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Geeks and design lovers are aflutter on Twitter this morning with the news that President Obama has appointed infographic guru Edward Tufte to the U.S. Recovery Independent Advisory Panel. Tufte explains he’ll advise the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board on tracking and explaining stimulus funds. Read more »

Burbn, a stealth startup that brings mobile location check-in gameplay to the mobile browser, has raised $500,000 from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Running through a mobile browser, the HTML 5 app doesn’t lose much of the experience afforded to native iPhone and Android apps. Read more »

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Google has gobbled up another small productivity company with today’s purchase of DocVerse, a plug-in to make Microsoft Office software collaborative for a reported $25 million. It’s an obvious shot at Microsoft, given the product was designed for Office, and founders are ex-Microsoft employees. Read more »

An eye-tracking report from OneUpWeb rightfully compares the challenge of real-time search to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. But it did find that users are already responding to real-time results, especially when they’re seeking out news. Those seeking products clicked less and found real-time results less useful. Read more »

TripIt, the handy travel tool, has raised $7 million in a third round of funding led by Azure Capital Partners and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. The company recently ventured into the enterprise market, enabling users to contribute their itineraries to a company group. Read more »

The big-daddy awards show, The Oscars, is getting with the social-media picture this year and live-streaming from the red carpet. A two-hour live show on Oscar.com from 3-5 p.m. PT on Sunday will be followed by behind-the-scenes clips and interviews posted that night. Read more »

“‘I’d like nothing more than to apologize in person to everyone we’ve let down, but as you can see, many of our users are rarely home at this hour,’ said Google cofounder and president Sergey Brin,” in a spot-on spoof from The Onion. Read more »

It’s pretty amazing that raw Twitter posts already show up by default right on Google search results pages. Today at the Search Marketing Expo, project managers from the three major search engine gave insight into their companies’ approaches to the quickened pace of the web. Read more »

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Twitter today gave seven real-time search and discovery companies that “range from funded startups to part-time, one-man operations” access to 100 percent of its tweets. The announcement is part of a new, yet-to-be-standardized initiative of metered access for people and companies that build on Twitter. Read more »

Google today announced it’s acquired the web photo editing tool Picnik. Picnik was self-funded and said to be profitable for more than a year based on premium services. This falls right into line with Google’s recent string of buys of companies started by its former employees. Read more »

Platial, a first-generation map mashup startup, is throwing in the towel on its product and encouraging users to export their data. The company actually ran out of money 18 months ago, said co-founder and former CEO Di-Ann Eisnor in an interview today. Here’s her story. Read more »

Digg, in the last five months, has figured out a social media monetization model that makes sense. So much so that its new social media-specific ad formats are already counting for more than a third of its revenue. Read more »

Facebook was on Tuesday granted a U.S. patent for aspects of its news feed, as was first reported by AllFacebook. The patent is particularly valuable because news-feed style communication has become pervasive since it was launched on Facebook. Read more »

Polyvore, a fast-growing fashion community site, is in the interesting position of pushing forward both search and user-generated content creation at the same time. On the occasion of her hiring, we interviewed new CEO Sukhinder Singh Cassidy about some fascinating stats and observations about the company. Read more »

PeerPong has reportedly raised $2.8 million for social search. The service which isn’t open to the public yet, describes itself as β€œan easy way to connect with the right Twitter users to get direct answers fast.” Read more »

Yelp was yesterday slammed with a prospective class action lawsuit over unfair business practices. To that I say, it’s about time! There have been rumblings and bitchings and stories for years about Yelp salespeople pressuring local businesses to pay to remove negative user reviews. Read more »

Yahoo, like Microsoft and Google before it, has struck a deal to get access to Twitter’s real-time firehose of tweets. It’s also announcing plans to integrate Twitter across all its sites, as part of Yahoo’s big strategy to be an aggregator for the social web. Read more »

A service called Strings, which launched today, is trying to find and collect all the different ways you can track yourself online. Strings is not about socializing and sharing that information, like the Twitter-for-credit-cards Blippy, but about privately harnessing it. Read more »

In the last week at least four major newspapers have each run their own original reporting about the hacking that led Google to threaten it may significantly alter its business in China (which it hasn’t). But the anonymously sourced stories don’t paint a clear picture. Read more »

Auditude has scored a deal to manage video advertising for Comcast Interactive Media. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has already taken over ad management for Fancast and Xfinity and will launch on Comcast.net next, followed by other Comcast sites such as Fandango and E!. The deal […] Read more »

Facebook last week acquired a small Malaysian startup called Octazen Solutions, maker of a contact importer that the social network had already been using to grow its number of users by encouraging them to invite their email contacts. Octazen’s two employees have joined Facebook as engineers. Read more »

NearVerse plans to launch a new proximity-based media-sharing service called Lokast next month at SXSW in Austin. Lokast is to debut at some of the festivals’ shows, with bands releasing exclusive content to the members of their audiences with iPhones. Read more »

Twitpay, a service that facilitates payments by users who publicly state who they want to send money to on Twitter, has been bought for $100,000 by investors led by Acculynk CEO Ashish Bahl and Morgan Keegan investment banker Keith Meyers, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Read more »

As we’re hosted on WordPress.com, we were affected by an outage of their network of blogs today that’s been attributed to a core router change. The company’s 10.2 million hosted blogs were down for 110 minutes, for a projected page view loss of 5.5 million. Read more »

Facebook users and Facebook advertisers will soon be able to pay for virtual goods and ads using PayPal. The two companies’ strategic relationship is not exclusive, but it is significant. Online payments are a strategic battleground, and the deal is a good get for PayPal. Read more »

What do collaboration toolmaker AppJet, social search manager Aardvark and email search appmaker reMail have in common? A trio of little startups, they all have been acquired recently by Google and they were all founded by former Google employees. Read more »

Google has acquired a small email search company called reMail, reMail founder Gabor Cselle posted today on his blog. reMail, which was part of the Y Combinator program and raised funding from FriendFeed and Gmail founders Paul Buchheit and Sanjeev Singh, started in November 2008. Read more »

When it comes to employee-to-global-attention ratio, Twitter has everyone beat. The company yesterday celebrated its 140th employee (aka character) last night with an office dance party — a tiny number considering Twitter’s influence on the world. Read more »

Yapta today announced a partnership with travel search site Kayak that will make its highly useful flight-tracking service a lot more accessible. Soon, all search results on Kayak and its subsidiary SideStep will give you the option to “track price drops.” Read more »

The benefits of the long tail may go beyond selling large quantities of niche items. Having a comprehensive inventory makes your customers more satisfied and more likely to patronize you again, according to a new paper from Yahoo presented earlier this month. Read more »

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