Apple To Announce iCloud…

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It is expected that Apple will announce today a new service called iCloud. The service is expected to allow consumers to store music online while transferring the data to their home PCs without connecting.

Apple has signed cloud-music licensing agreements with several music label recently that would allow consumers to stream music online while also downloading songs on iTunes.

The announcement is expected at 1pm set today at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Both Google and Amazon have launched similar services recently.

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Google E-Book Store

Google has come out with their own electronic store and it will be giving Amazon some solid competition. Google has scanned about 15 million books they will be using for their store with 4,000 publishers giving them permission to use their books. 52% of the listed sales price will go to the publisher, regardless of Google mark-downs. The Google store will offer consumers electronic books that can be read on almost any machine, except on Kindle. The alternative to Amazon also claims to have one of the most expansive selections because of their various publishers onboard. With E-Books predicted to hit $1 billion in sales by the end of the year, this gives consumers another option.

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Who Doesn’t Love A Good Groupon ?

The anticipation of checking your email and finding out what the Groupon deal of the day will be brings excitement and many desirable discounts! If you have not heard of the website Groupon which offers 1 deal per day according to your zip code, you have probably been living under a rock.

Two years ago, 29 year old Andrew Mason founded Groupon and now employees nearly 1,000 people. The Groupon site emails its members daily with over 200 discounts on multiple retail websites – deals only become “active” or avalible to be purchased when the first person agrees to make the purchase – the deal expires if it does not reach the minimum number or people willing to purchase and becomes unavailable to anyone.

Groupon is currently described by Forbes as “the world’s fastest growing company”, which may give insight to Google placing an offer on the table to purchase the site for $5.3 billion. Yahoo reportedly offered Mason $2 billion in April of 2010, but the deal did not close because the dollar amount was not enough.

Groupon makes its money by taking a cut of each sale and has a projected turnover of $500 million this year. In June Groupon registered 8 million subscribers to its daily email, with nearly 12 million unique visitors monthly to its website.

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Google’s Instant Preview Challenges Website Designs

Will your site survive Google Instant Previews? I’m sure many publisher sites out there are full of rich content for SEO, banners to bring in extra revenue, Opt-in links here, contact us links there… Now Google users have the ability to see a small snapshot preview of your site before actually clicking through. So all of these “extras” could actually be hurting your chances of getting customers to land on your site and actually convert. Design is now number 1, your site better be clean and to the point. Clear out some of the banner ads, clean up your font and color choices to make your site cohesive. Have a catchy headline since this is about all your customers will be able to read from the snapshot.

Go check out your site today using Google Instant Preview and ask yourself if you would click through based on your snapshot!

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Blekko Search Engine Goes Live!

If there weren’t enough search engines to try and keep up with, there is now one more to try out- BLEKKO. Digitaltrends.com is reporting that this new search engine is certainly unique compared to the others out there. Do you ever search for something on Google and a bunch of unrelated/unimportant websites appear in your search results? I know I have and now this new search engine is promising that this sort of thing is not going to happen when you perform your searches. Using “slashtags” is what is being said will differentiate Blekko from the other search engine’s search results. These slashtags will help to improve results in the initial search categories: health, colleges, autos, personal finance, lyrics, recipes and hotels. For example, you should be able to search amongst the millions of websites and be able to pull up sites that are not spam or unrelated websites. Blekko is currently in beta mode, but try it out. Looks like something totally different than Google!

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Google Pays Users to Find Problems

Yesterday, Google announced that they will be paying their users when they come across problems that have to do with security and bugs. Varying on the specific problem someone discovers, they can be paid anywhere from $500-$3,000.

Google tried a similar program in January with the Chromium Vulnerability reward program which showed many positive results from users finding bugs. These bugs include things such as server-side code execution, bypass authorization errors and more. Google says they are trying to protect their web properties from bugs

“…which directly affects the confidentiality or integrity of user data may be in scope…”.

Aside from a cash reward, the user who discovers a bug will also be given the option to get twice as much money if they donate it to a charity, and they will also be given notice on the credits of the new program.

Being an online company, Leadpile understands the importance of having programs that operate smoothly with as little complications as possible. Having a user involved in the process can broaden their ability to figure these types of problems out.

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The Next Possible Big Thing In Loans?

The number of underbanked consumers having little to no ability to obtain credit or utilize the services of a conventional bank is currently 60 million and growing. Companies have been emerging to help these consumers, with the newest of which being ZestCash. Douglas Merrill, the former Google CIO and VP of engineering launched the new ZestCash product hoping to serve and attract the underbanked and aim to legitimize the payday loan industry.

