile version that’s been out for a while – has made it out of testing and is available now.

Compete: Yahoo Stumbled In September

Sorry, Yahoo fans – September wasn’t kind to your search engine of choice.  According to Compete’s stats about market share and query volume, newcomer Bing did more than all right, though, which would seem to say some interesting things about the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo deal.

Yahoo’s share dropped from 15.8 percent in August to 14.7 percent in September, which equals a month-over-month fall of 7.0 percent.  Meanwhile, query volume plummeted by a not-at-all-good 8.0 percent.

Online Retailers To Focus On Facebook And Twitter During Holidays
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Due to the popularity of Facebook and Twitter and because they are more cost effective than traditional advertising, 47.1 percent of online retailers will be increasing their use of social media this holiday season, according to a new study by Shop.org, conducted by BiGresearch.

People 18-24 Would Rather Give Up Social Networks Than Email
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The Participatory Marketing Network (PMN) and Pace University’s Lubin School of Business have shared some interesting findings from a study that found Generation Y (commonly considered the "Net Generation") would abandon social networks before abandoning email or texting.

Online Marketing Leads Paranormal Activity to Wide Release
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Paranormal Activity is a movie that has made its way to a wide theatrical release this weekend as a result of some clever online marketing. The movie is described as a "Blair Witch"- type film, in that it is told through fake "realistic" video footage. This is a cliché that has been used numerous times in the horror genre.

The film boasts some pretty bold quotes from some well-known sources. For example:

“Kanye West Died” Rumor Used as a Scareware Tactic
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A lot of people have been searching for queries like "kanye west died," "kanye west car accident," "kanye dead," etc. Obviously, this is an indication of a widespread rumor that Kanye West did in fact die (which he didn’t). It appears that the rumor was used to perpetuate a "scareware" tactic.

Rapleaf Looks At Age, Gender Of Email Users
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It’s often interesting to learn about a product or service’s users – particularly when you are one.  Maybe you’ll find that your stylish small car is popular with old ladies, for example.  Or that your taste in TV shows mirrors that of eight-year-old boys.  Anyway, Rapleaf recently took a look at this concept as it applies to email.

Internet’s Possible Future in the US Gets Ready to Be Decided
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Update: The meeting ended and the rule making process will move forward after a unanimous vote. The rules say a provider of broadband Internet access service:

What People Are Saying About Microsoft Windows 7
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Machines with Microsoft’s Windows 7 went on sale today. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the hottest topics on the web. Everybody’s talking about it on Twitter. Everybody’s searching for it. Microsoft and Windows queries are all over Google’s Hot Trends list. Everybody wants to know more about Windows 7.

Well, let’s look at what people are saying about it. Here’s a sample from the Twitterverse:

Newsday To Charge For Online Access
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Newsday said today it will begin charging $5 a week for most of its online content.

Newsday said it will start charging for access next Wednesday, except for its customers who are current home subscribers or those who are Optimum Online customers, the Internet access service offer by its parent company Cablevision.

Twitter is for Old People?
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I heard a story on NPR yesterday where they talked to kids about social networks. The popular opinion (at least among the kids talked to for the piece) was that Facebook was "in" and Twitter was for old people.

eBay Hits Q3 Targets, Gives Iffy Guidance
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eBay continued a trend started by Google and Yahoo in the sense that it beat analysts’ expectations while announcing its third quarter earnings this afternoon.  Unfortunately for the company, it broke with their tradition by issuing some rather weak predictions about the fourth quarter.

Matt Cutts Head Shaving Footage Revealed

Google puts out a lot of useful videos through its Webmaster Central YouTube channel. If you are a regular reader of WebProNews, you have probably seen some of them covered here. They generally offer helpful advice for webmasters that have questions about ranking in Google’s search results.

Dreamworks Bans Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz from Twitter
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Something about celebrities combined with Twitter is just a magnet for headlines and mass media attention. Perhaps it is because our society has an unhealthy obsession with celebrities, and Twitter (and really just social media in general) is turning the web as we know it into a never-ending "stream" of information.

Botnets Driving Click fraud Traffic
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There was a significant jump in click fraud traffic from botnets in the third quarter of 2009, according to the latest data from Click Forensics.

Click Forensics told WebProNews that the amount of click fraud traffic from botnets generally hovers around 33 percent, and it believes the sudden rise may be to due to the increasing sophistication and proliferation of botnets.

Botnets accounted for 42.6 percent of all click fraud in Q3 2009, more than doubling in the past two years and up from the 27.5 percent reported for the same quarter last year.