Google unveils book search engine service
Google released  a new tool this week for searching within its library of 5.2 million digitalized books, roughly 500 billion words, called the Ngram Viewer. What’s interesting about the new tool is that it enables users to explore trends in word usage. Want to know exactly when ‘Google it’ entered the popular lexicon? Just Google it. To read more check out Patricia Cohen’s  article on the NYTimes technology blog.
Google adds new “Follow News” button
Search Engine Land reported  that Google added a new button to their SERP, enabling users to bookmark and organize searches within their Google News accounts. [Has anyone seen this?]
Why Google/Groupon didn’t work out…
Gina Chon and Anupreeta Das from the Wall Street Journal authored  an interesting article this week, examining why Google’s acquisition of Groupon for $6 billion failed to materialize.
Yahoo to shut down services
Yahoo announced  on Monday that it will lay off 650 employees- about 5% of its workforce. Now reports  are in that Yahoo will also sunset several of their Web products, including Delicious, Buzz, Upcoming, and AltaVista.
Twitter is worth $3.7 billion (?)
Twitter recently reached the 175 million accounts mark, and with it has attracted a new round of investments. This round of funding injects another $200 million into the micro-blogging sites pot, pushing its value to an estimated $3.7 billion. The majority of the funding reportedly  came from a group of venture capitalist.
Bing gets updated
Bing released a new suite of services this week, which will be rolled out over the next couple of weeks. The changes promise to make Bing’s services more ‘helpful, local, social and mobile.’ Bing elaborates these terms on its blog , stating,
More helpful: Whether it’s buying tickets to a sports event , trying to find that perfect image , looking to upgrade your Pontiac Fiero, or making restaurant reservations right from the search page, Bing has you covered.
More social: Expanding on our exclusive partnership with Facebook, we will now show you which of your friends have “liked” search results  to help you decide the best answer to your query, whether it’s a vacation destination, movie selection, or laptop review.
More local: Better, easier to read and faster maps on the desktop  and a focus on making the 40% of queries we see with local intent much easier. Our Map Apps have been favorites of many users, and we’re exposing those apps more broadly by making them front and center on bing.com/maps.
More mobile: We’re bringing these focus areas to the mobile experience  as well. However, just porting our PC product to the mobile device didn’t make sense. Instead Bing apps for Android and iPhone have all been updated to reflect how customers are using mobile devices. We’re delivering new mobile-friendly features like AutoSuggest, a new way to search by having a simple “conversation” with Bing.
Make sure to check out our year in review, The Year We Searched For,  which highlights the biggest deals, launches, failures, and trends that impacted search marketing in 2010.