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Pixazza seals $6M Google investment, to become the AdSense of Photos?

pixazzaPixazza is a new start-up that hopes to become the AdSense of photos. The company has developed software that identifies items in pictures and matches them to real products people can purchase. The company users real product experts to help match related products. For example, when visiting your favorite celebrity site, if you find something that looks great on someone, if available, you will be able to mouse-over to get pricing on related products, and click to learn more and buy.

“Pixazza’s unique technical advantage is its crowdsourcing platform,” said CTO James Everingham. “No computer algorithm can identify a black pair of Jimmy Choo boots from the 2009 fall collection as well as a person. Rather than rely on computer algorithms, our platform enlists product experts to drive the process.”

Pixazza has raised a Series A fund worth $5.75 million from Google Read the full story

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Google Launches Grand Central as Google Voice, New Features Including Voicemail Transcription

Google acquired Grand Central in 2007 for more than $50 million in just over a year after the company launched. Grand Central essentially centralizes all of your phone numbers into one prime number; therefore even as you change numbers work or mobile numbers, everyone will still have your primary number.

Google has now finally re-launched the service as Google Voice. New user registrations are still closed but will be opened in the coming weeks. Google says existing Grand Central users will be getting an email with instructions on how to take advantage of the new features that will soon be opened to everyone.

Google is set to add many new useful features, including Read the full story

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Google Now Tracks Your Behavior, Interests to Deliver Ads

In an effort by Google to deliver more targeted advertising, Google is testing a new program that tracks your behavior on the Internet by tracking what type of sites you visit. For example, if you continuously visit financial sites, chances are, you like finance. Google will then show financial ads to you on various websites you visit that run Google AdSense. You can also actually tell Google your interests in the Ad Preferences Manager.

I think this type of targeting system is fairly overdue. Now that Google better understands your interests and displays advertising that is more appealing to you, there is now a higher chance you will actually click the ad.

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HTC Announces Magic GPhone 2


HTC has just announced the Magic, the first all touch-screen Google Android powered handset. The handset also includes the Android Cupcake update, which now includes a virtual on-screen keyboard, among other UI changes. Unfortunately, one major inconvenience from the phone is that it does not offer a standard headphone jack and will therefore require an adapter. Additionally, 3G will not be supported in North America. The HTC Magic also features a 3.2-inch HVGA display, a trackball for navigation and a 3.2MP autofocus camera. HTC President and CEO Peter Chou said, “The HTC Magic embodies the compact style and sophistication for which HTC has come to be known, with the powerful and intuitive internet experience for which the Android platform was designed,” HTC confirmed Vodafone will be the exclusive provider in Germany, France, the UK, and Spain. The HTC Magic will also be available in Italy non-exclusively from a carrier. Exact pricing and availability was not disclosed.

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Google My Tracks, Map Your Outdoor Activities

Google My Tracks is a new application from Google that will surely get cyclists and runners excited. It currently only supports Android powered devices. The application uses GPS to track your outdoor activities and in the process records your tracks, which you can easily share with your friends. Google My Tracks also displays other statistics including elevation, speed, and distance statistics, though will prove a lot more useful if it can measure more statistics such as calories burnt. You can also export your tracks as a GPX file and easily import it into Excel or Twitter your tracks directly from the phone with Twidroid.

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Google Sync Now Supports iPhone, Windows Mobile

Google has just released a beta version of its new Google Sync service. Google sync will let you automatically keep your Google Calendar, email and contacts synced between your iPhone and Windows Mobile phone automatically. This sync capability was already available on the Blackberry and Symbian S60 powered phones, though now support has been added for the iPhone, Windows Mobile, and other SyncML supported cell phones. Google Sync offers two-way synchronization, so if you make a change on your mobile phone or your PC, the changes will be immediately synched with the server. Thankfully, you don’t have to send SMS messages to “GVENT” to update your calendar from now on.

Google has also partnered with TrueSwitch to make it easier for you to migrate data from other email services including Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, among other services. You will be able to easily copy over contacts, old emails and other information to gmail. The new settings for you to start doing this are already available under Accounts and Import in the settings page in gmail. Just remember these services are beta and things can still go wrong.

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Nokia Building Google Latitude Location Sharing Competitor

nokiaPhone makers are starting to understand that people want more social features on their phone to help keep them connected with friends. You can easily send messages and update your status right now, but it is difficult to get timely information of where your friends are. Google has just launched Google Latitude, allowing you to see your friend’s geographic position on a map in real-time. Read the full story

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Google Fights for Net Neutrality with MLab

If you want to know if your ISP blocks or throttles applications you are running, you can now use a new open source Google tool called Measurement Labs that is designed to tell you if your connection is throttled by your ISP via various diagnostic measurements. ISPs have been accused of blocking connections to various applications including BitTorrent and giving very slow connection speeds in hopes users will back off from the increased download usage, bringing ethical questions concerning net neutrality. ISPs maintain they are in no way capping or restricting any part of the internet or any application. See other Google Internet Tools here.

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Google Announces First Job Cuts, Closes Popular Services

googleGoogle has announced its first layoffs in the company’s history. The job cuts will come from the closure of three engineering offices and the layoffs of 100 recruiters. Google maintains the company is still actively hiring but at a reduced rate. Google said it expects the company to grow by 20% therefore it does not need as many people to active hire. Google has also announced other cost cutting measures with the closure of some services. Google has announced the closure of Dodgeball, Google Video, Google Notebooks, Jaiku, and more services. Users will no longer be able to upload videos on Google Video in the coming months, but existing videos will remain accessible. It is possible Google may axe some other services including Grand Central and Google Base which are not as popular.

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Number of Google Advertising Partners Unveiled

Google has always kept the number of advertising partners a secret. Google would always say the company had hundreds of thousands of partners, but never anything more than that. Now, from an SEC filing, Google said it had 1 million advertisers in 2007, and now likely has upwards of 1.5 million. Google had 90,000 advertising partners in 2003, more than 350,000 in 2005, and 600,000 in 2006. Google did not add anything else.

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