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Digg Adds Image Support, Restructures Categories

It seems like Digg users have been asking for–and Kevin Rose promising–a category for images and photos forever. Well the long wait is now over and you can finally uploaded your favorite lolcats image.

At the Digg blog, Kevin Rose announces the launch of image support and also better organization of existing categories. Here’s what Digg users are waking up to today:

  • New Universal Taxonomy
    Now you can submit news, images, or videos to any category on Digg! Categories will be consistent across the board, which means you can view all media types in a given topic, or view one media type at a time (e.g., only images under the “sports” category). We’re also excited to support the launch with new categories. “Offbeat” will be its own category, with new topics, and we’re adding a whole new “Lifestyle” category with topics like Autos, Food & Drink, and Travel.

Tracking Santa’s Sleigh with Google Earth

I have hung the stockings and this weekend I’m off to get the tree. If you have young children at home or if you’re just a kid at heart, you’ll like what Google and NORAD are up to. A tradition of tracking Santa Claus, which was started in 1955, is still happening today, but thanks to Google Earth, this Christmas you can track Santa online.

What is NORAD? It’s the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the U. S. and Canada. They inadvertently got involved in tracking Santa. In 1955, a Sears store published an ad that said kids could call Santa, but they put the wrong phone number. It was actually a phone number to NORAD, who decided to humor the kids. The organization started tracking Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve and continue to do that today. Working with Google, now they made it possible to see Santa’s trip in 3D, using Google Earth.

Webify Your Living Room with TiVo

On a day where notable bloggers are talking about "webifying" their living room with the use of Mac Minis, along comes TiVo to help the millions of consumers that already own its digital video recorder.

According to Crave

The digital video recorder manufacturer has partnered with two photo-sharing services–the Google-owned Picasa Web Albums and Fox Interactive Media-owned Photobucket–in order to enable users to surf through their photo albums as well as their friends’ and family members’, provided that their TiVo boxes are broadband-connected.

A release from the company emphasized the fact that photos are viewable in the highest resolution possible, which on the TiVo Series 3 and TiVo HD devices means full high definition.

Not only can TiVo users view their own photos, but they can also search through all publicly available photographs.

Facebook Follows through on Beacon Changes

As anticipated yesterday, Facebook has announced their modifications to Project Beacon. As Search Engine Land reports, the changes include opt-in instead of opt-out for listing purchases through Project Beacon partner sites. I think we can also safely assume that the opt-in notices will be more noticeable than were the previous messages.

Among the other changes:

If a user does nothing with the initial notification on Facebook, it will hide after some duration without a story being published. When a user takes a future action on a Beacon site, it will reappear and display all the potential stories along with the opportunity to click “OK” to publish or click “remove” to not publish.

Sites Let Bloggers Make Money on Photos

With the popularity of Flickr photo sharing site, some people get shortchanged for their work. Two sites are finding ways to compensate the photographer and the bloggers who post their photos.

I learned about photo money for bloggers first from Photrade, at BlogWorldExpo. Now stock photography company Corbis is offering bloggers to use some of their images free. The images have ads embedded in them (and show up when you mouse over them) or the ad is an overlay on top of the image.

Rather than user-generated they are professional pictures. Corbis has more than 100 million creative, entertainment and historic images from top photographers. They will offer the images through the site Picapp. The images can be tracked and the company can determine if they’re used illegally. Bloggers earn revenue when people click on the images.

Facebook Blinks on Beacon

It’s been so long since I’ve been able to write about Facebook every day. I’m gonna relish this while I can. BusinessWeek reports today that Facebook may be tweaking the ill-received Project Beacon. These changes could come as soon as November 29—aka today.

BusinessWeek points out, accurately IMHO, that as Facebook tweaks the system to assuage its disgruntled users, it runs the risk of upsetting its advertisers and partners:

Any move that weakens Beacon’s appeal to advertisers leaves Facebook under pressure to find other ways to lure marketers and justify the lofty $15 billion valuation bestowed by Microsoft (MSFT) in October, when it purchased a 1.6% stake for $240 million (, 10/25/07). Users of social networks are typically less responsive to standard ad formats, such as the posterlike banner ads commonly seen on the Web, than to newer, more interactive or personalized advertisements. Some marketers say that when they place banner ads on Facebook, the so-called click-through rate, a measure of user responsiveness, is one-fifth the rate for the larger Web.

Facebook to Face FTC?

facebook logoWill Facebook have to face the Federal Trade Commission over their three-week-old Project Beacon and Social Ads platforms? If the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy have their way, you bet.

The two privacy watchdogs have said that they intend to file against Facebook’s new advertising platforms, which they view as an invasion of users’ privacy. EPIC says they’ll file by January; CDD has already begun an official complaint against behavioral targeting in general and says they’ll join in action against Facebook.

MediaPost covers the planned action, and offers a succinct summary of the difference between the two Facebook advertising programs:

EPIC plans to protest both Facebook’s SocialAds–which tells members which of their friends have signed on as “fans” of the advertisers– and Beacon ads, which notifies members’ friends about their off-site purchases.