Articles of the Day

Yahoo Buzz Takes Down Barriers — Yahoo Buzz, the Web portal’s social news platform, is opening its doors to content from Web publishers from to niche blogs. The site, which ranks stories based on user voting, launched six months ago with about only about 100 top publishers before expanding to 400. Buzz buttons have increasingly been popping up on third-party sites alongside other social bookmarks such as Digg, Sphere and Reddit. Yahoo says the service has drawn 5 million users to date.

Microsoft (Probably) Can’t Catch Google — In the wake of Live Search Cashback and the latest news from Nielson Online that Google’s search share grew another 16% in the last twelve months, BusinessWeek’s Rob Hof declares that Microsoft’s inadequate vision of search simply won’t be enough to catch Google — “not for a long time, anyway.” Not that Microsoft isn’t trying. At the Search Engine Strategies show in San Jose, Satya Nardella, Microsoft’s senior VP of search, portal, and advertising platform group, said that it’s early yet in the search game, and that he sees the sector moving from searchers typing in keywords to actually executing simple tasks. As Hof says, “not coincidentally, getting tasks done is essentially Microsoft’s main business, so that sounds a little too convenient.” However, Nardella cited an interesting figure, claiming that roughly half of Live Search queries are part of search sessions lasting 30 minutes or more. In other words, users aren’t finding what they’re looking for right away.

Yahoo and Intel Working on Widget Framework For TV, Along With Comcast — Glad to see Yahoo still has some activity going on in its Connected Life unit: Intel, on its developer day, has previewed plans for the Widget Channel, a TV application framework to bring online apps/widgets onto TV…it has tied up with Yahoo for it, which will supply its “Yahoo Widget Engine”. These will bring content, information and community features available online onto the TV and manageable through the remote control. It will allow integration of services such as Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, Blockbuster and eBay. To help create new Widgets for this, Intel and Yahoo plan to make a development kit available to developers, including TV and other CE device makers, advertisers and publishers. No specific timeline of launch has been released.

Mormon Church Trying to Buy Facebook [VentureBeat] — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — a nonprofit religious organization that may have up to $30 billion in wide-ranging assets — is trying to buy Facebook. That’s what Zach Klein, the co-founder of video site Vimeo, now employed at comedy site CollegeHumor, is hearing from within the company. Klein has friends in and close to Facebook. Also, another Tumblr-using entrepreneur named Brady Brim-DeForest claims to hear similar things.

Microsoft Looks To Semantic Search For Delivering Ads — Microsoft is exploring ways of using Powerset’s semantic technology to deliver search ads, says a Powerset exec quoted by CNET. General manager Scott Prevost believes natural-language processing could be used to help advertisers find highly targeted ad spots next to search results. “If people aren’t bidding on keywords and are bidding on concepts, it could completely change the ball game,” says Prevost. Microsoft acquired Powerset in July as part of its effort to improve the performance of its search engine. Powerset’s natural-language processing aims to improve web search by understanding the meaning of a query rather than simply matching keywords. The system is currently only used to search articles on Wikipedia, the user-generated online encyclopaedia. However, Microsoft is looking for ways to integrate semantic technology into its search engine.

YouTube Won’t Offer Live Streaming Until 2010 — Google has decided that YouTube will not offer live streaming video before 2010, says Silicon Alley Insider. YouTube’s struggle to break even was reportedly a big factor. Google estimates that if just 10% of YouTube users took advantage of live streaming, the company would be forced to add at least 20% to its server and bandwidth infrastructure. With those additional costs, there is no real business case to offer live video. Advertisers choose carefully between the existing less bandwidth-hungry videos on YouTube’s site. Google is still attempting to build a viable business model around YouTube for which it paid USD1.65bn. Yahoo! launched its own live video service in February but it hasn’t attracted viewers or advertisers. On average about 100 people watch live video casts on Yahoo!’s service.

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