Google search in your Bimmer

google bmw Google search in your BimmerBMW is taking Google to the roads. A first of its kind, BMW now offers Google local search functionality in the car, allowing BMW car owners to search for local information on their dashboards, wherever they are. Or at least wherever in Germany they are.

This new BMW service allows car owners instant search for relevant on-the-road information such as names and addresses of hotels, banks, restaurants, and universities, among others — a development that bridges the gap between the automobile and the internet. Apparently, this is another step to the “ConnectDrive” initiative by BMW which “combines all individual online, assistance and service systems in the car”

While the service is only available in Germany, the idea is to expand it statewide. Also, what are the chances that the service becomes available across other car makes? Not far from happening.

iTunes to stop selling NBC television shows

nbc1 iTunes to stop selling NBC television showsApple announced that it will not be selling NBC television shows for the upcoming
television season on its online iTunes Store. The move follows NBC’s decision not to renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple declined to pay more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99. ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode.

“We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers.”

Apple’s agreement with NBC ends in December. Since NBC would withdraw their shows in the middle of the television season, Apple has decided to not offer NBC TV shows for the upcoming television season beginning in September. NBC supplied iTunes with three of its 10 best selling TV shows last season, accounting for 30 percent of iTunes TV show sales.

Splashpress Media acquires Blog Search Engine

Splashpress Media, the parent company of 901am.com, today announced its acquisition of Blog Search Engine from Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal.

Blog Search Engine will undergo site overhauling and is expected to compliment EatonWeb, another Splashpress Media property.

YouTube ban lifted in Thailand

youtube11 YouTube ban lifted in ThailandInternet users can now access YouTube from Thailand after the Thai government agreed to remove the ban on the video-sharing site. YouTube and Google agreed not to allow offending videos to be uploaded on their service.

YouTube was banned in Thailand after the company refused to remove some of the user posted videos which mocked the Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

“We have the deepest respect for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. We likewise respect Thailand’s law and tradition and hope that we will be able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the current controversy,” Google said in a letter sent to the Thai government.

Yahoo to “Kickstart” their very own social job network

kickstart Yahoo to Kickstart their very own social job networkYahoo comes up with their very own social job network that, no doubt, will be another major rival to Facebook and LinkedIn — the Yahoo Kickstart.

This new venture is founded with their goal to create a venue for college students to connect with potential employers, alumni, as well as other striving professionals, as they “kickstart” their careers in whatever industry they’re interested in. Yahoo is currently conducting a survey among college students on what they expect and how they perceive the service.

Just like other social networks, members get to have their own profile page which, like Linkedin, is more focused on building up members professionally rather than socially. Yahoo Kickstart will also have university channels where users can interact with alumni of their own alma matter, as well as company pages that provide relevant information about a certain company that they may be interested to know. There’s no mention yet of when the network will be launched.

Via CNET.

Shopping search engine TheFind.com buys female shopping site Glimpse

glimpse Shopping search engine TheFind.com buys female shopping site GlimpseComparison shopping search engine TheFind.Com buys out female-powered startup Glimpse.com to add to its growing empire of shopping guide sites.

Based in Moutain View CA, TheFind continues its mission to deliver comprehensive results that would lead online shoppers to the right places through a technology they call “Product Ranking Engine.” With Glimpse reaching the cut for Time Magazine’s 50 Best Websites for 2007, this female shopping site is definitely an added asset as it continues to make fashion shopping easy to the vast female market across the web.

TheFind.com was launched last fall, and Glimpse.com just last April. There was no disclosure as to the amount of the buyout is concerned.

GiveandShop.com promotes cause-oriented shopping

giveandshop GiveandShop.com promotes cause oriented shoppingIf you are looking for a way to enjoy shopping and help save lives at the same time, the new shopping portal GiveandShop.com is just right for you.

When you shop at one of the retailers listed on the Give and Shop website, a portion of the proceeds from your shopping goes to charity. The best part of this idea is the prices of the products from retailers are not marked up to cover the money given to charity.

“We tried to come up with a way for consumers to give to charity while not sacrificing much effort in doing so. We think we did that in Give and Shop. The only effort the consumer has to do in addition to their regular online purchasing is go to our site and choose a charity and retailer. We do the rest,” said Owner Tim Littrell.

Imagine how many less fortunate people will benefit if all online stores will donate a small percentage of their proceeds to different charities. Let’s do our small share by patronizing cause-oriented companies. On the part of GiveandShop and other online companies, maybe showing some results of your contributions help will assure supportive customers that you are really sharing your proceeds.

Blogging enters the mainstream

A study conducted among 1,000 adults showed that 8 out of 10 Americans know what a blog is and almost half have visited blogs. Additionally, more women than men are bloggers, with 20% of American women who have visited blogs having their own versus 14 % of men.

As blogs have gained in popularity, so has the frequency with which they’re read. Though the majority of blog readers (39%) view them less than once a month, another 28% visit them monthly, 15% visit them daily and 5% read them several times a day. Also, loyalty to specific blogs is also fairly strong with 46% of blog readers saying that they visit the same blogs regularly versus 54% who instead usually surf for new and different ones.

But even though consumers are spending more time with blogs, they aren’t necessarily replacing other media. Only 13% of blog readers say they spend less time with other forms of media (newspapers, television, radio) since they’ve started following blogs.

“Because anyone can start one anytime, blogs are not necessarily seen as legitimate information sources despite the fact that some bloggers are experts in their area. However, as their prominence and influence continues to rise, this could certainly change,” said Tom Mularz, senior vice president at Synovate.

Dailymotion raises $34 million in funds

dailymotion Dailymotion raises $34 million in fundsFast growing online video site Dailymotion has raised $34 million in second round of funds, led by Advent Venture Partners (London) and AGF Private Equite (Paris).

Launched in 2005, this France-based startup is said to have overtaken YouTube last May as the number one online video site in France. Getting 3.2 million unique users in US, it also ranked second to the online video giant the same month. Dailymotion has just launched in US officially last June.

Now with the available funds, Dailymotion has more room to further enhance their service (YouTube beware!) and to address more content copyright concerns. They are reported to be working out on deals with content providing companies, as well as media companies such as TF1 and Viacom.

Beckham boosts traffic to major league soccer website

beckham Beckham boosts traffic to major league soccer websitecomScore announced worldwide traffic figures to mlsnet.com, the official website of the leading U.S. soccer league, attracting over one million unique visitors in July, 2007– up 117 percent on the previous year. This growth can be accounted for by the arrival of former England captain, David Beckham, who was signed by MLS side LA Galaxy at the start of the year. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star is reported to have signed a deal alleged to be worth around $250 million, making him one of the highest paid sports stars of all time.

By the end of 2006, traffic to mlsnet.com had slumped to 230,000 unique visitors, down from 478,000 in July. However when LA Galaxy announced the signing of David Beckham in January, traffic immediately jumped to 808,000 unique visitors– a 252 percent month-on-month increase.

With the unveiling of Beckham as a Galaxy player at the club’s ground on July 13th, and his subsequent playing debut in a friendly match against Chelsea on July 21st, worldwide traffic to the site rocketed to over one million unique visitors.