- Google introduced a new version of its homepage this week , emphasizing an even cleaner, more minimalist design.
- As of this week, users will be able to sign into their Google Friend Connect account through Twitter .
- Also, check out and contribute to the NYTimes ongoing debate on the future of Google: “Where Google Goes from Here”  and Where Google Goes From Here, Part 2 .
Microsoft and Maps Microsoft and Google have found yet another thing to fight about, maps. Content on staying ahead of the game, or at least in it, Microsoft unveiled their new Bing Maps system this week. The system incorporates Google-like ‘on the ground’ photographs with Microsoft’s technology that stitches together user-uploaded images, creating three-dimensional photo collages. To read more about Micrsoft’s new mapping system and their cutting again “synths,” check out this week’s Wall Street Journal . Also, to read about how Bing is improving its search results to become a better decision making machine, check out Ashlee Vance’s column in the NYTimes’ technology blog.  Black Friday Beat out Cyber Monday[!] The term ‘Cyber Monday,’ invented in 2005, refers to the increase in online sales proceeding Thanksgiving. For those of us who dislike crammed shopping malls and have an exaggerated fear of the flu, shopping online from work on the Monday after the long holiday weekend has become a very attractive option, particularly given the high speed internet connection. This year, however, the trend has changed. Unlike in years past, online sales actually grew on Black Friday by 11%, compared to 1 % last year.  Cyber Monday only saw a 5% increase in sales compared to 2008. Google Restricts Free Reading Under pressure from the press industry, Google is taking action to prevent readers from viewing large numbers of articles on subscription-based sites, for free. Up until now, users have been able to participate in Google’s “First Click Free” program. Publishers can choose to participate in the program, which allows readers to view articles they find through Google News for free. If the reader clicks on another article, however, they will be prohibited from viewing the article and prompted to subscribe to the periodical. This is a problem that most of us are internet savvy enough solve. We simply go back to Google News, revise our search and click on the article from the Google results page. As of this week, however, non-subscription users will only be allowed to view five articles day. To read more about Google’s new policy, check out David Gallagher’s article.  Yahoo! Seeks to Team up with Facebook Yahoo! announced this week that they will further integrate their services with Facebook in the coming year. While Yahoo! Already allows users to update their Facebook status and access their news stream from their Yahoo! homepage, the new partnership will enable users to access their accounts across services. To read more about Yahoo!’s plans, check out Geek.com.  Google and California’s National Resources Agency Team up to Illustrate Global Warming It’s hard to imagine exactly what the effects of global warming will be. We have all been told horror stories of the Empire State building swimming below a mile of water or Europe turning into an ice block, but it’s difficult to picture. Well, now, Google and the California National Resources Agency have made it a bit easier for those in California to visualize the future effects of global warming. The two have teamed up to generate a map of how our future will look as a result of global warming. The partnership comes as part of California’s CalAdapt program, which seeks to implement technology to slow down the process of global warming. To read more about governor Schwarzenegger’s plan and to test out Google’s new global warming map, check out the technology section of this week’s LA Times.  Bits & Bolts