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Google is the default search engine on virtually every browser – with one exception: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Now that Microsoft is rolling version 9 of Internet explorer out to most of its users, Google is actively courting these users with a large blue bar on its homepage: “Come here often? Make Google your homepage.” The possible answers: “Sure” and “No thanks.” If you decline, Google will then show IE9 users an add for Chrome.

After the release of the long-delayed Firefox 4, Mozilla announced that it would switch to a faster release schedule with multiple channels that was more like Google's Chrome. As part of this effort, Mozilla today announced Aurora, a new early release channel for Firefox that is basically equivalent to Chrome’s dev channel. Aurora will see updates long before they arrive in the final versions of Firefox.

Facebook today made some much-needed updates to its commenting platform for third-party sites. Among other things, the commenting plugin now features permalinks to specific comments, a dark colorscheme and support for signing in with Hotmail. Facebook also announced that about 50,000 sites are currently using its Comments Box plugin.

Microsoft just launched a platform preview of Internet Explorer 10. As is typical for Microsoft, this platform preview is meant to give developers a chance to test their software on the new rendering engine as it develops. The preview does not include any hint at what the user interface for IE10 will look like, however. The focus of this preview is on HTML5 and, according to Microsoft, IE10 “continues what IE9’s first preview began a year ago.”

Bing, Microsoft’s upstart search engine, hasn’t quite been able to replicate its success in the U.S. in the European market. The latest data from Hitwise includes some good news for Microsoft, however. While every other search engine in the UK lost market share in the last year, Bing actually managed to increase its share of searches in March by 1.4% compared to one year ago. Now that’s now a huge change by any means – and its overall share of searches is still just 4.4% compared to Google’s 90%. As Hitwise’s Robin Goad points out, though, “this translates to a lot of extra searches occurring in Bing.”

Bing, Microsoft's increasingly popular search engine, just launched a new product for business owners today that not only allows them to claim and edit their profiles on Bing's local search feature, but also introduces a new self-serve platform for offering deals and other offers to their users. These offers can appear on Bing, as well as the business owner's own website and Facebook pages. The service replaces Bing's Local Listing Center.

Last year, the Department of the Interior decided to replace its 13 aging email system for its 88,000 employees with Microsoft's cloud-based offering. Google, which was also in the competition for this contract, which is worth an estimated $59 million over five years, filed a lawsuit shortly after the contract went to Microsoft, claiming that the process was not fair and open. In its filing (PDF), which were unsealed by the court last week, Google claimed on multiple occasions that its offering was certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Among other things, FISMA sets out to establish minimum security requirements for information systems used by the U.S. government.

Google and the New York Times just launched a new trivia game, A Google a Day, that will make its print debut tomorrow morning. The new puzzle will appear right above the New York Times' legendary crossword puzzle, but with the added twist that unlike in regular trivia games, A Google a Day encourages people to go out and search for the answer online. To ensure that Google's real-time search feature doesn't spoil the fun, will feature a stripped down version of Google's regular search engine without any of these additional features

Adobe just introduced version 5.5 of its Creative Suite - a bundle of software for creative professionals that, depending on the specific bundle, includes...

PushLife, a Toronto-based startup that allows users to sync their iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries with Android and BlackBerry smartphones, has been acquired by Google. The company, which was founded in 2008, describes its mission as helping users to "play, organize, schare and purchase digital content across multiple devices" and calls itself "the best upgrade to your BlackBerry and Android media player." The PushLife team will join Google's engineering team in Canada.

Google just announced that it has received permission to proceed with its acquisition of ITA Software, the Cambridge, MA-based company that specializes in providing ticketing and logistics services to airlines like United Airlines, Air Canada American Airlines and major online travel agencies like Orbitz, Kayak and others.

Google just announced the launch of its live video streaming platform for YouTube. Until now, live events on YouTube were generally one-offs and focused on concerts, major sporting events and special interviews. Now, however, YouTube will allow a select group of its partners to stream their content live. Currently playing live shows will be highlighted on a special page.

A few weeks ago, just in time for SXSW, Google launched check-in offers for Latitude, its location-based service and social network. At the time,...

Facebook today announced that it will share the design specs for the servers and datacenters that power its service with anybody who is interested....

With Bing for iPad, Microsoft just launched its first native iPad app. The app, which is available for free, reformats Bing’s content for the...

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