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Last year, Google announced that it would bring ultra high-speed broadband Internet to one community in the United States. After a long decision process, the search giant today finally announced which community will be the first to enjoy Google-sponsored Internet access that's more than 100 times faster than the U.S. average. Out of the 1,100 cities that applied for Google's so-called "Fibre for Communities program, Topka, Kansas probably went the furthest in attracting Google's attention by renaming itself Google, Kansas. That was not enough, though, and Google today announced that it chose Kansas City, Kansas instead.

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With the launch of a new version of virtually every major browser in the last few weeks, the discussion around how many downloads each one of them got is unavoidable and, as Microsoft's senior director of its Internet Explorer business and marketing group, Ryan Gavin calls it, "a natural temptation." In comparison with Mozilla, which just launched Firefox 4 last week, just about a week after Microsoft launched its own Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft's download numbers didn't look too good. Mozilla saw about twice as many downloads as IE9 during the first 24 hours of Firefox 4's general availability.

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Microsoft wants to make emails more interactive and turn them into small web apps. Today's emails mostly consist of static text or HTML and, for the most part, this has not changed much since the advent of the modern Internet. Theoretically, you could run interactive elements inside an HTML email with the help of JavaScript and other web technologies, but for security reasons, virtually every online and offline email client does not allow this. Because of this, when you open your daily LivingSocial email, the email can’t include an interactive widget that tells you how much time you have left to buy or if a deal is already sold out. Microsoft wants to change this, however, and is partnering with LivingSocial, Netflix, LinkedIn, Monster and Posterous to bring interactive elements to their emails when they appear in Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail service.

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Just a week after the general release of Firefox 4 for the desktop, Mozilla just released the latest mobile version of its browser for Android and the Maemo-powered Nokia N900. Mozilla was relatively late in embracing mobile platforms with Firefox, but this latest release brings it up to par with other mobile browsers from company's like Opera.

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Amazon just launched its rumored online music locker project. Dubbed the Amazon Cloud Drive, the service will actually do more than just store your music. Besides supporting music – which is clearly the main focus here – the 5GB of free storage space on Amazon’s servers that come with every Cloud Drive account can also be used for documents, pictures and videos.

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The New York Times will activate its paywall at 2pm ET (11am PT) today. While the word "paywall" evokes the idea of an impermeable wall that you will only be able to breach by getting out your credit card, the reality is far more complicated. Indeed, according to the New York Times' own estimates, only about 20% of its readers will ever encounter the paywall at all.

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Echoecho is one of the most useful location-based apps on the market today. When you hear the word “location-based app,” chances are you are thinking about services like Foursquare and Gowalla. While these can be fun, their utility is rather limited (unless you really feel the need to collect virtual badges). Echoecho, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to solve a simple problem: finding where your friends are. The service lets you ask your friends where they are and then decide on a place to meet up if you feel like doing so.

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The minds behind Lala, the ingenious online music service that Apple bought and immediately shut down, just launched their newest project tonight: Color. Color is a photo-sharing app for iOS (iTunes link) and Android with $41 million in backing from major venture capital firms. Forbes calls it “a new photo app that could change the way you interact with people,” but leaving aside the question why an app like this needs $41 million, my main problem with the service is that I can’t quite figure out why I would want to use it.

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We hear a lot about Google’s relationship with publishers, but this week the search giant also quietly launched it’s own publication in the UK. Think Quarterly, which calls itself a “a breathing space in a busy world” is, as the name implies, a quarterly online magazine. The design almost feels somewhat reminiscent of of Wired, with a strong focus on infographics and large photos. The articles themselves come both from writers inside of Google and freelancers. The first edition focuses on “data,” but the articles run the gamut from a discussion of Near Field Communication to an interview with “data superstar” Hans Rosling. The bias is obviously towards Google products, though some of the interviews could easily stand on their own in other publications.

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Yahoo just launched some interesting updates to its search product. Even though Yahoo's search backend is now powered by Microsoft's Bing, Yahoo remains in charge of how it presents this data. The new Yahoo Search somewhat resembles Google Instant, but is actually, in some way, a cleverer solution that brings together Bing's "Bing boxes" and Google Instant.

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Now that Firefox 4 has already been downloaded more than 8 million times, it's time to look ahead and see what Mozilla has in store for Firefox for the rest of the year.

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Wikipedia is undoubtedly among the most useful websites on the Internet, but it definitely is not among the prettiest. Its utilitarian design doesn’t exactly look inviting, but if you are a Chrome user, a new extension now makes the site far more readable. The Readability-inspired Wikipedia Beautifier fades out all the extra crud around the text and allows you to fully focus on the article itself.

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It took more than 10 years, but after filing for a patent for a "provides a periodically changing story line and/or a special event company logo to entice users to access a web page" in April 2001, the U.S. Patent Office today granted Google's Segey Brin a patent for the company's iconic Doodles. Google Doodles are the variations on the company's logo that it uses celebrating holidays and special events. They appear on Google.com and its international versions.

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Google just granted $1 million to a team of Georgia Tech researchers in order to enable them to build a "suite of web-based, Internet-scale measurement tools that any user around the world could access for free." Once released, this test will include traditional speed measurement tools, but most importantly, it is also meant to tell users if their ISPs or governments are tampering with the data they send and receive. The project is funded by Google's Focused Research program

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Mozilla just released Firefox 4, the next generation of its popular Internet browser. The new version is not just significantly faster than Firefox 3, but it also features a new, highly streamlined interface and a number of new tools that should make Firefox 4 even more popular among power users (many of which moved to Google Chrome during Firefox 4's prolonged development phase).