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Priority Inbox Algorithm Co-Opted to Make Better Gmail Ads

Google announced today that it'll be instituting some changes to tailor the ads that appear in your inbox to your interests. Using the algorithm set up for Priority Inbox, Google can now better understand what is actually relevant to a user. The company is basically implementing the same technology used to sort your inbox for a more commercial (and probably more profitable) pursuit. For instance, ...

Google Talk Guru Takes Us Back to 2001, Resurrects Chat Bots

Google Labs is attempting to resurrect chat bots with Google Talk Guru. The Guru is an automated IM service that can define words, perform basic calculations, translate text, pull in sports scores, perform Google searches, and tell you whether you should be glad or upset that you're stuck in front of a computer. Just send an invite to the Guru to chat with you, and ask away....

Google Street View Update Allows Walking Tour of Roman Colosseum

As lame as it may be, we occasionally hop on the ol' Google Maps, and meander our ways down scenic city streets from our desks. Paris, New Orleans and Buenos Aires can all be ours, regardless of where we lay our laptops. Thanks to an update from Google, we can now wander off the streets of Rome and into the Colosseum. We'll get some work done next week....

Is Google Recipe Search the Sandra Lee of Online Cooking Resources?

When Google announced its new recipe search earlier this month, I didn't pay the news much mind. As the resident foodie here, I've got my stable of RSS feeds and recipe databases from which I regularly cull meal ideas. I knew that Google's results, which would be predicated on page views and SEO, probably wouldn't fit my needs. I don't care to read Paula Deen's fried chicken recipe just because...

Using Google to Dissect Arab Revolutions

The revolutions across the Middle East may have ushered in a new era of U.S. intelligence-gathering -- one that could even include Google. Gabriel Koehler-Derrick, an instructor at West Point, and Joshua Goldstein, from Princeton, recently used Google Trends to analyze the terms that Web users in Egypt searched at the height of the country's recent upheaval. "What we did was a comparison of ...

Google Testing Google Music Internally, Still Needs Music

CNET is reporting that employees at Google have begun internally testing Google Music, meaning that the music streaming service could be ready for launch. There is, however, one slight problem: that Google Music needs music. Sources close to the company say that Google is still negotiating with the four major record labels, and that the talks have been delayed primarily because of the complexit...

Artist Paints Murals on N.Y.C. Rooftops for Google Earth Viewing

Molly Dilworth wanted to expose her art to a wider audience, so she decided to paint giant murals on three rooftops in New York, in the hopes that people might stumble upon them while browsing Google Earth. The paintings eventually showed up in Google's satellite images, but didn't look quite as vibrant as Dilworth had anticipated -- nor did they reach a very wide audience. The experiment wasn'...

Time to Turn Those YouTube Accounts Into Google Accounts

Anyone still using old-school YouTube accounts (created before May 2009) will have to bite the bullet in the coming weeks and transition to a Google account. Understanding that there may be some resistance, Google points out the convenience of a single sign-on system, and touts the added features and improved security that a Google account can provide. So suck it up, holdouts, and link those accou...

Google Launches 'Think Quarterly' Magazine for U.K. Partners and Data Nerds

Google is getting in on the magazine game. (Sorta.) The company's U.K. arm just published the first issue of Think Quarterly, which the company bills as "breathing space in a busy world... a place to take time out and consider what's happening and why it matters." The 60-page mag was sent to a small selection of Google partners and advertisers in the U.K., but anyone can read it online. The fis...

Twitter Gets Some Gaga Love, Too

We wonder if Lady Gaga's got Internet domination in the pipeline. On Tuesday, the always-delightful singer dropped by Google HQ; yesterday, she paid her respects to Twitter. She charmed the engineers, was interviewed by Evan Williams, and by all accounts highly ingratiated herself. Just this morning, Gaga announced she'll be dropping a song tomorrow via Twitter. So maybe it wasn't all fun and game...

Democratic Senators Ask Apple to Remove DUI Checkpoint Apps

A group of Senators is asking Apple to remove from its App Store all apps designed to help drunk drivers avoid checkpoints -- apps that the politicians consider "harmful to public safety." In a letter, four Senators -- Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM) -- argued that apps that help drivers avoid speed traps, sobriety checkpoints and police...

Google Goes Gaga When the Lady Drops by Mountain View

If the Google facility were suddenly transported to another dimension, most of the more influential individuals in the Western world would disappear. And, in many ways, The Googleplex was transported the other day -- by the weird and wonderful Lady Gaga, who stopped by for a marathon interview with Google's Marissa Mayer (using fan-voted questions). She talked bullying, her next single and p...

China Ramps Up Online Censorship, To No One's Surprise

China has always maintained tight control over what its citizens read and write online. But according to the New York Times, the Leviathan of governmental censorship seems to be digging its tentacles even deeper into the lives of mainland Web surfers. In the wake of the Middle East protests, the Chinese regime has only ratcheted up its surveillance and censorship of electronic communications...

N.Y. Court Rejects Settlement in Lawsuit Against Google Books

A New York court has rejected a settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild against Google Books. Under the settlement, reached in 2009, Google would be able to digitize and display excerpts from books that are out of print, even if they're still under copyright, or not authorized to be included in Google Books. The agreement quickly raised the ire of many organizations, inc...

Amazon Launches Appstore for Android, Apple Files Lawsuit

Amazon launched its own Android app store today, despite facing legal challenges from Apple. The Amazon Appstore will provide a new way for Android users to purchase apps for their mobile and tablet devices, while offering a few features unique to Amazon. Because the online retailer already enjoys a strong consumer base, Amazon will be able to integrate its own marketing and recommendation t...