US Senate to investigate the ‘Power of Google’- A US Senate subcommittee has planned  a hearing for September 21, 2011 on “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?” The hearing will be available via webcast on September 21st at 2pm ET.
How microblogging is eroding China’s censorship- Michael Wines and Sharon LaFraniere from The New York Times authored  a fascinating article yesterday about the political role of Chinese Twitter-like microblogs, called weibos, in the aftermath of last weekend’s tragic high-speed train crash. 26 million messages, many of which express criticism or suspicion of the government’s explanation and handling of the event, have already been posted across China’s two largest weibos. Thanks in large part to the sheer volume of the messages, it’s become increasingly difficult for the government to censor political dissatisfaction. As Wines and LaFraniere write in the NYTimes:
While the blogs have exposed wrongdoers and broken news before, this week’s performance may signal the arrival of weibos as a social force to be reckoned with, even in the face of government efforts to rein in the Internet’s influence. The government censors assigned to monitor public opinion have let most, though hardly all of the weibo posts stream onto the Web unimpeded. But many experts say they are riding a tiger. For the very nature of weibo posts, which spread faster than censors can react, makes weibos beyond easy control. And their mushrooming popularity makes controlling them a delicate matter.
Yelp snags Move, Inc.’s CFO- On Thursday, Move, Inc. reported  that its CFO, Rob Krolik, had resigned to take a new position as the CFO of Yelp.
Google introduces Page Speed Service- Google announced  a new tool to improve web site performance called Page Speed Service. According to Google, the Page Speed Service will automatically speed up the loading of web pages. When webmasters sign up, they have to point their site’s DNS entry to Google. The Page Speed Service then, “fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices, and serves them to end users via Google’s servers across the globe. Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times. Now you don’t have to worry about concatenating CSS, compressing images, caching, gzipping resources or other web performance best practices.” Google boosts that Page Speed Service will improve the speed of pages by 25% to 60%. The service is currently available to a limited set of testers.
Google targets small businesses with AdWords Express- Google launched  AdWords Express  this week, an easier, more time efficient way for local advertisers to buy search ads. AdWords Express is a scaled-down version of Google’s search advertising platform that automates keyword research and bid management for small business owners.
Zynga Partners with Tencent to Launch Game in China- The social game developer Zygna has reportedly  partnered with the Chinese Internet giant Tencent to launch its popular CityVille game in China. Tencent is the operator of QQ, China’s most popular instant messaging service with 647.6 million active accounts.
Gmail Man Video- Yesterday a video entitled  “O365 MGX Copy” was released on YouTube and has quickly collected over 100K views. The video stars the “Gmail Man,” a nosey mailman, who walks around, reading through people’s mail, collecting keywords and serving ads. Rumor has it that Microsoft is behind the attack on Google.
Google offers ‘2-step verification’ to users- Google has announced  its new 2-step verification feature, designed to improve the security of Gmail accounts. Here’s how it will work: When a user signs into their Google account, a pop-up will appear prompting the user to type in a verification code. Verification codes will be sent to the user’s mobile via text or voicemail. “Examples in the news of password theft and data breaches constantly remind us to stay on our toes and take advantage of tools to properly secure our valuable online information,” says Nishit Shah, product manager for Google Security, in a post on the official Google blog . “E-mail, social networking and other online accounts still get compromised today, but 2-step verification cuts those risks significantly.”