The traditional payday loan is between $100 – $1,500 and paid back on the consumers next two pay dates, offering at times an extension for an added fee. ZestCash differs from these loans by allowing the loan amount and length to be chosen by the consumer. The consumer is shown the amount of the loan chosen broken down by weekly payments (which are auto debited from the customers bank account) prior to the loan being given.

Currently, ZestCash has a $500 borrowing limit only operating online without any brick and mortar locations.

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Google Creates Self-Driving Car

Google has recently created a car that can automatically drive itself. Although some of the speculation from the public has been over concerns with safety, Google claims they could actually be safer than a normal vehicle because it eliminates humor error. In fact, the automatic driving cars have already been tested in California on 140,000 miles of road stretched from Silicon Valley to Santa Monica, with only one accident that was caused and faulted by another driver.

The cars are run by a computer system that takes control but allows the driver to take over when desired or necessary. This gives the driver the opportunity to have time to do other tasks aside from driving while getting to their destination.

To come up with the self-driving car, Google hired professional engineers who had previously worked on automated car races. With safety in mind, they made the vehicle with instant reaction time and even a gas operation system to help reduce gasoline usage.

Although the testing has proved to be positive so far, the car is not expected to be something that would be available to the public for at least another 8 years. In the meantime, Leadpile is still working with the regular auto finance leads!

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Google Predicts Holiday Wish List

Google is once again predicting what items will be flying off the shelves this Holiday season. Even though it may be too early for many shoppers, those who are ahead of the game can get the merchandise before it sells out. By looking at consistently searched items by people on the Google website, the retailing team is able to determine which toys or other products will be in high demand. Last year, Google was able to predict the high sales of the “Zhu Zhu Pets” toys among children.
This year, Google has a new set of products that are already being highly searched for on the internet.

For lower-prices items:

-”Otterbox” iphone covers
-Collectible Japanese “Iwako” erasers.
-Silly Bandz

Pricier items:
-3D TVs
-Flip camcorder
-Wooden training bikes called “Balance Bikes”

Toys:
-Sing-a-Ma-Jigs
-Nurf Stampede

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Improvements for Twitter

Twitter recently announced some of their biggest news all year offering video and pictures for tweet posts. This new feature will show a sidebar on the twitter screen that will allow the user to post a picture or video relating to their tweet as opposed to a link or a separate website. Before this, users were limited to 140 characters to share their tweet without visuals.

The new Twitter is also expected to include better advertisements and a way to scroll to the bottom of the page without clicking on a “more” button. They believe these moves will help make them more “user friendly”.Twitter partnered with several media providers including YouTube and Google in order to make this move possible. With Facebook continuing to gather people all over world, Twitter may be thinking of ways to keep with their social media users. Will you be switching to Twitter to share pictures or videos or continue to post them on outlets such as Facebook?

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Gmail Enhancement: Priority Inbox Revealed

How many of us have a Gmail email account? How many of us knew there was an enhancement that was just rolled out to all Gmail email users?
DMNews is reporting that the new “Priority Inbox” will filter your e-mail messages into three sections: “important and unread,” “starred” and “everything else.” The new priority inbox will categorize your messages as they arrive to a consumer’s inbox. Gmail will be using various methods to predict which messages are important, including the people you e-mail most and which messages you open and reply to.
In regards to email marketing, does this mean the possibility of having to change your practices so you have an ability to effectively deliver Gmail emails? Some are saying no this is not going to affect email marketers, however how about those that are not necessarily practicing “good practices”? This new priority inbox might be filtering out those “bad” emails that many consumers will now be avoiding because they will show up at the “bottom” of their inbox.
Good update for Gmail…. or just a wasted effort to make your email better? You decide!

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Google Logo Change

The internet has been buzzing today about Google’s new home page and how the logo has changed. The previous logo has gone from the solid colored “Google” font to moving colorful dots that scatter through out the screen when the mouse goes by it.
Many people are speculating if the new logo has to do with Google’s 12th Birthday, new innovations, or if it’s just an entertaining change for the site.

This morning, a Google spokesperson stated,

“Today’s doodle is fun, fast, and interactive, just the way we think search should be,”.

Last time Google received this much attention for their homepage was back in May when it was turned into a playable Pac-Man game for the game’s anniversary. This page was so popular it was reported to have used 4.8 million hours of productivity from those who used it.

One way or another, Google is once again  receiving attention for simply changing their home page look.

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