Microsoft Jumps on YouTube Bandwagon

YouTube has made online video so cool, that Google, Yahoo and now Microsoft wants in on the act.

CNET has full details of Microsoft’s plans to let people upload videos via its new service Soapbox.

Soapbox users will be able to rate, comment on and tag the videos, create RSS feeds and share links with others via e-mail. They will also be able to embed the Soapbox player directly on to their Web site or blog.

Microsoft has plans to eventually let people embed video links in messages sent via Windows Live Messenger.

The service launches later today, but Microsoft obviously believes it can win audience share without Firefox users, as the site is only available in IE. :-(

Google Gets Political

The Chronicle has details of Google’s efforts to raise its political profile on Capitol Hill.

Google filed paperwork Thursday to register its political action committee, Google NetPAC, with the Federal Election Commission. The company intends to use the committee “to support candidates who promote an open and free Internet for our users,” according to Alan Davidson, Google’s Washington policy counsel.

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Yahoo Plans TV & Radio Blitz – FREE COFFEE!

Yahoo is planning a new media blitz – complete with a new television and radio campaign.

Ok, that’s the boring stuff. Here’s what you really need to know…

As an added promotional gift, Yahoo will offer coupons for a free cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts to anyone who sets Yahoo.com as their home page this Friday.

That’s free coffee people…F.R.E.E! Google has denied that it is planning a similar offering but did say it was “engaged in talks” with Krispy Kreme. ;-)

Google Video Coming to Apple’s iTV?

Newsweeks’ Steven Levy speculates that we might see Apple’s forthcoming iTV ship with built-in access to Google Video.

“Is it possible that when iTV ships next year, you may also be able to choose a menu item called Google Video, and then zip through the best of the thousands of user-submitted videos on the search giant’s service? Google’s consumer product chief, Marissa Mayer, tells me that indeed, the two companies are engaged in talks,” Levy reports.

Of course, “engaged in talks” means little more than, “go ahead and speculate”.

Via MacDailyNews.

Belgian Courts Stick-it to Google

The Belgians must have taken anti-Google lessons from the French if a recent Belgian court order is anything to go by.

Inside Google reports Google has been ordered to remove all news stories from Belgian publishers (including any cached items) from Google News.

In a move that seems a little ridiculous, the court also ordered Google to display the entire judgement document on the homepage of Google.be for five days.

Fines, for failing to comply, could cost Google 1m – 1.5m Euros a day!

The Rise and Dominance of Baidu

CNET’s lengthy profile of China’s most popular search engine, Baidu.com, is an interesting read for anyone needing to get up to speed on the company.

Baidu has so far managed to keep the top search engine spot in China, despite its search results showing more ads than Google or Yahoo. The secret to its success is its compliance with the Chinese government – which imposes strict censorship rules on foreign internet companies.

Some interesting snippets include:

Baidu has a market value of $3 billion and operates the fourth-most trafficked Web site in the world.

In 1996, founder, Robin Li, developed a search mechanism he called “link analysis,” which involved ranking the popularity of a Web site based on how many other Web sites had linked to it.

Can IPO of Japan’s Mixi Help Value MySpace and Facebook?

Forrester analyst Charlene Li has an overview of the recent successful IPO of Japan’s largest social networking site, Mixi.

She crunches some numbers and tries to apply Mixi’s valuation formula to giants MySpace and Facebook.

A rough back-of-the-envelope would value MySpace’s 100 million users at US$1.86 billion and Facebook’s 7.5 million users would be worth $139.5 million. Granted, the I’m not taking into account the multiplicative network value of additional members, so this is likely undervaluing the value of MySpace’s and Facebook’s audiences.

$140 million valuation for Facebook? Someone should have given them that figure, before they turned down the rumored $1.4 billion buyout offer from Yahoo!