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Google removes background picture from homepage

About a week ago, Google started allowing users to add a customized background picture on the Google homepage, or to choose a pre-designed background created by partners.

The company made the feature clear via a simple text explanation, but not everyone saw the tip as a result of a programming bug, causing people to think Google had permanently changed its home page background.

The feature also proved unpopular among many people, prompting the company to remove the auto background picture; going back to the original simple and white background for now.

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Google expected to bring VoIP calling to gmail

Google is expected soon to integration VoIP into its popular gmail email and instant messaging client.

Google has slowly been positioning itself into the VoIP space with a few acquisitions, including most recently of the company Global IP Solutions Corporation (GIPS) that develops technologies that process and deliver voice and video over Internet protocol, namely for service providers and developers to integrate with their platforms.

On May 18, Google acquired GIPS for $68.2-million in an all cash deal that also moved the top employees of GIPS to the Google camp.

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Google readying Google Music web-based music store, iTunes competitor

Google Corp. is planning to launch an online music store, simply named Google Music; with the service launching as early as by the end of next month.

The new product will be in direct competition with Apple’s iTunes music store, which is the biggest online music web store in the world.

Google Music works by allowing consumers to make purchases from the Google Market from their web-based PC, with the DRM-free music files being automatically pushed to their Google Android powered mobile device.

Google will also be offering a local application on your PC that would allow you to stream music from your Android device to your PC.

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Google Maps with Biking directions now available on BlackBerry

Today the search giant, Google, updated its Google Maps application for BlackBerry devices to version 4.2 that includes support for Google’s latest mapping project, Google Maps Bike, which allows users to get directions optimized for biking.

The new program offers users the ability to plan routes based on bike trails (indicated by dark green), dedicated bike lanes (indicated by light green), or by regular roads that are good for biking (indicated on the map by a dotted green line).

Google firstly made the biking feature available for Google Android-based mobile devices, and today made the application available for BlackBerry devices as well.

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Google AdMob acquisition clears FTC antitrust inquiry

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has completed an inquiry into the Google AdMob acquisition; after concerns fearing competition in the mobile advertising realm would decline given AdMob has the highest market share in the mobile advertising market.

The FTC said in a statement, “[it] was concerned about the loss of head-to-head competition,” given Google has about 65-percent of the global online search market, and is also the market leader when it comes to online advertising.

The FTC said its decision to clear the acquisition was based on Apple announcing it would enter the space with iAd, and its acquisition of Quattro Wireless.

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YouTube turns 5, serves 2bn daily pageviews

The popular online video sharing service, YouTube, owned by Google, today turned five years old.

The company says YouTube now has up to 2-billion daily pageviews (with 45-million homepage impressions), and more than 24-hours of video time being uploaded to the site by users every single minute.

YouTube now also supports high-definition video formats, and even 3D videos.

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Google acquires 3D Desktop maker BumpTop

BumpTop, the 3D desktop software maker, has announced that it has been acquired by Google, with the terms of the deal being kept private.

BumpTop transforms your conventional PC desktop into a three-dimensional one, where you can more intuitively arrange files, folders, and media on the space in a feel that is more natural like a real desktop space.

Google today only confirmed the acquisition but said it would not disclose other information at this point in time, other than the fact that the core team at BumpTop would now be working at Google.

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Chinese search giant Baidu Q1 net income up 165-percent

Chinese search giant Baidu posts high growth earnings as Google exits China

The largest Chinese-based online search engine, Baidu, has released first quarter earnings for 2010, posting a massive 165-percent increase in quarterly revenue over the same period last year.

The company reported total revenue of $189.6M in the latest Q1 2010 period, up 59.6-percent from Q1 2009. Operating profits in Q1 2010 were $77.8-million, up over 165-percent from Q1 2009.

Net income in the first quarter of 2010 was $70.4-million, also up significantly by 165-percent from the same period in fiscal 2009.

Retained earnings as at March 31, 2010 was $3,921-million, slowly increasing from $2,136-million from the same period last year.

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Google Twitter Replay: A chronological archive of every tweet

Google Corp. has unveiled a new search tool, dubbed Google Twitter Replay, that aims to make tweets from Twitter more useful in that people could search for past events and find all related tweets and conversations from that specific time period on the social networking website.

We firstly reported that Google initially signed an indexing deal with Twitter worth $15-million to allow the company to index tweets in real-time. At that time, Twitter also inked a deal with Microsoft Corp worth $10-million.

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Google Cloud Print to bring universal print support across tablets, mobiles

Google Cloud Print: bring print to the cloud with any device

google-cloud-print-diagramGoogle Inc. today announced a newly proposed methodology that would allow consumers to seamlessly print from any computer, and even mobile phone, to any printer.

For the most part today, consumers simply go to their local computer at home that is correctly installed with the manufacturer’s device software with the necessary drivers.

Google wants to go a step further by eliminating the problem of having to install different and non-standardized software/drivers on your computer.

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