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Microsoft to Offer Google Pack Alternative

BetaNews has details of Microsoft’s plans to offer a Google Pack alternative, complete with useful programs such as Windows Live Messenger and Live Mail Desktop.

Called Windows Live Essentials, the program also features a new application called Windows Live Dashboard. The Dashboard would show the user what Live programs are installed and what is available for download.

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Microsoft Joins the Human Answers Arena

Microsoft has announced their own version of Google Answers and Yahoo AnswersWindows Live QnA.

According to ther Windows Live blog, some of the features include:

* A smooth interface that enables you to ask, answer and vote on a question.

* A free-form “tagging� system that allows you to attach your own keywords and phrases to your question to make it more discoverable by other users. With QnA, you tell us what the question is about, not the other way around!

* Integration with Windows Live Spaces via modules that show off questions you’ve asked and questions you’ve answered.

* See your score constantly increase on the Superstars page and earn reputation stars for consistently giving great answers.

Using Google Analytics to Track Content Thieves

Barry’s uncovered a forum topic that discusses how some content thieves are inadvertantly stealing Google Analytics tracking codes, along with a page’s content.

For those of you that use Google Analytics, you should be aware that if someone steals your source code and leaves your “UA” code, the unique identifier for Google to know what site the traffic is from, that your traffic may be inflated.

I’m hoping that either Robert Scoble or Michael Arrington get into the scraping business – boy would my traffic jump then! ;-)

Danny Sullivan Leaving Search Engine Watch – Update

Wow, I hope you’ve had your coffee this morning, cos this news is a shocker.

Danny Sullivan is leaving Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Strategies. Here’s Danny’s own words on why he is leaving…

I was concerned about moving forward with Incisive, however. I’m far from the only reason behind the success of SEW and SES, but I’ve played a major role. I helped build both of those assets. Then I watched one company sell them to another without me having any formal capital stake in the sale. That left me wary of history repeating itself. I wasn’t going to help this new company grow the business out of the sheer kindness of my heart.

Free Book Downloads from Google

Looks like Google may ruffle some more feathers of the publishing community. They’re already sending death-ray looks in the direction of Google’s Book Search, so they’ll likely be even more upset with news that you can now download out-of-copyright books from Google.

As TechCrunch reports…

Until now, Google only allowed people to read the out-of-copyright books online (and only snippets of copyrighted works). To search the database of available full titles, go to books.google.com and click the “full view books� option when searching.

Google CEO Joins Apple Board

If Google and Apple announced a partnership, that would be huge news. Just one step from that is the announcement that Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, has joined Apple’s board of directors.

According to the official release, it’s a mutual love fest…

“Eric is obviously doing a terrific job as CEO of Google, and we look forward to his contributions as a member of Apple’s board of directors,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Like Apple, Google is very focused on innovation and we think Eric’s insights and experience will be very valuable in helping to guide Apple in the years ahead.”

“Apple is one of the companies in the world that I most admire,” said Eric Schmidt. “I’m really looking forward to working with Steve and Apple’s board to help with all of the amazing things Apple is doing.”