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Google Announces $700 Million Acquisition of ITA Software
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Google announced that it has signed an acquisition agreement with ITA Software. Reports of talks surrounding such an acquisition were revealed in April, but talk heated up again this week, mostly regarding issues of concern expressed by many in the travel industry.

Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP, Search Products & User Experience, has now posted to the Official Google Blog that an agreement has been signed. She writes:

Google Wants Your Help to Reduce Webspam
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If you have any suggestions for Google’s webspam team, now is the time to make them. Google’s Matt Cutts, who leads the team, has called for suggestions for webspam projects for the year in a post on his personal blog.

New “Bingbot” Will Crawl Non-optimized Sites More Easily
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Microsoft has announced that it will be bringing the Bing web crawler out of beta on October 1st. It will be rebranded as "the Bingbot" and replace the existing msnbot. "It will still honor robots.txt directives written for msnbot, so no change is required to robots.txt file(s)," a Bing representative tells WebProNews.

"Improvements to the bot enable more efficient crawling, and increase the ability to crawl content on sites not optimized for search," he says.
 

Bing iPhone App Upgraded with Social Search Results

Microsoft has released a new update to the Bing app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The app now lets users connect their Facebook and Twitter accounts to see combined status updates from their friends. They’ve also integrated search results from your friends using this data.

Caffeine Transforms Google From Bus to Limo
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WebProNews spoke with Google’s Matt Cutts out at SMX Advanced today. He talked a little about Caffeine, which Google just announced is complete, nearly a year after its initial announcement at SES, when Matt also spoke with us about it.

Google Completes Caffeine Update After Nearly a Year
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Google announced today that it has completed its new web indexing system called Caffeine. The company claims it provides 50% fresher results for web searches than the previous index and is the largest collection of web content it’s offered.

"Whether it’s a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before," says Google software engineer Carrie Grimes.

New Data From Google Can Help You Optimize Your Site for Conversions
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Google has just started sharing more detailed data for each individual search query in the Top search queries feature in Webmaster Tools.  Google used to just report the average position at which your site’s pages appeared in the search results for a particular query.

Should Social Media Be Held Accountable for User Actions?
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Update: A court document from the judge in this case has been released indicating that the for profit factor of YouTube is waht makes this a crime.  A Google representative is quoted as saying:

Bing’s New Twitter Results Won’t Include Promoted Tweets

Update: A representative for Bing tells WebPronews the "Twitter monetization news will not result in sponsored results appearing in Bing results."

Original Article: Microsoft announced today that Bing now pulls in tweets from Twitter in real-time, in a way that somewhat resembles Google’s real-time search feature.

Google Pesonalizes Search Results More with Star Feature
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Google today introduced yet another way it is personalizing search results (we talked about social search with the company at SMX). Now Google is letting users "star" search results that they like, just like the star feature in other Google products like Gmail, Reader, and Google News.

Liveblogging: The State Of The Search Union (Google, Yahoo & Experts)

Watch the Keynote live at live.webpronews.com.

Bing Suggests Queries Based on Search History
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Microsoft announced today that Bing is just now supporting query history in its Autosuggest feature. In other words, if you have your search history enabled, Bing will incorporate past queries you’ve made into the suggestions.

Will Bing Powering Yahoo Make SEO Easier?
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There is an interesting discussion going on in our WebProWorld forum about search engine optimization post Microsoft-Yahoo deal. For those unfamiliar with the topic, Microsoft and Yahoo recently gained regulatory approval on a search and advertising deal announced last year, which will see Yahoo using Bing’s algorithm in its search results.

Google Lets Users Find Results Based on Location
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Google has added the ability to search by location to its list of search options. The option is called "nearby".

"Location has become an important part of the way we search. If you’re a foodie looking for restaurant details, food blogs or the closest farmer’s market, location can be vital to helping you find the right information," says Google Product Manager Jackie Bavaro.

Bing, Google, and Yahoo All Making Maps More Interesting
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At TED, Microsoft unveiled some new features for Bing Maps. "This work builds on the idea of spatial search that Microsoft discussed in December when the company launched its new version of Bing Maps," a representative for Microsoft tells WebProNews.

Some of the new features are available today, but some you will have to wait on a little bit. Microsoft highlights the following new features:

Google Sets Record Straight on Page Speed as Ranking Factor
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Late last year, in a conversation about the Caffeine update, Google’s Matt Cutts told WebProNews that page speed could become a factor Google looks at for ranking search results. His comments received a lot of attention, because Google has never taken this into consideration for ranking websites in the past.

Microsoft Changes Bing User Privacy Methods

Microsoft is making some updates to Bing privacy. The company sent a letter to the Article 29 Working Party, notifying them of its intention to make a change to Bing’s data retention policy. The company is reducing the amount of time it stores IP addresses from searchers to 6 months from 18.

Google May Quit China
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Google released a stunning blog post that details a "sophisticated and targeted attack" on Gmail that "resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google".

Google notes that the attack was not just on Google infrastructure but also on more than twenty other companies from various industries. Google states that they are working with the authorities in the U.S. and will be notifying the companies of the breaches.

Google Shows How People Have Been Searching

Before 2009 came to a close, Google provided a look (as always) at the most searched for terms of the year. It showed the top ten fastest rising and fastest falling terms on both a global scale, and in the U.S. Globally, "Michael Jackson" was the fastest rising, while "Beijing 2008" was the fastest falling. In the U.S., "Twitter" was the fastest rising (just above "Michael Jackson", and "John McCain" was the fastest falling (just over the Olympics).

Duplicate Content Owners Catch a New Break from Google
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Google announced that it now offering cross-domain support of the rel="canonical" link element. If you are unfamiliar with this link element, Google’s Matt Cutts discussed it with us here. Basically, it’s a way to avoid duplicate content issues, but until now, you couldn’t use it across domains.

What Google’s Real-Time Search Means to SEO, PPC & Reputation Management
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It seems that over the course of the entire year, we’ve been waiting for Google to get real-time search. Now it’s here. If you have ever had a hard time finding a direct relationship between social media and search engine marketing, it doesn’t get any more direct than this. Real-time search results (from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other sources) right in regular SERPs.