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The Week We Searched For- December 10, 2010

Google Exchange

Google introduced [1] another new service this week, aimed at ‘boosting,’ rather than replacing, Microsoft’s Exchange tools. The new service, Google Message Continuity, leverages Postini’s [2], which Google acquired in 2007, technology to synchronize Exchange accounts with Google’s cloud, allowing users to access e-mails and documents via Gmail.

Google Places with HotPot

Google launched a new campaign on Thursday in Portland, Oregon, promoting HotPot, the company’s consumer review service. The service enables users to review local businesses, which it then includes on the Google Places results page. For more on the service, check out Matt McGee’s article [3] on Search Engine Land.

The (Surprising) Lack of Twitter Users

A new study [4] released this week by the Pew Research Center found that there is a surprisingly low number of committed Twitter users on the internet. According to the study, which surveyed over 2,200 U.S. internet users, a mere 8% of Americans actively check and post on their Twitter accounts. Within this 8% minority, the research revealed that young adults (18-29) were notably more likely to use Twitter than their older compatriots, as well as ethnic minority users, urbanites and women.  What’s more, the report revealed that 25% of Twitter users are inactive.

Microsoft’s Failed Facebook Acquisition

According to a report on TechCrunch [5], Fritz Lanman, Microsoft Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Acquisitions, admitted at the Le Web conference during the “How To Get Acquired” panel that the software company made a $15 billion bid for Facebook back in 2007.

Rumors of acquisition were published in David Kirkpatrick’s book, “The Facebook Effect.” [6] According to Kirkpatrick, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer attempted to buy the social networking site for its then estimated value of $15 billion, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in an interest to maintain control, refused to sell the company.

Wikileaks as Rally Cry for Online Hackers

The outbreak of the Wikileaks scandal this week has pushed the international conversation on net-neutrality and web freedom into overdrive, prompting governments, academics, bloggers and Internet users at large to comment on the state of our global web culture.

The international hacker-activist group ‘Anonymous’ has seized this conversation as an opportunity to pledge their support to Wikileaks and the cause of Internet freedom. The members of the group are taking responsibility for the recent attacks on Mastercard, Visa and PayPal. One member of the group, named ‘Coldblood,’ reported that thousands globally participated in the attacks, aimed at scaring large corporations. According to Coldblood, “We feel that Wikileaks has become more than just about leaking of documents, it has become a war ground, the people vs. the government.” [7]

To learn more about Anonymous and the role they play in the Wikileaks debate, check out Noam Cohen’s article [8] in The New York Times.

Google’s Zeitgeist

Google released its annual Zeitgeist report [9], which poignantly summarizes the searches and stories that marked 2010. From the Gulf oil spill, to Haiti, the World Cup and the San Francisco Giants, the video encapsulates the year we searched for.

About Camille Canon

Outside of summer jobs and not-for-profit internships, The Search Agency is my first official place of employment. I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where I studied Art History and German. I am an avid cook, baker, and destroyer of diets. My specialties are cream cheese brownies, biscotti cookies and lemon bars. I am also an Art enthusiast. Living in Berlin enables me to follow a young, emerging Art scene complete with “eccentric” performance pieces and temporarily converted butcher shop galleries. I also enjoy running, traveling, and handy work. Camille Canon + [15]