SXSW Interactive About to Start in Austin

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SXSW Interactive starts tomorrow. WebProNews reporters Abby Johnson and Chris Crum, along with videographer Cara Worick will be in Austin providing coverage from the event. Stay tuned for that in the coming days. Look for a mixture of exclusive videos and articles from the event. In the meantime, we thought we'd look at just a few of the things going on, related to SXSW.

Google has over 12 people speaking on various panels, including a talk with Marissa Mayer, VP of Consumer Products. Google will also be talking about Doodles, privacy, marketing, recommendation engines, and more.

Bing will also be on a variety of panels and involved with various events. Google's Matt Cutts and Bing's Duane Forrester will both be on a Q&A with Danny Sullivan on Monday. This is sure to be interesting.

As you know, Apple's iPad 2 hits stores tomorrow, and the company is even reported to be opening a temporary popup store in Austin to sell the device to a crowd, which is a pretty obvious target market for early adoption of the device.

Groupon is participating in a number of events, including a panel discussion on digital engagement for social change, a talk about how Groupon intentionally wastes staff time and marketing budget dollars on "baffling initiatives", and a "free hangover brunch for the freely hungover".

Foursquare, which was born at SXSW, has a lot going on. The company already made big announcements this week, ahead of the event. The company also partnered with American Express. Attendees of SXSW can go to a special site to link their Fousquare and AmEx accounts, and get "spend $5, Get $5" specials at over 50 local merchants in Austin.

These are really just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. This event is huge, and just about every Internet company and startup you can think of will have a presence there - and we'll be talking to many of them.

To get a feeling for who all is there and just how big this thing is, check out the SXSW schedule here. You can see our videos from last year's event here.

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