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Ask.com Launches Social Media News Site BigNews

Search engine Ask.com just launched a news aggregation site called BigNews. The difference is that it integrates voting with what it calls “BigFactor.” BigNews is like Yahoo News or Google News except it’s broader – it includes video, images, and blog posts related to each story.

If you click through to the actual story you’ll see related stories from Digg, sorted by number of votes. I also noticed Wikipedia content relating to the story.

If you mouseover the “BigFactor” vote you’ll see a score. It also shows a quick rundown on how the story rates according to criteria like how new the story is, how much discussion has resulted from the story, and other measurements. BigNews feeds in top stories on Digg as well as Digg stories with no votes – so you can be the first to vote on them. Click “track” and you can subscribe to the newsfeed or put it in “MyStuff.”

Yahoo Lives! Er, Yahoo! Live

Earlier this month, Jerry Yang introduced Yahoo’s pending social-mail integration as “Yahoo Life” (though the company later clarified that the product was, in fact, nameless). But it looks like they’ll make sure the name, or something like unto it, goes to good use. Valleywag reports that Yahoo will launch a new “lifecasting” service called Yahoo Live.

According to Valleywag, Yahoo posted the following announcement on their intranet, Backyard:

Yahoo! Live is social TV, where you’re the star! Create your own social broadcasting experience. Start by broadcasting yourself from your webcam, invite your friends to chat with you, they’ll go live with you, and you’re all on candid camera!

. . .

Robert Scoble Joining FastCompany.tv

We’ve known for a few weeks that Robert Scoble would leave PodTech this week, but we didn’t know where he’d end-up. Until today.

Top blogger, social media guru, and video podcaster, Scoble will join Mansuetto Ventures–the company behind Fast Company and Inc. magazines–and create a new video channel called FastCompany.tv.

Andy Plesser has most of the details…

As he builds the network, he will continue to produce daily technology videos, much along the lines of the ScobleShow. He has the assistance of a full time producer and is looking for studio facilities in San Francisco.

In his new job, he will create and supervise a number of channels with other video creators, he told me this afternoon in phone call from San Francisco. Robert expects to have at least five new channels launched this year.

Writers’ Strike: Now We Mean It

It’s been two months. We’re all sure our favorite shows are on their last reserves of scripts.

And now the Writers Guild of America finally means it. They’re bringing in the big guns. Er, pens.

Today is the deadline for “Strike TV” proposals. And what is Strike TV? It will be an online video channel featuring professional WGA scripts.

This is a step in the right direction for the strike, especially if they can quickly show that they can make profits from their content on the Internet by cutting out the middleman. Then, if online video viewing increases (and TV viewership decreases), then I think even Andy and I will buy the connection—and more importantly, so will the AMPTP.

Pixsy Powers Video & Image Search; an Interview with CEO Chase Norlin

By Grant Crowell

This week the digital multimedia search provider Pixsy, announced its media search partnership with Maxim Digital, which sites include Maxim.com, Blender.com, and Stuffmagazine.com. Over the past few months, Pixsy has become the distributor of chose for many content publishers to expand their video and image search capabilities, especially amongst publishers in the entertainment, travel industries, music sites, Internet television platforms, and popular video and image search desination sites as well.

Pixsy’s proprietary media search technology has allowed website publishers and application providers to expand their video and image search capabilities with an up-to-the-hour aggregation and categorization platform, either with solely client’s own content, 3rd party content, or both. With this technology, any site can run a branded multimedia search engine with content customized to their specific audience, thereby creating new up-to-date video and image content, enhanced search experience, as well as targeted advertising inventory.

I’m Not Buying Connection Between Writers’ Strike & Online Video Rise

There’s just something not quite right about the suggestion that online video watching is growing rapidly because of the US writers’ strike. The BBC has data from Nielsen Online and Pew Internet Project which points to an unusual jump in online video viewing in the past two months.

The on-going writers’ strike has meant that many popular programs are currently off-air in the US and, according to Nielsen Online, this has seen Americans turn in large numbers to online alternatives.

Its figures show that YouTube’s audience was up 18% in the two months after the strike started, and newer video-sharing sites such as Crackle have also experienced unprecedented growth.

Google & Panasonic Bring the Web to Your TV

At some point you will have to concede that the YouTube video of a hippo singing will be better than anything that’s on the 200 gazillion cable or satellite TV channels. And, when you come to that realization, Google and Panasonic will be there to fill the void.

Matsushita’s Panasonic and Google have announced a deal that will see the launch of internet enabled TVs this spring.

The TVs…will allow users to directly browse and access videos from YouTube, a video-sharing Web site owned by Google, and view Picasa Web Albums, a free online photo-sharing service from Google, Panasonic said in a statement on Monday.

OK, but just because you can watch blurry YouTube videos on a 60″ plasma–yikes, think of the pixelation at that resolution–does that mean that you will?